124. Memorandum of a Conference With the President, White House, Washington, October 27, 1956, 11 a.m.1


  • Secretary Dulles
  • Under Secretary Hoover
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary William Rountree
  • Colonel Goodpaster

Secretary Dulles first reviewed the Hungarian situation. It is beginning to take shape as regards UN action. The British and French, together with the Canadians and Australians, all support inscribing the matter today on the Security Council agenda. Although there was earlier thought of simply sending a letter, as long as the others want to go as far as inscription, we should too, he thought. The President indicated agreement.

Many U.S. churches and synagogues will hold a minute of silent prayer this week end for the Hungarians. Deep feelings on this matter are being manifested.

The President said he would be unable to participate directly, because of his medical exam,2 but would call Dr. Elson3 and request that he consider doing this at his church.

Within Hungary itself, the revolt has become widespread, the Secretary reported. Large sections of the Hungarian armed forces have gone over to the dissidents, and throughout the countryside there are large areas in opposition to the regime. Also, signs of condemnation of the Communists are arising all over Europe. In Italy, Spain and France there are strong demonstrations for the Hungarians. (Mr. Rountree joined the meeting at this point.) The Nagy government in Hungary includes a number of “bad” people, associated with the Molotov school, and will have difficulty in attracting support.4

Our Government has been in touch with the American Red Cross,5 and they with the International Red Cross, who are working on means for relief, medical care, etc. A great many refugees are crossing the Austrian border. They are being given aid there, and [Page 310] medicine is being sent from Austria and Hungary. Secretary Dulles was inclined to think there is not much more that we can or should do at this point. Mr. Hoover commented that we may, later, be able to get food in.

The President questioned whether there had been much notice of his statement in New York on the Hungarian situation;6 the Secretary said there had been, and that USIA had given it a heavy and effective play. The President said he was happy that the statement had been issued.

Mr. Dulles concluded this discussion with a reference to a passage in his Dallas speech tonight on this matter.7

[Here follows discussion of the Middle East; for text, see volume XVI, page 793.]


Colonel CE, US Army
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries. Top Secret. Drafted by Goodpaster.
  2. He left for Walter Reed Hospital at 2:10 p.m., where he remained overnight.
  3. Edward L.R. Elson, Minister at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington.
  4. Ferenc Münnich, István Kossa, Arpád Kiss, Lajos Bebrits (who resigned 2 days later), Imre Horváth, Erik Molnár, and Lieutenant General Károly Janza were viewed as Rákosi partisans. (Memorandum from Armstrong to Hoover, October 27; Department of State, INR Files: Lot 58 D 766, Hungary)
  5. Murphy contacted Ellsworth Bunker, the President of the American Red Cross, on October 26 regarding Hungary’s need for food and medicine and Bunker agreed to raise the matter with the International Red Cross. (Memorandum from Murphy to the Bureau of European Affairs, October 26; ibid., Central Files, 764.00/10–2656)
  6. See footnote 2, Document 107.
  7. See Document 128.