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The second day of the Council debate on the Marseille regicide (December 8) took place in perfect calm, and brought little satisfaction to the Little Entente. They even found Laval's speech to be somewhat weak in its conclusions. He opened the discussion by firmly announcing: "France in this grave debate is on Yugoslavia's side." Then, addressing Mr. Yeftitch, who was brooding at the end of the oval table over disturbing news from Belgrade, Laval paid tribute to Yugoslavia's composure: "By the calm she has not broken and must not break, Yugoslavia has proved her strength and unity." This, of course, was an admonition for the future, and thereafter Laval restated some of the Yugoslav accusations against Hungary less bluntly, but more deceptively, than Yeftitch had done. "Agents have departed from Hungarian territory," he said, "who went to commit crimes in Yugoslavia and even on French soil." Word for word, this was true, but was Hungary responsible for the crimes of agents acting under foreign orders? According to Laval, Hungary was implicated, for "Hungarian authorities had given Hungarian passports to terrorists who were Yugoslav citizens and have thereby facilitated their criminal activities." (Due to "Uncle Chocho's" frivolity, this was the only questionable fact in the Hungarian position. If the granting of Hungarian passports to some Croat refugees had been publicly revealed by us at the proper time during the Hungarian police investigation, present accusations and suspicions could have been avoided by simply telling the truth: that a minor violation had been committed in complete good faith.)

It was a matter of routine for Mr. Laval, the well versed advocate, to exploit this error. He accepted my frank account on the passports made on the previous day in the Council: "Mr. de Eckhardt has told us that legally these passports could not be obtained; he did not pretend that they were false or that they had been falsified: he has thereby admitted that Hungary has the duty to establish the responsibilities for it." The facts in this statement, and its logic, could not be disputed.

Having scored on this point, Laval turned his attention toward revisionism, the "bete noire" of the French-Little Entente combine. He reiterated forcefully the declaration he had made a few days before


in the French Chamber: "Whoever wills to change a frontier post is troubling the peace of Europe." He gave notice that it would be an important and delicate task of the Council to see to it that the principle embodied in Article X of the Covenant be upheld, which made it the duty of every member to respect and maintain the territorial integrity and political independence of all the other members. He did not mention the equally valid Article XIX of the Covenant, which provided for the possibility of peaceful revision of the Treaties.

This omission, of course, had been carefully calculated. Under the label of "political crimes," Mr. Laval was jumbling together terrorism and revisionism, and asked that both be repressed. He insisted: "A new international regulation has to be provided. Effective repression of political crimes must be assured on the international level. France reserves the right for herself to submit in this respect . . . concrete proposals to the Council." The convention he intended to propose, Laval assured the Council, would not interfere with the right of asylum. This I accepted, but I also suspected that his convention would knock out Article XIX, one of the two pillars on which the League was established. Meanwhile, taval advised the interested governments to ferret out and punish the accomplices to the Marseille regicide; it was particularly the Hungarian Government - he told which would have to reopen its investigation in order to assure just and effective reprisals.

The tone of Laval's speech was firm, his methods oblique, but as far as the Marseille affair was concerned, the content of his speech was moderate. The New York Times (December 9) recognized that asking Hungary merely to resume the investigation of some of her officials' conduct "was much less than the moral condemnation of Hungary," demanded as a minimum by the Little Entente. Laval had started to work in favor of a peaceful solution. But the time had not yet come for me to make a move in that direction. Blackmailing by the Little Entente through various pressures in the Hungarian border zone still continued; the expulsion of Hungarians, though their number had fallen much lower in the last twenty-four hours, had not yet been stopped, and the Yugoslav orders to this effect had not been rescinded. I informed the press that I might have to appeal to the League if the frontier situation became worse. I explained that Hungary was con-


templating an appeal eventually under the very serious Article XV of the Covenant applying to disputes "likely to lead to a rupture."

There was nothing devious in the very direct speech of the Italian Ambassador, Baron Aloisi, who spoke after Mr. Laval. Clarence K. Streit reported that he "devoted fifty of his one thousand words to the praise of King Alexander as deserving of 'the esteem of peoples' and almost all the rest to support of Hungary's arguments or position. He expressed sympathy for the injury to her honor that Hungary had suffered from the accusations; but. . . he expressed none for the blow Yugoslavia had suffered."1 In open contradiction to Mr. Laval's thesis that revisionism was an intolerable political crime, the Italian Ambassador stressed Hungary's affirmation of the essentially pacific character of her revisionism. He also expressed the Italian view that "the treaties should be adapted to new exigencies, for that means guaranteeing the preservation of peace." He stressed that Italy had always held that revision must come "through legal forms." For him revisionism was "the rejection of terrorism."

Yeftitch, the Yugoslav Foreign Minister, became quite incensed with Aloisi's statements. In his report Mr. Streit disclosed2 that Yeftitch had privately "intimated that he could no longer accept the conciliatory solution contemplated yesterday because of the open approval of revisionism by Aloisi of Italy and his conspicuous failure to say anything regarding Yugoslav unity - let alone public recognition to Yugoslav integrity, which Yugoslavia insists France must obtain from Rome as part of any Franco-Italian rapprochement."

Having listened to the divergent views of the Representatives of France and Italy) Mr. Eden's comments were expected in the Council with heightened interest. Tactfully, the future rapporteur of the Yugoslav complaint refrained from expressing his views on revisionism and also warned others against embittering the debate with extraneous issues. After paying tribute to the two victims of the Marseille crime, Captain Eden confessed that he would find it very hard to form an opinion concerning the responsibilities outlined in the Yugoslav complaint, since the investigation in France had not yet been terminated. "We may consider ourselves lucky to have under present circumstances a forum in the League of Nations where events of this kind may be

1 New York Times, Decernber 9, 1934.

2 lbid.


examined calmly." Alluding unmistakably to the expulsion of Hungarians from Yugoslavia, he then warned: "I do not conceal from the Council that certain of the reports which I have recently received give cause for anxiety. There is a heavy responsibility upon all of us at this Council table not to allow local conditions to deteriorate while we are seeking here to secure a solution." Mr. Eden emphasized that the right of asylum was dear to every Englishman's heart and that in her long experience Britain had found that this right was rarely abused when coupled with true personal liberty. But Britain does not tolerate acts of violence being prepared on her soil. He finally asked for moderation on all sides to facilitate the task of the League by limiting the extension of the conflict.

Eden's dignified speech, however, did nothing to calm the Little Entente's excitement, caused by Baron Aloisi. They found Mr. Eden to be so cold toward Yugoslavia that they could not accept him for the rapporteur on a dispute where they expected total victory. Unquestionably, the Serbs had harmed their own cause by the abuses committed against their Hungarian minority. Doubts were also raised among members of the French Delegation about Mr. Laval's going to Rome in the near future. My reaction, of course, was very different: I felt grateful to Mr. Eden for having warned the Yugoslavs against endangering the situation on the Hungarian border. No major evil was threatening Hungary now in Geneva; but unless the Great Powers restrained them, the Serbs might start serious mischief on the Danube.

In describing the attitude of the Great Powers regarding the Marseille murders, I must devote some space to the Soviets, not because Maxim Litvinov, their Commissar for Foreign Affairs, delivered a strange speech on this second day of our discussions in the Council, but more important - to call attention to the astounding gullibility and complacency of the Western Great Powers in Europe who sought the alliance of the Soviets, in times of peace, as a guarantee of their security and well-being.

In mid-September, 1934, the admission of the Soviets to the League of Nations caused considerable uneasiness among the delegations in Geneva. This was not due to any doubt concerning the result of the coming vote, but because of maneuvers and intrigues aimed at transforming a routine procedure, the entrance of the Soviets, into some sort of celebration. Anxious to win the favors of the Slav big brother,


it was particularly Mr. Benes who was busying himself with such scheme - and very soon, not to he outsmarted by his nimble colleague - Mr. Titulescu joined enthusiastically in his strategem

Since 1927, the Soviets had been participating in various activities sponsored by the League of Nations, notably the Disarmament and certain economic conferences Their entrance into the League was greatly facilitated by Hitler's exit in 1933, which led to the Soviets' political rapprochement with France and their economic cooperation with Britain, marked in 1934 by a new trade treaty. Thirty years ago, the Soviets were sabotaging armament control exactly as they have been doing it in recent years. But they impressed naive Western souls, for a while, with their deceptive, peaceful disposition. Scared by the rise of Hitler, the Soviets had coined a new catchword: "Cooperation in the interest of peace" with the capitalist countries. They had withdrawn into a defensive posture and were seemingly on their good behavior, for in the Far East they also were having trouble with the Japanese. Hard pressed, they still won a major victory in subversion with their new propaganda slogan. They popularized the idea of cooperation with the Communists and maneuvered the allied French people into acceptance of a "Popular Front" government (1936) spiked with fellow-travellers who brought in their wake decay, humiliation, and the surrender of France. This pattern of a coalition government based on all the democratic political parties, including the Communist-accepted at the Moscow Conference (in October 1943) by Britain and the United State - was applied in 1945 to the liberated countries in Europe. It caused the loss of half the Continent by the West and, for years, the decay of the remainder of Europe.

By September, 1934, all the Great Powers in the League had agreed to accept the Soviets as a new member. The British Government, in agreement with Paris and Rome, had undertaken to promote their admission. Mussolini intervened with the Hungarian Government in this sense. In 1924, I had prevented the establishment of diplomatic relations between Hungary and the Soviets by quoting in Parliament passages from a British Red Cross report (1919) on the mass murders committed by the Bolsheviks in Leningrad. I never changed my views of the Soviets, so when their admission was put to a vote, I walked out of the Assembly. An official of the Hungarian Delegation then


carried out the Hungarian Government's instruction to vote for their acceptance.

There were, however, nations, such as Switzerland, Argentina, Ireland, Portugal, etc., which were beyond the reach of Soviet power and could afford to disregard the Russians' displeasure. On various occasions they gave expression to their moral scruples and, on September 18, they voted against acceptance of the Soviets. A delegation from Soviet oppressed Georgia had previously arrived in Geneva; they distributed reports and documents on Soviet crimes committed in their country and argued that the Soviets were not qualified to be accepted as a member of the League. It was the League's 6th Committee which would have had to clarify the situation, but the Soviets refused to answer any charges, although supported by the Ukraine, Azerbaidjan, Armenia, White Russia and Turkestan. In the midst of all this turmoil, I saw Mr. Litvinov arrive in Geneva. Entering the lobby of his hotel, he sighted there the entire Georgian Delegation. As if bitten by a viper, he and his bodyguards turned around hastily and left the hotel and even Geneva! For three days they could not be found anywhere in Switzerland. There must have been some truth in those Georgian charges. The Journal de Geneve (September 10) tersely remarked that the requirement of universality in the League should only be satisfied when it left intact "the principle of justice and honor" which must prevail over universality. I wonder whether the United Nations would not be better off today had they used this decent yardstick while admitting new members from behind the Iron Curtain?

According to the alphabet, Hungary is a neighbor of Ireland, so sitting next to Mr. Eamon de Valera in the Assembly of the League, I listened with sympathy to his honest views, which he expressed with much clarity. I feel indebted to him for a book he gave me, written by Arthur Griffith, the hero of Irish independence, who was inspired - as Mr. de Valera related - by the example of the Hungarian, Louis Kossuth, who dared to challenge two Empires: the Austrian and the Russian; whereas, Ireland had to fight against only one Empire: the British. On the Soviet issue, de Valera's speech greatly relieved my conscience, for he said much of what I could not voice, (September 12, 1934), that the days were gone when freedom of religion could be denied by a government. His political and religious ideals represented


the opposite of the Communist teachings, he continued, yet he would vote for admission of the Soviets, since this was a League of Nations and the Russians were one of the largest nations on earth. But he wanted to bring the Soviets into the League so that they might learn to respect human rights and to induce them to extend to all the nations the guarantees against subversion which they gave to the United States when diplomatic relations between them were established. And, certainly, he stated, the admission of the Soviets was no occasion for any celebration; no privileges should be accorded to them; the problem of their membership must be discussed publicly, and the opportunity must be accorded to every member to vote against their admission.

This plain talk decided the issue. Mr. Motta, the Swiss Delegate, told the Assembly that the Soviets would have to give some explanations when they joined the League. Their anti-religious propaganda plunged Christianity into tears and compelled us to ask God for justice. Mr. Eden, far from showing enthusiasm, explained that he would vote for the admission of the Soviets because he wished the League of Nations to be as representative as possible. Finally, the Soviets were admitted with only 39 votes. There was no folk-festival, no trace of jubilation when, escorted by the agile Mr. Benes, a Trojan Horse, the Soviet Delegation took their seats in the League that five years later they helped to destroy.

The arrival of Mr. Litvinov in Geneva for the December meeting of the League's Council was accompanied in the Swiss press by outspoken criticism of subversive Soviet practices. The Journal de Geneve veritably unmasked the role which the Communists played in Yugoslav terrorism. On November 22, the paper quoted a speech made one year earlier (in 1933) by Ivan Raitch, representing the Yugoslav Communist Party in the Komintern. He had declared in Moscow, at the Plenary Executive Meeting of the Communist International, that the Yugoslav Communist Party "is aiding the formation of nationalist revolutionary groups. . . . This movement has been producing results already. Such groups have been formed in Croatia and Slovenia and are now being formed in Montenegro also." The Swiss paper then revealed that this revolutionary activity was based on the directives of the Soviet agent, Munzenberg, for the establishment of ties between Muscovite militant Communism and the national autonomist move-


ments in Europe. I became aware that against the Soviets a real case could be built up by Yugoslavia, whereas against Hungary no governmental complicity in terrorist actions could ever be truthfully established.

By December 8, the day when the Great Powers, the Soviets among them, outlined their positions concerning the Marseille crime in the Council, the tragic consequences of Kirov's murder had become partly known. That morning, under the headline "Litvinov and terrorism," the Journal de Geneve quoted the respected Swiss statesman, Mr. Motta, who had warned in September those delegates who proposed to introduce the Soviets into the League: "You speak of the evolution of the Bolshevik regime - we also hope for it, but we cannot believe in it." Stalin was justifying now Motta's views, said the paper, by having had shot within a week sixty-six persons for Kirov's murder. The paper also recalled the wave of massive terror launched by Djerdjinski when Dora Kaplan wounded Lenin, those 20,000 passers-by who were imprisoned then and exterminated in groups. Uritzki's murder in 1920 had also cost 3,000 lives.

In anticipation of much worse to come, the Swiss paper exclaimed: "There is nothing more cruel than cowardice! And Litvinov will speak today on terrorism! Is he the man who may give to the world a lesson on this subject!" In answer, the article pointed to the criminal past of Litvinov himself: "He was a member of the band which in July, 1907, robbed 250,000 rubles from a Tiflis bank, killing 35 persons. On January 17, 1908, he was arrested by the French police while trying to pass on some of the . . . banknotes. Under the aliases of Delitiariek, Borissuk and Wallach-Meer, he has been a prominent member of a terrorist gang before assuming the role of preaching morality to our forgetful world." These grave accusations have never been refuted, but they were allowed to slip into oblivion. The fiendish skill of the Soviets, promoted by our domestic gravediggers, cajoled our good American people by word and by print, in films and in plays, into embracing the wartime Soviet Ambassador, the "benign" Mr. Litvinov, as a sincere friend. Guests hastening to his receptions in the nation's capital jammed 16th Street during the second World War, while his agents and spies stole the American atomic secrets and stealthily prepared for our undoing.

I wondered that day, sitting at the Council table, what Mr. Litvinov


would have to say, inasmuch as he had been stripped of all respectability by the Swiss press. He could hardly express his sincere view: his satisfaction with the Marseille crime, which eliminated King Alexander, who had consistently opposed Soviet influence in the Little Entente. Years later, when I visited Belgrade, the Tsarist flag still flew above the Russian Embassy. White Russian officers from Wrangel's counterrevolutionary Army had settled in sizeable numbers in Yugoslavia and rendered that country just as odious to the Soviets as Fascist Italy. The latent conflict between these two of her enemies would be inflamed - I believed - this afternoon by Litvinov. Least of all would he spare the Hungarians, the most determined enemies of Communism, who in 1919 had made a laughing stock of Bela Kun (the Soviet agent) who had set himself up as the Hungarian dictator. Whoever was counted out in Geneva during this conflict, the Soviets could only profit from it.

A vicious attack by Litvinov against any one of these Powers, or even against all three of them, would have seemed quite logical to me. But I was not reared in dialectical Marxism. Sordid recent events in Leningrad and sinister future plans were weighing then - maybe not on his conscience - but certainly on Litvinov's mind. He could not expose himself to counterattack; also, as a newcomer to this august gathering, he wanted to cut a good figure while dealing with a subject so ticklish for the Soviets. Therefore in his opening statement, Litvinov simply brushed off the Yugoslav complaint. He told that the assassination of King Alexander had been made possible "by the complicity of certain unknown authorities of an unknown country." Leaving the door open for a future attack against whichever side he pleased, he then declared that for the time being he would withhold all opinion on the Marseille crime. He did not take sides with any one of the litigants, but he, of all people, delved into the question of terrorism. On the eve of the most horrible Soviet bloodbath, he, the spokesman of Stalin, the terrorist, qualified terrorism "a revolting and dangerous phenomenon." Then, in a professional tone, he gave us a course in the history of international terrorism.

Admitting the undeniable, but keeping open every escape route, he declared that there existed individual terrorism which had been widely practiced in the country he represented. Before the war, he continued, there were in Russia, revolutionary parties which concentrated their


activities on that type of terrorism, "while another revolutionary party to which I (Litvinov) belonged opposed such procedures." Mixing truth with falsehood, he tried to exonerate himself and the Communist Party. But terrorist action in the past, he went on, had never extended beyond the Russian borders, whereas terrorism in the post-war years, which fills us with indignation and disgust, is not based on individual, but on group action, and is inspired by reactionary ideas which try to revive past, unpopular regimes. Almost always, it is organized in foreign countries and it fights against Marxism, the value of which it does not recognize. He concluded that the Marseille regicide belonged in this category and expressed the conviction that the League of Nations would understand how to carry out its duty.

Litvinov's speech was aimed exclusively at establishing a theoretical alibi for past acts of Communist terrorism. Nonplused, I leaned back and stared at the ceiling. The subversive methods, practiced all over the world by the international Communist conspiracy, he had boldly shoved into the shoes of his opponents, qualified as reactionaries. According to Litvinov, there existed something like acceptable terrorism, as distinguished from disgusting terrorism - the latter being directed against Marxists. This Communist technique could confuse weak minds: it was based on distortion and falsification; it was a special brand of the "big lie." I could perhaps qualify it a travesty with a fantastic semblance to reality, but deliberately disjointed in its overall logic. The onetime brilliant painter, Pablo Picasso, adopted this technique in his paintings, after he joined the Communist Party. There is a plan and even some logic in such deceit, just as there is in madness.

There was also some jargon in Litvinov's English language which Mr. Eden did not seem to enjoy. "I wish he would speak French," he whispered to his neighbor. For me, in one respect, Litvinov's baffling speech was quite reassuring: he was not out to get Hungary. He was covering up the Soviet's bloody footprints, as does the fox when it wipes out with its bushy tail all the traces it might leave behind in the snow. I had considered being introduced to Litvinov, as was expected of a delegate of a small power: I felt now, however, that it was safer to stay away from him altogether. He was on the defensive; if I left him alone, he would start no trouble. With a twinkle in the eye, I nodded to Litvinov when I left the Council meeting. He nodded back - he understood the situation perfectly.


The real intentions of the Soviets were disclosed - much against their will - by the Chief of the Budapest Police, the alert "Uncle Chocho." In the first days of November (1934), he arrested three Hungarian Communist agents, led by Emmerich Horvath, who were sent to Hungary to organize internal disturbances during the expected crisis. Obviously, Moscow had decided to increase the tension, both in Hungary and in Yugoslavia, by terrorist activities. In the Hungarian-inhabited area of Subotica, in Yugoslavia, the authorities arrested at the same time no less than sixty Communist agents recently infiltrated in order to carry out subversive actions.

However, more truth on the vicious terrorism committed in those months by the Komintern was revealed only ten years later, (in 1945), when the Soviet Army invaded Hungary and the NKVD released from jail, in Vac, a man called Matuska, and put this criminal, sentenced for life, in charge of a penitentiary. In 1931, in the vicinity of Budapest, the Orient Express was blown up by a bomb when passing over a viaduct in Biatorbagy. Twenty-two persons were killed and over one hundred wounded. Arrested by the Police, Matuska admitted having committed the crime, but he gave no motive for it. The judge had to make psychoanalytical studies during his trial: was he insane, an incorrigible criminal, or a political terrorist? His quick repartees were impudent and startling. He accused a certain "Leo," as having made him commit the crime, without identifying Leo. Matuska did not gain any material advantage from this mass murder, which remained a mystery for ten years. He was declared completely sane of mind by the Courts, but his death sentence was commuted by the Regent to life imprisonment. Nobody suspected that Matuska, seemingly with no political affiliation whatsoever, had been a tool of the Communist Underground. Carefully, he had been planted in Budapest years before, ordered to stay out of politics and to perpetrate his ghastly crime when "Leo" his contact man, commanded him to do so. Litvinov's speech on terrorism must be evaluated in the light shed by these facts. And it may perhaps be added that on the day when Litvinov spoke in the League, thirty-seven more victims were arrested for Kirov's murder in Soviet Russia in Stalin's "drive against terrorism."

The melancholy fate of Mr. Beksadian, Stalin's first Minister to Hungary, also belongs in the history of Stalin's "drive against terrorism." This pock-marked, paunchy little Armenian used to occupy,


with Mrs. Beksadian, his nondescript, aging wife, a lonely corner at. diplomatic receptions. Unnoticed, they stood against the wall silently, for they spoke nothing but Russian, which very few people in Budapest understood. A few months after Kirov's murder, Beksadian notified the Hungarian Foreign Office that he was leaving on a protracted vacation for a shooting party in the Caucasus. As is customary among diplomats, Mr. Kristoffy, the Hungarian Minister to Russia,. awaited him upon his arrival in Moscow. He did see Beksadian and his wife from a distance, when they stepped off the train and were instantly grabbed by NKVD agents. Months later a new Soviet Minister, Mr. Sharonov presented his credentials in Budapest. He was transferred from Warsaw, without Beksadian having been recalled; and arrived with a smart and cultured blond "wife," yet not the same wife he had in Warsaw a week before, where he had served as the Soviet Ambassador. Sharonov spoke various Western languages, but suddenly did not seem to understand Regent Horthy, when asked in French and also English about Mr. Beksadian's health and whether he had returned from the shooting party? These questions have remained unanswered, and the Beksadians were never seen again.

The Journal de Geneve (December 11, 1934) reported next day that Mr. Litvinov's speech had evoked smiles. The rarely sarcastic New York Times (December 9, 1934) also found that "Russia ran true to historical form by denouncing terrorism more vigorously than anyone else."

Litvinov's irritating performance deprived the discussion in the Council of all its zest for that day. Five members had spoken previously; Mr. Komarnicki for Poland and Mr. de Madariaga for Spain, eager to create a friendlier atmosphere, paid tribute in a few words to Hungary and to Yugoslavia, both of whom were their friends, for their moderation. The remaining two Council members, Mr. Castillo Najera (Mexico) and Mr. Rivas Vivana (Chile) absolved their task by expressing approval of a convention against terrorism to be submitted to their Governments. The same evening, I sent to the Secretariat for distribution an additional Hungarian memorandum. It registered the measures Hungary had taken and intended to take for the prevention of acts of terrorism. It again refuted the baseless Yugoslav accusations against Hungarian authorities and patriotic associations. Finally, it set forth clearly that the Marseille regicide could


not be connected with revisionism, for the Hungarian nation, aspiring for the revision of the Trianon Treaty, was determined to use exclusively peaceful means in the spirit of the League of Nations Covenant.

There was nothing new in this memorandum. But, while assuming full responsibility for it, Hungary's policy and her conduct were restated precisely and in writing.

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