207. Notes on the 56th Meeting of the Special Committee on Soviet and Related Problems, Washington, December 11, 19561

MEMBERS PRESENT

  • State—Mr. Jacob D. Beam, Chairman
  • State—Mr. Edward L. Freers
  • Defense—Colonel Kenneth K. Hansen
  • Defense—Mr. Roger Ernst
  • CIA—Mr. Laughlin Campbell
  • USIA—Mr. E. Lewis Revey
  • OCB—Mr. Paul B. Comstock, Staff Representative

OTHERS PRESENT

  • State—Mr. Robert O. Blake
  • State—Mr. Howard Trivers
  • State—Mr. Philip Burris
  • State—Mr. John E. Horner
  • State—Mr. Ralph S. Collins
  • State—Mr. Boris H. Klosson
  • CIA—Mr. Arthur Cox
  • OCB—Mr. Warren A. Kelsey
1.
American Doctors for Hungary. Mr. Beam said that Dean Rusk, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, planned to leave for Hungary with two doctors to set up an American medical center. The State Department thought that he did not have much chance of getting in but that it was a good move nevertheless and their passports had accordingly been validated for Hungary.
2.
Credentials of Hungarian UN Delegation. Mr. Beam reported that the Hungarian delegation had walked out of the UN.2 It was uncertain whether their credentials were to be suspended. Our friends in the UN, including the co-sponsors of our resolution, did not want to expel the Hungarian delegation.3 A two-thirds majority for expulsion could [Page 503]not be obtained and in view of the situation with regard to Communist China, we wanted to maintain the principle that a two-thirds majority was necessary to decide on the credentials of a delegation. The best that probably could be done was to suspend approval of the credentials. Mr. Cox inquired what this meant and Mr. Beam said that in effect it meant an expression of disapproval. Mr. Blake mentioned that there is a kind of suspension involving loss of the right to vote but Mr. Beam said that we did not want to go that far at present.
3.
UN Resolutions on Hungary. Mr. Beam said that two resolutions on the Hungarian question were now before the UN: our condemnatory resolution4 and an Indian resolution which while not condemnatory had some good things in it.5 The Indians have come far to meet the Western point of view on Hungary recently. Both groups backing these resolutions were proceeding independently, but if it appeared that ours would not get a large majority we might reconsider, try to get some amendments to the Indian resolution, and back it in order to ensure an overwhelming majority. Mr. Cox inquired whether the Indian resolution condemned the Soviet Union and the Hungarian Government, to which Mr. Beam answered that it did not in words but did by implication. He went on to explain that we might back the Indian resolution as a stop-gap measure and move for a condemnatory resolution later. Mr. Freers made the point that the Indian resolution puts the Indians on record as wanting UN personnel in Hungary.
4.
Presentation of Credentials of American Minister to Hungary. Mr. Beam reported that the Minister Wailes had again been approached by the Hungarians who inquired when he was going to present his credentials. Mr. Wailes had suggested to the Department that a decision on the presentation be postponed since he did not think the Hungarians would press the issue now. We would at least wait a few days. Mr. Cox inquired whether a decision had been firmly made that he was not to present his credentials to the present government. Mr. Beam answered that the Department of State considered presentation inadvisable.6
5.

Possible Withdrawal of Ambassadors. Colonel Hansen referred to an article by Constantine Brown7 suggesting the withdrawal of our Ambassador in Moscow as a sign of our disapproval of the actions of the Soviet government on the precedent of such actions as our withdrawal of the American Ambassador from Berlin in 1938. He inquired whether any thought had been given to doing this. Mr. Beam replied that he had been in Berlin in 1938 and that he thought the withdrawal of our Ambassador then had been a grave mistake since it meant we lost all chance of influencing the German Government. Over the last few years the Department had come to the conclusion that such withdrawals did more harm than good and that half-way measures between full maintenance of diplomatic relations and complete rupture were inadvisable.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated subjects.]

16.
Trade with Poland. On subject of Polish aid Mr. Trivers said that the Department of State had decided to try to get the CFEP to change its policy against the sale of surplus agricultural commodities to the Soviet bloc at world market prices.8 A general reversal, not merely one in the particular case of Poland, was desired. Moreover, an attempt was being made to get Departmental approval to a ruling that Poland was a “friendly” nation under the terms of PL 480, but this was difficult because of the definition of friendly as meaning “not controlled or dominated by the USSR.” Mr. Beam commented that the recent Polish Government concessions to the Catholic Church might be helpful in obtaining such a ruling.9 Mr. Trivers said a memorandum was being drawn up defending this proposal and pointing out that if this was not done we could not carry out our promise of aid to Poland, since the Battle Act had no loop holes. If this were done the Poles could be supplied with grains, cotton, and perhaps fats and oils. Mr. Klosson mentioned that the Poles were anxious to get coal mining machinery and were negotiating with the French for it.
[Page 505]

[Here follows discussion of an unrelated subject.]

Warren A. Kelsey

OCB Staff Representative
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 100.4–OCB/12–1156. Top Secret. Drafted by Kelsey.
  2. At the 615th Plenary Meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on December 11, Horvath denounced the efforts of certain members to interfere in the domestic affairs of Hungary and claimed that his government and its representatives had been “disgracefully offended” in a manner incompatible with Hungarian sovereignty and the “national honour of the Hungarian people.” Hungary therefore would not participate in the work of the Assembly “so long as the discussion of the Hungarian question does not proceed in the spirit of the United Nations Charter.” (A/PV.615, p. 621)
  3. In Delga 280 from USUN, December 6, Lodge reported that “co-sponsors’ reaction was negative to U.S. suggestion GA might suspend Rule 29 and refuse permit Hungarian delegation participate in proceedings in retaliation non-acceptance SYG visit and non-admission observers.” (Department of State, Central Files, 320.5764/12–656) At a meeting in the Department the following day, Dulles approved instructions to Lodge “that he should work to get the largest possible vote on a resolution condemning the Russians for their actions in Hungary and that the idea of trying to deprive the Hungarian Delegation of a vote probably involved too many risks; hence this part of the resolution could be dropped if to do so would help to get votes for the rest of the resolution.” (Memorandum of conversation by Joseph N. Greene, Jr., December 7; ibid., Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199)
  4. Reference is to draft Resolution A/3436/Rev.2, which in its final form, had 20 sponsors.
  5. Ceylon, India, and Indonesia proposed certain amendments to draft Resolution A/3436/Rev.2 (A/L.216), which were not acceptable to its sponsors. Together with Burma, they submitted a draft resolution of their own. (A/3437) On December 12, the General Assembly passed the U.S.-supported draft resolution by a vote of 55 to 8, with 13 abstentions, as Resolution 1131 (XI).
  6. On December 19, Csatordai informed Barnes that he found it hard to understand the delay in the presentation of Wailes’ credentials. Barnes responded that unusual conditions had brought that situation about and that when the Legation received definite instructions, he would be informed. (Telegram 461 from Budapest, December 19; Department of State, Central Files, 123–Wailes, Edward T.)
  7. Foreign affairs writer for the Washington Evening Star.
  8. On December 4, Thorsten V. Kalijarvi recommended to Hoover that CFEP approval be sought for a change of policy to permit the export of surplus agricultural commodities to the Soviet satellites at the world market price in dollars. (Memorandum from Beam to Hoover, December 10; Department of State, EE Files: Lot 76 D 232, US/Polish Talks—Economic Analyses) At the OCB meeting the next day, the issue of implementation of the President’s wishes regarding aid to Poland was discussed. (Preliminary by Richards, December 5; ibid., OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385, Minutes) On December 10, Polish Foreign Minister Adam Rapacki took up the aid and trade questions with Ambassador Jacobs and reiterated his government’s positions. (Telegram 810 from Warsaw, December 11; ibid., Central Files, 748.5–MSP/12–1156)
  9. These concessions were spelled out in a statement published in Trybuna Ludu by the Joint Commission of Church and Government on December 8. A number of principles were established in regard to education. (Enclosure 1 to despatch 414 from Warsaw, April 2, 1957; ibid., 848.413/3–2257)