33. Instruction From the Department of State to the Legation in Hungary 0
- Some Informal Remarks by Kadar
A friendly and reliable source has recently had an opportunity for an informal discussion with Kadar during his visit to New York to attend the UNGA session. The source has written down Kadar’s remarks from memory and made them available to the Department. It is believed that Kadar suspected that his remarks would be passed on to the United States Government. The report of Kadar’s remarks is given below for the Legation’s background information:
“Since the events of 1956, there have been a lot of childish (gyerekes) things going on between our two countries. I want to be frank with you. Both the U.S. Government and we Hungarians have been acting like a couple of kids. Periodically, we expel one another’s diplomatic representatives: one American for one Hungarian. I don’t think this is an intelligent (okos) thing to do. Let us explore the possibility of an understanding.
“I don’t like the Germans (I mean Adenauer’s Germany) but to illustrate my feeling on this subject, I would use the German word [Page 127] ‘Realpolitik’ to describe the way this matter should be treated. We do not hate the Americans. After all, let us be realistic: Who are we? We are only a ‘little louse’ (kis tota) in this big world. However, the prerequisite for normal relations is a willingness on the part of the U.S. Government to recognize the hard facts. The People’s Republic of Hungary is an accomplished fact. It is here today. It will stay here tomorrow. All you have to do is to recognize this fact. The rest is simple. We could then resume normal diplomatic representations instead of this ridiculous (navetaeges) Charge d’Affaires business.”
Hungarian Internal Conditions
“The U.S. Government talks about Hungary being a Soviet satellite. Now on this subject let me tell you the following. It has cost the U.S.S.R. a lot of money to help normalize our conditions after 1956. Today we are happily engaged in constructive work. Our people enjoy freedom. No more of the Rakosi terror. Believe me, we don’t take people to prison in the middle of the night any more. If you don’t believe me, then talk to our writers, our intellectuals who were released from prison. Talk to Tibor Dary, the writer. And all this nonsense about Khrushchev dictating everything in Hungary—it is simply not true.”
“I was very happy to talk with Mr. (Cyrus) Eaton; he is a capitalist but the right one with common sense. He feels that you should do business with us. You know, we lost more than 500,000 soldiers in World War II. Many of our material assets (bridges, industrial installations) were destroyed. Then we suffered so much during the events of 1956. Why don’t we resume normal trade relations?”
The Mindszenty Case
“I would like to emphasize again that the whole problem is simple. All you have to do is to recognize the facts, recognize that our Republic is here to stay. The other problems would practically solve themselves. In fact, there are no real problems. For example, take this (Cardinal) Mindszenty case. Let me tell you something: The present situation works to our advantage. Why? Because the poor devil (szegeny ordog) is unhappy at your Legation in Budapest. We neutralized him. As long as he is there, we have no trouble. Suppose we let him go to Rome. There he could cause a lot of trouble. Suppose we manage to throw him in jail. There he could cause a lot of trouble by becoming a ‘martyr’. No, we do not want to make a martyr out of him. We Communists know the difficulties caused by martyrs. Let me assure you, once the U.S. recognizes that there was such a thing as the People’s Republic with Kadar as its leader, we would not have a single problem. I cannot emphasize that strongly enough.”[Page 128]
Rupture of Diplomatic Relations
“I sincerely hope that whatever happens at the UN (after that debate on the so-called ‘Hungarian Question’), it will not result in further worsening of U.S.-Hungarian relations. If it is possible, we would like to avoid the breaking off of diplomatic relations with your country. But we simply must act as grown-up people. Let us talk quietly about our problems. Quietly, you understand.”
“My secretary tells me about reports of the American press and I must say here: false reports—concerning the alleged controversies between Khrushchev and Mao Tse-tung. This is a lot of nonsense again. We Communists like to argue a great deal among ourselves. It is in the family (a czaladian van). But don’t think for a moment that the two leaders would become enemies! If you want to know, the real problem is this: How can you realistically ignore 650,000,000 people? How can you deny them the right to join the Family of Nations? Why don’t you come to an agreement with China? There is a lot of talk about the Cold War becoming more and more menacing. It would be so simple to solve this problem by recognizing this wonderful People. During my visit there I was greatly impressed by their constructive work.”
Kadar’s Trip to the U.S.S.R.
“I had a wonderful vacation there (in the Crimea in August 1960 as Khrushchev’s guest). We visited a place at the Caspian Sea where the Volga empties into the Caspian. I enjoyed that very much because the weather was excellent, not like New York with its high humidity.”
Kadar’s Trip to the UNGA Session
“My press officer told me that some of the American newspapers wrote that my trip to New York was a ‘last minute surprise’ and that I, along with my colleagues from Rumania and Bulgaria, was ordered by Mr. Khrushchev to come to the U.S. This is not true. The American press, as usual, did not tell the truth. We worked out the plans for our New York trip during our Crimean visit. And what is so surprising about our coming here to attend the UN meeting? Every leading Government official has the right to attend. I hope that next time I come the conditions between the U.S. and Hungary will be better so that it will not be necessary to have so many policemen around.”
The Trip on the Baltika
“We had two bad days. I must admit that I was seasick. We just took it easy aboard the Baltika. No special meetings. There was no need for conferences. Everything was worked out in advance. Our average speed was twenty knots.”[Page 129]
“I heard that Tito, this great hero (nagy hes) was afraid of the boat ride around Manhattan. I am sorry that the Police Department cancelled the previous plans for me to circumnavigate Manhattan. I also heard that the Police were afraid that some one might drop a bomb from one of the bridges during our boat ride. Tell the Police I am not afraid. I am not from Yugoslavia.”
The Restriction to Manhattan
“Of course, it is silly (butasag) that your Government restricted me to Manhattan. I would have liked to see the countryside, but as I have previously told you, I would not beg (konyorog) for permission to leave Manhattan. Apart from that, I enjoyed my sightseeing trips and appreciate the courtesies shown me by the Police and the State Department representatives. Frankly, I would not like to live in New York. Not enough trees and (laugh) too many policemen. Grant’s Tomb impressed me very much. We know his name in Hungary. I signed the guest book registering our deep respect.”
Khrushchev’s Threat to leave the UN
“I was surprised to learn from my Press Officer that, according to the American press, Mr. Khrushchev threatened to leave the UN if his conditions are not met. This is a misinterpretation of his remarks. Mr. Khrushchev works for world peace. We Hungarians also want peace and he is ready to negotiate with everybody. I don’t believe that he wants to quit the UN.”
On a Communist U.S.
“I must tell you in earnest: We have no illusions concerning the possibility that the U.S. will become a socialist or a communist state. We Hungarian Communists are realists. We know that your country is capitalist, and it will not adopt our system.”
(Source: Mr. Kadar, this does not seem to be in line with Mr. Khrushchev’s remark to the effect that our grandchildren in the U.S. will live under Communism.)
“What makes you think that we have to go along with everything our Comrades say? We Communists like to argue with each other. That is the democratic thing to do. The principal thing is that the East and West must co-exist in peace and that we must negotiate. Take this pres-ent UN debate. It is much better to shout (shout) at each other than to shoot (loni) at each other.”
Personal on Kadar
Kadar said of himself that he was the son of a peasant father, that he liked the trees, the fresh air. his secretary added that Kadar likes to hunt [Page 130] and that he likes to visit zoos. (“Every time Mr. Kadar visits a city where there is a zoo, he insists on seeing the animals.”) his interpreter, Brdelyi, stated that while Kadar speaks “good” Russian, he prefers Brdelyi, a graduate of the University of Leningrad, to translate his words in Hungarian, into Russian when talking with a Russian.
Source added that at a reception, attended by Khrushchev and satellite officials, Khrushchev “ignored Kadar, as usual, while holding court.”
The Kadar Entourage
Sources gained the impression that Lare Hallai was not an important member of the entourage. On the other hand, Janos Vertes appeared to be an important member of the group. his name appeared on the official UN list of fourteen names, members of the Kadar party on the Baltika.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.6411/10–2160. Secret; Limited Distribution. Drafted by Steven D. Zagorski (INR/IRC) and cleared with McKisson.↩