Monday, October 23, 2006

A Revolução Hungara de 1956 (VI)

Relatório da ONU, pags. 158-59

2. The Transdanubian National Council

506. Of all the Revolutionary Councils, that which appears to have wielded the greatest political influence was the Transdanubian National Council. This Council was set up at a conference in Győr on 30 October, at tended by about 400 delegates, four from each county and two from each city in the Transdanubian region, as well as by delegates of the Revolutionary Councils of Borsod and Bács-Kiskún Counties and the Central Workers’ Council of Csepel. The conference was opened by the President of the “National Revolutionary Council” of Győr-Sopron County, Attila Szigethy. Demonstrations held in Győr during the previous days had demanded the formation of a “counter-Government” to that of Mr. Nagy and had called for military help from the Western Powers and for war with the Soviet Union. However, news reached the conference from Budapest about the “Inner-Cabinet” which Mr. Nagy had just set up(8) and which included Béla Kovács, the Independent Smallholder leader from Pécs in the Transdanubian area, and about the opening of negotiations for the withdrawal of Soviet troops. Under the impact of this news, the conference decisively rejected the proposal for a “counter-Government” and declared that it would immediately open negotiations with Mr. Nagy regarding the following points:

(1) The Government must give reliable guarantees for the fulfilment of promises regarding the demands of the people, above all regarding the withdrawal of Soviet forces;
(2) The Government must hold general elections by secret ballot with the participation of several parties after the departure of the Soviet troops, but not later than January 1957;
(3) The Government must set up local organs for the maintenance of order with the approval of the competent Revolutionary Councils;
(4) Until a new National Assembly could be convened, all appointments of colonels and other senior officers must be approved by a “Central Council”, which is still to be set up;
(5) Changes within the Government are necessary and the freedom fighters must be represented adequately in the new Government;
(6) The Government must issue a neutrality declaration and communicate it to the United Nations;
(7) The Government must guarantee freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.

The conference delegates said that the Transdanubian Council would withdraw recognition from the Government if the above demands were not satisfied and would start negotiations with Revolutionary Councils in Budapest to set up a new Government. The declaration added that the Council took note of the pledge given by Army units in four cities of western Hungary, including Győr, that they would defend the people against all foreign attacks, even if they received orders to the contrary. The Conference declared that it was essential to establish a unified military command for the whole territory of Hungary. The Transdanubian National Council stated at the outset of the Conference that negotiations with the Government would be undertaken in 24 hours and that, in the meantime, the strike would continue. During the night it was announced that the Ninth Army Division in its entirety had associated itself with the Council. This was followed by an appeal broadcast by the Council to all troops in the Transdanubian area calling upon them to follow the example of the Ninth Division.(9)

507. Under the chairmanship of Mr. Szigethy, a delegation from the Transdanubian National Council went to Budapest and met Mr. Nagy on 31 October at the Parliament Building. For several days, Free Radio Győr had been insistently broadcasting the Council demands, including that for Hungarian neutrality. According to a broadcast, emanating from Free Radio Petőfi, on 31 October at 10.30 p.m. Mr. Nagy took note of the creation of the Transdanubian National Council and requested its assistance. Representatives of the Council stated that the condition of their support to the Government was the acceptance of the demands of the Council.

508. The Prime Minister in his reply asked representatives of the Council to give him their confidence; he told them that he was taking steps to fulfil several of the Council’s demands. On the following day at 7.45 p.m. Mr. Nagy made his broadcast proclaiming the neutrality of Hungary and announcing his appeal to the United Nations.

509. Mr. Szigethy and his colleagues, on their return to Győr, reported to the second meeting of the Transdanubian National Council, which adjourned in the early hours of 1 November. The Council decided in favour of the continuation of the strike, pledging the esumption of work after the withdrawal of Soviet troops “had been guaranteed diplomatically”. Acording to testimony received by the Special Committee, at the above meeting of the Council, a delegate of József Dudás, the Chairman of the Hungarian National Revolutionary Committee, proposed once again the establishment of a “counter-Government” within the framework of the Council. This proposal was rejected by the Council with an overwhelming majority.

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