166. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

546. Please deliver following message to Marshal Bulganin from the President. Confirm time of delivery.2

[Page 391]

“November 4, 1956

“His Excellency Marshal Nikolai A. Bulganin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Moscow.

“I have noted with profound distress the reports which have reached me today from Hungary.

“The Declaration of the Soviet Government of October 30, 1956,3 which restated the policy of non-intervention in internal affairs of other states, was generally understood as promising the early withdrawal of Soviet forces from Hungary. Indeed, in that statement, the Soviet Union said that ‘it considered the further presence of Soviet Army units in Hungary can serve as a cause for an even greater deterioration of the situation’. This pronouncement was regarded by the United States Government and myself as an act of high statesmanship. It was followed by the express request of the Hungarian Government for the withdrawal of Soviet forces.

“Consequently, we have been inexpressibly shocked by the apparent reversal of this policy. It is especially shocking that this renewed application of force against the Hungarian Government and people took place while negotiations were going on between your representatives and those of me Hungarian Government for the withdrawal of Soviet forces.

“As you know, the Security Council of the United Nations has been engaged in an emergency examination of this problem. As late as yesterday afternoon the Council was led to believe by your representative that the negotiations then in progress in Budapest were leading to agreement which would result in the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Hungary as requested by the government of that country. It was on that basis that the Security Council recessed its consideration of this matter.4

“I urge in the name of humanity and in the cause of peace that the Soviet Union take action to withdraw Soviet forces from Hungary immediately and to permit the Hungarian people to enjoy and exercise the human rights and fundamental freedoms affirmed for all peoples in the United Nations Charter.

“The General Assembly of the United Nations is meeting in emergency session this afternoon in New York to consider this tragic situation.5 [Page 392] It is my hope that your representative will be in a position to announce at the Session today that the Soviet Union is preparing to withdraw its forces from that country and to allow the Hungarian people to enjoy the right to a government of their own choice. Dwight D. Eisenhower”.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 764.00/11–456. Secret; Niact; Presidential Handling. Drafted by MacArthur and Bowie, approved by Murphy, and cleared with Goodpaster at the White House. Eisenhower met with Acting Secretary Hoover, Murphy, Phleger, Bowie, and the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs, William M. Rountree, at the White House and also with the Director of Central Intelligence. Earlier, he had visited Dulles at the hospital. As a result of these talks and subsequent telephone conversations, the following actions were taken, with regard to Hungary:

    • “a. A statement by the President was approved for release by Mr. Hagerty.
    • “b. A letter from the President to Premier Bulganin was approved.
    • “c. The text of a resolution to be introduced at the 4:00 p.m. session of the Special Session of the General Assembly was approved and telephoned to New York.
    • “d. A Departmental text of a speech for Ambassador Lodge was also telephoned to New York.
    • “e. It was decided there should be no UN force for Hungary.” (Memorandum for the record by Joseph N. Greene, Jr., November 4; Ibid.)
  2. Bohlen sent the message under cover of a personal letter to the Soviet Foreign Office. It was conveyed by an Embassy officer and signed for by the Soviets at 8:45 a.m. (Telegrams 1069 and 1070 from Moscow, November 4 and November 5, respectively; ibid., 711.11–EI/11–456 and 711.11–EI/11–556)
  3. See Document 141.
  4. See Document 160.
  5. See the editorial note, infra.
  6. When Bulganin released the text of his November 5 letter to President Eisenhower on the Middle East, the text of this letter was also made public. See Department of State Bulletin, November 19, 1956, pp. 795–797.