RFE/RL Collection - Background Reports

  OSA / Digital archive / Background reports / Subjects / Browse / Search

The text below might contain errors as it was reproduced by OCR software from the digitized originals,
also available as Scanned original in PDF.

TITLE:             Analysis of Official Communique on Trial and Execution of Imre Nagy and Associates
DATE:              1958-6-17
COUNTRY:           Hungary
ORIGINAL SUBJECT:  Hungarian Evaluation and Research
THEMATIC SUBJECTS: Hungary--1956-1965, Hungary--1956 Revolution, Political Persecution

--- Begin ---


News "Background



The Court Procedure

MUNICH, June 17 (Hungarian Evaluation & Research) --
The People's Tribunal of the Supreme Court was called to life
by the 6 April 1957" decree of the Presidium of the People's
Republic. The People's Tribunal is composed of the head of the
tribunal and of four people's fudges, which means that the
nonprofessional element is in a majority.

According to the decree, the Chief Prosecutor can put
the accused, already in detention, before the People's Tribunal
without indictment if all the evidence can be placed before
the court. In this case the Tribunal does not fix the date of
trial and does not issue summonses but it is the duty of the
Chief Prosecutor to call witnesses and experts and to procedure
the necessary documentation. In such cases the accusation is
submitted verbally by the Chief Prosecutor at the trial.

In practice this paragraph of the decree does not
provide any means of preparing the defense and leaves a free
hand to the Chief Prosecutor.

No Concrete Evidence Published

The hearing of 29 witnesses is not in proportion with
the gravity and extensiveness of the charges. Therefore it may
be supposed that the court tried to deal with the proceedings In
the shortest possible time.

The communiqué does not contain any concrete reference
to the "extensive evidential material" nor to the material proof
submitted. In this connection it merely mentions the secret
documents compiled by Imre Nagy.

The accusation that "in December 1955" Imre Nagy and
company "made a secret, anti-democratic plot" is a completely new
statement not mentioned previously either by Communist or other
sources. It is possible that in this case the accusation made full
use of the wide social connections of Imre Nagy and his friends.
It is well-known that after the exclusion of Imre Nagy from the
Party a number of people continued to call on him.

According to unconfirmed news from Western agencies, SUSLOV
also went to see Imre Nagy during his BUDAPEST visit in June 1956.

[page 2]


The accusation distorts the contents of the Imre Nagy
documents. The three documents referred to can be found in
his book entitled "In Defense Of The Hungarian People", published
in the West in March 1957.

The Others Who Were Responsible Too

As far as the charges in connection with the organization
of the revolution are concerned it must be emphasized that the
communiqué tendentiously groups the events, construes plots which
did not exist and limits participation in and direction of the
revolutionary events exclusively to Imre Nagy and his group.
The communiqué omits from the revolutionary events every other
person who took Just as active a share in the events as any
member of the Nagy group.

In connection with the charge that during the revolution
political parties were formed unconstitutionally, reference should
be made to the 30 October 1956 broadcast of Janos KADAR, then
Minister of State. He said that every member of the Presidium of
the Hungarian Workers' Party agreed with the decisions taken that
day by the Presidium, of the Cabinet. (One of the decisions was to
terminate the one-Party system.) KADAR added that he for his
part was in complete agreement with what was said before him
by Imre Nagy, Zoltan TILDY and Perenc ERDEI -- "my acquaintance
and friends, my respected countrymen, whom I hold in great esteem"

According to last night's communiqué, Cardinal MINDSZENTY
was rehabilitated by the Imre Nagy conspiratorial group, although Radio
Free Kossuth announced on October 31 that the Hungarian national
government (including Perenc MUNNICH, Minister of Interior and
Eric MOLNAR, Minister of Justice) had established that the
accusations brought against the Cardinal in 1948 were unlawful.

In connection with the statement that "during the
Premiership of Imre Nagy he broke his oath and excluded Parliament, the
Presidium and the government as a body from ruling the country", we
have to refer to the statement made by Istvan DOBI to Parliament
on 9 May 1957: "Even during the counter-revolution it was possible
to maintain the functioning and legal continuity of the Presidium
of the People's Republic which is our highest State organ during
the parliamentary recess."

Legalized by the Presidium

The two governments formed during the revolution entered
office with the approval of the Presidium. This is also evident
from the fact that after the defeat of the revolution the Presidium
exempted the Imre Nagy government in an official communiqué
published in "Magyar Kozlony" ("Hungarian Gazette", 12 November

The communiqué also accuses Imre Nagy and his conspiratorial
group "of having liquidated lawful administrative organs, councils,
and economic administrative organs and having replaced them with
so-called revolutionary committees, consisting of bourgeois fascist

[page 3]


elements, and with so-called workers? councils, intended to
misread the worker."

In fact, during the revolution the councils were not
dissolved The fructifying of the revolutionary committees, on
the other; hand, was legalized after the revolution as political
consultative organs in a decree issued by the revolutionary
worker-peasant government and signed by Janos KADAR.

The functioning of the workers', councils cannot be regarded
as unlawful since 20 days after the crushing of the revolution the
Presidium legalized and regulated it in a decree. This wad in fact
the first and legal basis of the functioning of the workers'
councils. (As is known, in the course of 1957 the workers' councils
withered and been dissolved.)

Yugoslavs Indirectly Accused

Data enumerated in the communiqué on Western support
given to the revolution do not contain new elements but repeat the
allegations made by Hungarian propaganda on several occasions
during the past 18 months.

The communiqué indirectly accuses the Yugoslav
Embassy of having supported one of the groups of the "Imre Nagy
conspirators". A further charge is that persons who sought refuge
in the Yugoslav Embassy maintained relations with 

On the whole it must be added that the communiqué contains
general statements equivalent to trivialities. Presumably this
generalizing style was adopted in order to distract attention
from details embarrassing to the present regime. The wording
of the communiqué reflects over-hasty work without care being
taken to give details of the accusations. Its editors satisfied
themselves with making use of the same arguments and statements
in connection with the revolutionary events and imperialist
intervention that had been mentioned time and again by political
leaders and the press.


  OSA / Digital archive / Background reports / Subjects / Browse / Search