149. Editorial Note

In a radio and television address to the American people on “Developments in Eastern Europe and the Middle East” delivered at 7 p.m. on October 31, the President expressed his views on recent events. According to Presidential speech writer Emmet John Hughes, a draft prepared by Secretary Dulles had to be discarded and references “to ‘irresistible’ forces of ‘liberation’ unleashed in Eastern Europe” toned down. See The Ordeal of Power, pages 219–222. A portion of the President’s speech reads:

“A few days ago, the people of Poland with their proud and deathless devotion to freedom moved to secure a peaceful transition to a new government. And this government, it seems, will strive genuinely to serve the Polish people.

“And all the world has been watching dramatic events in Hungary where this brave people, as so often in the past, have offered their very lives for independence from foreign masters. Today, it appears, a new Hungary is rising from this struggle, a Hungary which we hope from our hearts will know full and free nationhood.

“We have rejoiced in these historic events.

“Only yesterday the Soviet Union issued an important statement on its relations with all the countries of Eastern Europe. This statement recognized the need for review of Soviet policies, and the amendment of these policies to meet the demands of the people for greater national independence and personal freedom. The Soviet Union declared its readiness to consider the withdrawal of Soviet ‘advisers,’ who have been the effective ruling force in Soviet-occupied countries, and also to consider withdrawal of Soviet troops from such countries as Poland and Hungary.

“We cannot yet know if these avowed purposes will be truly carried out.

“But two things are clear.

“First, the fervor and the sacrifice of the peoples of these countries, in the name of freedom, have themselves brought real promise that the light of liberty soon will shine again in this darkness.

“Ana second, if the Soviet Union indeed faithfully acts upon its announced intention, the world will witness the greatest forward stride toward justice, trust, and understanding among nations in our generation.

“These are the facts. How has your Government responded to them?

“The United States has made clear its readiness to assist economically the new and independent governments of these countries. We have already—some days since—been in contact with the new Government of Poland on this matter. We have also publicly declared that we do not demand of these governments their adoption of any particular [Page 352] form of society as a condition upon our economic assistance. Our one concern is that they be free—for their sake, and for freedom’s sake.

“We have also, with respect to the Soviet Union, sought clearly to remove any false fears that we would look upon new governments in these Eastern European countries as potential military allies. We have no such ulterior purpose. We see these peoples as friends, and we wish simply that they be Mends who are free.”

For full text, see Department of State Bulletin, November 12, 1956, pages 743–745.