110. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Hungary1

160353. Ref: Budapest 1400, 1404.2 From Acting Secretary to Ambassador.

The Hungarian rejection of our proffered visit by the astronauts, and particularly the tone and words in which it was conveyed, are source of concern to White House and to us.
It is inevitable that the course of US-Hungarian relations will be affected, and you should take steps to effect an appropriate cooling down. We do not intend to give publicity to these steps, but we expect them to be of character to reflect extent of our concern and it should be brought clearly home to Hungarians that they relate to cancellation of astronauts. Secretary, for example, will not receive Under Secretary Puja in New York (urtel 1431).3 So far as further bilateral talks, visits, and exchanges are concerned, you should await Hungarian initiative and seek specific instructions on whether and how to proceed. We intend to limit bilateral talks to issues involving clearcut, demonstrable and concrete advantage to the interests of the US.
We have also considered canceling visit of AEC Chairman Seaborg to Budapest September 29, but since he will spend only twelve hours in country and will confine his activity to conversation on scientific matters with Deputy Chief Central Institute of Physics Lenard, he will proceed as planned.4
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 693, Country Files—Europe, Hungary, Vol. I. Secret; Priority;Exdis. Repeated priority to USUN for Secretary Rogers as Tosec 21. Drafted by Swank and Lisle, cleared by Hillenbrand and Kissinger, and approved by Richardson.
  2. Telegrams 1400 and 1404 from Budapest, September 19, reported on Hungarian reaction to a projected visit by U.S. astronauts. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL HUNG–US)
  3. Dated September 17; it reported on the membership of the Hungarian UNGA delegation. (Ibid., UN 3 GA)
  4. In telegram 1478 from Budapest, September 23, Puhan expressed his “full” agreement with the tack the Department of State proposed to adopt and suggested a series of practical measures for implementing the policy. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 693, Country Files—Europe, Hungary, Vol. I) U.S. irritation at the Hungarian rejection of the astronaut visit was conveyed to Nagy by Hillenbrand during a September 25 meeting. (Telegram 163643 to Budapest, September 25; ibid.)