BIRTH OF THE MFM – HUNGARIAN INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT, 1943
As to my opinion, I had, at least since the preparation of my long report of March 1939 (Cf. MS-III, pp. 441–443) which had dealt with the features of and developments in the international situation, little doubt if any as to Germany’s future doom and destruction. As I wrote on some of the first pages of this work, I fully realised the significance of sea (and air) supremacy and the particular importance that should be attached to superior statesmanship.
Now, as far as the possible outcome of the Second World War was concerned, there was no difference of opinion among my circle of friends. Nevertheless, my colleagues had become progressively gloomier and more alarmed over Hungary’s future as time went by. Since 1942 they had been very active in searching for a solution to Hungary’s predicament, and now they began to pressure me to take a more central role in the whirlpool of events (Cf. MS-III, pp. 626–634).
It was ministerial secretary Géza Soos who first came to me with such a view. He was followed one or two days later by Lt. Col. Kudar and Major Jenő Padányi. Yet I did not respond to their urging as they had expected, but after the battle of El Alamein (October 1942) and the landing of the Allies in North Africa (7 November 1942), I was ready to act.
As I had been well informed about the clandestine activities of German intelligence and the German Fifth Column, I was very cautious as to the steps I was taking. Dismissing the idea of using the telephone (which would have most likely been tapped), I asked Soos, in November 1942, to go over to the Ministry of National Defence and ask General Faragho, then Assistant Secretary of Defence, whether he had some time for a short conversation with me. Half an hour later I was sitting in General Faragho’s office.
Since 1924 General Faragho had been a very good friend of mine, in spite of the fact that we had had little if any contact for many years due to the time I had spent in North America (1927–1935). Then, in 1940 we rekindled our friendship at the yearly conference of military attachés of the Hungarian General Staff, held in Budapest. I was representing the Premier, the General being our military attaché in Moscow.
Our first conversation in Faragho’s office was rather brief, but was soon followed by another which lasted for about two hours. At our third meeting we succeeded in arriving at total agreement on all questions, save one single point. We disagreed as to the outcome of the war. While the General’s point of view was that Germany could not win the war, he also believed that neither could its opponents. I, on the other hand, considered Germany already defeated and on the brink of destruction. We were joined in our fourth meeting by Justice Elek Boér of the Division of the Constitutional Matters of the Hungarian Supreme Court. He, too, was an old friend of mine, while he and Faragho had never met before. Boér was of Transylvanian stock, who had spent four years, in the Twenties, in the United States, being attached to the Hungarian Legation in Washington, DC. His task there had been to handle the complicated legal problems arising from the application of the stipulations of the Peace Treaty between Hungary and the United States (Cf. MS-III, pp. 629–634).
We three, then, were the founders and inner core of the movement.
Adoption of the Name “Magyar Függetlenségi Mozgalom”, June 1943
Some time later we increased our number with the addition of the following four men: Professor Tibor Joó, Lt. Col. Lajos Kudar, Jenő Padányi and Ministerial Secretary Géza Soos.
Each of us had his own circle of friends, and thus, in consequence, as early as January 1943, we had already a network of honest, reliable and talented men, who, at that stage, numbered around one hundred. I must stress, however, that none of the members of our movement, with the exception of the above seven, had the slightest idea as to who the leaders of the movement really were. The other very important point was that our “organisation” was not an organisation in the formal sense: we had no charter whatsoever, no rules, and in general we never put into writing any decisions or directives; we had no statutes; no oath was ever taken; there were no fees; we had no “office” or any kind of a bureau, not even a regular meeting place; and we had no secret meeting places. For meeting places we used our private homes. Most of the time we met in my apartment or in that of General Faragho. Later we met occasionally in the apartment of Justice Boér, as well as in the home of János Héder who some time later became himself a member of the movement and acted as a go-between with right-wing organisations and individuals.
In 1943 we were busy building up our network and links. General Faragho (who in 1943 was promoted to the rank of Lt. Gen. and Inspector of the Gendarmerie, and some time later to Inspector of all Gendarmerie and Police forces) and Col. Kudar (he was promoted in 1943 to that rank) were responsible for our activities in connection with all forces of the Gendarmerie and Police. Lt. Gen. János Kiss, Lt. Gen. Lajos Dálnoki Veress, Lt. Gen. György Rakovszky, Brig. General Ferenc Horváth (Commander of the Transylvanian “Szekler” division), Lt. Col. (he was appointed to that rank in 1943) Jenő Padányi, Col. Sándor András of the Air Force, as well as many other officers were our links with the armed forces in Hungary. Gen. Veress who in 1943 was commander of the IXth Army Corps (Transylvania) later became Commander of the 2nd Army.
Our links with the Socialists and Communists were maintained by Professor Tibor Joó. Assistant Unitarian Bishop, Sándor Szent-Iványi was our go-between with the old leaders of the Social-Democratic Party. There were many other members of MFM with important connections, like those with the various ministries, religious organisations, churches, clubs, associations, etc., but due to the constraints we were under we could not maintain contacts with all the individuals and organisations that could help us in our work. (MS-V, Vol. I, pp. 39–41)
MFM, although without a name at that time, began its activities in December 1942. In 1943, membership grew significantly and it expanded its activities. Finally in June it adopted the name “MFM”, i.e. “Hungarian Independence Movement”. To continue with its work it was essential that its members became better informed about political events; around this time an opportunity arose that allowed it to do just that. And here I am quoting again my MS-V, with reference to September 1942:
ESTABLISHING WAR GUILT BECOMES MY RESPONSIBILITY
“I was asked by Ghyczy, then Secretary General in the Foreign Ministry, to call on him. I reported to him and he told me that Mr Kállay, then Premier as well as Foreign Minister had decided to clear up the question of war guilt, i.e. to determine the individuals, events and circumstances which had led to Hungary entering the war. Kállay, Bárczy and Ghyczy, having looked around for an appropriate person to do the work, had decided that I would be possibly the best qualified man for the task. The reasons for my being selected were: I had never belonged to any political party, organisation or affiliated myself with any political ideology; I had been one of the closest friends and collaborators of the great Hungarian that was Pál Teleki; besides being a member of the Hungarian Foreign Service, I had worked as First Personal Secretary to two Premiers; I had done some work in the Supreme Council of National Defence.
Ghyczy told me that my future office would be the room of the Chief of the Cabinet of the Foreign Minister, which, separated by the room of the personal secretaries to the Foreign Minister, was next to the Minister’s office. The office of the Chief of Cabinet was not in use, in fact it had not been used for some time as Count Csáky and Barthelly had been the last Chiefs of Cabinet.
Ghyczy added that he had issued orders to the Chancellor of the Archives of the Political Division of the Foreign Ministry, Mr Binder, to put at my disposal all secret files and documents kept in the Foreign Ministry. Ghyczy also said that he would also put at my disposal those top-secret documents which were then kept in the personal safe of the Foreign Minister, situated in his office. He also authorised me to ask any active or retired Hungarian diplomat to provide information should I need it. In the course of my work in 1943–44, I then asked quite a few senior colleagues of mine including Bárdossy, Hory, Khuen-Héderváry, Kristóffy and others to clarify certain questions which could not be explained by the Archives. György Barcza, our former Minister to St James’s, had already come to see me before my being installed in my new office and gave full particulars on all aspects of his mission to England. He also handed over all his notes, papers and aide-mémoires prepared during his stay in London. The day following my conversation with Ghyczy, I was already installed in my new office and soon files were piling up on my desk. To carry out my task, I had two to three secretaries at my disposal.
My sources, however, were not limited to the Foreign Ministry. On the same day I was installed in my new office, Bárczy called me to go over to his office. I went over to the Sándor Palota, – which took me no more than three minutes of walk – and had a long conversation with my old and very good friend. One should not forget that Bárczy was possibly the Regent’s closest confidant, in consequence he was very well informed about the Regent’s attitude to the question of war guilt. At the same time, being the Permanent Under Secretary in the Premier’s Office, he also had occasion to talk over that particular issue with the Premier, Mr Kállay. Bárczy began telling me that he would show me all minutes and protocols of the Councils of Ministers. These Cabinet Meetings were convened practically every week. While I was first personal Secretary to the Premier, such Councils were held every Friday (Cf. MS-III).
In the course of my work I had made copies of relevant important protocols and minutes. Later, I transgressed the limits of my work – as I had been previously instructed by Ghyczy my task was to be limited to the period of 1938–1943 – and extended my research work to the whole period of 1918–1945, which formed a well-defined period of the History of Hungary. Of course, this meant I had a lot of extra work and Ghyczy as well as the other officials, like Szentmiklósy, Szegedy- Maszák and others, were unable to understand why I had not been able to finish my set task within the allocated eight months. The truth is that I had finished my work in connection with the period of 1938–1943 by the end of 1943, but had not completed that concerning the period of 1918–1938.
Besides the minutes of the Cabinet Councils, Bárczy also provided me with valuable comments on the Cabinet Meetings which fully explained why such and such a Minister had been acting in a certain way or other. Through Bárczy I acquired plenty of information concerning the Regent’s Office, the characters of the Premiers and Ministers of the past, etc.
In addition, my old associates, primarily Padányi, Kudar, Soos, Faragho, Boér and Joó were busy bringing to me as much information as they could. And soon my work began to take shape.
THE OCCUPATION OF HUNGARY, 19 MARCH 1944: A TYPICAL GERMAN GENERAL STAFF NOTION
The great tragedies that have stricken Germany during its past and in particular during the last two hundred odd years were invariably caused by the German inability and incapacity to understand the mentality, the way of thinking of other people, in other words the incapability of a majority of Germans to conduct a sound foreign policy. The Germans being a strong military people never failed to see solutions through the eyes of a soldier. Since the time of Frederick the Great, Moltke, von Bernhardi, Ludendorff and others, German foreign policy was mostly conducted along military lines.
The occupation of Hungary was meticulously prepared: “Operation Margarethe” was a perfect General Staff plan of concentration, but the act of employing force against Hungary was a political blunder, and even Veesenmayer felt it. Just as at the outbreak of the First World War, Emperor William II was unable to stop the mobilisation, already in full swing, Hitler and Keitel themselves could not stop the execution of “Operation Margarethe” once it had been already put into motion. “Sztójay asked that the occupation should be delayed while the Hungarians talked things over; also, that the Germans should put into writing their ‘guarantees’, including Hitler’s assurance that he did not want to infringe the sovereignty of Hungary. Ribbentrop said that it was too late to recall the troops…” (Macartney, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 237)
In the course of Hitler’s conversation with General Szombathelyi the Führer said that he wished no harm to Hungary and had no thought of annexing it. He added that if he were satisfied by guarantees given to him by Horthy the troops would move on in two or three weeks and even called in Keitel to discuss whether the occupation could be cancelled. Keitel, however, told Hitler and Szombathelyi that it was already late.
The Germans also told the Hungarians that if Horthy and his Government were reticent or even hostile to full cooperation with Germany they would give free hand to Slovakia, Romania and Croatia to invade Hungary.
The Regent’s idea was not to abdicate since that would have ended in the destruction of the lives of many thousands of people, first of all of Hungarian Jews. His old thesis was that he was still the captain of the ship of the State and that his duty was to remain on the bridge until the ship was saved or went down, of course with him, the Commander of the ship.
The terms to which Hungarians and Germans agreed was a rather loose settlement and was not put into writing. Both parties had their own reservatio mentalis, which under the given circumstances was quite natural.
To quote a non-Hungarian source, I am having recourse once more to October Fifteenth: “Horthy was afterwards sharply criticised in many quarters for having given way, and in particular for having himself consented to remain at his post and thus to give an appearance of legality both to the occupation and to the shameful things which happened during the following months. Had he abdicated, it was said, even if these things had happened, at least they would have been demonstrably wounds inflicted on Hungary, without its consent, by a conqueror, and thus not to be counted against it afterwards. At least he should have adopted the attitude of the King of Denmark, withdrawn from public life and demonstrated his refusal by refusing to sign any documents.
Horthy’s case for his decision may be read in his own book or in those pages of M. Kállay’s book which record his discussion with the Regent on the subject. Briefly, Horthy argued that if he remained at his post he would be able to save something, whereas no one else would be able to save anything at all. And it can surely not be denied that he was right in this. It must not be forgotten that the alternative offered him in Klessheim was not between the same operation, conducted in an amicable spirit or a hostile one, but between the restricted operation and the total one, carried out with help of the satellites. The latter would certainly have inflicted on the majority of the population far worse sufferings than they actually underwent. Even the Jews have reason to be thankful that he decided as he did. He did not save the Jews outside Budapest (and it may well be that a more subtle politician or one less easily influenced, could have done more than Horthy did in this direction). But he saved the Jews of Budapest, and no other man could have done it.
Horthy was undoubtedly right if all that needs to be considered is what Hungary suffered as it was, and that it would have suffered had he defied Hitler. He was wrong if it can be taken with assurance that those sufferings would have been outweighed by rewards accorded to Hungary by an appreciative Peace Conference. But who can honestly believe this of a Conference at which the name of Teleki was not even mentioned?” (Macartney, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 239–240)
At about 8 p.m. Horthy and his entourage returned to Hungary. During the journey of the Hungarians to Budapest, the occupation by German Reichswehr and the SS was being carried out.
The Safety of My MSS
I was rung up very early on 19 March in my home by Bárczy’s personal secretary, Gyöngyi, and told to go at once to the Sándor Palace.
At the time Budapest was already under German military occupation. The Chain Bridge and many other points were guarded by German soldiers, and there were German soldiers on Szent György Square, situated between the Royal Palace and the Sándor Palace, the Premier’s office, and at other strategically important points. “I could see Bárczy for just a few minutes. It was about 7 a.m. and the Regent and his group had not returned yet; Kállay was busy answering telephone calls. Bárczy had to go down (the Permanent Under Secretary’s room was one floor above that of the Premier’s), but before going down he had told me to wait. While I was waiting for his return I got further information from Gyöngyi Rimály. Some Cabinet Ministers were already in the Council room, others were just arriving. Later Bárczy came back and told me to come back as many times as would be necessary and I told him that he could reach me any time in the Special Bureau in the Royal Palace or in the room of the Chief of the Cabinet in the Foreign Ministry, and after 2 p.m. at home.
From the Sándor Palace I went to the Special Bureau in the Royal Palace but could not see Nicky who was with his father’s family. In the Special Bureau I instructed Keövess and Ilona to put all important and top-secret papers in suitcases as well as to remove all compromising documents replacing them with pro-Nazi texts already prepared for such an emergency.
From the Special Bureau I hurried to the Foreign Ministry. In my office I had a talk with Chancellor Binder concerning top-secret material. He had already received instructions from Secretary General (Under Secretary) Endre Szentmiklósy; the instructions included the destruction of certain documents. But since Ghyczy had not arrived yet (it was about 10.30 a.m. and Horthy’s train was somewhere at Bicske or Kelenföld). With the help of my typists I put all my papers, including copies of top-secret material kept in the secret archives of the Foreign Ministry and of the Prime Minister’s office, into two suitcases and returned to Bárczy.” (MS-V, Vol. I, pp. 123–124)
MY ROLE AND ATTITUDE IN CONNECTION WITH THE MISSION TO MOSCOW
My role in MFM consisted mainly of the following: introducing Rev. Szent-Iványi, Gyulai, Boér, Faragho, Atzél and others to Nickyand supporting them and their plans; organisational responsibilities; coordinating the different activities and tasks of the organisation; becoming fully informed of the roots of Hungary’s tragedy of 1939–1945; attempting to influence Nicky and through him his father, the Regent; preparing for my eventual participation in a mission to be sent to North America; and settling differences between members of MFM. Thus, as the reader can see, my duties did not solely consist in preparing for my trip to Moscow. The rapidly changing situation, however, brought great changes in my work and in my life.
In the second half of September everything was running just as we had planned. As soon as the question of direct negotiations with the Russians became pertinent, the Regent had to proceed to select suitable individuals for a mission to Moscow. As I have already recollected in my MS-V (Cf. pp. 227–229) there were two candidates for the post of delegate to Moscow, General Faragho, whose name and qualities MFM had been constantly promoting in Horthy circles since November 1943, and Kálmán Rátz, a former Hussar Captain, and then an MP. I considered Rátz an “unbalanced, irrational, not to say strange man”. He was discarded, although he himself told me that he had turned down the opportunity to act as a delegate.
On 24 September it was considered a done deal that Faragho was to go to Moscow. On the 25 we had a confidential conversation in the Golf Club, Faragho, Boér and myself, in the course of which all the details of the situation and of the mission to Moscow were discussed. At that moment, according to Faragho, he seemed the prime candidate for the post of delegate to Moscow (Cf. MS-V, Vol. I, pp. 230–232). In Hungary at this time the Gestapo had become quite powerful: All important telephones were tapped, persons shadowed, and once I received a telephone message from János Kodolányi, the well-known Hungarian author, telling me to be very careful since the Gestapo wanted to either arrest or kidnap me (Cf. MS- V, Vol. I, pp. 230, 231 and 232). During this time I did not sleep at home any longer. Now I will quote some lines from my MS-V:
When Faragho first became conscious of his selection for the Moscow mission (as MFM had been planning since the fall of 1943) he began to lose his characteristic courage. His failure to intercept in early July the so-called Baky Putsch had undermined his innate optimism, at least as far as the Royal Palace and missions abroad were concerned. Thus, when on the morning of 26 September the Regent told him that he was his definite choice, the general categorically declared that he would not go to Moscow except in my company. So he received the Regent’s authorisation to discussing the matter with me.
It was around 9.30 a.m. that in company of Nicky, I went from the Special Bureau into the private apartment of Nicky. Faragho was already waiting for me there. Nicky left us and we started a long conversation which, according to my notes which contain exact dates and times, lasted until 10.30 a.m.
Faragho was adamant. He repeated in a very firm voice that he would not go to Moscow without me. “It is a politico-diplomatic matter and you know much more about such stuff than I!” he declared. I mentioned the necessity of my handling issues in the USA, and added that at our MFM conferences it had been agreed that he would go to Moscow and I, having spent so many years in the Western democracies, to the West. This toing and froing lasted for half an hour without conclusion. At the end of this ouverture we stopped talking. Faragho pulled out a big cigar and began to smoke away. I, on the other hand, was desperately thinking. And then, all of a sudden, I felt as if I had found the solution.
I was thinking about my prophecies in my report of April 1939: about the approaching world conflagration that would destroy the power of Germany, France, Italy and Britain while at the end two powers, just two would benefit from the havoc stronger than ever before, the Soviet Union and the United States; and in our situation the urgent problem was not Washington but Moscow. In addition, the Western Powers themselves were pushing Hungary towards the Soviet Union. One should not forget that it was neither Russia nor America which had caused the dismemberment of Hungary, not to mention the foolish French policy concerning the States of East Central Europe, a policy which had resulted in the battle of Mohács and the consequent devastation of Hungary. I remembered US General H. H. Bandholtz as saying in his book An Undiplomatic Diary, that France had been doing its best to keep Hungary down while helping in every possible way Romania to rise up. As I am a fast thinker, it would take too much time to bring up here all the thoughts which then were rapidly coursing through my mind.
I Decide to Go to Moscow. 26 September 1944
I looked at Faragho who was comfortably smoking in his big armchair and said, “Well Gábor, I am willing to go to Moscow, but under the condition that our mission would not be a simple armistice delegation. I want to present to the Regent as well as to the Russians my ideas about transforming Hungarian interior and foreign policy on the basis of the principles of Bocskai, Bethlen, Rákóczi, Széchenyi, Kossuth, László Teleki and Pál Teleki, and, mind you, on modern democratic principles”.
I said much more than that, but Gábor, being a practical man, was not much impressed. And he declared:
“I don’t care a bit about what kind of principles you are going to sell to the Regent and to Uncle Joe; I am interested in one single point, you have got to come along to go to Moscow. Otherwise…”, and he was thinking for a moment, “things would not go as they should…”
I then explained to him that we would have to do something demonstrative proving that we really wanted to return to the policy of Pál Teleki, and then said: “I shall ask the Regent to add Géza Teleki to our mission. Géza and myself, the son of the late Hungarian leader and one of his closest collaborators, would be sufficient proof for supporting my thesis. And I shall ask the Regent to consent to the essence of my speech to be delivered in Moscow.”
As far as political views, whether good or not, were concerned, Faragho did not show any interest. But there was a practical point on which he began to question me: “Well, I don’t like the idea of carrying along as some burden a spoiled and vain young aristocrat. What kind of a guy is he, anyway?”
I did my best to give him the necessary assurances which seemingly had a soothing effect on him.
“OK, Gábor”, I said, “I’m going back to my office”.
And so we separated. He returned to his office and I to the Special Bureau. I went into Nicky’s room and informed him about my decision.
HORTHY’S LETTER TO MARSHAL STALIN, ASKING FOR AN ARMISTICE
“That’s splendid”, he exclaimed, “you should see my father at once, but first…”, and he took a sheet of paper from his desk: “You speak and write English very well. Will you carefully go over the text and make the necessary corrections?”
I took the paper in hand and saw that it was a typewritten letter, addressed to Stalin. “All right”, I said, “I am going to work on the paper right now”. I went into my room and began checking on the text.
As I made the necessary corrections, I thought of how close we had come to realising our plans. The letter was prepared by the Regent himself, assisted by Ambrózy, Nicky, his daughter-in-law, as well as by one of the officers of his Bodyguard who had spent a considerable amount of time in Canada and thus had a good command of the English language.
I remember that one of my corrections was not accepted by the Regent, the form in which the letter addressed its proposed recipient. In the Regent’s composition it read: “Marshal Stalin”. This I changed to “Field-Marshal Stalin”, since the word “Field- Marshal” means only one thing in the English language, i.e. the highest ranking officer of any army in any country, while “Marshal” might refer to other ranks in other services, such as the head of a police or fire department. When I saw the Regent shortly afterwards, we did not enter into a discussion of the text of the letter, but later I found that all my corrections, except the form of address, had been accepted.
Here I am giving the full and final text of the letter:
In the name and for the sake of my people in their extreme danger I address myself to you. Doing so in the name of the Hungarian people, who has no responsibility for this war. For thousand years and particularly during this last decade, the fate of our people has been influenced by the neighbouring German Colossus. – It was again under this influence that we were carried into this unfortunate war with the Soviet Union.
I have to lay a particular stress on the fact, that my poor country has been practically filled with the German “Fifth Column”. This penetration has started on a large scale at the same moment when German forces marched into Rumania and Bulgaria. As a result, every movement and every step in Hungary have been closely watched by German agents, and the most important news and reports have never reached me. I have now come to the knowledge that after the air-attack upon Kassa and Munkács, Foreign Minister Molotov – during a conversation with the Hungarian Minister – emphasised the peaceful aims of the Soviet Union towards Hungary. If this was really so, it is fatal, for it did not reach me at the time.
For the sake of justice, I would like to inform you that we have never ever wanted to take but a single inch from anybody that was not ours by right. On the contrary, Rumania took Bessarabia from their own Russian ally after the First World War and wished to take an important part of South Russia during the Second World War with German help. Furthermore, when in 1940 we intended to make an end to the monstrous treatment of the Hungarian people in Transylvania, it was again the Rumanians who asked for help from Germany, in asking Hitler to help them to retain at least a part of this land by the Vienna Award.
When sending with full authorisation my delegates to the negotiations of armistice, I beg you to spare this unfortunate country which has its own historic merits and the people which has so many affinities with the Russian people. Kindly exercise your great influence upon your allies that you may make conditions compatible with our people’s interests and honour who would really deserve peaceful life and a safe future.
I avail myself of this opportunity to express to you, Marshal Stalin, my highest consideration. Horthy
P.S. As our troops are still on the borders and we were invaded by strong German units, I am asking to treat my letter with discretion, until we are able to master the situation.”
As far as I can remember, the letter bore no date, but it was signed on 26 September.
I was authorised to correct the grammatical and stylistic errors, but had no right to change the text as a whole. Now, after twenty-nine years, reading the text, I confess I am not satisfied either with the text itself or its English version, and I am sad that I was not invited by Nicky to participate in composing this historic letter. One of the main issues I had was that my compatriots had confused haste with efficiency. Had I had more time at my disposal on the 26, I could have added a bit more style to the text. Yet there was not enough time for me to revise it and anyway, there were far too many involved in its composition which spoiled it somewhat.
I Have a Long Talk with the Regent 10.45 a.m. 26 September
At 10.35 a.m. Nicky rushed into my room: “Let’s hurry to my father!”
In order to avoid being seen, Nicky led me down a little-known staircase (Cf. MS- III, Vol. I, pp. 741, 749, 750), the same that had been used by ex-Emperor King Charles IV twenty-four years earlier, to go to see the former Commander-in-Chief of the Austro-Hungarian Fleet and to persuade the latter of the necessity to hand over all power in Hungary to him*, into the rooms of his father. On entering the apartment I observed great disorder. Nicky immediately left us.
As soon as we were alone, the Regent approached me. I had been keeping my distance due to his high position. He grasped my hands and exclaimed, in an almost imploring tone:
“You will go Szent-Iványi to Moscow, won’t you?”
Then I came forward with my ideas (Cf. my conversation with General Faragho an hour earlier), and when I arrived at the person of the late Pál Teleki and our policy to be, Admiral Horthy cut in:
“Well, I liked the late Count Teleki very much”, but did not make any remarks as to my plans. Yet, with his repeated nodding he seemed to be giving my plans the go ahead.
As to my demand to take Géza Teleki along, Horthy’s answer was to the point: “Why not, if you think it useful!”
I was not quite sure whether he was following what it was I was trying to get across, but in Moscow I carried out my work according to the principles we discussed.
The Regent looked much older than when I had seen him three and a half years previously. Of course he had much on his shoulders and one could see on his face the effect of the constant pressure under which he had found himself since the beginning of the Second World War.
There were still some other points which we had to discuss and so it wasn’t until around 11.25 a.m. that I finally returned to the Special Bureau.
My Thoughts and Plans Following My Audience with Horthy
On the 25th I was still living under the impression that I was to go to the United States, alone or with Bakách-Bessenyey, but now, I was ready to change my plans.
I had decided that as far as we, the MFM, were concerned, we should support the Washington–Moscow line with the centre of gravity moved in the direction of the Soviet Union. It is true that since the 24th, I had been urged, first of all by Béla Teleki, Dániel Bánffy and others to tackle the Russian problem. In fact, since 22 September the Special Bureau had been constantly visited, first of all by Transylvanians (Béla, Géza and Andor Teleki, Dániel Bánffy, Édy Atzél, etc.), and also by Géza Soos, Kálmán Saláta, Sándor Szent-Iványi, Rev. János K. Tóth, György Darányi and many others. All our visitors felt that there was something in the air.
I Call Géza Teleki
It was about 11.25 a.m. when I asked Helen to get Géza Teleki on the line. Two minutes later Géza was on the line and I asked him to come at once to the Special Bureau. He arrived twenty minutes later, and I asked him point blank in English: “Géza, are you ready to jump at once?”
His answer was firm and laconic: “Any time”.
Thus, the Hungarian Armistice delegation had come into being. It, on the 26th and 27th, consisted of four members: a military and Russian expert, Faragho; a Professor of Geology, as well as an expert on raw materials and resources, Géza Teleki; the Chairman of the United Transylvanian Parties, Count Béla Teleki; and a diplomat, myself.
I was very satisfied, and I thought, as even today I think while writing these lines in 1973, it was the very best team one could bring together at that time in Hungary. I considered each member of the delegation as without equal in Hungary at that time, with the exception perhaps of Count István Bethlen, but we could not use his expertise at that time.
(End of quote from MS-V, Vol. I, pp. 233–238)