178. Memorandum of Telephone Conversations With the President, November 9, 19561

4:48

Cabot Lodge, from UN, N.Y.

Resolution coming to the floor again tonight on Hungary.2 Amb. Lodge wondered if President could find his way clear to sending Bulganin another message, urging consideration of it. Lodge said there is the feeling at UN that for 10 years we have been exciting the Hungarians through our Radio Free Europe, and now that they are in trouble, we turn our backs on them.3

The President insisted that is wrong—that we have never excited anybody to rebel. Said further that Lodge can check State and USIA. Amb. Lodge said that is what they are beginning to throw at him, and he is glad to know this from the President. He will call State Dept. and ask them to prepare something.

4:50

Secy. Dulles (in Walter Reed)

First, Secy. Dulles said he heard this morning’s meeting went very well.4

The President said it really did; and that afterwards, Johnson,5 Halleck6 and whole group of others said it was the best thing they ever saw. They were urged to just keep still.

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About the week end, Secy. Dulles asked why didn’t the President consider going to farm for a little longer period—after election strain, and all this. But the President won’t.

The President told Dulles of Cabot Lodge’s call. Second Hungarian resolution coming up, and they will pass it tonight. It seems that at the UN particularly many of our European friends are asking why we are so fretful about France and Britain with a few troops in Egypt, while we don’t show as much concern about Hungary. Lodge wants President to send another message to Bulganin, saying this is before the Council again this evening, and urging them to consider and act on it. Again to say we would send in UN observer team, to determine needs for food and medicine, and getting out the wounded.

The President, however, feels there have already been too many messages. Dulles said he was not very enthusiastic about another to Bulganin. The President’s question: Are we in danger of putting ourselves in wrong in that we will urge Ben-Gurion and people like that if we don’t try to put same pressure on this fellow?

Dulles’ reply was, I think, “Well, but you have.”

The President repeated feeling that we have excited Hungarians for all these years, and now turning our backs to them when they are in a jam. Dulles said we always have been against violent rebellion. The President said he had told Lodge so, but was amazed that he was in ignorance of this fact.

The President said, finally, he might dictate a short message saying this is again before the Council, and he wants to point out again the great feeling of relief if he would support that Resolution and act upon it. Then give draft message to Herbert Hoover for an opinion.

The President doesn’t want to let Cabot down. But hates to send messages back and forth, when we know they won’t pay any attention to them . . .7

Mr. Dulles said he doubts that the feeling about turning backs on Hungarians exists in any quarters but the French and British. President said that Lodge had mentioned France in particular.

[Here follows discussion of the Middle East.]

The President will go ahead with Bulganin draft message.8 He is sure it will have no influence on Bulganin; whether it has any influence on the UN, he is not sure.

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5:06

Actg. Secy. Hoover.

The President told him of conversation with Secy. Dulles, and about the proposed message for Bulganin. One thing President overlooked in discussing it with Dulles, was that the first paragraph would be an acknowledgment of their note of congratulations9—and then call his attention to the Resolution that is up again, urging him to consider it, saying there is nothing else that could contribute to peace of the world.

President told Hoover, also, of the 2 erroneous feelings in UN: (a) that we more or less egged the Hungarians on into this mess, and then turned our backs to them; (b) that we get very indignant about our friends in Egypt, and don’t show any concern for the others.

Hoover thinks that the French only are expressing that feeling. He pointed out Bulganin’s short cryptic note on the message pertaining to foods and medicines10—and now all we could add would be the one on the observers going in. He thinks if we really wanted to accomplish something, we should get Nehru fired up a little bit; however, Hoover does not know whether Nehru would go in on the observer idea.

President expressed wish that we had an Ambassador out there to whom this morning’s film could be sent.11 Instead, he suggested Indian Ambassador. Mr. Hoover said it could be flown over—will give that some thought.

As for this next message, Hoover thinks there is very grave danger of wearing out President’s appeal on this situation. He wasn’t aware that there had been so many, until it came out at this morning’s meeting.

The President will send him draft anyway, to be considered by State people. Asked that Mr. Hoover let Ann12 know whether or not they send it out.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries. Prepared in the Office of the President.
  2. For text of the draft resolution, see the editorial note, infra .
  3. In the course of the 570th General Assembly meeting the morning of November 9, Soviet Representative Vasiliy Vasiliyevich Kuznetsov had accused the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe of appealing for a “counter-revolutionary upheaval” in Hungary. (U.N. doc. A/PV.570, p. 50)
  4. See Document 177.
  5. Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson.
  6. House Minority Leader Charles A. Halleck.
  7. Ellipsis in the source text.
  8. The final paragraph of the November 11 Eisenhower message to Bulganin reads as follows: “It is difficult to reconcile your expressed concern for the principles of morality and the objectives of the United Nations with the action taken by Soviet military units against the people of Hungary. Your letter to me of November 7 concerning this tragic situation was deeply disappointing. Were the Soviet Government now able to comply with the Resolutions of the U.N. on the subject of Hungary, it would be a great and notable contribution to the cause of peace.” (Telegram 579 to Moscow; Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/11–1156)
  9. On November 8, Bulganin sent a message of congratulations to the President on his re-election. (Ibid., Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, Bulganin/Eisenhower Correspondence 1955–1958) Telegram 580 to Moscow, November 12, transmitted Eisenhower’s “grateful” acknowledgement. (Ibid., Central Files, 711.11–EI/11–856) In his memoirs, Bohlen noted his opposition to the “pleasant” acknowledgement of the Soviet message since the purport of the message was to demonstrate to the world that, despite the Soviet action in Hungary, relations with the Soviet Union were normal. (Witness to History, pp. 419–420)
  10. Not further identified.
  11. John Sherman Cooper had left India in April 1956 and Ellsworth Bunker had not yet been appointed to succeed him. The film was shown at the Bipartisan Legislative Leaders meeting; see Document 177.
  12. Reference is to Ann Whitman.