171. Notes on the 44th Meeting of Special Committee on Soviet and Related Problems, Washington, November 6, 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. Francis G. Williamson (for Mr. Stephens)
  • USIA—Mr. Alfred V. Boerner
  • OCB—Mr. Paul B. Comstock, Staff Representative


  • State—Mr. Edward L. Freers
  • State—Mr. Howard Trivers
  • State—Mr. Robert O. Blake
  • State—Mr. Henry P. Leverich
  • State—Mr. Philip Burris
  • State—Mr. Randolph L. Higgs
  • State—Mr. John E. Horner
  • CIA—Mr. Arthur M. Cox
  • USIA—Mr. E. Lewis Revey
  • OCB—Mr. Roy M. Melbourne
  • OCB—Mr. Warren A. Kelsey

(The following notes are not exact quotations.)

Beam: The general purpose of this meeting is to review measures to be taken with regard to Hungary and the USSR, and, if there is time, the Polish situation. With regard to Hungary, (1) RFE is broadcasting appeals to the Soviet troops and will soon distribute pamphlets urging them not to fire on Hungarians,2 (2) we plan to press for distribution of relief in Hungary through the International Red Cross, (3) we have tightened up on U.S. passports, and (4) an effort is being made to take administrative action to make it easier for satellite refugees to enter the United States. The five or six American correspondents who are in Hungary will stay, but we are not permitting any more to go in right now.

Mrs. Kethly is up in New York now and she will probably appear before the UN or, at least, one of the committees.

Cox: She is going to make a speech before a mass meeting organized by Leo Cherne3 this coming Thursday.

Beam: The United States should not take any initiative to get her before the UN but we should not hold back our seconding support.

Blake: Her effect will be best in Hungary and Asia.

Beam: In view of the feeling expressed at the White House,4 the Moscow Agricultural Exhibit will probably not go on, but it is apparently left up to the OCB.

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Freers: We may have to drag our feet on a lot of things of this kind. The visit of broadcasters has been suspended. We do want to continue such apparently profitable operations as Amerika Illustrated.

Freers: It might be desirable to tell the Soviets simply that we cannot decide now concerning the fair. (Mr. Leverich read a draft telegram to the U.S.–U.N.)

Cox: Will there be a resolution of condemnation?

Beam: Not yet. People might be put too much on the spot to go along with it.

Comstock: Under the UN cable, will measures be taken to try to get the UN observers into Hungary right away?

Leverich: That is apparently a part of the Secretary General’s report that is called for in the telegram.5

Cox: Kadar has appealed to the UN for recognition of his government.6

Boerner: We might consider exploiting that appeal.

Beam: The Military Attaché’s report is that there is still fighting in Budapest.7

Higgs: Did not Secretary Dulles say that we should try to get first priority for the Hungarian situation in the UN?8

Beam: Unfortunately the events in Egypt overshadowed Hungary.

Boerner: One suggestion that has been made is that we should get refugees out to various free world countries to tell their story.

Cox: The good ones are being screened and they can be taken on tours. There are some points of contention, however, between some of the recent émigrés and the earlier Hungarian emigration.

Boerner: We have heard that there are a large number of children among the refugees and that some of them have been wounded. These might be taken out to other countries and even placed for a time in homes of earlier refugees who are well off.

Beam: There is a lot of sympathy in other countries for something along these lines. It should be possible to take some action.

Boerner: If the Suez cease-fire is genuine, we might focus on it at the UN and try to get a similar action for Hungary.

Beam: It would be well if some country would propose a UN police force for Hungary.

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Leverich: We understand that the Pakistani delegate9 has been so instructed.

Beam: This should be encouraged but we do not want to confuse the Suez situation right now.

Boerner: We need a statement on humanitarian aid provided some way can be found to get to the Hungarian people.

Leverich: We are working on a statement.

Boerner: Something should be done to bring out the fact that the UN wants observers in Hungary as soon as possible.

Cox: We have the first draft of the White Book recounting the first 15 days of the struggle. A later edition will be a more detailed volume and will include pictures. It is being published by the Free Europe Committee.10

We have had suggestions that a recorded radio program be prepared based on actual monitored Hungarian programs. We also have some good film by Fox Movietone which might be worked into a documentary.

Beam: Those are good suggestions. What should be done about the USSR? There is a move by some international labor unions to carry out a boycott on Soviet ships.

Trivers: Iceland might be a useful place to encourage the boycott.

Campbell: We might be able to have some influence with Nehru in the matter

Higgs: The Indian Ambassador11 said he did not know why his government had abstained in the voting.

Beam: It has been suggested that the code transmission of the Embassy here be cut off but we do not consider it advisable for a number of reasons. Congressional travel to the Soviet Union is off. An effort to obtain stricter East-West trade controls is being considered; the new situation strengthens our hand in COCOM. The possibility of blocking Soviet assets here has been considered and also of barring passage through the Panama Canal of Soviet ships, but neither of these is likely to be adopted. We are reconsidering the question of cooperation with the Soviet Union in the international geophysical year. In UN we are voting against Soviet candidates for office where otherwise we would abstain or vote favorably.

Cox: Has withdrawing from the Olympics been considered?

Beam: This is not advisable in view of our policy on exchanges.

We now have to consider planning for possible contingencies in other satellites, but this will have to be left for a later meeting.

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Cox: Is the balloon embargo on Poland still in force?

Beam: Yes, for the time being at least.


OCB Staff Representative
  1. Source: Department of States, Central Files, 100.4–OCB/11–656. Top Secret. Drafted by Comstock.
  2. At the Acting Secretary’s Staff Meeting on November 5, it was decided that the Committee should “carefully look at the proposal [by Allen Dulles] to broadcast to and pass leaflets to Soviet troops in Hungary and other comparable proposals”. (Ibid., Daily Summaries: Lot 60 D 530, Top Secret Daily Summaries) In a memorandum to Beam and Elbrick on this date, Murphy indicated that he concurred in the proposal, but believed such operations required “considerable skill and care.” He noted that he had told Dulles that he “was convinced that if we did it, we could expect a violent reaction from Zhukov and Sokolovsky, both of whom I know are extremely sensitive on any type of propaganda directed at the troops. I told him that I felt that we could, by a skillful program, accomplish a great deal of good experience with the Russian forces in Hungary who have, according to Moscow radio, been indoctrinated along the lines that they have come into Hungary to protect the Hungarian workers against fascists and black reactionaries. Many of these are fresh troops, new to the Hungarian scene, including young soldiers. These might be particularly good targets for an effective propaganda line, if well conducted.” (Ibid., Central Files, 940.40/11–556)
  3. Chairman of the Board of the International Rescue Committee.
  4. See Document 168.
  5. See telegram 252, infra .
  6. U.N. doc. A/3311.
  7. Reported in telegrams B–243 and B–245, November 5 and November 6, respectively, from Budapest. (Department of State, Central Files, 764.00/11–556 and 764.00/11–656)
  8. At the Secretary’s Staff Meeting on October 31, Dulles “emphasized that he did not want us to become distracted by Middle Eastern events from the critical importance of following and taking appropriate actions on the Hungarian situation.” (Notes by Howe; ibid., Secretary’s Staff Meetings: Lot 63 D 75)
  9. Mohammad Mir Khan.
  10. In 1957, A White Book: The Hungarian Revolution, edited by Melvin A. Lasky, was published in the United States for the Congress for Cultural Freedom by Frederick A. Praeger in New York.
  11. Arthur S. Lall.