121. Telegram From the Embassy in Hungary to the Department of State1
Budapest, July 21, 1971, 1405Z.
1313. Subject: Foreign Minister Peter on Raising Level of Dialogue.
- FonMin Peter said he had learned that I was interested in exploring on an entirely unofficial basis the possibility of raising the level of our dialogue. I replied that this was a thought I had raised unofficially in Washington but I had no instructions. Peter assured me his reaction [Page 287] was unofficial too but was certain that if he made it to his government it would be accepted. He asked me if I would explore the acceptability of Deputy Prime Minister Peter Valyi having conversations in Washington in the economic area. He noted Valyi had been highly successful Finance Minister, was highly regarded by the Hungarian Government, and had just been raised to the level of Deputy Prime Minister. He described him as an expert in international economic affairs who could talk knowledgeably with American officials.
- Peter said if we found such a visit interesting he would like to extend an invitation to an American Cabinet official to come and visit Hungary. He would like to extend such an invitation through the Secretary of State whom he would like to meet in New York during the UNGA.
- I asked Peter whom he had in mind. He replied he would be guided by any suggestions I was prepared to make but someone like Secretary of Commerce Stans would be most welcome.
- I again told the Foreign Minister that my interest lay in exploring possibilities of this sort and that I would pass on his reaction to my government and let him know the answer. Obviously much preparatory work would have to be done before meetings of this kind could materialize. Also the general climate of our relations would be a factor in our reaction to this type of suggestion.
- Comment: The Department will recall that I explored this suggestion of raising the level of our dialogue while on consultation. While our relations with Hungary are frequently troubled and exacerbated by irritants produced in inimitable fashion by the Hungarians, I believe we might find a dialogue of the sort envisioned here of use to us. Aside from the fact that conversations at the level of Cabinet official and Deputy Prime Minister could hasten a solution of bilateral problems which remain, they could move Hungary into a slightly more independent position within the Bloc than that which they now occupy. Hungary will continue to be exceedingly timid in taking any steps which could be interpreted as moving in the direction of Romania. However, I believe it could be useful to welcome whatever steps in our direction.
- Valyi is excellent choice for trip to US. I know him and have found him to be likable, flexible, open-minded. He is an architect of the economic reform with what appears to be a bright future. He can be expected to constructively explore those areas in which relations can be improved, especially on the economic side. In return for his visit, I would welcome one by Secretary Stans to Hungary.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL HUNG–US. Confidential. Puhan reported on other portions of his meeting with Peter in telegrams 1309, 1310, and 1314 from Budapest, July 21. (Ibid. and ibid., SOC 12–1 HUNG)↩