[Table of Contents] [Previous] [Next] [HMK Home] Wartime American Plans for a New Hungary


NO. 77

Editor-in Chief, Béla K. Király
Associate Editor-in-Chief, Peter Pastor
Assistant Editor, Edit Völgyesi

A Joint Publication with the Committee
for Danubian Research, Inc.
War and Society in East Central Europe

Volume XXX

Wartime American Plans for a New Hungary

Documents from the U.S. Department of State,

Edited with an Introduction by Social Science Monographs,
Boulder, Colorado
Atlantic Research and Publications,
Highland Lakes, New Jersey

Distributed by Columbia University Press, New York

Copyright 1992 by Atlantic Research and Publications, Inc.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 92-82611
ISBN 0-88033-251-4

Printed in the United States of America

To my wife, Éva
to my son, Gergõ

Preface to the Series

The present volume is a component of a series that, when completed will constitute a comprehensive survey of the many aspects of East European society. The bulk of the publication costs for this book were covered by a generous grant from the Committee for Danubian Re- search, Incorporated.

The books in the series' volumes deal with the peoples whose homelands lie between the Germans to the west, the Russians to the east and, the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas to the south. They constitute a particular civilization, one that is at once an integral part of Europe, yet substantially different form the West. The area is characterized by a rich variety in language, religion, and government. The study of this complex subject demands a multidisciplinary approach and, accordingly, our contributors to the series represent several academic disciplines. They have been drawn from the universities and other scholarly institutions in the United States and Western Europe, as well as East and Central Europe. The editor of the present volume is a distinguished historian, and Associate Professor of History at the Eötvös Lorand University of Budapest (ELTE).

The editors, of course, take full responsibility for ensuring the comprehensiveness, cohesion, internal balance, and scholarly quality of the series. We cheerfully accept this responsibility and intend this work to be neither a justification nor condemnation of the policies, attitudes, and activities of any persons involved. At the same time, because the contributors represent so many different disciplines, interpretations, and schools of thought, our policy in this, as in the past and future volumes, is to present their contributions without major modifications.


This volume has been put together with help from many quarters. First of all, it was the György Soros--Hungarian Academy of Sciences Foundation which enabled me to do research in the United States in the first half of 1991. Atlantic Research and Publications, Inc., or more precisely, Professor Peter Pastor, undertook the organization of my trip, and the management of my day-to-day research activities there. His guidance and assistance have been invaluable. I would like to express my appreciation also to the officials and associates of the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park, and the Ya1e University Sterling Memorial Library. Their helping hand made the data gathering process much easier.

The first people with whom I discussed my notions about the Advisory Committee on Post-War Foreign Policy as its work related to Hungarian affairs were my Washington friends, Enikõ Molnár-Basa, András Ábrahám, Sándor Taraszovics, and two Hungarian friends temporarily in Washington at the time, Miklõs Dérer and Tamás Hofer. I would like to take this opportunity to convey my gratitude for their apt suggestions and constructive criticism.

I also wish to thank those who have helped, in Budapest, in the editing phase of the work: Éva D. Pálmai, for translating into English the preface, the introduction and the editorial notes; Laszlõ Sebõk for reproducing the maps, and Olga Novotta, for the typing.

Göd, 1991.


Three weeks after Pearl Harbor, on December 28, 1941, President Roosevelt approved the Department of State's setting up the Advisory Committee on Post-War Foreign Policy. Its task, as its name suggests, was to work out the policies that would guide the U.S. in the postwar task of negotiating peace. Officially, the Committee continued to function until the summer of 1943; in fact, however, it carried on its work until the end of the war, though under other names. In about three years, the Advisory Committee and its successors wrote thousands of reports and situation analyses, which served as the basis of presenta- tions heard and discussed by hundreds of committees and sub-commit- tees.

The accumulated material, reports of fact-finding missions, analyses, presentations, minutes and recommendations, altogether about thirty-five running meters of documents, was deposited in the National Archives by the State Department in 1970. The collection, which came to two hundred and eighty boxes, was catalogued as the Notter File, and made available to researchers in 1974. It is diff1cult to overestimate the value of the collection to anyone interested in the personalities who shaped U.S. foreign policy during the war and in the immediate postwar period, to whoever wants to understand the concerns of these people, and the way their minds worked. It is indicative of the thoroughness of the material that there are close to eight hundred pages dealing with Hungary alone. As for its documentary value, we might note that in the early `80's, Japanese researchers had copies made of most of the material dealing with Japan. The purpose of this volume is to present the various points of view that emerged in the course of the Advisory Committee's discussions of the future of Hungary and its place in the proposed "Mid-European Union" and to give an idea of its recommenda- tions. About a third of the relevant documents have been included, those deemed to be most significant, and those most conducive to the reader's drawing his own conclusions about the nature of the postwar Hungary envisioned by U.S. foreign policy makers.

xvi The material I selected during the time spent at the National Archives in the first half of l99l. I first called attention to this extraordinary collection at lectures held at the Kossuth House in Washington, D.C., at Montclair State College, and at Rutgers Universi- ty, the meeting place of the Hungarian Allumni Association. Subse- quently, brief interviews on the subject were aired on Hungarian Radio and on Hungarian Television, and an article in the November 1991 issue of Valóság followed. This, however, is the first time that the documents themselves are published.

The documents contained in the volume are grouped thematically into four units. Part One deals with plans for the "Mid European Union." Part Two with Hungary's proposed frontiers; and Part Three with what would be a desirable form of postwar government in Hungary. Part Four contains the recommendations actually submitted to the Secretary of State and the President.

Following the convention of source publications, we are publishing the documents verbatim et literatim, correcting only the obvious typing errors. For the sessions of the Territorial Subcommittee, we have not only the minutes of each of the meetings, but also the "Summaries and Recommendations" prepared in connection with the major issues discussed. In view of the importance of these issues, we shall publish both types of documents, separated by asterisks, as they relate to a particular question. In cases where the minutes of a certain meeting deal with issues unrelated either to Hungary or Eastern Europe, we shall publish only the part of the document that applies. That the document is fragmentary shall be indicated both in its title, and by the use of omission marks [....] within the text itself. Certain of the documents have notes; these shall be included at the end of the document, numbered with Arabic numerals as in the original. My own editorial notes shall be distinguished by asterisks, and the notes themselves be given as footnotes. Some of the records refer to docu- ments or maps not included in the volume. Most of the former can be found in the National Archives, but not so all the maps. Of the tentative maps drawn up for the Advisory Committee, we have included the five that are the most informative, and the best visual aids to understanding the documents themselves. Three further maps, specifically drawn for this volume, have also been included: one a regional map of historical Hungary; one showing the borders recom- mended by the U.S. delegation to the 1919 peace taIks; and one showing the territorial revisions of the years 1938 to 1941. There is an index to facilitate cross reference to personal and geographic names, and an introduction to advise the reader on the composition of the Advisory Committee, on the background of the issues discussed, and on why it was that the events of 1945 to 1947 could thwart the American plans for a postwar settlement.

I am only too aware of the fact that what this volume is about is not "history" in the sense that the Crusades or other politically indifferent faits accomplis of even the more recent past are history. Its links to the present are obvious; some of the documents could have been written today. This, however, is no reason for not making these documents public. History is something that we must learn to live with -- we Hungarians, as well as our neighbors. The historian's only task is to discover the evidence for how things were, and to make it available to all. If, in the process, certain sore points are touched upon, that is not his fault, but the work of history. Though the converse is just as true: it's his work, but the fault of history.

I. R.

 [Table of Contents] [Previous] [Next] [HMK Home] Wartime American Plans for a New Hungary