147. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The Secretary’s Conversation with Hungarian Foreign Minister Puja October 1—The Crown of St. Stephen2


  • US

    • The Secretary
    • Matthew Nimetz, Counselor
    • Philip Kaiser, American Ambassador to Hungary
    • George Vest, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs
    • Nicholas Andrews, Director EUR/EE (notetaker)
  • Hungary

    • Frigyes Puja, Foreign Minister
    • Ferenc Esztergalyos, Hungarian Ambassador to the US
    • Imre Hollai, Hungarian Ambassador to the UN
    • Tibor Keszthely, interpreter

The Secretary said we believe it is very important to continue to strengthen the relationship between our two countries. We believe that matters are moving in a constructive fashion and we would like to see this process continue. We realize that a very important factor is the [Page 453] return of the Crown. We wish to take that step. The question is when and how. We believe we should try to finalize this at an early date. We will be giving the necessary instructions to Ambassador Kaiser so that we will be able to move forward.

Puja said that in the Hungarian evaluation of bilateral relations, we have basically solved all except two issues. The first is the Crown and treasures, and he is happy to hear that the US has decided to return it. As the Secretary is aware, it is a very important, sacred relic of the Hungarian nation. That is why they have placed great emphasis on its return. Undoubtedly, such an act will greatly influence the feelings of the people of Hungary toward the United States. The Secretary said we should keep this very tightly and an announcement should only be made at the appropriate time by mutual agreement. Puja said this was taken for granted. Hungary has never made propaganda out of it.

  1. Source: Department of State, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Cyrus R. Vance, Secretary of State—1977–1980, Lot 84D241, Box 10, unlabeled folder. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Andrews; approved by Anderson on October 11. The meeting took place at the UN Plaza Hotel.
  2. Vance and Puja also discussed SALT, the Middle East, and MFN for Hungary. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Europe, USSR, and East/West, Hunter Subject File, Box 14, Hungary: Crown of St. Stephen, 7–10/77)