126. Editorial Note

On January 19, 1972, Charles Colson forwarded to Presidentʼs Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs Alexander Haig a letter to the editor published in the Washington Evening Star. In the letter, the writer complained that the Nixon administration had not denied the possibility that the Crown of St. Stephen would be returned to the Hungarian Government. Colson wrote Haig: “Please, please, tell me the attached is not so. Are we trying to blow the entire Eastern European vote or just turn off all Catholics? We may succeed in doing both if there is any truth to the attached [letter to the editor].” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 693, Country Files—Europe, Hungary, Vol. I)

Helmut Sonnenfeldt drafted a reply to Colson, which he forwarded to Haig on January 20. At the bottom of the routing memorandum, he wrote by hand: “Al—I am sick of this constant badgering we are getting on this subject. It would help if HAK could let one in on just what prompted his interest in this [the Crown of St. Stephen] last summer since this is what seems to have triggered the campaign against him and the Administration.” (Ibid.)

Haig forwarded a revised version of Sonnenfeldtʼs draft memorandum to Colson on January 21. Haig wrote: “Re your memorandum of January 19, this is a non-issue on which busy people here have already had to spend far too much time. There are no plans to return the Crown of St. Stephen to the present Hungarian Government and this has been repeatedly stated by the Administration. A number of persons with axes of one kind or another to grind have chosen to hang sinister connotations on the phrase ‘there are no present plans’ [to return the Crown of St. Stephen] which has been used in answers to letters. I hope you will use your influence with your friends to get the canard killed and to get the campaign of imputations against the Administration stopped.” (Ibid.)