Monday, October 23, 2006

A Revolução Hungara de 1956 (VIII)

Relatório da ONU, pags. 161-162

2. Armed forces

518. The Revolutionary National Defense Committee (Forradalmi Honvédelmi Bizottmány) was set up in the early hours of 31 October, at a meeting held at the Ministry of Defence, by two hundred and fifty representatives of (a) The Revolutionary Insurgent Forces (Felkelt Forradalmi Erők); (b) The Revolutionary Military Council of the Hungarian People’s Army (Magyar Néphadsereg Forradalmi Tanácsa); (c) The Revolutionary Council of the National Police Command (Országos Rendőrkapitányság Forradalmi Tanácsa); and (d) The Revolutionary Committee of the Frontier Guards (Határőrségi Forradalmi Bizottmány). The first three groups had been set up on 30 October and represented young freedom fighters - including the Hungarian Revolutionary Youth Alliance - soldiers, non-commissioned officers, officers, cadets and staff officers of the armed forces; and the central authority of the Hungarian National Police. The Frontier Guards had been placed since 1949 under the authority of the ÁVH. They were, nevertheless, considered in a different light by the population of Hungary, and its officers and soldiers pledged loyalty on 29 October to the Government of Mr. Nagy, stating that they sincerely agreed with the revolutionary changes.

519. The meeting of 31 October was convened by the Revolutionary Military Council of the Hungarian People’s Army, which, in the invitation also summoned “the leaders of the Revolutionary Army Committee of the units of the Third Motorized Army Group, which have replaced the Soviet troops withdrawing from Budapest”, to report to it. Thus the terms of the invitation to the above meeting implied that the power of disposition of the armed forces at that date rested with the Revolutionary Military Council, in which leaders of all army branches were represented, and not with the Minister of Defence - at that time Károly Janza. Local revolutionary army committees and military councils had been set up about 28 October all over the country, in different units, including the Air Force Commands and the military academies.

520. The meeting of 31 October set up the Revolutionary National Defence Committee of twenty-one officers headed by General Béla Király, formerly chief of the training centres of the Ministry of Defence; Colonel Pál Maléter, Commander of the Kilián Barracks; Major-General Gyula Váradi of the Tank Corps; Colonel András Marton of the Zrínyi Academy and Lt.- Colonel István Marián, leader of the freedom fighters of the Technological University. It also adopted a resolution of eight points which demanded the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the entire territory of Hungary, the repudiation of the Warsaw Treaty after the convocation of a conference of the signatory Governments, and the occupation of the uranium mines by the Hungarian Army. The Revolutionary National Defence Committee approved the dissolution of the ÁVH, and at the same time demanded that former members of the ÁVH should not be allowed, in the future, to join any armed formation or the National Guard. The Committee stated that Hungarian armed formations would oppose, with arms, any external or internal enemy which set foot on Hungarian soil and attacked its independence, and that, if Soviet troops did not leave Hungary by 31 December 1956, the Hungarian armed forces would fight with arms “for the cause of the country’s freedom and for the defence of the achievements of the victorious revolution”.

521. A few hours before the constitutive meeting of the Revolutionary National Defence Committee on 31 October, Mr. Nagy, acting on behalf of the Council of Ministers, acknowledged and confirmed” the formation of the Preparatory Committee of the evolutionary National Defence Committee which was, apparently, at that time, already in existence. Mr. Nagy added that “the Revolutionary National Defence Committee, once formally established, will form the new armed forces, made up of the units of the army, the police, the revolutionary insurgent forces, and the workers and youth brigades. With their assistance, the Revolutionary National Defence Committee will restore the internal peace of our country and create the conditions for the implementation of the Government programmes proclaimed on 28 and 30 October.(15) The Revolutionary National Defence Committee will operate until the new Government has been formed, after general elections by secret ballot, and has taken office”.

522. Thus from 31 October, the Revolutionary National Defence Committee became the supreme directing power of the Hungarian Army, of other semi-military formations and of the freedom fighters. Between 1 and 3 November the Defence Committee took several decisions of considerable importance and issued statements of policy with or without the Government’s formal blessing. During the day of 31 October, the Committee proceeded to establish the Revolutionary Committee of the Public Security Forces (Forradalmi Karhatalmi Bizottság), composed of the army, the police and the factory guards, which was charged with the coordination of activities of all security forces; and also to develop further the National Guard (Nemzetőrség), which was to be composed of members of armed formations of those fighters who were not members of the army, police or factory guards. General Béla Király was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard, which was to enjoy equal status with the regular army and police. General Király made a statement in which he said that the National Guard should do their utmost to separate themselves from “sporadic disturbers” and that, for this purpose, they would be issued immediately with a special National Guard identity card; they would also receive, as from that day, flags for their units similar to those used in 1848, to which they would swear allegiance.

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