172. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission at the United Nations1

252. Re Hungary.

We have been considering what next steps in GA should be. We believe we should not lose present momentum or permit Middle Eastern situation divert all attention from flagrant character Soviet actions.
Suggest you explore urgently with Secretary-General what his plans are for forthcoming GA meeting on Hungary. It might begin by his announcement of steps he is taking pursuant resolution adopted by GA November.2 These might include appointment his representatives, any arrangements on despatching observers to Hungary and description messages sent Moscow and Budapest and humanitarian assistance which he has mobilized.
We understand number Members still desire speak on Hungarian item, presumably by way of explanation of vote. Subject USUN’s assessment possible undesirable repercussions in connection current Middle Eastern tactical situation, request USUN approach Asian abstainers (India, Indonesia, Burma, Ceylon, Afghanistan, Nepal) and express our deep disappointment and shock at their abstention. Note Nehru statement regarding Hungary3 and inquire whether [Page 405] if they were without instructions at time GA acted owing urgent character Hungarian situation, they may not now be able associate themselves favorably with action taken by GA. Leave in USUN’s discretion whether same approach can usefully be made to Arab abstainers.
If press reports confirmed Soviet forces are flagrantly interfering with recognized Red Cross activities in Budapest, this would be point which other members of GA could effectively press in ensuing discussion, and resolution focused on humanitarian side could be submitted, calling on USSR and Hungary not to obstruct legitimate Red Cross activities, again urging Members to aid by contributing emergency relief supplies, and making a general appeal to Members on behalf Hungarian refugees, possibly through some special program of assistance under auspices UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Dept has given urgent consideration to possibility hearing Anna Kethly. While we believe US should not take overt initiative in urging her appearance before GA, particularly because it might invite new Soviet charges of American complicity in Hungarian uprising, request USUN explore with various European Members (e.g., Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy) ways in which her views could be presented to GA.

Possibilities that occur to Dept include prepared statement by Kethly that could be circulated at request some Member or included in speech; or hearing in GA. Last alternative would be unprecedented and raises number serious questions, including its implications re US attitude toward Kadar Govt and problem created by presence other Hungarian representatives GA. At same time GA has heard individuals in past, though in main committees which of course are not organized in present special emergency session (e.g. Michael Scott,4 Dr. Tannous5 on Arab refugee problem). We would hope some European delegation could explore matter directly with Kethly, after which tactics could be worked out. Biographic data on Kethly transmitted November 5 by UNMIS.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 764.00/11–656. Confidential; Priority.
  2. Resolution 1004 (ES–II).
  3. The New York Times reported on November 6 that Nehru had told a UNESCO conference in New Delhi the day before: “We see today in Egypt, as well as in Hungary, both human dignity and freedom outraged and the force of modern arms used to suppress peoples and to gain political objectives.” On November 5, in his first direct communication with Nehru concerning Hungary, President Eisenhower referred to this speech and commented: “It is our duty to mankind not only to bring before world opinion the facts with respect to the deplorable situation in Hungary, but to make it clear that the leaders of free and democratic countries cannot remain silent in the face of such terrifying pressures upon our fellow beings.” The text was approved by the President at 11 p.m. on November 5 and transmitted in telegram 1176 to New Delhi, November 6. (Department of State, Central Files, 684A.86/11–656)
  4. Reverend Michael Scott was the first oral petitioner to testify before the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly in November 1949 on behalf of the Herero and Ovambo of South West Africa.
  5. Dr. Izzat Tannous represented the cause of the Arab refugees of Palestine before the United Nations in 1952.