170. Telegram From the Embassy in the Federal Republic of Germany to the Department of State 1

1742. Reference: Embassy telegram 1718 November 4;2 Embassy telegram 1716, November 3.3 Trimble saw Brentano this afternoon and spoke along lines indicated Murphy telcon November 4 (Embassy telegram 1718, November 4). He then inquired regarding Foreign Minister’s views Hungarian situation. Brentano replied with considerable emotion that he had been following developments Hungary closely during past week and had been in constant communication with Adenauer on subject. Matter had been discussed at length cabinet meeting this morning and also meeting CDU faction from which he had just come. In all these talks parallel had been drawn between Hungary and what might have happened or could happen East Zone.

Brentano continued that divergence between US one hand and France–UK on other regarding Suez had provided Soviets with unique opportunity to deliver what he described as worst blow West has suffered since war. He said that without going into merits or demerits Anglo-French position and legality or illegality their action Suez, he deplored Security Council action which he felt had triggered Soviet move Hungary. Soviet repressive actions there in which thousands might well be liquidated could mean end to Hungarian democratic elements and this taken in conjunction with divergence West would have seriously adverse effects on will for freedom in other satellites and East Zone.

Brentano said he had read Senator George’s statement to press expressing fears that Middle East conflict would constitute death blow NATO but that despite grave concern he (Brentano) had expressed he did not share Senator’s views.4

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Returning Hungary, Foreign Minister said he realized that it would have been impossible to render military assistance to rebels and furthermore felt that economic aid as had been proposed German Ministry Agriculture (Embassy telegram 1716, November 3) no longer feasible at this stage since such food supplies as might be sent to Hungary would fall into hands of pro Soviet elements and not patriots who either under arrest or being hung. Immediate task before us was to recreate Western unity and to counteract as best we could effect Hungarian situation on other satellite peoples, including East Germany. With these objectives in mind Adenauer had decided adhere original plan go Paris tomorrow to see Mollet instead of postponing visit as he had contemplated two days ago.5

At conclusion conversation Brentano referred to what he described as AFN news broadcast last night which could have effect inciting revolt East Zone and requested that broadcasts this nature be discontinued. We are requesting USAREUR take appropriate action.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 764.00/11–556. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Paris and London.
  2. The Minister at Bonn, William C. Trimble, reported in telegram 1718, November 4, that the West German Defense Minister, Franz Josef Strauss, had called him at Chancellor Adenauer’s request to ask him to inform Hoover that he had received news of the Soviet intervention in Hungary. (Ibid., 764.00/11–456) Trimble called the Department of State at 8:40 a.m. on November 4 to get the message to Acting Secretary Hoover. Murphy noted on the memorandum of the telephone conversation that he had called Trimble at 5:35 p.m. on November 4 to ask him to tell Adenauer “of our sympathy but they will understand the practical difficulties in the way of practical actions.” (Memorandum of telephone conversation, November 4; ibid., 764.00/11–456)
  3. Telegram 1716 from Bonn, November 3, reported that the German Minister of Agriculture had proposed a joint food assistance plan to aid Hungary, utilizing German supplies for immediate delivery which would then later be replaced from U.S. stocks. (Ibid., 864.49/11–356)
  4. Senator Walter F. George’s comments, as expressed in an interview with The Augusta Herald, were cited in The New York Times on November. 2.
  5. Adenauer and Brentano went to Paris to see French Prime Minister Guy Mollet and ask him to agree to an immediate cease-fire. (Telegram 1784, from Bonn, November 8; Department of State, Central Files, 651.62A/11–856)