118. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State 1

2290. Regarding Deptel 2981, October 25.2 Preliminary view Foreign Office subject confirmation highest level is that item concerning Hungary should be inscribed agenda G.A., not S.C.

Foreign Office believes request for emergency inscription should be made immediately and with as may nations supporting as possible although debate on subject obviously to be delayed until G.A. convenes. Reasons guiding Foreign Office thinking toward G.A. and not S.C. as follows:

Important not encourage Hungarians to needless self-slaughter because we need that type courage alive behind Iron Curtain.
Important not encourage Russians to be rougher and tougher than they already are.
Appeal to S.C. by United States and United Kingdom inevitably suggests existence international dispute endangering world peace with possibility of S.C. action. It further suggests United States and United Kingdom conniving with revolutionary forces. Obviously there will be no S.C. action but suggestion would be disturbing to British government which has its hands full in Suez and feels shortage of friends. Furthermore it would falsely encourage Hungarian population and might cause Russians to take preventive action in other satellites.
Object of U.N. action would be to focus world opinion on Soviet iniquities Hungary and this best done G.A. where many small nations, perhaps including Bandung powers,3 who unlike United States and United Kingdom not in forefront of cold war, would feel impelled to speak up.
Delay in staging G.A. debate until November would show Russians no foreign intervention intended in actual situation and would have same meaning for Hungarian patriots which is kindest message West can give at this time. However, immediate request for inscription on G.A. agenda, signed if possible by 40 or more powers, might have useful moral effect on Russians and Hungarian patriots alike.
Independent of Deptel 2981 Foreign Office has been stimulated to think about reference to United Nations by recommendation from British Minister Budapest4 who thinks scales are momentarily tipped there in favor revolutionary forces and that appeal to United Nations at this fleeting moment might have decisive effect. Also groups Central European refugees have appealed to Council of Europe, Strasbourg,5 to bring matter to attention S.C. Kirkpatrick dislikes reference to S.C. but his subordinates think he would be attracted by reference to G.A. if U.K. were one of many nations requesting this item be inscribed.
If Department approves reference to G.A. would appreciate receipt immediate instructions press this suggestion with Foreign Office. Information that other countries similarly disposed would have favorable effect on British thinking.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 764.00/10–2656. Confidential; Niact. Repeated to Canberra, New Delhi, Pretoria, Wellington, Ottawa, Belgrade, Paris, and USUN. A notation on the source text indicates that it was passed to USUN at 3:30 p.m., October 26.
  2. Document 113.
  3. The 29 nations who attended the Afro-Asian Conference at Bandung, Indonesia in April 1955.
  4. Leslie Fry.
  5. The Statute for the Council of Europe was signed on May 5, 1949, by representatives from Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, and Luxembourg. The Consultative Assembly of the Council at Strasbourg was a deliberative organ which could only consider matters referred to it by the Council of Ministers to which body it made recommendations.