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

249694. For Ambassador from the Deputy Secretary. Subject: Hungary and MFN.

1. As you know, during Foreign Minister Puja’s meeting with the Secretary in New York on October 1,2 Puja once again expressed the Hungarian Government’s interest in considering the possibility of MFN for Hungary. In response the Secretary said that you would be discus[Page 455]sing this matter in detail with the Foreign Minister in Budapest.3 As a result, and in part as a follow-on to the technical trade talks begun in June in Washington with Hungary’s senior trade negotiator, Janos Nyerges, you are instructed to seek detailed discussions with key Hungarian authorities to explain the emigration provisions of the Trade Act of 1974 and to obtain sufficient additional information about Hungary’s emigration law, its application of this law, methods of dealing with bilateral emigration problems, and Hungarian emigration to third countries including Israel to prepare a comprehensive report that will serve to answer executive and congressional questions on these topics.

2. You should explain to the Hungarian Government that we have noted with favor the positive humanitarian spirit with which Hungary is addressing family reunification matters and also that we have carefully considered the recent statements made by various Hungarian officials (such as Ambassador Bartha’s statement in May to Charge Mudd)4 on emigration as well as the formulation on emigration contained in the Hungarian proposal for implementation of CSCE in bilateral relations. You should state that, if in the course of these discussions an authoritative spokesman of the Hungarian Government (e.g., Foreign Minister or Prime Minister) were to make an appropriate statement indicating that the emigration practices of Hungary will henceforth lead substantially to the achievement of free emigration, we are prepared to move into negotiation of a trade agreement following completion of the discussions.

3. You should indicate to the Hungarian Government that the necessary content of such a statement has been very carefully considered by the White House to insure that, as a conclusion to your discussions on Hungarian emigration practice, it would serve as a satisfactory basis for the President to report to Congress that he has received assurances as required by the Trade Act. If the Hungarian Government prefers to make this statement in confidence, rather than publicly, the [Page 456] text of the statement will be treated within the U.S. Government with the utmost confidence.

4. To meet the intent of Congress the statement must address emigration across the board (not only family reunification), it must apply to emigration to all countries, and it must speak to future practice. We consider that the following statement, in the context of discussions indicating that Hungarian law and administrative practice do not in fact preclude emigration, would be appropriate:

Quote: I am authorized to state to you on behalf of my government that Hungary will satisfactorily solve any emigration problems which may arise. Unquote. This statement may be coupled with references to traditional Hungarian policy or to the Helsinki Final Act if the Hungarian Government prefers. (Here we note Bartha’s phrase—Budapest 1907 “Resolution of these issues is an integral part of Hungary’s approach to human relations”). The term “emigration problems” could be adjusted to “problems of the type we have been discussing” or to “humanitarian problems” if the context clearly shows that the parties are talking about emigration.

4. If the Hungarian Government wishes to propose other language, that must be referred to Washington to insure that it would meet the requirements of the law.

5. If necessary in order to assist in your discussions of Jackson-Vanik and Hungarian emigration as well as provide guidance if the Hungarians wish to discuss further the language of the statement, we are prepared to send a Department representative who is directly familiar with Section 402 of the Trade Act5 and the Romanian talks.

6. Circular 175 authority6 has been obtained for negotiation of a trade agreement. We are now preparing a draft trade agreement.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770383–1338. Confidential; Exdis. Drafted by Gerth; cleared by Luers, Schmidt, Nimetz, Johnston, Hormats, Hansell, King, and Stahnke; approved by Christopher.
  2. See Document 147.
  3. Kaiser met with Puja on October 27. In telegram 3749 from Budapest, October 28, he reported that, with regard to U.S. immigration requirements, Puja “indicated his satisfaction that they seemed less demanding than had previously been the case.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770396–1113) In telegram 3818 from Budapest, November 2, Kaiser reported that, in his conversation with Puja that day, the Hungarian Foreign Minister said he had not yet been able to secure the agreement of the Hungarian leadership to the proposed U.S. language on assurances prior to their departure for Moscow, but that he would reply to the U.S. proposal as soon as they return. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770403–0639)
  4. In telegram 1907 from Budapest, June 9, the Embassy reported on a conversation with Bartha regarding divided family cases. Bartha assured Mudd that Hungary would resolve all outstanding family reunification cases because “resolution of these issues is an integral part of Hungary’s approach to human relations.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770207–0441)
  5. Section 402 of the 1974 Trade Act outlines the requirement for freedom of emigration from bloc countries seeking to receive MFN.
  6. Circular 175 refers to regulations developed by the Department of State to ensure the proper exercise of treaty-making power. Typically, a Circular 175 is an action memorandum seeking authority to negotiate, conclude, amend, extend, or terminate an international agreement.