169. Notes on the 43d Meeting of Special Committee on Soviet and Related Problems, Washington, November 5, 19561


  • State—Mr. Jacob D. Beam, Chairman
  • Defense—Colonel Oscar R. Schaaf
  • Defense—Mr. Roger Ernst
  • CIA—Mr. Laughlin Campbell
  • Office of Spec. Asst. To the President—Mr. Oren M. Stephens
  • USIA—Mr. Alfred V. Boerner
  • OCB—Mr. Paul B. Comstock, Staff Representative
[Page 396]


  • State—Mr. Edward L. Freers
  • State—Mr. Howard Trivers
  • State—Mr. Robert O. Blake
  • State—Mr. Robert M. McKisson
  • State—Mr. Philip Burris
  • State—Mr. L. Randolph Higgs
  • State—Mr. John E. Horner
  • State—Mr. Frank S. Collins
  • USIA—Mr. E. Lewis Revey
  • CIA—Mr. Arthur M. Cox
  • CIA—Mr. Cord Meyer
  • OCB—Warren A. Kelsey

[The following notes are not exact quotations.]2

Beam: A conference was held earlier in the day at the White House3 which considered primarily (1) what to do if the Hungarians request us to deliver Cardinal Mindszenty who has been granted asylum at the Legation, and (2) gestures that can be taken to demonstrate in an emphatic manner the indignation of the United States and the free world over the events in Hungary. We have already taken measures to restrict passports of Americans desiring to travel to Hungary. (Mr. McKisson was asked to look into the problem of Cardinal Mindszenty.)

McKisson: We have asked the Minister for his views on a possible withdrawal of recognition.

Beam: We are planning to suspend the exchange program with the USSR for the time being. The Moscow Agricultural Fair is probably out. The Poznan Fair is under review. The thinking is that we should make a sharp distinction between the Soviets and the individual satellites in these questions. We would like to hear suggestions from the committee.4

Higgs: We are working on the idea of bringing Anna Kethly to the UN.5 There is the problem of who should sponsor her there.

Beam: There are numerous technicalities.

Trivers: It has been suggested that she should be brought to the White House for a meeting.

[Page 397]

McKisson: The view has been expressed that if we initiate the action on Anna Kethly we might be open to the charge of intervention. It seems we should support the introduction if some other government has proposed it.

Trivers: Perhaps the Dutch or Norwegians might be appropriate.

Beam: The thinking is to bring her before the General Assembly or the Committee on Human Rights. She is in the United States now and any action should be taken while interest runs high. Perhaps the Italians would be an appropriate sponsor.

Meyer: Is it possible or desirable to question the right of Kos to speak for the Hungarian Government?

Beam: It would be hard to question him legally without raising the problem of recognition.

McKisson: If we question his credentials it would indicate that we do not recognize the regime. This would be premature.

Cox: What is being done on the UN observers?

Beam: Undoubtedly, the Hungarian Government and the USSR will refuse to let them in.

McKisson: It is now up to the Secretary General whom we are trying to get to act right away.

Meyer: Could the observers use radio and other reports?

McKisson: That would be next best.

Beam: Should we ask for a condemnatory resolution?

McKisson: IO in State is pressing for the inspection commission. If it is refused entry, the next question would be whether to introduce a resolution condemning the Soviet aggression. To confuse all of the issues, the Russians are now proposing a joint U.S.-USSR police action in Egypt.

Boerner: Can we request them to permit recognized charitable organizations to go into Hungary?

McKisson: The distribution and use of aid is a problem. There are reports that the Soviets have interfered. We must try to devise some system to insure that the needy will be the actual recipients of aid. This should be the second part of the UN action.

Beam: McLeod6 is working on an administrative action which would permit entry into the United States of émigrés from Eastern Europe countries even though the country of origin will not guarantee to take the emigrants back.

Campbell: How far will the expression of indignation go?

Beam: It is to take the form of indignation against the return of Stalinism and it has been said that we should not reverse the spirit of Geneva.

[Page 398]

Blake: Lacy is studying the question of suspension of East-West contacts with the USSR. We are arranging to keep the Soviet election observers7 as much as possible out of the mass media.

Boerner: The UN observers should go out as soon as possible and collect testimony even if they do not get into Hungary.

Meyer: We are getting out a White Book based on refugees, radio monitering, etc.

Higgs: Should we not needle the neutrals?

Beam: We should try to encourage them to change their position, but it is difficult.

Meyer: Would it be desirable to form a government-in-exile?

Beam: Our general policy, with the exception of the Baltic States, has been to avoid recognition of governments-in-exile unless there is a chance of getting them back in soon.

Boerner: Where is Bela Kovacs?

Beam: He was at the Legation for a while.8

Boerner: We should take some measures, perhaps a letter to Nehru, to focus attention on the inconsistencies of their position. The purpose would not be simply to embarrass.

Beam: If the Arab countries introduce a condemnation of the U.K. and France, the U.S. might have to abstain.

Higgs: Would it be desirable to send medical supplies to Hungary by balloon?

Meyer: It is not a very effective method, but it might be considered again now that the border is closed.

Beam: It seems desirable to use the Red Cross at the present time to get medical supplies to the wounded.

Higgs: Mr. Murphy has been getting calls from a Congressman whose constituents are of the opinion that the U.S. encouraged the Hungarians to revolt and are now doing nothing. Perhaps more vigorous action in the UN would help in this regard.


OCB Staff Representative
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 100.4–OCB/11–556. Top Secret. Drafted by Comstock.
  2. Brackets in the source text.
  3. See supra .
  4. The Ad Hoc Committee on Retaliatory Measures against the U.S.S.R. met on the afternoon of November 5 and drew up a preliminary list of possible actions for further consideration. (Memorandum from Freers to Beam, November 5; Department of State, Central Files, 611.61/11–556). The Intelligence Advisory Committee also took up the matter. The Status Report of the IAC Standing Committee on Exchanges, November 8, is ibid., EUR/SOV Files: Lot 69 D 162, East-West Contacts—IAC 1956 Only.
  5. Kéthly had been out of Hungary attending an international socialist conference in Vienna when the Soviets intervened on November 4. She arrived in New York on November 5 maintaining she was Nagy’s special U.N. Representative.
  6. R.W. Scott McLeod, Administrator of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs.
  7. On September 29, the Soviet Union had accepted the U.S. invitation to send election observers and they arrived in the United States on October 22.
  8. See Document 162.