117. Notes on the 39th Meeting of the Special Committee on Soviet and Related Problems, Washington, October 26, 19561


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


  • State—Mr. Edward L. Freers
  • State—Mr. Howard Trivers
  • State—Mr. Robert O. Blake
  • State—Mr. Robert M. McKisson
  • State—Mr. Philip Burris
  • CIA—Mr. Arthur M. Cox
  • USIA—Mr. E. Lewis Revey

[The following notes are not exact quotations.]2

Beam: We are cut off again from Legation Budapest.3

Cox: Radio from rebels indicates refusal to surrender unless all demands are met. Their station is severely jammed.

Beam: Who is behind the rebel station?

Cox: Unconfirmed radio reports are that it is Bela Kovacs.4 He allegedly refused a position in Nagy’s cabinet. The rebels control Northwest Hungary and the highway Vienna–Budapest.

Beam: We are meeting with Secretary Dulles on the UN aspect at 4:30.5 JSAD proposed an emergency meeting of OCB. This meeting is in lieu of a special OCB meeting. The JSAD memo cities reports that U.S. radio is heavily jammed. It goes on to say that special efforts should be made to saturate Hungary and to tell the rebels in one area what those in other areas are doing. It does not address itself to Poland.

[Page 301]

Hansen: The main idea is to get maximum radio input to Hungary.

Campbell–Cox: The memorandum is inaccurate. There is less jamming of U.S. broadcasts. All 29 transmitters of RFE are on full-time basis. Everything we have is in full blast to Hungary.

Beam: What are we telling Hungary?

Cox: Mostly the facts. Primary stress is put on getting the Soviet Army out, statements by the President and the Secretary of State, Soviet treaty commitments, etc.

Boerner: USIA would not think it desirable to disrupt all other programs to concentrate on Hungary. We are increasing time on the frequencies and keeping them full blast over the week end.

Cox: We have two frequencies completely unjammed.

Boerner: Many Hungarians understand German and listen to Vienna.

Revey: USIA is broadcasting about three hours per day to Hungary.

Cox: RFE is broadcasting to Hungary around the clock. Unless there is a change in policy, we will continue to cross report fully to Poland.

Blake: What is the editorial line to Poland?

Cox: Straight.

Beam: The Austrians have said they would be lenient on asylum for refugees.

Schaaf: Hungarian escapees could bring a lot of things to Austria, but their effort is going for naught.

McKisson: We should not conclude it is all for naught. We have to decide carefully how much we would intervene.

Cox: There is a policy aspect regarding the flood of refugees, aside from care and welfare. There is the problem of guidance for exiles.

Beam: The Austrians will be sympathetic.

Trivers: We should approach the Austrians. . . .

Revey: Discussions of Nagy with Kovacs were a couple of weeks ago.6

Cox: CIA thinks Kovacs is not in the capital. Can we help the rebels?

Trivers: We should.

Blake: But we must first look at the consequences.

Campbell: Any arms available would be typical American equipment. Very little German.

Schaaf: How about giving the rebels directives by radio?

[Page 302]

McKisson: We cannot supply leadership from Washington. They have their own leadership.

Revey: We could cross report output of rebel radio.

Cox: Rebel radio has changed hands a couple of times between the rebels and the Hungarian Government.

McKisson: We should avoid implicating the United States.

Cox: How about RFE picking up and reporting broadcasts of rebel radio?

McKisson: It would be bad if it looks like we’re running the revolt from outside.

Schaaf: It would strengthen the hands of the rebels.

Beam: Not if such advice turned out to be wrong.

Freers: They need material help.

Revey: Rebels have done well without much external advice. We ought to leave something up to them.

Schaaf: Let’s help them as much as possible.

Freers: We do not want to give Soviets real justification to move more troops to Hungary—possibly even to Austria.

Cox: How about medical supplies?

Beam: Who will deliver them?

Cox: They could be taken to the Budapest–Vienna highway. International or American Red Cross could do it.

McKisson: Any precedent for League of Red Cross Societies doing this sort of thing? The Hungarians are members. We did get food in last year through the League.7

Beam: Perhaps we should try to get relief supplies in both through Austria and the League of Red Cross Societies. Perhaps also Yugoslavia. General Clay8 and some other people in New York have proposed one minute of silence.

Revey: Who would sponsor it?

Beam: Some group in New York. General Clay, I think. We sent out a circular telegram last night to the signatories of the Hungarian Treaty (except the Soviet Union) to get their views about bringing to the UN.9

Freers: It has been suggested that we propose to the Soviets that we would take same position toward Hungary we took toward Austria in the neutrality position.

Beam: We have not given Austria a guarantee, of course.

[Page 303]

Boerner: The AP is emphasizing that the “three Western Powers” are the sponsors rather than signatories of the Hungarian Treaty.

Beam: There probably will be no further statements until Monday.10


OCB Staff Representative
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 100.4–OCB/10–2656. Top Secret. Drafted by Comstock.
  2. Brackets in the source text.
  3. Contact was lost at noon on October 25 after the teletype conversation; see Document 108.
  4. Kovács, who was at his home in south Hungary, was named Minister of Agriculture by Nagy in a broadcast to the nation on the morning of October 27. Kovaćs did not arrive in Budapest until November 1.
  5. The Secretary’s appointment book shows that such a meeting did take place, but no record of the substance of the discussion has been found in Department of State files.
  6. Not further identified.
  7. Following flooding in East and Central Europe in the summer of 1954, the United States volunteered to provide food relief to the stricken nations via the International Red Cross. The operation took place between November 1954 and February 1955 and Hungary received corn, wheat, beans, and cottonseed oil.
  8. Retired General Lucius D. Clay.
  9. Document 113.
  10. October 29.