165. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State1

2171. Eyes only the President from Ambassador Luce.

Mr. President, Franco-British action on Suez is a small wound to their prestige but American inaction about Hungary could be a fatal wound to ours.

Let us not ask for whom the bell tolls in Hungary today. It tolls for us if freedom’s holy light is extinguished in blood and iron there. Then a long dark night of cynicism, futility and despair will fold over great parts of Europe and the world. And while we wait for the next light to break which surely will then be very ugly and very atomic, we will hear a growing torrent of tongues in many lands turning the deathless glory of Hungary into America’s everlasting shame.

There are things even at this late hour which can be done. I respectfully submit some suggestions: 1) You can appear in person before the UN General Assembly; 2) NATO can be called into general session; 3) We can offer assistance to Austria in case of aggression; 4) We can confine all USSR diplomatic personnel in the USA until ours in Hungary are released; 5) We can notify Moscow we will break diplomatic relations if the Soviet Army continues to fire on the Hungarian population coupling this threat with an immediate offer to discuss guarantees for Soviet security from the satellites.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 764.00/11–456. Confidential; Niact; No Distribution. Received at 12:23 p.m.