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ber 1956, an event that contributed to the grow-
ing social unrest in Hungary.
8 This passage in Malin's notes is ambiguous be-
cause Rakosi's surname, like other foreign sur-
names that end in vowels other than “a," does
not decline in Russian. Most likely, Khrushchev
was saying that “we must alleviate Rakosi's situ-
ation.” It is possible, however, that Khrushchev
was saying that “Rakosi must alleviate the situa-
tion,” which would imply the need for Rakosi to
step down. Unfortunately, there is no way to de-
termine which of these two, very different inter-
pretations is correct. The Hungarian edition of
the Malin notes fails to take account of this am-
biguity. See Vyacheslav Sereda and Janos M.
Rainer, eds., Dontes a Kremlben, 1956: A szovjet
partelnokseg vitai Magyarorszagrol (Budapest:
1956-os Intezet, 1996), p. 19. Sereda and Rainer
opt for the former interpretation (“we must alle-
viate Rakosi's situation”) without even consider-
ing the latter.
9 Here and elsewhere in Malin's notes, the inclu-
sion of surnames in parentheses after a statement
or proposal means that these individuals sup-
ported the statement or proposal.
10 The formal protocol for this session (see cita-
tion in Note 1 supra) contained the following
point on this matter: "Instruct Cde. Mikoyan to
travel to Hungary for discussions with the lead-
ership of the Hungarian Workers' Party." The ref-
erence here is to Istvan Kovacs, a top Hungarian
Communist official who fled to Moscow at the
end of October 1956, not to Bela Kovacs, the
former Secretary General of the Independent
Smallholders' Party. Soviet leaders knew that
Istvan Kovacs had long been dissatisfied with
Rakosi's performance. See “Telefonogramma v
TSK KPSS," from M. A. Suslov to the CPSU Pre-
sidium and Secretariat, 13 June 1956 (Top Se-
cret), in APRF, F. 3, Op. 6, D. 483, Ll. 146-149.
11 On 19 October 1956, the day before this Pre-
sidium meeting, Khrushchev led a top-level So-
viet delegation on an unannounced visit to War-
saw. The Soviet delegates held tense negotiations
with the Polish leader, Wladyslaw Gomulka, in
an effort to prevent the removal of Marshal
Konstantin Rokossowski and other officials from
the Politburo of the Polish United Workers' Party
(PZPR). The Soviet delegates were unsuccess-
ful in their task, despite exerting strong military
and political pressure on Gomulka. For a fuller
account of the meeting, see the notes by one of
the participants, Anastas Mikoyan, in “Zapis'
besedy N. S. Khrushcheva v Varshave,” October
1956, No. 233 (Strictly Secret—Special Dossier),
in APRF, Osobaya papka, F. 3, Op. 65, D. 2, LI.

Marshal Konstantin Rokossowski, a Polishborn officer who had lived most of his life in the Soviet Union and was a marshal in the Soviet army, was installed as defense minister and commander-in-chief in Poland in December 1949. He also was a full member of the PZPR Politburo. He was one of hundreds of high-ranking Soviet officers who were brought into the Polish army in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Not surprisingly, their presence caused widespread resentment. For a detailed account of this phenomenon, see Edward Jan Nalepa, Oficerowie Radziecky w Wojsku Polskim w latach 1943-1968: Studium historyczno-wojskowe (Warsaw: Wojskowy

Instytut Historyczny, 1992). Here and elsewhere call Soviet troops from their agricultural work was in Malin's notes, Rokossowski's surname is mis- part of the “Volna" plan, which placed Soviet spelled as “Rokkosowski.” The spelling has been forces on increased alert in mid-October and corrected in the translation.

brought them to full combat alert by 20-21 Octo13 It is not entirely clear from these brief points ber at the behest of the Soviet General Staff. The what the Soviet Presidium was intending to do. full plan was due to be put into effect when a Most evidence suggests, however, that they

signal known as “Kompas” was received. planned to hold new military exercises in Poland No such informational report had actually been and to form a “provisional revolutionary commit- prepared by 21 October, when a meeting of Easttee” of pro-Soviet Polish officials, who would bloc leaders was hastily arranged. But by the time then be installed in place of Gomulka. This is the meeting was held on 24 October, the start of roughly what occurred with Hungary in early No- the uprising in Hungary on 23 October forced vember, when a “revolutionary workers’and peas- Khrushchev to cover the events in Hungary in ants' government” was formed in Moscow, with some detail. See Kramer, “Hungary and Poland, Janos Kadar and Ferenc Munnich at its head. 1956," pp. 1, 50-56.

20 Kadar's government was installed when Soviet Unfortunately, only a small fragment of this troops moved in on 4 November.

session has been found. It is possible that miss14 Khrushchev declined to mention that he him- ing pages will turn up in other parts of the Malin self—and the rest of the Soviet leadership— had collection, but for now the brief (but important) "grossly” misjudged the situation in Poland over section below is all that is available. the previous few months. This was evident, for 21 The formal protocol for this session (Protocol example, when Ochab stopped in Moscow in Sep- No. 48) did not list the Hungarian question among tember 1956 on his way back from Beijing. See the twelve other matters considered here. The "Priem Posla Pol’skoi Narodnoi Respubliki v most likely reason is that Mikoyan was opposed SSSR tov. V. Levikovskogo, 10 sentyabrya 1956 to the use of Soviet troops in Hungary, preferring g.," 11 September 1956 (Secret), memorandum instead to rely on political mediation (see below). from N. Patolichev, Soviet deputy foreign minis- The Presidium therefore had to adopt its decision ter, in Arkhiv Vneshnei Politiki Rossiiskoi without unanimity, an unprecedented step for such Federatsii (AVPRF), F. Referentura po Pol'she, an important matter. As a result, no decree on Op. 38, Por. 9, Papka, 126, D. 031, L. 1.

this issue was included as an extract in the for15 This session of the CPSU CC Presidium was mal protocol. held on 24 October. See the assessment of the 22 In fact, the radio station was not on fire, but meeting and translation of handwritten Czech heavy smoke from several nearby cars that had notes by Mark Kramer, “Hungary and Poland, been set alight had created the impression that 1956: Khrushchev's CPSU CC Presidium Meet- the building, too, was burning. Zhukov's refering on East European Crises, 24 October 1956," ence to the storming of the radio building indiCold War International History Project Bulletin, cates that this CPSU Presidium meeting must Issue No. 5 (Spring 1995), pp. 1, 50-56.

have taken place shortly after 10 p.m. Moscow 16

As it turned out, Khrushchev phoned Mao, and time. The storming of the building was sparked the Chinese leader decided to send a high-level mainly by the broadcast of a hardline speech by delegation to Moscow for consultations. The Erno Gero at precisely 10 p.m. Moscow time (8 delegation, led by Liu Shaoqi, arrived on 23 Oc- p.m. Budapest time). It is clear that the CPSU tober and stayed until the 31st.

Presidium meeting was over by around 11 p.m. 17

Not until three days later would the uprising (Moscow time), when orders were transmitted by in Hungary begin, but Andropov's telegrams from

Zhukov for the mobilization of five Soviet diviBudapest on 12 and 14 October had kept the sions. See "TSK KPSS,” memorandum from CPSU leadership apprised of the rapidly mount

Zhukov and Marshal Vasilii Sokolovskii, chief ing crisis within the HWP and Hungarian soci

of the Soviet General Staff, to the CPSU Preety. The two telegrams were declassified in 1992 sidium, 24 October 1956 (Strictly Secret—Speand published in “Vengriya, aprel-oktyabr' 1956 cial Dossier), in APRF, F. 3, Op. 64, D. 484, Ll. go" pp. 110-128.

85-87. Hence, the meeting must have been held 18 The reference here is to the large number of between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. It is remarkable Soviet officers who were busy at the time help- that, for a session convened at such short notice, ing out with the harvest. Although the uprising so many Presidium members were able to attend. in Hungary had not yet begun, Soviet troops in Although a meeting had already been scheduled that country had been preparing since mid-July to discuss other matters, it was abruptly moved to undertake large-scale operations aimed at “up- up to take account of the situation in Hungary. holding and restoring public order.” A full “Plan

23 Khrushchev is referring here to the requests of Operations for the Special Corps to Restore for military intervention he had received from Public Order on the Territory of Hungary," which Erno Gero. The request came initially via Yurii received the codename “Volna” (Wave), was ap- Andropov (who transmitted Gero's appeal to proved on 20 July 1956 by General Pyotr

Moscow and followed up with an emergency Lashchenko. See “Plan deistvii Osobogo korpusa phone call) and then was repeated during a phone po vosstanovleniyu obshchestvennogo poryadka call that Khrushchev placed to Gero. A written na territorii Vengrii,” in Tsentral'nyi arkhiv appeal from then-prime minister Andras Hegedus, Ministerstva oborony Rossiiskoi Federatsii supposedly delivered on the night of 23-24 Octo(TSAMO), F. 32, Op. 701291, D. 15, LI. 130-131. ber 1956, was transmitted by Andropov in a ciSee also the account by Lieut.-General E. I. phered telegram on 28 October. See Malashenko, “Osobyi korpus vogne Budapeshta” “Shifrtelegramma” (Strictly Secret—Urgent), 28 (Part 1), Voenno-istoricheskii zhurnal, No 10 October 1956, in AVPRF, F. 059a, Op. 4, P.6, D. (October 1993), pp. 24-25. The proposal to re

5, L. 12.


24 Mikoyan, Suslov, Malinin, and Serov arrived Central Committee.

minister. The posters called for a demonstration somewhat late in Budapest because inclement 31 The reference here is to young people from in support of Kovacs, who was in Pecs at the time weather forced Mikoyan's and Suslov's plane to Hungary studying in the Soviet Union, who would recovering from nine years of imprisonment in be diverted to an airport 90 kilometers north of not have been included in the 126 mentioned

the Soviet Union (between 1947 and 1955). When the capital. A Soviet armored personnel carrier, above.

Kovacs was contacted by the Hungarian presiaccompanied by tanks, brought the four into 32 This annotation was in the bottom left-hand dent, Istvan Dobi, on 27 October over the phone, Budapest, where they promptly began sending margin of Malin's notes. It refers to copies of the he tentatively agreed to serve as agriculture minreports back to Moscow. See “Shifrtelegramma" messages from Mikoyan and Suslov.

ister in Nagy's reorganized government. But from Mikoyan and Suslov to the CPSU Pre- 33 According to Khrushchev's remarks above, the Kovacs did not actually participate in any govsidium, 24 October 1956 (Strictly Secret), in session on 26 October was to be reconvened at 8 ernment deliberations until he returned to AVPRF, F. 059a, Op. 4, P. 6, D. 5, LI. 1-7. A ret- p.m. to consider the latest information from Budapest on 1 November, by which time the siturospective account of Mikoyan's and Suslov's ar

Mikoyan and Suslov. The double-sided page of ation had changed a great deal. (Ed. note: An rival in Budapest, by Vladimir Kryuchkov, who handwritten notes pertaining to the continuation English translation of the Mikoyan-Suslov report was a senior aide to Andropov in 1956 and who of the session, which is provided here, was out of

of 27 October 1956 cited above appears in later followed in Andropov's footsteps at the sequence in File 1005. In the earlier published CWIHP Bulletin 5 (Spring 1995), pp. 29-30, from KGB, claims that Mikoyan's and Suslov's plane versions of Malin’s notes (the Hungarian transla- a copy of the document in TsKhSD, F. 89, Per. was diverted northward because it came under tion and the original Russian), this fragment is

45, Dok. 9. However, it contains a mistranslafire and was struck by a machine gun. Kryuchkov incorrectly placed at the end of the 28 October tion of the passage referring to the posters which also asserts that Mikoyan and the others had to session. Close analysis of the text reveals that had gone up in Budapest declaring Nagy a traitor walk for more than two hours to reach the em

the fragment must have come before, not after, and supporting Bela Kovacs. The mistranslated bassy. See Vladimir Kryuchkov, Lichnoe delo, 2 the portions on the 28th. The fact that the 26 portion notes that placards had appeared in vols. (Moscow: Olimp, 1996), vol. 1, p.58. There October session was due to be reconvened sug- Budapest at night, “in which Nagy was declared is no evidence whatsoever to back up gests that this is precisely what the fragment cov- the chairman and Bela Kovacs was recommended Kryuchkov's assertions. On the contrary, ers, rather than being part of a separate meeting as premier," and that a demonstration was planned Mikoyan's and Suslov's contemporaneous report on the 27th. (There is no evidence that the Pre- "in their honor.” It should have read that Nagy seems far more reliable than Kryuchkov's ten- sidium met on the 27th to discuss the situation in was called "a traitor" and that the demonstration dentious memoir. Hungary.)

was called on "his” (Bela Kovacs') behalf. The 25 The notes provide no further names of mem- 34

Bulganin is complaining about the long tele

Bulletin regrets the error.) bers of the Chinese delegation, who were in Mosgrams and secure phone messages that Mikoyan

42 An emergency session of the UN Security cow for consultations between 23 and 31 Octoand Suslova had been sending to Moscow on 25

Council was convened on 28 October in the midber. The delegation, headed by Liu Shaoqi, in- and 26 October. See Note 28 supra. See also

afternoon (New York time) to discuss the situacluded the CPC General Secretary, Deng “Shifrtelegramma,” 25 October 1956 (Strictly

tion in Hungary. The Soviet Foreign Ministry Xiaoping, as well as three lower-ranking officials:

Secret—Special Attention), in AVPRF, F. 059a, originally had instructed Arkadii Sobolev, the Wang Jiaxing, Hu Qiaomu, and Shi Zhe. Soviet Op. 4, P. 6, D. 5, LI. 8-11.

Soviet representative at the Security Council, to leaders conferred with them several times about

On 30 October a Revolutionary Military Coun

depict the events in Hungary as being inspired the events in Poland and Hungary. cil was set up within the Hungarian army, but it

solely by fascist, anti-democratic elements. See 26 By this point, Rokossowski already had been was not the type of body that Kaganovich had in

"Shifrtelegramma," 27 October 1956 (Strictly removed from the PZPR CC Politburo. The only mind. He was referring to an armed organization

Secret—Special Dossier), in AVPRF, F. 0536, Op. remaining question was whether he would be kept that would suppress the uprising, whereas the

1, P. 5, D. 65, LI. 24-28. Khrushchev's statement as Polish national defense minister. Revolutionary Military Council did just the op

here suggests that the Presidium must issue new 27 For the continuation of the session, see the

posite, expressing strong support for the resistance instructions to Sobolev, ordering him to take acportion below and the explanation in Note 33 inand demanding the withdrawal of Soviet troops

count of the latest developments in Hungary. fra. from Hungary

43 Zhukov is referring here to the strongest cen28 On 26 October, Mikoyan and Suslov sent four 36

Actually, of those who had been detained since ter of resistance in the densely populated region emergency messages via secure telephone to the the start of the uprising, more than 8,000 had been

around the Corvin film theater in downtown CPSU Presidium. See the longest and most imreleased by this time.

Budapest. Counterinsurgency operations against portant of these messages, “Telefonogramma.” 26 37 Khrushchev evidently means that they should

this area were supposed to commence on the October 1956 (Top Secret-Deliver Immediconfer with the recently ousted prime minister

morning of 28 October, but Nagy cancelled those ately), in APRF, F. 3, Op. 64, D. 483, Ll. 123Andras Hegedus and other Hungarian officials

plans because of the risk of heavy civilian casu129. who had been removed from high-level party and

alties. 29 The reference here is slightly awry. The num

44 state positions after 23 October.

For an illuminating account of events in ber given in parentheses (126) refers to the total 38 This trip never occurred, presumably because

Debrecen, where anti-Gero demonstrations prenumber of Hungarians studying in Moscow, inof time constraints as events in Hungary gath

ceded those in Budapest on 23 October, see Tibor cluding party workers, military officers, state seered pace.

A. Filep, A debreceni forradalom, 1956 oktober: curity officials, and others. See “Zapis' besedy s 39

Mikoyan had planned to travel to Austria at

Tizenket nap kronikaja (Debrecen: poslom Vengerskoi Narodnoi Respubliki tov. the very end of October 1956, but his trip ended

Mozgaskorlatozottak Egyesulete, 1990). Yanoshem Boldotskim, 26 oktyabrya 1956 g.," up being postponed until April 1957.

45 Here and elsewhere in Malin's notes, Cable No. 597/AR (Secret) from A. A. Gromyko,

Some of the pages from this session were out

Hegedus's surname is mistakenly rendered as Soviet deputy foreign minister, to the CPSU Pre

of sequence in the original file. The order has Hedegus. The spelling has been corrected in the sidium, 26 October 1956, in APRF, F. 3, Op. 64, been corrected in the translation.


46 D. 484, LI. 116-117. Malin's notes imply that 41 Hundreds of demonstrations and meetings had

Mikoyan and Suslov were taking part in this the figure includes only HWP officials studying been taking place in Hungary since 23 October,

HWP Central Committee plenum, which adat the Higher Party School. even after a curfew was imposed. Evidently,

journed around 5:30 p.m. Budapest time. The 30 A “Directory," which served as the highest Khrushchev is referring here to a warning he re

HWP Central Committee endorsed the program HWP organ, had been created by this point under ceived on 27 October in an emergency message

of Nagy's new government and conferred suSoviet auspices, but its existence had not yet been

from Mikoyan and Suslov (APRF, F. 3, Op. 64, preme power on a new HWP Presidium consistofficially announced. The existence of the DiD. 484, Ll. 131-134). The message noted that

ing of Janos Kadar (as chair), Antal Apro, Ferenc rectory was acknowledged for the first time on

posters had gone up in Budapest declaring Imre Munnich, Imre Nagy, Zoltan Szanto, and Karoly 28 October (three days after it had been set up), Nagy a traitor and demanding that Bela Kovacs,

Kiss. See the CC resolution in Szabad Nep when it was renamed the HWP Presidium and

the former General Secretary of the Independent (Budapest), 29 October 1956, p. 1. was formally granted supreme power by the HWP Smallholders Party, be instated as the new prime

47 This sentence fragment is highly ambiguous

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in Russian. The final word in the fragment, translated here as directly," is samim, which literally means “by itself' or “by himself.” The antecedent might be either the HWP Politburo or Mikoyan, or perhaps something or someone else. The ambiguity cannot be fully conveyed in English (which has separate words for “itself” and "himself"), but the translation tries to do so as best as possible. 48 Here again, Zhukov is referring to the center of resistance around the Corvin cinema. 49 Khrushchev is referring here to the coalition government that was formed (or actually reorganized) on 27 October. This government included, on an informal basis, representatives of parties from the pre-Communist era: Bela Kovacs, the former General Secretary of the Smallholders Party; Zoltan Tildy, the former leader of the Smallholders Party; and Ferenc Erdei, the former leader of the National Peasant Party. Not until 30 October, however, did Nagy announce the formal restoration of a multi-party state, with full participation by the Smallholders, the National Peasant Party (renamed the Petofi Party on 1 November), and the Social Democratic Party as well as the Communists. Other non-Communist parties soon sprang up as well, including the Hungarian Independence Party, the People's Democratic Party, the Catholic People's Party, and the Catholic National Association.) 50 Scattered defections of Hungarian troops to the insurgents had begun on the first day of the uprising, but Khrushchev was concerned that the whole army would switch sides. In later years, official Soviet accounts of the 1956 uprising acknowledged that “during the most trying days,” a substantial number of "soldiers and officers from the Hungarian People's Army" had joined the insurgents in fighting “against Soviet soldiers who had been called in to help.” See P. A. Zhilin, ed., Stroitel'stvo armii evropeiskikh stran sotsialisticheskogo sodruzhestva, 1949-1980 (Moscow: Nauka, 1984), p. 93. Formerly secret documents in the main Russian military archive (TSAMO, F. 32, Op. 701291, D. 17, Ll. 33-48) include the Soviet defense ministry's complete list of Hungarian army units that took the side of the insurgents. Many other valuable documents about the role of the Hungarian army are now available in the 1956 Collection (1956-os Gyujtemeny) of the Hungarian Military History Archive, Hadtortenelmi Leveltar, Honvedelmi Miniszterium (HL/HM). For a useful volume drawing on these documents, see Miklos Horvath, 1956 katonai kronologiaja (Budapest: Magyar Honvedseg Oktatasi es Kulturalis Anyagellato Kozpont, 1993). For an equally valuable survey of the Hungarian army's role in 1956 based on archival sources, see Imre Okvath, “Magyar tisztikar a hideghaboru idoszakaban, 1945-1956,” Uj Honvedsegi szemle (Budapest), No. 1 (1994), pp. 14-27. See also Bela Kiraly, “Hungary's Army: Its Part in the Revolt,” East Europe, Vol. 7, No. 6 (June 1958), pp. 3-16. 51

This sentence is incomplete in the original. 52 This refers to the new Hungarian government's declaration on 28 October, which Nagy would read over the radio at 5:20 p.m. that same afternoon. Among other things, the declaration called for the dissolution of the state security organs, amnesties for those involved in the uprising, the

restoration of the Kossuth emblem as the national launching air raids against Egyptian cities and
emblem, and the immediate withdrawal of So- imposing a naval blockade.
viet troops from Budapest as well as subsequent 63 Here again, Khrushchev is referring to pro-
negotiations on a full withdrawal from Hungary. posed corrections in the draft Hungarian state-
The statement also rejected previous character- ment. It is doubtful there was enough time for
izations of the uprising as a "counterrevolution," most such changes to be included.
saying that the events were representative of a 64 In line with this decision, the CPSU Presidium
"broad national-democratic movement” that was sent a message to Gomulka and Cyrankiewicz ex-
seeking to achieve “national independence and pressing support for Nagy's new government and
sovereignty” for Hungary. Unfortunately, the for the statement Nagy issued on 28 October. The
draft of this declaration that the CPSU CC Pre- Polish authorities followed up with an appeal to
sidium was presumably considering at this meet- the HWP and the Hungarian people, published in
ing has not yet been located by scholars. the PZPR daily Trybuna Ludu on 29 October,
53 Nothing follows Bulganin's name in the origi- which expressed “shock," "pain," and "deep dis-

quiet” at “the tragic news coming from [Hun-
54 Most likely, the “you” (Vas) in this sentence gary]” and called for an end to the bloodshed,
should have been “them” (ikh), referring to destruction, and fratricidal struggle.”
Mikoyan and Suslov, the former of whom was


As a result of this decision, the CPSU Prestill in Hungary. If so, Voroshilov was saying sidium dispatched a cable to Tito that was very that their mission in Hungary had been worth- similar to the cable sent to the Polish leadership. less. It is also remotely possible that Voroshilov On 29 October the Yugoslav authorities published was claiming that Mikoyan himself had said these a message to the HWP, in the main Belgrade daily sorts of things about the Soviet troops who were Politika, urging “an end to the fratricidal struggle" sent to Budapest on the night of 23-24 October. and warning that “further bloodshed would only Whatever the case may be, it is clear that harm the interests of the Hungarian working Voroshilov was expressing strong disapproval of people and socialism, and would only promote Mikoyan's performance in Budapest.

the aims of reactionaries and bureaucratic defor55

Kaganovich and other speakers are referring mation." to possible changes in the Hungarian 66 This sentence is incomplete in the original. government's draft statement, which was broad- 67 This is what appears in the original. Perhaps cast in final form at 5:20 p.m. on 28 October (see initially there was some consideration given to Note 52 supra).

bringing these three officials to Bulgaria. As 56 Malenkov's surname appears here without the things actually worked out, however, the three standard title “Cde.” The full designation "Cde. men and their families, as well as the former deMalenkov” appears a few lines further down in a fense minister Istvan Bata and his family, were continuation of Malenkov's remarks.

spirited to Moscow in a Soviet military aircraft 57 This clearly refers to the Hungarian statement on the evening of 28 October. Hegedus and Piros of 28 October (see Note 52 supra), not to the remained in Moscow until September 1958, and Soviet declaration of 30 October. At this point, Gero stayed there until 1960. Only Rakosi was Khrushchev and the others had seen the Hungar- never able to return to Hungary. For an intriguian statement only in draft form.

ing article about Rakosi's many years of exile in 58 Most likely, Molotov is referring here to the USSR, drawing on recently declassified Rakosi, who was already in Moscow, and other sources, see V.L. Musatov, “Istoriya odnoi hard-line HWP officials who were about to be ssylki: “Zhitie' Matiasa Rakoshi v SSSR (1956spirited to the Soviet Union. See below.

1971 gg.),” Kentavr (Moscow), No. 6 (Novem59 This sentence is incomplete in the original. ber-December 1993), pp. 72-81. 60

Kaganovich is referring to the draft Hungar- 68 Judging from some of the statements below ian statement of 28 October, not to the declara- (e.g., "yesterday a government was formed”) and tion adopted by the Soviet authorities on 30 Oc- from Suslov's presence (after he had flown back tober (which was considered at the Presidium from Hungary), this portion of the meeting must meeting that day; see Document No. 7 infra). have taken place either late in the evening on 28 61 Khrushchev is probably referring here to the October or early in the morning on 29 October. benefits they hoped to gain for Soviet-Hungarian In either case, the CPSU Presidium members relations, and in international opinion generally, would already have heard about the statement that by announcing a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Nagy broadcast over the radio on 28 October. Soviet troops from Budapest.

69 The chronology is slightly awry here. The 62 Khrushchev is referring to the political, not decision to send in Soviet troops was adopted on military, problems that the French and British gov- the evening of 23 October (see above), but the ernments had been encountering. At this point, troops did not actually arrive until the early mornmilitary action in Suez was imminent, but had ing hours of 24 October. not yet begun. On 26 July 1956 the new Egyp

70 The area around the Corvin cinema, on the tian leader, Gamel Abdel Nasser, had national- corner of Jozsef Boulevard in downtown Pest ized the Suez Canal Company. He stuck by that (Budapest's 8th District), was the site of intense decision despite coming under vigorous diplo- fighting that led to many casualties, both Soviet matic pressure from Great Britain, France, and and Hungarian. For a useful account, see Bill the United States. On 27 and 28 October, Israel Lomax, Hungary 1956 (London: Allison and mobilized its army for an operation that was Busby, 1976), pp. 118-119, 126-127. On 26 Ocbroadly coordinated with France and Great Brit- tober the fighters in the Corvin district elected ain. On 29 October, Israeli troops moved rapidly Gergely Pongracz as their leader. Suslov presuminto Egyptian territory. The French and British ably is referring to Pal Maleter when he mentions joined the Israeli incursions on 31 October by “a colonel from the Horthyite army.” Early on ing.

twice a year.

the morning of 24 October, Maleter had been or-
dered by the then-defense minister Istvan Bata to
move with five tanks against the insurgents in
Budapest's 8th and 9th Districts, providing relief
for the Kilian Barracks in the 9th District. When
Maleter and his tank unit arrived on the scene,
they decided to support the rebels' cause instead.
Maleter then assumed command of insurgent
forces in the Kilian barracks.

The original reads the 24th, but this incident
actually occurred on the 25th. A peaceful dem-
onstration of some 25,000 people was held on 25
October outside the Parliament Building (where
Nagy's office was located, though Nagy was not
inside). The precise sequence of events cannot
be conclusively determined, but most evidence
suggests that Hungarian state security (AVH)
forces suddenly opened fire on the unarmed
crowd, with additional shots being fired by So-
viet tanks deployed around the building. Roughly
200 people were killed and many more were in-
jured. As news of the incident spread around
Budapest, the reported scale of the bloodshed
quickly became exaggerated and most of the
blame for the deaths was attributed—erroneously,
it seems—to the Soviet tanks. No Soviet or Hun-
garian officials were held accountable for the
deaths, but Suslov's statement indicates that
CPSU leaders were aware that their own troops
were believed to be culpable.
72 The last few parenthetical words of this sen-
tence are ambiguous in Russian. A word has been
omitted here for the sake of clarity in English,
with no effect at all on the substance of the phrase.
Suslov is referring to the formation of workers'
councils, which had begun taking shape sponta-
neously on 26 October in Csepel and other in-
dustrial areas. The government formally con-
doned the establishment of workers' councils in
instructions released on the evening of 26 Octo-
ber, which were then published in major Budapest
newspapers the following day.
73 As noted above, this is precisely what the Hun-
garian government's statement on 28 October did.
It described the recent events as a “national-demo-
cratic uprising” and condemned those who had
depicted the situation as a “counterrevolution.”
74 Nagy issued an order for a “general and im-
mediate ceasefire" before his radio address on 28
October. Hungarian army units were ordered to
"fire only if attacked."

Hegedus was excluded from the six-member HWP Presidium that was formed on 28 October, and he was then spirited to Moscow aboard a Soviet military aircraft on the evening of 28 October. 76 As with the previous session, the pages in the original file were slightly out of sequence. The order has been corrected in the translation. 77 Protocol No. 49 encompasses both this session and the session on the following day (see Document No. 8) under the rubric “On the Situation in Hungary” (O polozhenii v Vengrii). Point 1 (from 30 October) covers the Soviet declaration on ties with socialist countries, whereas Point 6 (from 31 October) covers the decision to invade. The relevant extracts from Protocol No. 49 are now stored in APRF, F. 3, Op. 64, D. 484, LI. 25-30 and APRF, F. 3, Op. 64, D. 484, L. 41, respectively. 78

Presumably, the reference here is to three docu

ments: one that arrived on the morning of 30 the Soviet Union, where he was appointed a October, and two that arrived late at night on 29 deputy defense minister. Evidently, Khrushchev October. The item that arrived on the morning of had spoken with Gomulka by phone that morn30 October was a secure, high-frequency tele

83 phone message from Mikoyan and Suslov, which The five principles of Pancha Shila—(1) mugave a bleak portrayal of the latest events. See tual respect for sovereignty and territorial integ“TsK KPSS,” 30 October 1956 (Strictly Secret), rity, (2) non-aggression, (3) non-interference in in TsKhSD, F.89, Op.45, D.12, L1.1-3. Of the internal affairs, (4) equality and mutual benefit, two documents that arrived late at night on the and (5) peaceful coexistence—were endorsed in 29th, one was a ciphered telegram from Mikoyan a joint statement by Chinese prime minister Zhou and Suslov reporting that they had attended a ses- Enlai and Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru sion of the HWP Presidium earlier that evening. in New Delhi on 28 June 1954. The principles They also commented on the takeover of the were intended to “guide relations between the two Szabad Nep building by a group of unarmed stu- countries” as well as “relations with other coundents and writers. Mikoyan and Suslov asserted tries in Asia and in other parts of the world." For that the Hungarian "comrades have failed to win the full text of the statement, see G. V. Ambekar over the masses," and that “the anti-Communist and V. D. Divekar, eds., Documents on China's elements are behaving impudently.” In addition, Relations with South and South-East Asia (1949they expressed concern about what would hap- 1962) (New York: Allied Publishers, 1964), pp. pen to former agents of the Hungarian State Se- 7-8. curity (AVH) forces in the wake of Nagy's deci- 84 Zhukov is referring here to the Political Consion to disband the AVH. See “Shifrtelegramma: sultative Committee (PKK) of the recently-creTSK KPSS,” 29 October 1956 (Strictly Secret- ated Warsaw Treaty Organization. The PKK conUrgent), from A. Mikoyan and M. Suslov, in vened only seven times between 1955 and 1966, AVPRF, F.059a, Op.4, P.6, D.5, Ll.13-14. The despite its statutory requirement to meet at least other document that arrived late on the 29th was a situation report from Ivan Serov, dated 29 Oc


During major international crises in the posttober, which Mikoyan and Suslov ordered to be Stalin period, the Soviet Presidium/Politburo octransmitted to Moscow via secure telephone. casionally would convene a Central Committee Serov's report gave an updated overview of the plenum to give the CC members a sense of ininsurgency and expressed deep concern about the volvement in decision-making and to ensure that likely repercussions from the dissolution of the the leadership's policies would be firmly obeyed AVH. See “Telefonogramma,” 29 October 1956, at lower levels.

86 from A. Mikoyan and M. Suslov, relaying I. Saburov is referring here to Furtseva's sugSerov's memorandum, in APRF, F.3, Op.64, gestion that a CPSU CC plenum be convened for D.484, L1.158-161.

informational purposes. 79 British military transport aircraft were flying 87 This presumably refers to Soviet property into the Vienna airport with supplies of humani- transferred to Romania during World War II, tarian aid, which were then being conveyed to rather than to Romania's war reparations, which Budapest. It is unclear whether Zhukov knew by 1956 were no longer of great magnitude. why these planes were concentrated there. It is 88 Khrushchev is referring here to the six-mempossible that he believed the aircraft were ferry- ber HWP Presidium. The only holdout was Nagy.

89 ing in military supplies or were preparing for a The State Security Department (Allam- Vedelmi military operation.

Osztaly, or AVO), which was reorganized in 1949 80 As commander-in-chief of the Warsaw Pact, and renamed the State Security Authority (AllamMarshal Ivan Konev assumed direct command Vedelmi Hatosag, or AVH), was reincorporated of Soviet military operations in Hungary in No- into the Hungarian Internal Affairs Ministry in vember 1956. In a telephone message on the the autumn of 1953. Formally, the agency was morning of 30 October (see Note 78 supra), given back its old name of AVO, but it was still Mikoyan and Suslov had urged that Konev be almost always known as the AVH. One of the dispatched to Hungary "immediately” as a pre- earliest and most vigorous demands of the procautionary step. One of Konev's top aides dur- testers in October 1956 was for the dissolution of ing the invasion was General Mikhail Malinin, a the AVH. On 28 October, Nagy promised to fulfirst deputy chief of the Soviet General Staff, who fill this demand, and the Hungarian government commanded Soviet troops during the initial in- approved the dissolution of the state security ortervention on 23 October. As indicated in the gans the following day. Because the AVH had previous line, Soviet leaders frequently consulted been instrumental in carrying out repression and Malinin in the leadup to the invasion.

terror in the late 1940s and 1950s, some state se81 The “Chinese comrades” with whom curity agents became the targets of lynchings and Khrushchev had discussions were the members other violent reprisals during the 1956 uprising. of the delegation headed by Liu Shaoqi (see Note Hungarian state security officers would have 25 supra). Liu Shaoqi was in direct touch with joined up with Soviet troops mainly to seek proMao Zedong several times during the delegation's tection, not to assist in counterinsurgency operastay in Moscow, and thus he was able to keep tions. On this matter, see the documents transKhrushchev apprised of the Chinese leader's mitted by Suslov and Mikoyan on 29 October, views of the situation in Poland and Hungary.

cited in Note 78 supra. 82

Rokossowski had been removed from the Pol- 90 It is interesting that, when referring to Soviet ish Politburo on 19 October. On 13 November troops deployed in Eastern Europe, Khrushchev he was replaced as Polish national defense min- does not mention the Soviet troops in East Gerister by a Polish officer, Marshal Marian many, implying that they were not necessarily Spychalski. Rokossowski was then recalled to there “with the consent of the (East German) gov

ernment and in the interests of the (East German)
government and people.”
91 The final Declaration noted that “Soviet units
are in the Hungarian and Romanian republics in
accordance with the Warsaw Treaty and govern-
mental agreements. Soviet military units are in
the Polish republic on the basis of the Potsdam
four-power agreement and the Warsaw Treaty.”
The Declaration then claimed that "Soviet mili-
tary units are not in the other people's democra-
cies,” omitting any mention of the hundreds of
thousands of Soviet troops in East Germany.
92 Khrushchev presumably is referring here to
both the military advisers and the state security
(KGB) advisers.
93 when this editing was completed, the Pre-
sidium formally adopted Resolution No. P49/1
(“Vypiska iz protokola No. 49 zasedaniya
Prezidiuma TsK ot 30 oktyabrya 1956 g.: O
polozhenii v Vengrii,” 30 October 1956, in APRF,
F.3, Op. 64, D.484, Ll. 25-30) stating that it would
"approve the text, with changes made at the CPSU
CC Presidium session, of a Declaration by the
Government of the USSR on the foundations of
development and the further strengthening of
friendship and cooperation between the Soviet
Union and the other socialist countries.” The reso-
lution ordered that the "text of the Declaration be
broadcast on radio on 30 October and published
in the press on 31 October 1956." For the pub-
lished text, see “Deklaratsiya o printsipakh
razvitiya i dal'neishem ukreplenii druzhby i
sotrudnichestva mezhdu SSSR i drugimi
sotsialisticheskimi stranami,” Pravda (Moscow),
31 October 1956, p. 1.
94 It is unclear precisely when the Chinese
changed their position from non-interventionist
to pro-intervention. The statement recorded here,
if correctly transcribed, would suggest that the
change occurred before the final Soviet decision
on 31 October, but almost all other evidence
(including subsequent Presidium meetings re-
corded by Malin) suggests that it came after, not
before, the Soviet decision. In any case, if the
change did occur before, it did not have any dis-
cernible effect on the Soviet decision at this meet-
ing to eschew intervention.

Molotov is referring here to major developments in Hungary. On 30 October, at 2:30 p.m. Budapest time, Nagy announced the formal restoration of a multi-party state and the establishment of an “inner cabinet” of the national government. The new cabinet consisted of Nagy, Zoltan Tildy, Bela Kovacs, Ferenc Erdei, Janos Kadar, Geza Losonczy, and Anna Kethly (from the Social Democratic Party). That same day, a “revolutionary national defense council” of the Hungarian armed forces was set up, which supported the demands of the revolutionary councils of the working youth and intellectuals," and called for the "immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops from Budapest and their withdrawal from the entire territory of Hungary within the shortest possible time.” The new Council also promised to disarm all agents from Hungary's disbanded state security forces (AVH), who had been notorious agents of repression during the Stalin era. A Revolutionary Armed Forces Committee also was formed on 31 October, and it was empowered by the government to create a new army. 96 These are five of the seven members of Nagy's

new “inner cabinet." Anna Kethly's name is not of “success” than later events warranted.
listed here because she had not yet been ap- 102 The inclusion of Saburov's name in this list
pointed. (Nagy mentioned in his speech on 30 is odd, as will become clear in his remarks be-
October that “a person to be nominated by the low. Initially, he was disinclined to reverse the
Social Democratic Party” would be in the inner Presidium's non-interventionist stance of the pre-
cabinet, and Kethly later turned out to be that vious day.
person.) It is unclear why Malin did not list


It is unclear at what point Soviet officials Ferenc Erdei's name here.

approached Kadar about becoming the head of a 97 The pages for this session were in reverse or- provisional government. Kadar's statements at der in the archival file. They have been put into the CPSU Presidium meeting on 2 November (see correct order in the translation.

Document No. 12 infra) suggest that he was not 98 In the formal protocol of this session (cited in yet aware he had been chosen to perform this Note 77 supra), Point VI was given the title of function. “On the Situation in Hungary" (O polozhenii v 104 On the evening of 1 November, the day after Vengrii), the same as the previous segment. this Presidium meeting, Kadar and Munnich were Malin's working notes do not provide a list of secretly flown to Moscow aboard a Soviet miliparticipants, but the following list is given in the tary aircraft. They were brought back to Hunformal protocol: Khrushchev, Zhukov, Bulganin, gary when Soviet troops launched Operation Molotov, Kaganovich, Voroshilov, and Saburov. “Whirlwind" three days later. It is also clear from Malin's notes that Furtseva, 105 It is extraordinary that even as Khrushchev Pospelov, and Shvernik took part at certain points. was calling for a full-scale invasion, he was still 99 These “discussions with Gomulka” were con- apparently willing to consider including Nagy in ducted by Khrushchev over the telephone. The the soon-to-be-formed Revolutionary Workers' two leaders agreed that Khrushchev, Malenkov, and Peasants' Government. and Molotov would meet the next day (1 Novem- 106 It is interesting that Soviet leaders were conber) in Brest with Gomulka and Cyrankiewicz. cerned most of all about informing the Poles. As The formal protocol of the session (cited in Note indicated above, a meeting with the Polish lead77 supra) notes that “in accordance with the ex- ership had already been set up for the following change of opinions at the CPSU Presidium ses- day in Brest. Informing the leaders of these other sion, Cdes. Khrushchev, Molotov, and Malenkov countries was important, but not as high a priorare empowered to hold negotiations with repre- ity. Soviet Presidium members informed the vissentatives of the PZPR CC."

iting Chinese delegation about the decision on 31 100 In a speech at a mass rally in front of the October, just before the Chinese officials flew Parliament Building on 31 October, Nagy de- back to Beijing. After the meetings in Brest on 1 clared that his government had already "opened November, Khrushchev and Malenkov continued negotiations for the withdrawal of Soviet troops on to Bucharest, where they met with Romanian, from the country and for the renunciation of our Bulgarian, and Czechoslovak leaders. The two obligations under the Warsaw Treaty." Clearly, Soviet officials then traveled to Brioni to confer he was referring to the negotiations he had been with Tito on 2-3 November. Khrushchev and holding that morning with Mikoyan and Suslov, Malenkov returned to Moscow on the morning who had generally seemed receptive to Nagy's of the 3rd. demands. These negotiations are briefly re

107 The formal protocol for this session (cited in counted in Tibor Meray, Thirteen Days That Note 77 supra) states that “taking account of the Shook the Kremlin: Imre Nagy and the Hungar- exchange of opinions at the CPSU CC Presidium ian Revolution, trans. by Howard L. Katzander session, Cde. Zhukov is instructed to devise an (London: Thames and Hudson, 1959), pp. 163- appropriate plan of measures connected with the 165. See also the first-hand comments by Gyorgy events in Hungary, and to report on them to the G. Heltai, the Hungarian deputy foreign minister CPSU CC." under Nagy's government, “International As- 108 The formal protocol from this session (cited pects,” in Bela K. Kiraly and Paul Jonas, The in Note 77 supra) notes that “Cdes. Shepilov, Hungarian Revolution of 1956 in Retrospect, East Brezhnev, Furtseva, and Pospelov are instructed, European Monograph No. XL (Boulder, Col.: on the basis of the exchange of opinions at the East European Quarterly, 1978), esp. pp. 52-53. CPSU Presidium session, to prepare all necesIt is conceivable that Nagy's expressed desire to sary documents and submit them for the considrenounce Hungarian membership in the Warsaw eration of the CPSU CC.” Among the key docuPact, which was promptly transmitted to Mos- ments they prepared over the next few days were: cow by telephone, was one of the factors that led an “Appeal of the Hungarian Revolutionary to Khrushchev's change of heart at this session. Workers' and Peasants' Government to the HunAlthough Nagy had spoken in earlier years (es- garian People,” which Kadar announced when he pecially after he was ousted by Rakosi in 1955) was installed in power on 4 November; an “Apabout the desirability of neutrality for Hungary, peal by the Command of Soviet Troops in Hunhis decision to raise the matter with Mikoyan and gary to the Hungarian People and the Officers Suslov at this critical moment must have come and Men of the Hungarian Army," which was as a jolt to Soviet leaders.

broadcast in translation over Hungarian radio and 101

Early on the morning of 31 October, the distributed via leaflets at the outset of the invaFrench and British launched bombing raids sion; and Order No. 1 issued by Marshal Konev against Egyptian cities and imposed a naval block- (the supreme commander of the invasion) to all ade against Egypt, thus aiding Israeli's ground Soviet officers just before the start of Operation incursions. By the time the Presidium met on the “Whirlwind.” The English-language texts of the 31st, reports of the French and British operations first two items and other “propaganda documents" were pouring in, conveying a greater impression prepared in Moscow can be found in Paul E.

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