10. Report Prepared by the Operations Coordinating Board’s Special Committee on Soviet and Related Problems0
REPORT ON EXPLOITATION OF HUNGARIAN SITUATION
The OCB, at its meeting of July 9, 1958,1 requested the Special Committee on Soviet and Related Problems to prepare a special report outlining possible U.S. actions which might be considered in connection with the recent execution of former Prime Minister Imre Nagy and former Defense Minister Pal Maleter, and also containing a summary of actions which have been taken or are in process with respect to this matter.
In response to this request, the Committee reports as follows:
- The news of the execution of Nagy and Maleter has been widely disseminated through normal world news channels; the spontaneous official as well as public reaction and comment throughout the world (except, of course, in Communist-controlled countries) has been sharp and extensive, and in line with U.S. objectives.
- The U.S. Information Agency has assisted in disseminating the news further, and in stimulating reaction to it and comment on it, to the extent possible without conveying the impression that the United States is conducting a propaganda campaign to exploit these developments purely for its own ends. A survey of USIA treatment of the Nagy and Maleter executions is attached.2
- The U.S. position on the executions, clearly putting the responsibility on the Soviet Union, was stated on June 17 by Secretary Dulles and on June 18 by President Eisenhower. A strongly-worded State Department press release was also issued on June 17.3
- The State Department, through the U.S. mission at the UN, encouraged and supported the Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary in the preparation of its special report on the executions, which was released to the press July 16.4 (The Department, through the U.S. delegation [Page 46] at the UN, also suggested to the Special Committee that it receive as witnesses various prominent Hungarians now in exile to whom reference was made in the Hungarian regime’s communique announcing the executions; however, the Special Committee did not act upon this suggestion.) A State Department press release was issued on July 175 calling attention to, and summarizing, the special report. The Department’s statement welcomed and endorsed the report, and added: “The United States, on its part, will continue to exert every possible effort to keep the plight of the Hungarian people before the conscience of the world and will continue to give full support to all measures within the United Nations that may contribute to the alleviation of the suffering and repression which the Hungarian people now endure.”
- The USIA has given wide distribution to the text of the special report by Wireless Bulletin and VOA broadcasts. The USIA is also investigating the possibility of the UN having the document printed for public sale; if this is done, it will reach a much larger audience, particularly through libraries and other institutions.
- An effort has been made to ascertain whether the Yugoslavs do have, as rumored, new and significant material relating to Nagy’s role in the uprising, his kidnaping, and his execution, including records Nagy may have compiled while taking refuge in the Yugoslav embassy and minutes of the Khrushchev-Tito meeting in Bucharest.6 So far, the Yugoslavs have not divulged what material they have, and have not indicated any intention of making it public at this time. The Yugoslav Government did, however, furnish to the UN Special Committee the text of its protest to the Hungarian regime on the Nagy execution.7
- The State Department, on the basis of material received from the legation in Budapest, has called attention to the rumors of the trial and execution of Julia Rajk8 and to the many retrials now going on. Material furnished by the State Department on the retrials was used by Alsing Anderson, of Denmark, chairman of the Special Committee on Hungary, in a press conference, and the New York Times carried a long story on this on July 12 and an editorial on July 13.
- Exploitation of the special report has been under discussion in NATO, and the State Department is keeping its delegation informed of developments in relation to the Hungarian problem.
- The State Department is exploring the possibility of raising the Hungarian issue in the UN General Assembly, but no decision has yet been reached on how or when it might best be done.
- The question of challenging and rejecting the credentials of the Hungarian representatives at the next regular session of the General Assembly or at any special session on the Near East has also been discussed, but no decision has been reached as yet.
- The Special Committee on Soviet and Related Problems is of the opinion that the executions of Nagy and Maleter, insofar as topical treatment is concerned, have already been given close to maximum exploitation, particularly in view of subsequent events in the Near East,9 which have overshadowed all other developments in the world press. Maximum use should be made of the UN Committee’s special report, and a continuing effort should be made to obtain information and make it available to the UN and the public about current developments in Hungary. The Committee has no additional immediate actions to suggest at this time for further exploitation of the executions.
- The Committee feels, however, that special attention should be given at this time to the broader problem of keeping alive the story of the Hungarian people’s heroic bid for freedom, and the Soviet Union’s brutal and continued suppression of Hungarian independence. This is a long-range project requiring coordinated planning by the agencies concerned, and should be the subject of a separate report which will require additional time for preparation. (Long-range treatment of the Nagy story would be part of such a study. One suggestion, for example, has been a book on “revisionism” which would draw heavily on Nagy’s role in Hungary.)
- The Committee is of the unanimous opinion that aid to the Hungarian refugee orchestra is a timely and valuable project in any long-range program to keep the story of the Hungarian revolution alive in the best sense of the word.
- Source: Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385, USSR & Satellites—General—1953–58. Confidential. Distributed to the OCB Assistants under cover of a July 23 memorandum from OCB Executive Officer Staats, in which Staats said that he hoped the report could be discussed at the Board Assistants’ meeting on July 25. There is no indication that the report was discussed by the Board Assistants or brought to the attention of the OCB in any way.↩
- The approved minutes of this meeting are ibid.: Lot 62 D 430, Minutes-VI.↩
- Not printed.↩
- See Document 7.↩
- U.N. doc. A/3849.↩
- For text, see Department of State Bulletin, August 18, 1958, p. 295.↩
- Nagy was given refuge in the Yugoslav Embassy in Budapest November 4–22, 1956. Reference to the Khrushchev-Tito talks in Bucharest is unclear; presumably it should be the Khrushchev-Tito talks on the island of Brioni November 2–3, 1956.↩
- The Yugoslav note of protest was delivered by the Yugoslav Ambassador in Budapest on June 24 following his return that day from consultations in Belgrade.↩
- Widow of former Interior and Foreign Minister Laszlo Rajk.↩
- Reference is to the crisis in Lebanon and Jordan.↩