107. Notes on the 38th Meeting of the Special Committee on Soviet and Related Problems, Washington, October 25, 19561


  • State—Mr. Jacob D. Beam, Chairman
  • Defense—Colonel Oscar R. Schaaf
  • Defense—Mr. Roger Ernst
  • CIA—Mr. Laughlin Campbell
  • Office of Spec. Asst. to the President—Mr. Oren M. Stephens
  • USIA—Mr. Alfred V. Boemer
  • OCB—Mr. Paul B. Comstock, Staff Representative


  • State—Mr. Edward L. Freers
  • State—Mr. Howard Trivers
  • State—Mr. Robert O. Blake
  • State—Mr. Frank G. Siscoe
  • CIA—Mr. Arthur M. Cox
  • USIA—Mr. E. Lewis Revey

Mr. Boemer read the President’s statement on Hungary.2

[The following notes are not exact quotations.]3

Freers: The statement appears to be laying groundwork for UN action. We’re considering UN action in State. Any resolution or statement now would have to be in the Security Council, probably under Article 30—potential threat to peace.4 Later we may go to the Human Rights Committee or the General Assembly. There would have to be first policy consultation with other Security Council members.

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Boerner: Problems like Cyprus and Algeria could confuse the issue.

Freers: There are some hurdles but all factors are under consideration.

Campbell: Should we not announce that we are going before the UN in order to let the Hungarian people know?

Freers: That is also under consideration. Legation Budapest is very interested in the statements by the President and the Secretary of State, and in UN action. The key point is whether the story about Nagy negotiating troop removal with the Russians can be confirmed.5

Siscoe: Radio reports from Budapest indicate this.

Freers: These reports might be coming from Vienna rather than Budapest. We should try to hold Nagy to this commitment. Line should be: Nagy stands or falls on his ability to get Soviet troops out of Hungary.

Boerner: USIA has been reporting events for the people in Hungary but we do not have any definite line.

Freers: Can’t have a definite line on Hungary because we don’t know what is going to happen. New subject: Mr. Hoover and OCB have recommended wide exploitation of Gomulka speech.6

Boerner: USIA has sent it to about 20 posts.

Campbell: We will see if we still have the stencils. It is being fully translated.

Boerner: USIA sent it out straight without comment.

Blake: It is important to have IPS comment, e.g., columns comparing this with past promises. It is a strong break from Russian Communist technique. The Chalmers Roberts article is a good start—though not accurate in all points.7

Boerner: The Gomulka speech is useful, particularly concerning failure of cooperatives.

Trivers: Failure of collectives is its strongest point.

Blake: It is strong break with the past.

Boerner: It lends authenticity to much of our line. It admits in one statement that Communist statistics are fake, production is off, industrial work is required on Sunday, etc.

Freers: Useful to report it back to Russia.

Revey: It also stresses the cult of the individual.

Freers: It will be possible to exploit the speech for a long time.

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Trivers: Gomulka’s statements regarding ties with Russia are strong and devoutly meant.

Cox: We should wait to see how much popular support Gomulka has before we establish our line on him.

Blake: Could we get someone with the stature of George Kennan to write a series to appear when hot news tapers off?

Schaaf: Jacobs indicated Gomulka got most applause when he promised to get Russian troops out.

Freers: Gomulka is popular right now and for some unforeseen period because of his apparent anti-Soviet stand. When time passes he will be subject to question for failure to deliver goods.

[Mr. Beam joined the meeting at this point.]

Beam: We have been working on circular letter to the Security Council. It will not take any stand on the action of the Hungarian Government itself. It will go after the idea that the Soviets have used their troops. It might even strengthen the hand of the Hungarians against Russia. It should make it possible for anyone to open debate. We are going to ask the support of the French, British, Belgians, and Australians. Planning to circulate it tomorrow. I understand the free Hungarian representatives in New York, the National Council, want to take some action. They want to go to UN.

Trivers: They can present a petition to the Secretary General, but he won’t circulate it unless a government sponsors.

Siscoe: Sunday8 is post World War I Liberation Day for Czechoslovakia.

Campbell: Should there be a day of prayer for Poles and Hungarians? Perhaps the President could mention it.

Beam: The Catholic Church, rather than the Government, would be the appropriate organ to take such action.

Cox: The Crusade for Freedom9 was approached by the Upjohn Company with an offer of medical supplies.

Beam: Perhaps something can be worked out through the Red Cross. How are we playing the situation to neutral areas?

Blake: We could quote what is being said by socialists and similar groups.

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Campbell: Also labor groups.

Boerner: We are cross reporting. We ought to get out a follow-up guidance next week.

Campbell: The Socialist governments in the free world have not made any public statements yet.

Blake: We could put out commentary on use of Soviet troops in Hungary and the fact that they were poised in Poland.

Trivers: Such commentary could be used together with the Gomulka story.

Beam: We should try to get some good pictures for use by our media of the fighting in Hungary and of delivery of U.S. humanitarian assistance.


OCB Staff Representative
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 100.4–OCB/10–2556. Top Secret. Drafted by Comstock.
  2. For text of the President’s statement, issued on October 25, see Department of State Bulletin, November 5, 1956, p. 700.
  3. All brackets are in the source text.
  4. Reference presumably should be to Article 34, which allows for Security Council investigation of any dispute to determine if the dispute is likely to endanger international peace.
  5. Nagy had indicated such an intent in a broadcast to the Hungarian people on the afternoon of October 25. Earlier in the day, it was announced that János Kádár had replaced Gerö as Party First Secretary.
  6. See Document 95.
  7. Reference is to an article that appeared in the Washington Post on October 24.
  8. October 28.
  9. The financial arm of the Committee for a Free Europe, it was later known as the Radio Free Europe Fund.