NOVEMBER 26, 1956
HYDE PARK—It is a horrible thing to read the newspaper accounts of how the Soviet secret police kidnapped Imra Nagy, the former Hungarian Premier, in front of the Yugoslav Embassy in Budapest. The Soviets evidently do not mind breaking their word to the Yugoslavs, for they had given assurances that Mr. Nagy and his associates would be safe from political reprisals when they returned to their homes.
When great nations do not keep their word, it is because they must be acting from fear. Yet they must realize that they lose the respect not only of governments but of individuals in all the countries of the world. It certainly looks as though Moscow's attitude will destroy the friendly view which was undoubtedly growing toward the Soviet Union when it seemed to be granting more freedom to the satellite nations. Even Yugoslavia, which had seemed to want to renew friendly relations, has now had its leader attacked in Pravda, and it cannot look with any assurance on a government which breaks its word to them.
In our own country we are faced with a difficult decision in the Egyptian crisis. Egypt is demanding that all troops from Great Britain, France and Israel be removed from Egyptian territory at once, and that the U.N. police force be in no way considered as a "military presence." But the British, French and Israelis, before they withdraw their military forces, want some assurance that Egypt and the other Arab states will negotiate a permanent peace. They feel that otherwise they are apt to find themselves in the same position which existed when they were goaded to the point of making this attack.
It is reported, however, that President Eisenhower feels the best way to proceed "for the solution of the basic problems of the area" is to get all military personnel out of this area as soon as possible. If one could also move all Arab military power from the area, this might be a satisfactory solution. But, I must say, one does not have a great sense of confidence that the Arab states will be moved by any kind of reasonable attitude. If the U.N. force was considered a real military force and of sufficient size to constitute a power that would enforce all U.N. decisions, this would seem to me a very wise solution. But if it is merely to be a token police force, with no ability to enforce the will of the majority in the U.N., then I can see a real dilemma for the United States. We will be asking our best allies to withdraw with the possibility that we are reducing them to a hopeless situation, with arms coming in to the Arab states from the Soviet Union and nothing being done to protect the interests of the world in the Suez Canal and to assure the safety of Israel, all of which is essential to the survival of democracy in the Near East.