106. Telegram From the Director of the Munich Radio Center of the International Broadcasting Service (D’Alessandro) to the Director of the International Broadcasting Service (Button)1
Unnumbered. Believe that broadcast of “Americana” to Hungary during people’s rebellion and description of same as “riots” counterproductive and should be immediately reexamined. Staff members here could not understand how VOA Hungarian from Washington last night could tell Hungarians about Globemaster landing on Arctic shelf, activities of Soviet election observers and cancer research while people were dying in the streets. Feel such treatment could only cause dismay and resentment. Effect further aggravated by fact that BBC Hungarian which followed immediately after Washington origination carried two sharp commentaries on the situation, strongly condemning use of Soviet forces to put down uprising and saying that while it was difficult to tell at moment whether intervention due to Nagy or Gero whoever responsible should be removed.
Since I know several members of Washington Hungarian Unit to be very able journalists is it possible that overconcern with policy implementation and apprehension over possibility unfavorable reactions from persons within and outside Agency is throwing them off balance and out of touch with audience? I have been getting similar reactions to output of other Washington language desks for some time and if valid to any considerable extent would of course do great damage not only to VOA but to position of U.S. in the eyes of the people behind the Iron Curtain.
New Subject: Reur request for guidance suggestions. During current phase when Hungarian uprisings seem still to be continuing would suggest heavy cross-reporting of Hungarian and Polish events plus worldwide expression of solidarity and sympathy for Hungarian people. If and when uprising quelled would proceed to next phase which would give heaviest emphasis to use of Soviet troops, tanks and planes to crush attempts of Hungarian people to free themselves from the yoke of communist tyranny. Also believe we should seek attributed comment highlighting the fact that Soviets stand exposed before the world and that bloody suppression of Hungarian freedom aspirations may well mark the beginning of the end of the Soviet empire.[Page 277]
Could you give us some indication of when we can expect revised Soviet orbit guidances to conform to new situation created by events past few days? Realize this is big job since rest of standing directives will probably be affected but make plea for at least interim guidances soonest possible.
- Source: Department of State, USIA/IBS Files: Lot 63 D 190, Material on Munich Radio Center. Confidential; Priority; Eyes Only. Enclosure to a letter from Button to D’Alessandro dated June 7, 1957. Also addressed to Barry Zorthian. The code room was instructed to deliver copies only to the addressees.↩