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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 07, 1956

FROM THE DIARY OF D.T. SHEPILOV

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    In his diary, Shepilov pledges to investigate the circumstances surrounding tank fire near the Yugoslav embassy in Budapest. Promises are made to investigate the story and report back to Yugoslavian officials. Shepilov notes that Yugoslavian Ambassador Micunovic agrees with judgments made about Nagy. Shepilov expresses consternation at how Yugoslavia can provide refuge for Nagy and condemn him. References to a meeting in Brioni between Khrushchev, Malenkov and Tito detail the opinions of Yugoslav and Soviet officials concerning Nagy.
    "From the diary of D.T. Shepilov," November 07, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Published in CWIHP Bulletin 10, pp. 144-145. Translated for CWIHP by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111100
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111100

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From the diary of D.T. SHEPILOV

Secret
7 November 1956

On a Conversation with the
Yugoslav Ambassador to the USSR, Micunovic

At 14:10, I received the ambassador of Yugoslavia to the USSR, Micunovic. I told him that I had received his report on the conversation between Minister for Foreign Affairs Koca Popovic and the Soviet ambassador Firiubin in which Koca Popovic stated that a Soviet tank located alongside the building of the Yugoslav mission in Budapest opened fire on November 6 at 12:45 (Budapest time). The direction of the shot has not been established, but all of the windows in the Yugoslav mission were blown out and the window frames were damaged, and the event led to panic amongst the people located inside the mission.

I told Micunovic that I had just spoken with the commander of the Soviet military unit in Budapest and had instructed him to conduct a careful inquiry into the veracity of this fact. That will be done and the results of the inquiry will be conveyed to the ambassador. However, as a preliminary matter the commander of the Soviet military unit in Budapest categorically states that that sort of incident could not have taken place, since everything is completely calm in the region where the Yugoslav mission is located and since the tanks located near the mission were unlikely to have needed to open fire. However, I once again confirmed that the results of the inquiry as to the veracity or fictitiousness of the episode of which Koca Popovic had informed our ambassador would be conveyed to him as well.

In this regard I told Micunovic that on November 5 of this year, the Yugoslav ambassador in Hungary, Soldatic, made a request to the USSR ambassador in Hungary, com. Andropov, for the removal of the Soviet military unit which was located in the proximity of the mission building since at present the presence of this military unit near the Yugoslav mission was not necessary.

I told Micunovic that the Soviet military commander in Budapest for his part considers it possible to comply with the Yugoslav mission's request and to remove the Soviet military unit located near the mission.

I also told Micunovic that we cannot but be astonished by Koca Popovic's statement that “public opinion in Yugoslavia is quite strongly indignant.” If we are talking about feelings, then our population, as well as every Hungarian patriot, is indignant to a far greater degree because of the fact that bankrupt degenerates and accomplices of counter-revolution such as Nagy and company, with whose knowledge worker-revolutionaries and communists were hanged on the streets of Budapest, took refuge in the Yugoslav embassy after their defeat. Micunovic said that he had just acquainted himself with com. Khrushchev's letter of November 6 to coms. Tito, Kardelj and Rankovic. He cannot speak officially about the letter as a whole, but personally considers that its contents and conclusions contradict the understanding reached between com. Tito and coms. Khrushchev and Malenkov during their recent visit to Brioni.

Micunovic also stated that he does not differ with me in the judgment that Imre Nagy and his government cleared the way for counter-revolution. But there is an entire group of people with Nagy among whom there are honest communists. During the conversations at Brioni, it was stipulated that Imre Nagy and the others could improve the position of the new revolutionary workerpeasant government if in one way or another they announced their intention to assist this government or, at the least, not to speak out against it. The presence of Imre Nagy and others presently in the Yugoslav embassy does not contradict the understanding which took place between coms. Khrushchev and Malenkov and com. Tito and other Yugoslav figures during coms. Khrushchev and Malenkov's visit to Brioni.

I answered that insofar as I was informed of the contents of the conversation which took place at Brioni between coms. Khrushchev and Malenkov, on the one hand, and the leaders of Yugoslavia on the other, the Yugoslav government's provision of asylum to Nagy and his entourage in the Yugoslav embassy starkly contradicts the said conversation and understanding. Coms. Khrushchev and Malenkov informed the leadership of the party and the USSR government that com. Tito and the other Yugoslav leaders fully agreed with their Soviet comrades' conclusions that Imre Nagy and his confederates are not only political bankrupts, but are people who cleared the way for counter-revolution and who themselves became the accomplices of reactionaries and imperialist forces. I know, for example, that during the conversation, com. Tito stated: “What sort of revolutionary is Nagy? What sort of communist is he if leading workers, communists and public figures were hanged and shot with his knowledge?”

In light of these facts, we are truly astonished and perplexed by the fact that the leaders of the Yugoslav government have sheltered the anti-people group headed by Nagy in the walls of the Budapest mission.

Micunovic once again repeated that he did not dissent from our assessment of Nagy. However, it is not necessary to create additional difficulties for the new Hungarian government and provoke the excitement and dissatisfaction of the Hungarian and Yugoslav population, as well as additional unpleasantness in the UN and in worldwide public opinion through certain actions relating to Nagy and his group, by which he meant that at present they are not taking part in any political activity and are keeping quiet.

I informed Micunovic that he would be received at 18:00 for a conversation with com. Khrushchev.

D. SHEPILOV.

Attested: [signature] […]