111. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the President in New York and the Secretary of State in Washington, October 25, 1956, 5:02 p.m.1


The Pres. returned the call and the Sec. said we are giving thought to circulating a letter to the SC re Hungary etc.2 It is a close question re doing it. The Pres. asked if the Sec. talked to the Br. and Fr., and the Sec. said no. We are planning to send cables tonight. He doubts they will be prepared to act quickly and if you don’t do it tomorrow the Sec. doubts it is worth doing at all. Why? It is hot and better understood now. The Pres. said he is not so sure. If you act in deliberate fashion, that may be better. The Pres. does not think we should walk in this alone. He thinks it would look as if we were doing it for internal. . . .3 He thinks we could concert with NATO countries and certainly with the big ones. The Sec. thinks they will be reluctant to come along with us—as they will interpret it as being an election move. The Pres. said some agreement from our allies no matter who puts it in would take the noose off. The Pres. said to tell them we have it seriously in mind and to reply promptly. Monday4 would not be fatal. The Sec. said the Latin countries would take the initiative—Peru and Cuba are on the SC. It might look as though we were in back of it. The Pres. said if they are friends enough and would do it, he would be happy. He would not do it alone. The Sec. explained just what circulating a letter means. The Pres. said he would like to hear from our allies—even a grudging assent. The Pres. said he will be there first thing in the a.m. so let’s talk then.5 The Pres. thinks it a good idea but thinks we should [Page 291] explore it. They agreed it is a close decision. The worst thing, said the Pres., would be to be thought of as guilty of spurious interest.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Paper, General Telephone Conversations. Transcribed by Bernau.
  2. Allen Dulles had spoken to the Secretary on the telephone some 25 minutes earlier. In that conversation, the “Sec. explained the practice of sending a letter and it does not go on the agenda and is not a resolution. It might hold it for the time being to see what develops. The Frenchman is Pres. this month.” The need for action resulted from the apprehension that the Hungarian émigrés “might jump the gun—by going to the UN via the Latinos.” When he was asked whether the letter might not be counterproductive, Allen Dulles replied that “it is a close question and he would like to think about it.” He also “mentioned sending message to Nehru—he thinks if he gets consulted and feels he is in things, he would operate differently.” (Memorandum of telephone conversation by Bernau; ibid.)
  3. Ellipsis in the source text.
  4. October 29.
  5. Dulles did not see the President alone on October 26 until after the NSC meeting at which time, according to Dulles’ Appointment Book in the Eisenhower Library, they discussed a speech the Secretary was soon to give.