194. Memorandum on the Substance of Discussion at a Department of State–Joint Chiefs of Staff Meeting, Pentagon, Washington, November 16, 1956, 11:30 a.m.1

[Here follows a list of participants.]

1. Eastern Europe

At Mr. Murphy’s request Mr. Beam reviewed the situation. A general strike continues in Budapest. Kadar does not have the confidence of the workers. Deportations which had been on a considerable scale may have been reduced or stopped because of protests by the Hungarian people. The Hungarian Foreign Office is confused and refers everything to the Soviet Union. Satellite missions and the Indian mission in Budapest are getting excellent treatment in contrast to other missions. The U.S. is maintaining a policy of aloofness to the Kadar regime and is watching developments. We think it best to keep our staff in Budapest and not to break relations. Hammarskjold has requested the Hungarian Government to permit UN observers to enter and is himself planning to go to Budapest. Press stories indicate that Soviet troops in Hungary are puzzled at the extent of the revolt because they had been told they were sent to Hungary to fight fascists.

In reply to Admiral Radford’s question, Mr. Beam said that there had been reports of student demonstrations in Rumania and there was general uneasiness throughout the satellite area.2 He also said that our [Page 462] communications with our Legation in Budapest are now pretty good. Mr. Murphy commented that we are making efforts mostly by radio to reach Soviet troops in Hungary, an activity which Marshal Zhukov would undoubtedly dislike, since he has always been very sensitive about the morale and thinking of his forces.3

Admiral Radford inquired about the Hungarian proposal to meet Hammarskjold in Rome. Mr. Beam said that we would oppose a meeting in Rome rather than in Budapest.

Admiral Radford said he had a feeling that we were not pushing hard enough on Hungary. Mr. Murphy replied that we all have somewhat that feeling and that the Department is examining every means of getting favorable action. He reviewed the efforts being made to play up Soviet deportation of Hungarians and other efforts being taken through the UN to focus attention on Hungary. He noted that the issue of accepting the credentials of the new Hungarian delegation is now under consideration by the UN Credentials Committee.

Regarding other satellites, Mr. Beam commented that the present boss in Rumania4 is a strong man who has been able to maintain tight control. We have little news about Bulgaria but control there is also tight.

Mr. Murphy said he thought the recent remarks of Marshal Tito were important and would have a definite effect.5 He also referred to a statement by the four Asian prime ministers who have recently met in New Dehli and criticized Soviet actions in Eastern Europe.6 Mr. Murphy expressed the opinion that Tito’s statement would have a greater impact than anything the U.S. could say. He commented that the attitude of Yugoslavia might be considered as having some bearing on the question of our military aid program for Yugoslavia. General Twining commented that the Joint Chiefs are encouraged a little by the recent Yugoslav position.

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Eastern Europe.]

  1. Source: Department of State, State–JCS Meetings: Lot 61 D 417. Top Secret. Drafted by Murphy’s Special Assistant, Richard B. Finn. Those in attendance included, among others, Murphy, Bowie, and Beam of the Department of State; the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, Lieutenant General C. P. Cabell, and Robert Amory of the CIA; Gleason from the NSC; Chairman of the JCS Admiral Radford; and the Chiefs of Staff of the Air Force and Army, Generals Nathan F. Twining and Maxwell D. Taylor, respectively; the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Arleigh A. Burke; and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Randolph McC. Pate. A note on the source text reads: “State Draft. Not cleared with Defense.”
  2. Telegram 294 from Bucharest, November 14, referred to the increasing number of student arrests. (Ibid., Central Files, 766.00/11–1456)
  3. See footnote 2, Document 171.
  4. Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej.
  5. Reference is to Tito’s November 11 speech to the Yugoslav League of Communists at Pula, in which he described the first Soviet intervention in Hungary as “absolutely wrong,” but the second intervention as necessary to safeguard socialism in Hungary. For text of the address, see Zinner, National Communism, pp. 516–541.
  6. Reference is to a communiqué issued by the Prime Ministers of India, Ceylon, Indonesia, and Burma.