764.00/11–2852: Telegram

No. 16
The Minister in Hungary (Ravndal) to the Department of State


478. Dept’s attn drawn to lead article in Nov 21 Cominform Journal on criticism and self-criticism which would seem to be either a call for or preliminary announcement of Slansky type purge in other satellites. While emphasizing the value of criticism “at grass-root level”, examples given point clearly to Pauker and Luca in Rumania and Slansky group in Czecho. Exposure right deviation in Rumania was “example of consistent application of principled criticism”. Article goes on to say that criticism and self-criticism in People’s Democracies “have not everywhere acquired necessary scale”.

This would seem to point finger clearly at Hungary. Practically all accusations against Slansky could be made against Rakosi, Gero and/or other top leaders. Russian dissatisfaction with economic progress and deliveries to Sov Union more and more open (re Legdes 271, Oct 211). Anti-Semitic angle particularly pertinent here where top leadership almost solidly Jewish. Moreover, Gero, Farkas, Hazi, Gabor Peter, Nogradi and probably others were in Spain.

However, it can be argued that Rajk was Hung’s Slansky and local press repeatedly makes this point in comment on Praha trial (Warsaw press apparently featuring Gomulka in same role). There is also problem of who would replace top leaders who would be eliminated in purge. Many observers feel that new group of younger men has not yet been trained. Rapid rise of Hisas is perhaps significant in this respect.

  1. Despatch 271 provided a summary of political, military, and economic developments in Hungary during the third quarter of 1952. (764.00/10–2152)