Foreign Affairs of the Kádár-regime

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  • 2018. September 24.

Foreign politics and diplomats working in foreign affairs worked to represent primarily the interests of the Soviet empire and the state party, and not that of the Hungarian society  it was said in Vasárnapi Újság.

Historians Attila Soós Viktor and Gábor Andreides summarized the talks of the conference ‘Foreign Connections, Possibilities and Diplomats of Hungary after 1945’. Being an occupied country, Hungary did not have independent foreign policy, said historian Attila Viktor Soós, emphasizing that the party state used foreign affairs and diplomacy for its own agenda. They used state security and intelligence in order to make Hungary and the party leadership credible abroad. The historian said: after 1945, when it was clear that the country would be sovietised and a party state would be established, many diplomats stayed abroad, but many were dismissed and replaced by reliable cadres. The process of replacing the leading Hungarian diplomats started in the period between 1945 and 1947. That was a time of changing the elite and after that only those would be employed in foreign affairs who were loyal to the regime, he said. Only those could be mission leaders and ambassadors who were placed there from above and did not climb up the usual career ladder, Attila Viktor Soós said.

Gábor Andreides highlighted that getting rid of the leading diplomats was extremely painful, and that was sensed by the Communist regime. Those who were dismissed spoke foreign languages, knew protocol, had professional skills and knew how to appear at diplomatic receptions. In the beginning of the 1960s new Communist diplomats emerged who spoke languages again, and the leaders of foreign affairs realized that Hungarian diplomatic mission had to be reinstated, he said.

Intelligence incorporated into foreign affairs

After 1945 the internal affairs and its intelligence supervised by the party state was always present in the operation of the foreign affairs, they could place people in positions to the highest levels, said Attila Viktor Soós. The immigration was important for the party state and they put great emphasis on propaganda. From the 1960s they tried to compromise leading immigrants who were critical of the party state and put loyal ones in positions. They received support from the highest ranks. János Kádár said in 1961 that the expenditures on operating bodies dealing with immigration should be equal to national defense, said Attila Viktor Soós. “It was worth to spend a hundred million forints to have papers in America and France that served the interests of the party state”, as the historian put it. This policy changed slightly later. The World Federation of Hungarians, which was an organisational part of Foreign Affarirs, played a major role in having the Communist regime accepted in the West. In the 1970s, 1980s they tried to influence Hungarian immigrants to become loyal to Kádár’s dictatorship. Whose interests did they represent?

To answer the question how foreign affairs served the interests of the party and the Hungarian nation, Gábor Andreides said that there were moments in the 60s70s when there seemed to be intentions to conduct independent Hungarian foreign politics, but on the whole, Hungarian foreign affairs served the purposes of the communist party leadership. For those who worked in foreign affairs, the party was a priority and representing Hungarian interests only came after that. If we think of immigrant Hungarians living outside the country, it is clear that Hungarian foreign affairs only advanced the interests of the Hungarian communist party and not those of Hungarian society, said Attila Viktor Soós.


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Attila Viktor Soós Conference