§ 4.35 p.m.
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE MARQUESS OF READING)
My Lords, with the permission of the House, I should like to make a further statement on Hungary.
At midday on Saturday, the 3rd of November, a meeting took place between senior Soviet and Hungarian officers to discuss the technical aspect's of the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Hungary. The Soviet commander agreed that no more Soviet troops would cross the border during the course of the negotiations. The meeting was adjourned until 10 p.m. that night. The Hungarian military representatives, who returned to the meeting as arranged, have not been heard of since.
At the time these negotiations began, Budapest was surrounded by two Russian divisions. Another five Soviet divisions were in the country.
Early on Sunday morning, Soviet forces attacked Budapest. In the course of the morning, a message reached Her Majesty's Legation to the effect that at 8 a.m. a Soviet ultimatum had been given to Mr. Nagy's Government, threatening, to bomb Budapest if the Government had not capitulated by noon. By the time this message was delivered, the building in which Mr. Nagy and his colleagues were assembled was already surrounded by Russian tanks. The fate of Mr. Nagy and his Government is not yet officially known. According to agency reports they are under arrest.
Long before the resistance of the loyal Hungarian forces had been overcome, Moscow radio announced that they had been crushed. Moscow radio also announced the formation of a Hungarian Revolutionary Workers and Peasants' Government, with Kadar as Prime Minister. The first act of the puppet 1370 Government was to appeal to the Soviet Farces Command to crush their compatriots, whom they described as mutinous forces.
Since yesterday morning, the tragic developments in Hungary have been discussed by both the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The General Assembly, in calling on the Soviet Government to desist from its intervention in Hungary and to withdraw its forces from the country, have asked the Soviet and Hungarian Governments to admit United Nations observers. They have also called on member Governments to make available food, medicines and other supplies which might be needed for the people of Hungary. This resolution was opposed only by the Soviet Union and its satellites.
Her Majesty's Government have decided to make a further grant of £25,000 to the Red Cross.
In Hungary we are witnessing a reversion to the worst features of the system of domination of other States which the world had come to associate with the name of Stalin. The brave struggle for freedom of a nation which was in breach of no agreements, desired only neutrality and threatened no other country is now being ruthlessly crushed.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Marquess for the statement that he has just made, and from these Benches we should like to associate ourselves with the world-wide reprobation of the action taken by the Soviet Union in Hungary. I am sure we are all horrified at the brutality of the ruthless aggression by the Soviet Union. As I understand it, their resort to force against Hungarian independence and freedom is a cynical violation of their obligations under the Yalta Agreement, the Atlantic Charter, the United Nations Charter, the Convention on Human Rights and the Hungarian Peace Treaty. I do not believe for a single moment that it will extinguish the aspirations for freedom either in Hungary or in any of the other captive nations, though it may set hack the clock of attainment. We hope that the United Nations will employ to the utmost its political authority and moral influence to sustain, support and I succour the Hungarian people in their 1371 struggle for freedom, and we are glad to know that Her Majesty's Government are to give their fullest support and encouragement to the United Nations in these efforts. We welcome the declaration just made by the noble Marquess that Her Majesty's Government have decided to double their contribution of aid to the Hungarian people, and we hope that the United Nations w ill be made the vehicle for the transmission of all forms of aid, in order to ensure that it is used promptly for the alleviation of the Hungarian people's grave distress and urgent needs.
My Lords, there is little need for me to add anything to what has already been said. We on these Benches equally thank the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, for his statement on this tragic affair, and we support everything that has been said by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson. I am sure that in all quarters of the House we hope that Her Majesty's Government will always align themselves in this matter with those who are anxious to do something to alleviate this tragic situation.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, could the noble Marquess say what action we took at the United Nations Assembly?
THE MARQUESS OF READING
We supported. I am obliged to both noble Lords for what they have said on this matter.