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760F .62/419

The Minister in Hungary (Montgomery) to the Secretary of State1

No. 1084 Budapest, June 2, 1938
(Received June 14.)

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that in a conversation with Dr. Tibor Eckhardt a few nights ago I told him that I was giving considerable thought as to

(1) whether there is any agreement between the Hungarian Government and the German Government with regard to Czechoslovakia,

(2) whether Hungary will attempt to send its Army into Slovakia should the Germans enter Bohemia,

and that although Mr. de Kanya had repeatedly given me assurances, I still wondered whether there was not some secret understanding, the knowledge of which was being withheld from me. I thereupon asked Dr. Eckhardt frankly if he would tell me the real truth. Dr. Eckhardt assured me that there was no secret understanding of any kind, that he had discussed this question with the Regent, Prime Minister Imredy, and Foreign Minister de Kanya and that it was the agreed policy that Hungary would remain completely neutral in the event of a war and would take no action towards Czechoslovakia that would disturb the peace of Europe. Dr. Eckhardt further told me that this policy was based upon the following three points:

(1 U.S. Foreign Relations 1938,1. 55-56.)


(1) Yugoslavia and Rumania are bound under the Little Entente agreement to aid Czechoslovakia in case of attack by Hungary, and Yugoslavia in particular is not averse to taking over some Hungarian territory should the occasion therefor arise;

(2) Hungary cannot afford to go into any war and desires to remain neutral. To act in conjunction with Germany would make her an ally of that country, which would be extremely dangerous, and if war resulted Hungary would be dragged into it;

(3) ln case of the breaking up of Czechoslovakia, Slovakia would naturally return to Hungary. Poland desires a common frontier with Hungary and would use every influence to that end. If Hungary does not disturb the peace of Europe her chances of getting back some of its lost provinces are better than if she involved herself at the start.

A few days after my conversation with Dr. Eckhardt a member of the staff of the Legation called on Baron Apor and questioned him on the same subjects and he, like de Kanya, denied that there is any agreement between the Hungarian and German Governments, stating that "the moment Hungary made any agreement with any large power, from that day on Hungary would be dominated by that power," and then added most emphatically, "No, Hungary must make no agreements, we must play a lone hand."

I am convinced that the above represents the present policy of the Hungarian Government and that unless pressure of public opinion forces it to do otherwise, or there should be some change in the Government, it will not take any hasty or ill considered action.

Respectfully yours,

John F. Montgomery


Joint Communique Concerning the Bled Agreement
Between the Little Entente and Hungary, August, 23, 1938.

The negotiations which have been in progress since last year between Hungary on the one hand and Rumania, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia on the other, and which were inspired by the common desire to rid their mutual relations of everything which could impede the development of good neighbourliness between Hungary and these three States, have resulted in provisional agreements. These agreements include the recognition by the three States of the Little Entente of Hungary's equality of rights as regards armament, as well as the mutual renunciation of

(1. Doc. Int. Affnirs 1938. I. 284.)


any recourse to force between Hungary and the States of the Little Entente .

During the conversations which preceded this agreement, all questions the solution of which might favourably affect relations between the Danube States were discussed in detail and in a friendly spirit. lt has been intended to issue declarations embodying the views of the abovementioned countries on these questions. lt was not, however, possible to draw up these declarations in final form. lt is hoped that when these difficulties have been overcome, the negotiations will be successfully concluded, and that the completed agreements and the above-mentioned declarations will be published simultaneously.



Minute by the State Secretary (Weizsacker) 1
for the Foreign Minister's Secretariat.

Secret On Board "Patria", August 23, 1938

While the Fuhrer and the Hungarian Regent discussed political matters on the morning of August 23, the Hungarian Ministers Imredy and Kanya were closeted with Herr von Ribbentrop. Herr von Weizsacker was also present during this conversation. M. Kanya brought forward two subjects:

(1) The Hungarian negotiations with the Little Entente and

(2) The Czech problem.

Kanya's observations on point (1), negotiations with the Little Entente, were mainly historical and produced actually nothing new. In any case, they were insufficient to justify any addition to the closing communique, which Kanya laid on the table. This communique is due to be issued today by the conference of the Little Entente. It appears that Baron Apor, in Budapest, and Bessenyi, Minister in Belgrade, have agreed to it. The question whether it was opportune was therefore really out of date. Nevertheless, one must go more deeply into it to bring out the German point of view.

Herr von Ribbentrop explained how, in his opinion, the renunciation of the use of force, which is to be proclaimed afresh, would not have the desired political effect, namely, that of protecting Hungary from Yugoslavia, particularly in the event of a Hungarian-Czech crisis. On the

(1.German Documents, 11, 609 ff.)


The Hungarian point of view can quite well be summarized today as follows:

(a) Hungary is glad at not having to expect from us demands in the form of an ultimatum, and
(b) Hungary is convinced that she will not be able to intervene until some 14 days after the out-break of war.




Minute by the State Secretary (Weizsacker)2

Berlin, August 25, 1938

Today the Reich Minister had a further conversation with M. Kanya, at the latter's request. The Reich Minister pointed out to M. Kanya the jubilation of the Czech, French, and British press over the Bled communique and repeated that this event, especially at the present moment, was regarded abroad as a rift in German-Hungarian friendship and as a renunciation by Hungary of her revisionist aims. M. Kanya again put forward the already well known points of view on the legal situation and on the questionable value of the so-called preliminary agreements between Hungary and the Little Entente, and in particular tried once more to prove that the intensified Hungarian demands on Czechoslovakia for protection of the minorities ensure that the agreement will never be fulfilled. And even if it were fulfilled, said M. Kanya, it would never be kept by the other side, and so Hungary would be freed from the observance of her guarantee not to use force. M. Kanya is expecting more detailed information from Budapest as to how far they have actually got with the initialing of the treaties, and will inform the Reich Minister on this. The Reich Minister and M. Kanya agreed that a great deal depended on the treatment of the Bled Communiqui in the Hungarian press during the coming weeks.

With reference to Hungary's willingness to take an active part in the event of a German-Czech conflict, it is known that M. Kanya said a few days ago that an interval of one to two years was necessary in order to develop Hungary's fighting forces sufficiently. In today's conversation, M. Kanya amended this remark by saying that Hungary's military strength had in fact improved. By October 1 this year their armament would be so far advanced as to enable them to take part.


(2 German Documents, 11. 623-624.)



Conversation of the Polish Ambassador in Berlin, Jozef Lipski,
with General Field Marshal Goring

August 24, 1938

(excerpts) Strictly Confidential ( . . . )

Goringremarked that he had not yet had an occasion to talk with Regent Horthy and his staff, who will only arrive in Berlin this afternoon. He wanted to stress that the German government exerted pressure on Budapest to conduct negotiations so as to avoid collective obligations with the states of the Little Entente but to enter into agreement separately with Belgrade and Bucharest, omitting Prague. Goringremarked that Stoyadinovich followed the line of these suggestions at the Bled conference (if I understood correctly). Thus, in Gorings opinion, Hungary would be free to act, as he put it, in the last stage, its action anticipated to follow only a few days after that of the Germans. Goringdescribed Hungary's stand as somewhat soft (flau). ( . . . )

Returning to the Czech problem, Goringcited the British opinion that in a matter of time everything could be settled. He does not share that opinion. He cannot conceive how the Czechs could agree to any concessions, since their state is composed of so many nationalities. For instance, if in order to make things even with Poland they would grant it all concessions, then similar concessions would have to be made to all other minorities. Therefore, the situation is at an impasse.

Following your instructions, I replied to these declarations that we also do not believe the present Czech creation can exist any longer. Nor do we see any change in Czech policy. I added that of late efforts have been made to draw us into anti-German deals but that the Polish govemment rejected these offers categorically. l ascertained that international propaganda presents German policy as pushing ever new claims and provoking conflicts. Poland, I added, does not believe this. Here Goringreacted very strongly, saying that indeed propaganda imputes to Germany intentions of new territorial demands . . .

I returned to the Hungarian problem. I stressed Polish-Hungarian friendship, describing Hungary as an element of stabilization in the Danubian basin. Referring to the expression Goringused earlier that

(1.Waclaw Jedrzejewicz (ed.), Diplomat in Berlin 1933-1939. Papers and Memairs of Jozef Lipski, Ambassador of Poland (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968). pp. 382-86. Hereafter cited as Lipski Papers.)


the Hungarians are a bit flau - I came out with the question whether, in his opinion, they are mature enough for independent action. I remarked that the untimely death of Gombos2 was a heavy loss of Hungary. Goringconfirmed my opinion, as well as my judgement that still not enough understanding might be observed in Hungarian statesmen on nationality problems (volkisch).

In discussion on this item, important opinions of Goringare worth noting. First of all, he remarked that Germany has no precise understanding on this matter with Hungary, nor does it have any with Poland. On the other hand, Germany is aware of Hungary's interests in Czechoslovakia, and the same relates to Poland. The Germans envisaged that, in case Germany undertook any action, Hungary would join. Germany is taking on itself the task of restraining Belgrade from acting against Hungary. It expects that Warsaw would act along the same lines toward Bucharest in order to prevent any action. lt would be most embarrassing if Hungary did not make a move, since Czech forces could then retreat to Slovakia. Evidently, Germany would not demand military assistance from Budapest or Warsaw, if only for the reason that this would look derisory in view of Germany's predominance over Czechoslovakia. But Germany understands that under such circumstances Poland would occupy the region of interest to it. In practice it might occur that Polish and German units would meet somewhere.

In connection with these deliberations of Goring l stressed that Poland is closely united with Slovakia, owing to links of race and language. The ties are even closer since we have no claims to Slovakia. I observed that the evolution of the Slovak nation had progressed rapidly, especially in the last years, and I said that it is imperative that Slovakia be granted autonomy from either one side or the other from the Czechs or the Hungarians.

Goringeagerly confirmed that this is a necessity. He added that Germany is fortunately in such a position that these matters are of no concern to it. On the other hand, there is the question of relations between Warsaw and Budapest, and Poland's good influence on Hungay. In his opinion Hungary should grant the autonomy which was refused by Czechoslovakia.

With regard to Sub-Carpathian Russia I observed, following instructions, that it is a place where international intrigues abound, adding that this land was taken away from Hungary solely for the purpose of giving Czechoslovakia access to Russia . . .

Joszef Lipski

(2Julius Gombos, the Hungarian prime minister, died on October 6, 1935.)




Unsigned Foreign Ministry Minute for the Foreign Minister1

Berlin, September 26, 1938 (Pol. IV 6621)

The Rumanian Minister in Rome has given, in the name of his Government, the following secret information to the Italian Foreign Minister:

(1) Rumania is being subjected to very heavy pressure to allow transit rights to Soviet troops in the event of German attack on Czechoslovakia. Rumania has emphatically refused to grant this request.

(2) Rumania fully appreciates Hungary's hopes of regaining the areas which once were hers and now belong to Prague. In the name of his Government, the Rumanian Minister requested the Italian Government to exert their influence in Budapest so as to prevent any impulsive action which might make the international situation more difficult for Rumania, especially with respect to the treaties of the Little Entente. Lastly, Rumania pointed out that her attitude would have to be reconsidered if Hungary increased her demands to include areas which did not contain Hungarian populations.

Minister Ciano replied to M. Zamfirescu that the alliances of the Little Entente must be considered as dissolved, in view of the substantial changes in the status of one of the signatories. The Italian Foreign Minister also inquired what attitude Rumania would adopt in the event of a Polish-Soviet conflict. The Rumanian Minister answered that without doubt Rumania would take the side of Warsaw and that, in any case, the alliance with Poland would have precedence over any obligation to Prague.

(1 German Documents, 11. 936. This minute was initialed by Weizsacker, who forwarded it to Ribbentrop.)

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