204. Notes on the 53d Meeting of the Special Committee on Soviet and Related Problems, Washington, November 30, 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. Oren M. Stephens
  • OCB—Mr. Paul B. Comstock, Staff Representative
[Page 491]


  • State—Mr. Edward L. Freers
  • State—Mr. Howard Trivers
  • State—Mr. Philip Burris
  • State—Mr. John E. Horner
  • State—Mr. Ralph S. Collins
  • State—Mr. James S. Sutterlin
  • State—Mr. Robert A. Clark
  • CIA—Mr. Arthur M. Cox
  • USIA—Mr. Alfred V. Boerner
  • USIA—Mr. E. Lewis Revey
  • OCB Staff—Mr. Warren A. Kelsey

Possibility of Employing Recent Hungarian Refugees in Labor Service Organization.2 Mr. Beam stated that a suggestion had been made, apparently by the German Foreign Office, that up to 1,000 Hungarian refugees be enlisted in the LSO in Germany in order to alleviate the refugee problem. Our Embassy in Bonn says that the Germans consider there are two possible drawbacks: (1) possible unfavorable propaganda, and (2) possible misuse of the organization by the Hungarians.3 The Department had instructed the Embassy in Bonn4 to hold off for the time being but had an open mind on the subject.

Mr. Ernst said that the Defense Department was favorably disposed toward the idea. He understood that the German units in the LSO were being disbanded and the Hungarians could fill the gap. There were certain budgetary problems but these presumably could be met if we decided we wanted to do it. The possible drawbacks were valid points but the enlistment plan would not have to be widely publicized. The plan would appeal to Hungarian freedom fighters who wished to remain in Europe.

Mr. Campbell suggested that the budgetary problem might be met by the German Army since Germany was taking a certain number of refugees anyway. Mr. Beam mentioned that the idea was more provocative if carried out by the Germans. Mr. Sutterlin said that if the objections had any validity, why proceed with the plan since the Federal Republic could find employment for refugees outside of the LSO. In reply to this Mr. Beam said a telegram had been drafted [Page 492] pointing out that an effort to find jobs in the German economy seemed preferable, also pointing out that since it was understood the LSO was being curtailed on budgetary grounds, Poles who were being discharged from it would resent the hiring of the Hungarians. The draft also pointed out the propaganda aspects, including the fact that the existence of Hungarian LSO units would give the Soviets an opportunity to claim the revolt had been inspired or supported by the U.S.

Mr. Revey said that the USIA definitely felt the idea would result in a major propaganda loss and offered few gains to offset this loss. Mr. Beam said the Department was also inclined to think the idea might be more trouble than it was worth. He also pointed out that these recruits would be charged against the total number of refugees the Germans would admit.

Mr. Comstock mentioned two NSC papers, one of which (NSC 5435/1)5 provides that the LSO be expanded by 1,000 places of which at least 500 were to be former Soviet citizens. It was established NSC policy to increase the LSO. Mr. Campbell and Mr. Beam mentioned that they had heard that other elements of the German Government would not go along with the Foreign Office’s support for the idea.

At this point Mr. Boerner entered and said he thought the whole idea was “terrible.” With reference to the NSC paper, he contrasted it to the recent statement by the President that we did not want to make military allies of the Hungarians.6 This was followed by a discussion whether the LSO was a para-military organization. Replying to Mr. Boerner’s statement that the plan seemed to confirm those who claimed that we were stirring up trouble, Colonel Schaaf said he was not sure that was entirely bad. Mr. Cox mentioned that Mr. Voorhees had stated in a meeting at the White House that our public posture on the question was to be completely humanitarian. He also said that his information was that the suggestion had originally come from USAREUR, not the Germans. Referring to the pressure to expand the LSO, Mr. Collins suggested that this had arisen when there was an over-supply of labor in West Germany contrary to the present situation. Mr. Beam suggested that the State Department go ahead and draft a telegram turning down the idea and that the views of Defense should be obtained. Colonel Schaaf said Defense was not disposed to make an issue of it but asked whether the decision could be deferred. Mr. Beam said not more than about a week. The Department would [Page 493] draft a telegram and pass it to the Army Department. Mr. Comstock mentioned that it should go to the Secretary of Defense’s office.7

UN Situation.8 Mr. Freers said he had had a report that the Secretary General had not yet got a reply from the government of Hungary to his request of November 28 for the admission of observers,9 but that he would circulate such a reply as soon as he received one. A group already appointed was examining material but it was essential to get direct observation. At this stage the Secretary General was merely drawing attention to the need of observers going to Hungary. This need would be more relevant as the investigation proceeded. Mr. Beam said the Department had been canvassing delegations on the possibility of another resolution requesting the observers to go to Europe, where governments which could do so would help them in their task by supplying information. A later resolution was being considered to condemn the Soviets and Hungary for non-compliance with UN resolutions on troop withdrawals and deportations. It was not desired to put this resolution forward now for fear of inspiring a condemnatory resolution against the British and the French. Our UN delegation, he said, thinks this is as far as it is possible to go in the UN at present. Mr. Cox inquired whether the Secretary General needed a UN resolution to decide to send the observers to Europe, to which Mr. Beam said that he did not but that such a resolution would strengthen his hand. The idea had been suggested to him, although the Indian member of the observers’ group did not want to go to Europe unless the group was admitted to Hungary. Mr. Cox mentioned the RFE White Book,10 and the statements by two Hungarian youths who claimed to have been deported to the Soviet Union and returned, as useful material for the UN group.
Alternative Actions in Event of Continued Soviet Defiance of UN. Mr. Beam said his office was still working on this problem and hoped to have a paper for the committee next Monday or Tuesday.
Hungarian Refugees. Mr. Boerner said that the White House would announce the next day that the U.S. would accept a total of 21,500 refugees of which 6,500 would be under regular immigration procedures and the rest parolees.11 The announcement also said that the movement of refugees from Hungary was to be speeded up. Mr. Comstock inquired whether this meant an airlift, in reply to which it was said that the statement merely mentioned “the most expeditious means.” Mr. Sutterlin inquired whether it would apply only to refugees in Austria, to which Mr. Freers answered that it would not jeopardize chances of those elsewhere. Mr. Freers mentioned a suggestion that, since the Hungrian Olympic team was returning home through the U.S., a track meet be held in the U.S. for the benefit of the refugees. This presented problems whether the athletes were for or against the Kadar Government. Mr. Cox said that this sounded like a good idea provided only defectors from the Kadar regime arrived in the U.S. to put on a track meet.
Deportation. Mr. Boerner mentioned a book in which Stalin was quoted as saying in a conversation after the war with Micolajczyk12 that “the Hungarian problem is only one of boxcars.” He suggested that Micolajczyk be induced to repeat the quotation and that it be exploited.
Trade With Poland. Mr. Freers summarized a recently received telegram reporting a conversation with Polish officials in which they made clear they were serious in their desire for American credits.13
Hungarian Attitudes Towards the U.S. Mr. Clark,14 who had recently returned from the Legation at Budapest, was asked by Mr. Burris to give his impressions of the nature and character of American broadcasting to Hungary which he had heard. Mr. Clark said that he had not been in the political or economic sections of the Legation, but [Page 495] as far as the Hungarians were concerned the statement by Anna Kethly criticizing RFE reflected their feelings. The Hungarians had inferred that if they rebelled the UN and the U.S. would help them with arms and ammunition. Some were bitter, others merely discouraged, the general attitude was in-between. This, he said, was based on conversations with Hungarians by members of the Legation staff who could speak Hungarian. Mr. Cox mentioned that he had met these same people in Munich last August and that they were not critical of RFE then. Mr. Clark said that the Hungarian disappointment arose from a general feeling that since we were fostering liberty we would help the revolt. Mr. Cox said that this seemed to mean that the problem arose from the whole public posture of the U.S., and Mr. Boerner inquired whether it was wrong to foster liberty. Mr. Clark said no but some bitter remarks were being made. Colonel Schaaf said that this seemed to be more because of the fact that we were ineffective than because of anything RFE had broadcast.
Warren A. Kelsey

OCB Staff Representative
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 100.4–OCB/11–3056. Top Secret. Drafted by Kelsey.
  2. This was a force of German and non-German resident civilians recruited through local German or French labor offices for the purpose of providing internal security for U.S. installations in those countries and augmenting U.S. technical services troop units in their performance of noncombatant technical duties. The overall strength of the Labor Service Organization on October 31, 1956, was 18,351. (Ibid., OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385, Escapees, Refugees–Hungarian)
  3. Telegram 2015 from Bonn, November 27, noted that Germany’s official position in 1955 had been to limit enlistment in the LSO to refugees domiciled in the Federal Republic for at least a year so as to preclude a surge of refugees from other countries. (Ibid., Central Files, 764.00/11–2756)
  4. In telegram 1486 to Bonn, November 30. (Ibid.)
  5. Entitled “Expansion in the Labor Service Organization in Germany,” dated October 18, 1954. (Ibid., S/SNSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5435 Series)
  6. See Document 149.
  7. The OCB took up the question on December 19. Gordon Gray informed Hoover that the Department of Defense favored the project. The Acting Secretary, for his part, pointed out the various reasons why the Department of State found the proposal inadvisable. A decision was made to take no action, but to come back to the matter after 4 to 6 months. (Memorandum from Richards to Beam, December 19; Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385, Escapees, Refugees–Hungarian)
  8. See Document 206.
  9. On November 21, Hammarskjöld, who had returned from his Middle East trip, affirmed his continued willingness to go to Budapest. (A/PV.586, p. 170) On November 27, he received a letter from the Hungarian Foreign Minister, which indicated that Hungary was giving serious consideration to his visit. In light of the resolutions passed on November 21, Hammarskjöld on November 28 asked the Hungarian and Soviet Delegations to comment on the admission of observers since he had to report on that matter to the Assembly. He also raised the question of his trip to Budapest. The Soviet reply, dated November 29, concluded that “allegations of the deportation of Hungarian citizens to the USSR are based on slanderous rumours circulated by certain groups for the purpose of misleading public opinion.” The Soviet answer was incorporated as an Annex to “Implementation of the United Nations Resolutions on Hungary: Report of the U.N. Secretary-General, November 30, 1956.” (U.N. doc. A/3403)
  10. See footnote 10, Document 171.
  11. For text of the announcement, see Department of State Bulletin, December 10, 1956, p. 913.
  12. Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, Premier of the Polish Government in-exile in London, 1943-1944, and a member of the postwar Polish Government until he fled Poland in 1947.
  13. In telegram 745 from Warsaw November 29, Ambassador Jacobs reported on a meeting he had had with Winiewicz, in which the latter indicated he had heard nothing in regard to U.S. aid and presumed the matter was being studied. He noted that Polish experts in the fields of finance and foreign trade were prepared to proceed to the United States to discuss the U.S. offer. He also stressed his government’s unwillingness to accept U.S. advisers or controllers. (Department of State, Central Files, 748.5–MSP/11–2956)
  14. Robert A. Clark, Jr.