192. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

601. We have given careful study to the suggestions in Vienna’s telegrams 12052 and 12683 and agree that the cardinal objective should be to bring about Soviet troop withdrawal from Hungary. From the text furnished us, Bulganin statement to Nehru on this subject4 does not go beyond previous general assertions but we intend take steps to bring to Nehru’s notice the importance of making troop withdrawal a key test of Soviet promises.

Your 11995 just received and similar questions have occurred to us re advisability of direct US approach to Soviets. Latter unlikely to be impressed with our professed lack of military interest in Hungary since real political advantages would accrue to us from Soviet withdrawal. Furthermore Soviets might attempt to broaden direct approach on Hungary into attempt to privately negotiate with us on Middle East.

Occurs to us appeal re Hungary to Soviets might usefully come from European nation, perhaps non-NATO neutral such as Sweden or Switzerland with confidential US support. Approach in Moscow might strengthen projected Hammarskjold discussions in Budapest. Basis of neutral appeal could be that Soviet attack on Hungarian population has caused profound widespread shock throughout Europe and that disturbances and misery far from over as shown by reported deportations and continuance of Budapest strike.6 Could be pointed out that Hungarian reaction certain to become even more bitter and it would be to Soviet advantage to make use of outside assistance in order to bring about pacifying and honorable way out from current difficulties.

In order avoid cutting across UN resolutions neutral appeal should concentrate broadly on need for plans for withdrawal Soviet forces, latter perhaps in connection with Hungarian declaration of neutrality. Approach could be supported by reference to possible economic assistance to Hungarians under UN auspices.

[Page 460]

Views addressees requested.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 764.00/11–1156. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Beam; approved by Murphy; and cleared with Elbrick, Walmsley, and Phleger. Also sent to Vienna and repeated to Stockholm and Bern.
  2. See footnote 4, Document 188.
  3. Document 181.
  4. Indian Ambassador G.L. Mehta forwarded to the President the substance of Bulganin’s note on Hungary on November 9. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International File)
  5. Document 188.
  6. The Workers’ Council of Greater Budapest, which was established on November 14, called off its strike on November 19 as a sign of good will, but other local councils did not.