120. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the President and the Secretary of State, October 26, 1956, 5:50 p.m.1


The President said he had been turning over in his mind what Stassen had said in the meeting this morning.2 As far as the border states were concerned, they need have no fear that we might make an effort to incorporate them into NATO or make them part of our alliances. [Page 306] We want to see them have a free choice. We have no access to any of these states except through Austria. All we hope is that they have the same likes as Austria. The President said he brought this up because the Secretary was giving a speech and he thought he could put something like this in the speech.3

The Secretary said it was extremely difficult to know how to handle this thing. He had seen Stassen a while ago4 and he was presently engaged in a meeting on the subject in his office.5 We have given quite a lot of thought to the problem. The Secretary said he did not think we should get into talks with the Russians about it unless through the Security Council. We could have some backstage talks going on during the time the Council was in session, which would be more or less legitimate.6 The Secretary said it appeared that the British favored taking the matter to the GA two or three weeks hence. The President mentioned calling in the Ambassador and the Secretary said he planned on sending a message to Selwyn Lloyd.7

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, White House Telephone Conversations. Transcribed by Mildred Asbjornson.
  2. See Document 116. Stassen also addressed a letter to the President on this date in which he wrote: “The Soviet Union may calculate that if they lose control of Hungary, that country would be taken into NATO by the United States, and this would be a great threat in Soviet eyes to their own security. May it not be wise for the United States in some manner to make it clear that we are willing to have Hungary be established on the Austrian basis—and not affiliated with NATO?” (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Administration Series, Stassen, Harold E. 1956 (1))
  3. On the letter from Stassen cited in footnote 2 above, the President indicated he had talked to Dulles who would speak in Dallas; see Document 128.
  4. See supra.
  5. See footnote 5, Document 117.
  6. The White House transcription of this call has Dulles stating that he did “not want to get into anything that looked as though ‘backstage talks’ were going on.” (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries)
  7. See Document 122.