5: November, 1919
<< 4: October, 1919 || 6: December, 1919 >>
November 1, 1919. Last night Colonel Loree, Colonel Sheldon, Captain Gore and
myself were the guests at dinner of Count Edelsheim, who entertained us at the National
Club. This is the select club of the Hungarian aristocracy and has been opened only a few
days. The other guests were all of them either counts or barons, and included Count
Andrássy, former Prime Minister, and Count Károlyi, the President of the Club, but not
the notorious Count Károlyi who turned the government over to Béla Kun.
This morning the gasoline situation was so acute that, after having telegraphed General
Allen(1) at Coblenz, Secretary of State Polk at
Paris, Colonels Smith and Causey in Vienna, and the American Minister in Bucharest each to
send me a carload of gasoline, knowing that I could easily dispose of any surplus, I sent
Colonel Loree out to round up the Roumanian situation and force them to disgorge a part of
the large quantity which I knew that they have on hand here in Budapest. He stuck to the
proposition and finally about 5 o'clock this afternoon sent up for a truck to get 2,000
liters. The chauffeur said that there was any quantity of it on the tracks, thereby
verifying my well-founded suspicions. The present market price here in Budapest is a
trifle over a dollar a gallon, but I have already arranged to buy three or four hundred
gallons of the Hungarian government at about thirty-five cents a gallon.
About noon today I had a personal call from my old friend "Archie Duke"
accompanied by his son, the young "Archie Dukelet." He is very pleasant to meet
socially, and we discussed at some length the general Hungarian situation, and what
Hungary ought to do whenever she got rid of the Roumanians. His Royal Highness seemed to
think that about the first thing that should be done was to turn loose and invade
Roumania. Although he is still technically an enemy and he was talking about one of our
Allies, I could not help in my heart sympathizing with him, and I don't know of anything
that I would rather do just at present than fight Roumanians.
While out on his trip, Colonel Loree telephoned me the sad news that our good friend,
Colonel Vasilescu, had been ordered back to Bucharest and would probably leave on Monday.
After he leaves, there will be only one advantage in the Roumanian situation, and that is
that it will be one of homogeneous rottenness.
November 2, 1919. Yesterday afternoon about 6 o'clock I got word that Minister
Diamandi was waiting in the anteroom, and desired "to approach the east." I sent
word that he should be admitted in due form and ceremony. He came in with his little
mincing steps and said that between gentlemen (although I could not understand why he used
it in the plural), it was always best to speak with frankness, and he wished to enter two
complaints about the conduct of American officers.
He started in first and said that an American Red Cross officer had invaded the sacred
precincts of Roumanian territory, had gone to the city of Arad and interviewed a lot of
Hungarian prisoners there without first having been admitted to the presence of the
prefect and, in general, had been guilty of most discourteous conduct, emphasizing the
fact that he thought it was a military custom always to advise a commanding officer when
his territory was to be invaded. I told his little Excellency that there had been no
American Red Cross officer outside of the city of Budapest, and that he was off his nut.
He then read the prefect's complaint, giving the name of the American Red Cross officer
as Colonel Raymond Sheldon. I then told him that Colonel Raymond Sheldon was an officer of
the United States Regular Army, that he had been sent to Arad as chairman of a committee
of four representing the Inter-Allied Military Mission for the purpose of investigating
prisoner-of-war conditions there and elsewhere; that forty-eight hours before his
departure, General Mardarescu had been advised of it; that Colonel Sheldon had called upon
the commanding officer at Arad and every damned Roumanian official he could find, and that
he found conditions there that were a disgrace to civilization.
His Excellency then branched out on the topic of American officers having gone to the
Telephone Central and of having had trouble there with Roumanian sentinels, stating that
he thought that when complaints were to be made of things of that kind, the officers
should first go to the Commanding General of Budapest or General Mardarescu and not go and
have trouble with sentinels; that the whole thing was an incident that might easily have
been avoided. I told him just so, that the two officers concerned were Colonel Sheldon, U.
S. Army, and Captain Aitken of the British Army, accompanied by two American field clerks;
that the first thing we knew on the day in question was that our telephone service had
been stopped; that it was not customary when telephones ceased to operate, to chase up a
commanding general of a foreign army of occupation or any other army, but to go direct to
the central office to see what the trouble was; that these two officers had gone to the
central office and found about eight Roumanian soldiers under the command of a civilian
detective, raising Merry Hell; that they were holding up several hundred women and girls
from leaving the building; and that when the courtyard was practically vacant of anyone
else they had shut the gate, closing in Colonel Sheldon and Captain Aitken; that they had
pointed their rifles at them and would not allow them to leave, even for the purpose of
reporting the matter to the Roumanian Commander. His Excellency explained that the barred
gate, consisting of iron pickets at intervals of about six inches, had been closed
apparently to keep the dust out, and he furthermore said that the cause of the whole thing
was the fact that a report had been received that some of the Hungarian employees were
going to attack some of the Roumanian employees and that it had been decided to stop the
Hungarians at the gate and search them for weapons. I told him that it was damned peculiar
that both Generals Mardarescu and Mosoiu disclaimed any knowledge of what had taken place,
and that it was a funny procedure for soldiers to be placed under the command of a
civilian detective and detain hundreds of women and girls, who certainly were not going to
attack Roumanian officials; and then to cap the climax I called in Colonel Sheldon, who in
unmistakable terms confirmed in still further detail everything that I had said. His
Excellency then told Colonel Sheldon that he regretted the incident and that he would
further investigate, and although he came into the room with his tail up over the
dashboard, he left my presence with it curled up tightly between his legs.
Last night we entertained General and Mrs. Mombelli and their daughter at dinner, and
our chef split himself wide open. Everything was deliciously well cooked and prepared, and
when it was served was something to tempt the appetite of an Epicure. General Mombelli
enjoyed himself so much that later in the evening, when Colonel Sheldon was playing the
piano, he accompanied him with a brass gong.
November 3, 1919. Yesterday morning I started out with young Count Teleki by
automobile to visit his uncle's place, which is at a place called Dunatetétlen, between
forty and fifty miles down the Danube. This was done because the Roumanians, despite two
safeguards given old Count Teleki, had started to make requisitions and were generally
acting nasty. Shortly after we started, it began to rain and the roads were very bad.
Although there were numerous Roumanian garrisons up and down the river, they are such fine
soldiers that the rain kept them all inside, and with one exception we saw no Roumanians
on all our outwardbound trip. The exception was a small Roumanian cavalry patrol on the
outskirts of the town of Solt, which we came upon rather suddenly. The chauffeur sounded
the klaxon and away went the cavalry patrol, Hell split for election, down the road,
scattering mud in all directions, and the Roumanians flapping their arms and legs, trying
to check their horses. When the horses slowed down a little, we would start up again md
sound the klaxon, and away they would go. As here was a deep ditch on each side of the
road, we were able to chase them for about a mile before they ould turn off into a field.
My only regret was that none of them were spilled off their horses on the way. All of them
had narrow escapes and were about as rotten a bunch of cavalrymen as I have ever seen.
When we arrived at Count Teleki's home, I found some Roumanian officers there already
and, assuming that they were starting to make requisitions, I started in for them good and
quick and plenty, and had the Roumanian colonel and two assistants standing at attention,
bowing and scraping and trying to explain. I initially learned that they were really there
on a decent mission and owing to a complaint that I had sent to General Mardarescu about
the conduct of a young Roumanian officer in going to the Count's house while there vas
nobody there but his nieces, and insisting on having the prettiest one in a room by
himself, in which kind attention he did not succeed. The Roumanian colonel was
investigating according to my complaint and cracked is heels together every time I batted
an eye in his direction. They finally left, and after an early dinner young Count Teleki
and I also left, about 4.30, on our return trip. As it was not raining, we were halted
three times by Roumanian sentinels, but we had no difficulty. At this morning's session of
the Mission, I related to General Graziani and General Mombelli, -General Gorton being
absent- my experiences with Diamandi on Saturday evening, and it was decided to send to
the Roumanian Commander a demand for an apology for the conduct of the Roumanian guard at
the Telephone Central.
We had a reply from the Czecho-Slovak Republic to our demand for them to evacuate the
portions of Hungary which did not belong to them, and they said they would be glad to do
so, within five days after three conditions had been fulfilled. One was the assurance that
the Hungarians could maintain order in the territory in question; the second that the
Hungarians would not attack them; and the third that they should be reimbursed for their
expenses in furnishing food to the inhabitants of the occupied section. We replied to the
first two, stating that those conditions would be fulfilled, but that the third was
ridiculous and preposterous, and we wanted them to get out of there immediately.
A complaint was received also from the Hungarian government to the effect that the
Roumanian Commander east of the Theiss was organizing a provisional government of his own
with Roumanian representatives, and in general was acting in contravention to all the
customs and rules of war in like cases; so it was decided to notify the Roumanian
Commander of the same, with instructions to have it stopped.
November 4, 1919. Shortly after arriving at the office this morning, General
Gorton came in with one of his officers and said that the Roumanians were holding back
fifty-odd trucks which were absolutely needed by the Food Commission for feeding the city
of Budapest, that they had Roumanian drivers on the trucks, sentinels over the garage, and
claimed that the trucks were war booty and would not be given up. I insisted that General
Gorton accompany me to Roumanian Headquarters to tell the Roumanian Commander that we
would have to have those trucks. He finally consented to go, and accompanied by Colonel
Sheldon, U.S.A., and Captain Doumalle of the British Service, we chased over to the Hotel
Gellért and were promptly ushered into General Mardarescu's presence. After sitting down
for a few minutes and indulging in the ordinary persiflage usual on such occasions, I
nudged General Gorton and he brought up the question of the trucks. General Mardarescu
then stated that these trucks were considered booty of war, and that they had a right to
them. I interrupted and told him that that was a mooted question and that I did not agree
to this. Colonel Sheldon interpreted to Mardarescu that I considered that he was a liar,
at which he begged to assure me that it was not the truth; that they did consider them
booty of war. It was finally explained to him that he had not been called a liar, but with
the mental reservation that the epithet would always be appropriate. After considerable
palaver and after General Gorton had offered to sign a receipt for the trucks, he agreed
to turn them over on condition that when we were through with them they should be turned
over to the Roumanian authorities. As, of course, when we were through with them, they
would be in charge of the Reparation Committee, who could theoretically turn them over and
immediately take them back, we consented to this.
I then asked General Mardarescu how he could explain that with the beautifully
disciplined Roumanian Army- and I got no further because he interrupted to explain that
they really had a finely disciplined army. After he had rattled on for some time, I asked
him if he would keep still long enough for me to state what I desired to state. I then
asked how it could be that in such a well-disciplined army, the officers and soldiers
absolutely disregarded the commanding general's safeguard, or property-protection
certificate, and made requisitions in spite of it. He then indulged in a Hell of a lot of
circumlocution, and finally stated that he would immediately investigate the concrete case
of Count Teleki's estate, which I gave to him, and punish the guilty offenders.
Before we left, I think he invited General Gorton and myself to luncheon on Thursday as
a sort of farewell party. If it is really a farewell, I may be inclined to attend.
From Roumanian Headquarters, General Gorton and I went to see Sir George Clerk to
discuss the general situation as regards the organization of the Hungarian government. Sir
George seemed to be having trouble with Minister Friedrich, who is apparently blocking the
proposition. He was, however, optimistic and finally told us that Diamandi had been there
yesterday and told him definitely that the Roumanians would start to evacuate Budapest on
the ninth, and would finish by the eleventh. In view of the fact that Mardarescu and
Diamandi both, at a session of the Mission, informed us that they would immediately advise
us of any prospective evacuation plan as soon as they knew themselves, it is rather
strange that Sir George Clerk should have been informed twenty-four hours in advance of
the Military Mission, especially in view of the fact that Sir George had nothing whatever
to do with the evacuation.
November 5, 1919. Last night I attended a large dinner party given by Sir
George Clerk. Among other guests present were Admiral Troubridge, Generals Graziani,
Mombelli and Gorton, Admiral Horthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs Somssich, Countess
Somssich, the two Baronesses Podmaniczky, and Mrs. Mombelli and her daughter. It was a
very good meal, but not quite up to the standard of our own chef.
Shortly after arising from the table, Sir George Clerk asked General Gorton and myself
into his cabinet and informed us that the Italian consulate had received a telegram from
Paris which stated in effect that the Supreme Council was studying three points of the
Hungarian question. The first was the resignation of Friedrich, on account of his
inability to organize a coalition government; the second was the immediate evacuation of
Hungary by the Roumanians; and the third was a proposition to send as an army of
occupation into Hungary two divisions under Inter-Allied officers, one division of
Czecho-Slovaks and one division of Jugo-Slavs. Sir George was himself much opposed to this
last, and read us the draft of a telegram stating that in his opinion it would be
injudicious to take any such action.
At this morning's session, General Mombelli presided and we first brought up the
question of Diamandi having notified Sir George Clerk that the Roumanian evacuation would
begin on the ninth of November, and the President of the Day was directed to send a letter
to General Mardarescu stating that both Minister Diamandi and he, at an open meeting of
the Inter-Allied Military Mission, had assured us that they would give us immediately all
possible advance notice as to the date of evacuation, and all details connected with the
movement of troops; that Sir George Clerk had informed us that Minister Diamandi had given
him such notice on the third instant, but that up to this date no word had yet been
received by the Military Mission in regard to a proposed evacuation. An explanation was
demanded. We next brought up the question of the telegram Sir George Clerk had seen in
regard to the occupation of Hungary by a Czecho-Slovak division and a Jugo-Slav division.
While the discussion was going on, I drafted a telegram to the Supreme Council, which was
approved by the Mission and sent. The telegram read as follows:
This Mission is aware that a telegram has been received in Budapest from Paris covering
three points. First the Friedrich Cabinet, second the immediate Roumanian evacuation, and
third the occupation of Hungary by two divisions under Inter-Allied officers, one division
of Czech~Slovaks and one division of Jugo-Slavs. Against this third proposition the
Inter-Allied Military Mission unanimously and urgently protests. Such procedure, it is
believed, would stir Hungary into revolution and would destroy all prospects for an early
solution of the Hungarian question. It is furthermore urged that the Roumanians, the
Jugo-Slavs, and Czecho-Slovaks be all required to retire at once behind their respective
lines of demarcation.
During the session, a letter was received from Roumanian Headquarters, which was turned
over to me on account of Colonel Sheldon's interest in the matter. I therefore wrote, and
sent to General Mardarescu, the following selfexplanatory letter:
1: During the forenoon of November 4, 1919, accompanied by General Gorton of the
British Army and Colonel Sheldon of the American Army, I visited the Headquarters of the
Roumanian Army of Transylvania, and during the conference with General Mardarescu brought
up the question of an incident which had occurred at the Budapest Telephone Office between
an American Officer and a British Officer and some Roumanian soldiers. I explained that
the telephone service having been interrupted, the two officers mentioned were sent to the
Telephone Central to investigate as to the difficulty and that they naturally would not
first go to the Roumanian commanding general for such a trivial matter until after an
investigation; that once arrived at the telephone office and inside the fence they had the
gate closed and locked on them, and were held prisoners for at least four minutes during
which time they were threatened by Roumanian soldiers with fixed bayonets and pointed
rifles and that as soon as they could leave the enclosure they promptly went to Roumanian
Headquarters and made the complaint.
2: Nevertheless letter Number 436 of November 4, 1919, from the Headquarters of the
Army of Transylvania states as follows:
"(a) The Allied officers in interfering directly in this matter endeavored to
impose their will upon Roumanian soldiers which they had no authority whatever to do. If
the Allied officers had applied direct to the Roumanian Headquarters it is certain that
these gentlemen would have had no complaint whatever to register," all of which is in
direct contradiction of my statement to General Mardarescu made in the presence of General
Gorton and Colonel Sheldon on the 4th instant, and which I resent as an official
reflection upon my veracity, and I am therefore regretfully obliged to inform the
Roumanian commander that under the circumstances and until satisfaction is given for the
entire incident it will, of course, be impossible for either myself or my officers to meet
him and his officers at any social occasion such as the luncheon to which we were invited
for the 6th instant."
At the same time, a letter was received from General Mardarescu stating that, as a
result of their investigation, they had found that the statements made by the British
Major Foster about not having broken seals at Gödöllô Palace, had not been confirmed,
which they regretted. In other words, they politely said that Major Foster was a liar.
General Gorton therefore sent General Mardarescu a letter similar to, but more gentle
than, the above.
At noon today, accompanied by Colonel Loree, I paid a call upon my old friend
"Archie Duke" in his own palace. The building had been originally a magnificent
edifice and was still so as regards the structure. The Bolshevists, however, had cleaned
it out pretty thoroughly and it was apparently not in its former beautiful condition.
"Archie Duke" and his son, the "Dukelet," met us in all the panoply of
war, and dolled up with all the concentrated splendor of several Fourth of July
celebrations. "Archie" himself was such a mass of scintillating gold and
decorations that it was difficult to pick him out from amongst the mass. He, however,
really is a charming fellow, and all Hungarians are loud in praise of his actual personal
bravery during the War. The Archduchess was afterwards introduced and joined in the
conversation, which was mainly confined to the reorganization of the Hungarian government
and the evacuation of the Roumanians. I finally wound up by inviting both the Archduke and
his son to dinner for tomorrow night, which invitation they accepted.
November 6, 1919. Last night Colonel Loree, Colonel Sheldon, Captain Gore and
myself were entertained at dinner by Mr. R. M. Haan, the proprietor of the Hotel St. Regis
of New York City, who has daughters in Budapest married to Hungarians. The dinner, despite
the food scarcity, was really a sumptuous banquet, but it was rather long drawn out, and
we were glad to return home.
This morning I found Colonel Dimistrescu awaiting me in my anteroom with a letter from
General Mardarescu, in effect apologizing for his letter which contained an official
reflection upon my veracity. It was explained that the letter to which I objected had been
signed and sent before General Mardarescu had seen me, and before he had even received
Colonel Sheldon's report, and that he regretted the incident, and would be glad to
investigate the affair at the Telephone Central whenever a representative from the
Inter-Allied Military Mission had been designated. As that still leaves the second portion
of my ultimatum in regard to satisfaction for the manner in which the American officer was
treated in statu quo, I shall of course pay no attention to my ally beyond
acknowledging his letter and accepting so much of his apology as applies to the case.
Our whole household is in considerable excitement over the proposed dinner to the
Archduke and the "Dukelet" tonight. They are turning out so much new furniture
and stuff that I regret that we did not invite His Highness at an earlier date.
I think I forgot to mention in my memorandum at the time that on October 31 we had our
first snowstorm and it has been cold and nasty for several weeks.
Diamandi told General Gorton yesterday that the Roumanians would be ready to evacuate
on the ninth, would begin to do so on the eleventh and be finished by the thirteenth, and
that he was astonished that the Military Mission had not yet received official notice to
During the day I received a telegram from the American Commission, requesting that a
copy of it be furnished Sir George Clerk, and which translated was about as follows:
The President of the Peace Conference on the 3d of November in the name of the Supreme
Council sent the following telegram to the French Minister at Bucharest:
"The Supreme Council has decided to instruct the Allied Ministers at Bucharest
without delay to notify the Roumanian Government jointly that it has received a bad
impression from the arrival of General Coanda, sent by the new Roumanian Ministry as
Special Envoy to Paris, without bringing the Roumanian response to the last communication
from the Powers, under the peculiar pretext that the Italian Representative had not
reported at the same time as the Ministers from France, England, and the United States.
The Supreme Council desires to state that it wishes with the least possible delay a clear
and positive reply from the Roumanian government covering the points in discussion. The
situation in Hungary requires immediate decision in order to re-establish the normal
conditions necessary for the security of Central Europe, and the Allied and Associated
Powers cannot permit a prolongation of the dilatory Roumanian negotiations on the three
questions submitted on the 12th of last October. I beg you to deliver this communication
in the name of the Conference to your colleagues collectively, who will not need to await
special instructions from their governments on account of the urgency of the case.
[Signed] S. Pichon"(2)
The foregoing is a most encouraging sign and looks as though the Supreme Council was
finally getting tired of Roumanian tactics.
At 6.15 I received a letter from General Mardarescu, explicitly regretting the
detention of our officers at the Telephone Central, so he has finally made complete
apology for the entire occurrence, and we will now lunch with him tomorrow.
November 7, 1919. Last night we had our big dinner for the Archduke and the
"Dukelet," in addition to whom there were Count Andrássy, Count Somssich, Count
Edelsheim, and Baron Than. "Archie" blew in all decked up like a Christmas tree,
and we gave him a good square feed, and the party seemed pleased, judging by the fact that
they stayed until about midnight.
At this morning's session I presided, and General Mombelli informed us that Mardarescu
told him on the fifth instant that the Roumanian evacuation would begin by the departure
of Minister Diamandi on Tuesday. He will be followed on Wednesday by the General
Headquarters, on Thursday by our cute little friend Mosoiu, and on the night of Thursday
and Friday the Roumanian troops will leave Budapest.
We also received word that the Czecho-Slovaks had come to the conclusion that they
wanted to be good and would evacuate Salgótarján at noon on the eleventh instant. It was
therefore decided to notify the Hungarian government of this action and to telegraph the
Supreme Council accordingly.
General Graziani suggested, and very wisely, that we send word to the Roumanian
Headquarters that it was desired, in view of its international importance, that the radio
station at Budapest, prior to the departure of the Roumanians, be turned over to the
Hungarian government, and that we send an Allied officer to take charge of the same.
It also afforded me much pleasure to read to the Mission the correspondence that I had
had with General Mardarescu relative to the incident at the Telephone Station. Both
Graziani and Mombelli kept their pencils busy making notes while I was reading it.
A red-hot letter was received from Mardarescu complaining bitterly of the conduct of
our Committee in investigating prison camps. He reported that everything was beautiful and
serene, and that our Committee had grossly maligned the humane and civilized Roumanians.
It was noted, however, that the beautiful conditions to which he referred were all
included between dates subsequent to our investigation of the camps.
Pursuant to promise, all my officers and myself chased over to the Roumanian
Headquarters at the Hotel Gellért at one o'clock and went through the torture of an
official luncheon with General Mardarescu and his bunch of forty thieves. It was certainly
trying to have palatable food placed before you and have to sit facing Mardarescu and at
the same time to be sandwiched in between Mosoiu and Serbescu. Fortunately Diamandi with
his gargoyle face was not there; so matters were not as bad as they might have been.
During the day, I received a code telegram from Mr. Polk, which indicated that the
French are up to something. They are apparently against Horthy as Commander of the
Hungarian Forces and against Friedrich. For some reason or other, the French and the
Italians are not working together. It will now be up to us to see just exactly what the
cause of the separation is.
At eleven o'clock Prime Minister Friedrich, accompanied by Count Somssich, called and
asked to see me and we spent about an hour and a half discussing the general political
situation. Friedrich stated that the whole country depended upon him; that his party
comprised between 80 and 90 per cent of the entire Hungarian population; that they had
absolute confidence in him; and he insisted that he remain at the head of the government.
He said that personally he was perfectly willing to resign, but in case he did so chaos
would result. I told him I wished to talk to him in a purely personal manner: that he knew
or should know that America had nothing whatever to gain over here in the way of indemnity
or territorial acquisitions, but that we were interested in a square deal for everybody,
in having peace ratified between Hungary and the United States, and in having a
well-organized government in control of the destinies of the country, and that I proposed
to speak to him frankly and in the manner that one gentleman of intelligence should
address another. I stated:
I do not propose to defend the feeling in the Supreme Council or in any of the Allied
countries and I shall grant you that they are all wrong, but you must bear in mind that
the two great democracies, America and England, will look askance upon the reorganization
of a government which would appear to be dominated by the Hapsburgs, and that France and
Italy are likewise in opposition. Now, undoubtedly, if given sufficient time, a year or
two, you could by propaganda and by a demonstration of your own worth convince the
American and British people that you are right, but in the meantime where in Hell would
Hungary go to? I consider that you are confronted by a condition and not a theory, and
that every patriotic Hungarian must be prepared to sacrifice something at least along the
lines of personal ambition. It is up to you Hungarians now to cooperate with Sir George
Clerk and organize as quickly as possible a government that will be acceptable to the
Entente, so that you can be recognized and have elections, and reorganize your country.
Once that is done, it will not matter what party is in power.
Friedrich stated he thought it was the policy of the Supreme Council to allow the
Hungarian people to do what they wanted, and that they should have their own way. I asked
if, during the months of the Roumanian occupation, he had had very much of his own way; if
the Hungarians had had their own way in letting the Roumanians run away with their
railroad stock, clean out their machine shops, and loot all their farms. He said that
would not have happened if the Entente had put an end to Béla Kun. I asked him why go
into ancient history, why bring up the question as to why Napoleon Bonaparte invaded
Egypt; and that we could likewise ask, why had the Hungarian King fled, why had the
Hungarians allowed Károlyi to come into power, why had they allowed Béla Kun to succeed
Károlyi, and that all this was begging the issue; that there was no use crying over spilt
milk and that the condition was exactly as I had placed it before him, that the Entente
would not recognize a government in which he, as the representative of the Hapsburg
dynasty, was at the head; that as long as he was Prime Minister, even though an election
were held and resulted triumphantly for him, nothing would convince the Entente but that
such election result was due to the fact that he was in power. I advised him to give up
his job as Prime Minister and to accept some other cabinet portfolio. He said even if he
did, he would still run the cabinet. I told him that was another proposition; that if he
amounted to a damn I thought he would; but what they must all do, and do quickly, was to
turn out some government which the
Entente would recognize, and thus enable us to clear up the whole situation. When he
left me, he said he would go over and see Sir George Clerk and talk the situation over
Later in the evening I saw Sir George Clerk and let him read the code telegram I had
received from Mr. Polk, and asked him also about his interview with Friedrich. He said
that Friedrich was still somewhat stubborn, but he thought that my talk with him had
rather weakened his props, and he was optimistic as to a satisfactory outcome.
From there I went over, had a late dinner, and for once was able to stay at home with
my official family.
November 8, 1919. When we first arrived in Budapest, I engaged a large
building for the quarters of my detachment and, as it was too large, I suggested to
General Gorton of the British Army that we put our two detachments together, and he gladly
accepted the suggestion. Later on Admiral Troubridge asked, through our Captain Gregory,
if I would object to having some officers pertaining to the Commandement du Danube,
located in the same building. I likewise acquiesced to this. Two or three times, our
British naval brothers-inarms have been a little bit condescending about allowing us in
the building, and matters came to a climax on the sixth, when a British naval officer told
Captain Gore he would like to have us move our detachment out of the building. On the
seventh, a British officer directed our detachment to vacate, and on the same date Admiral
Troubridge's Chief of Staff, Colonel Stead, sent a note to Colonel Loree asking him if he
could not without too great inconvenience move the American detachment from the building,
as it was needed by the British. I immediately drafted a slightly sarcastic note to
Admiral Troubridge, but decided to see him personally, which I did this morning. The
Admiral had already heard of the matter, said of course the building was ours by right of
first occupancy, and that to suggest we leave the building was equivalent to the way in
which the Roumanians had been firing the Hungarians out of their houses; that he regretted
the entire incident and had told his men if they needed more room to get it elsewhere. He
told me he did not blame me for sitting as tight as a drum, and that he hoped we would
have more men instead of less. So this incident was ended.
We decided to give a party tonight, and accordingly invited the son-in-law and daughter
of Count Edelsheim, the family of Count Szirmay, a number of young Hungarians, and also
General Mombelli and his family, to come in after dinner and see what we could do in the
way of an extemporized dance. We engaged a fine Hungarian Gipsy band, which could not show
up, however, intil half past ten. It was the original intention to begin at 9.30 and stop
at 12, but it appears that Hungarian custom is opposed to any such early termination. The
result was that festivities were continued until about 3.30. Anyway the party was a
success and everybody seemed to enjoy himself.
November 9, 1919. Today, being Sunday, bade fair to be very quiet, until my
Falstaffian friend, General Mosoiu, rolled in about noon to give me in large and bull-like
tones a report on a trial of a Hungarian judge for alleged maltreatment of Roumanian
prisoners two or three years ago. To impress me with the popularity he had attained among
the Hungarians, he told me that they had given him a big banquet when he left the town of
Czegléd, and had him photographed by the moving pictures.
November 10, 1919. General Gorton presided at the meeting of the Mission this
date, and we had a big session with a Roumanian representative who came to explain the
details of the proposed evacuation. They have agreed to begin on the thirteenth with their
withdrawal, when they will retire to the outskirts of Buda, going over to the Pest side of
the river. At eight o'clock the Hungarians will come into Buda, and Inter-Allied troops
will guard the various bridges until 10 o'clock. Before 10 o'clock, the Roumanians will
entirely quit the city of Pest, at which hour the Hungarians can enter and occupy. From
that time on, the evacuation will proceed by daily stages until the line of the Theiss has
been reached, where the Roumanians will establish with five bridgeheads, including the
important centers of Szolnok and Csongrád. We called Colonel Dimistrescu's attention to
the fact that the Supreme Council had notified the Mission that all occupying forces,
whether Roumanians, Jugo-Slavs, or Czecho-Slovaks, were to be required to retire at once
to the lines of demarcation prescribed by the Peace Conference, and asked him to have us
furnished with the least possible delay with a schedule for the Roumanian retirement from
the Theiss River to their line of demarcation. He replied that as yet they had received no
instructions from Bucharest relative to retirement beyond the Theiss. We next asked him
what the Roumanians proposed to do in regard to the temporary bridges across the river,
and he stated that, as he understood it, if they retired from the river all such bridges
would be removed. He was told that it was our desire that they remain, not only on account
of their necessity for the organization of eastern Hungary, but also in Roumanian
interests, to perfect liaison.
I then brought up the question of prisoners-of-war and said I had two questions which I
wished to ask. The first was whether the Roumanians had as yet furnished the Hungarians
with a list of prisoners-of-war; and the second, why in the past few days the prisoners at
Czegléd had been reduced from 10,000 to 5,000. Colonel Dimistrescu stated that they were
preparing the lists of prisoners, but had not yet finished them. I told him that our
Committee wanted a list to verify the transfers and that, in regard to the depleted camps
between the )Danube and the Theiss, I wanted to know in addition if they were removing all
the more important prisoners and were leaving only physical derelicts and Bolshevists to
be turned over to the Hungarians. He said that he was sure nothing was happening, except
that of course they were retaining Transylvanian prisoners. I told him that I knew they
had just recently received at Brassó a number of Hungarian prisoners from Czegléd, and
that I did not like the appearance of the situation.
I afterwards helped General Gorton draft a telegram to the Supreme Council, calling
attention to the fact that the Roumanians were preparing to evacuate only to the Theiss,
and that they were apparently transferring to the east all their more important
prisoners-of-war; and recommending that they be obliged to continue with their retirement
to the line of demarcation, and to liberate immediately all prisoners-of-war, giving the
latter the option of remaining as Hungarian citizens, or becoming Roumanian citizens, and
not obliging them to become the latter on account of possessing property in Transylvania.
Prime Minister Friedrich called to see me again about 5 o'clock this afternoon and I am
not yet decided as to what his object was unless to suggest that he thought that Sir
George Clerk was overly intimate with the Social Democrats(3).
He started in by saying that he was in touch with the situation in Austria, which he
thought was on the verge of a revolution, and the restoration of the monarchy under the
kingship of Otto, the son of the former Emperor Karl, with Archduke Eugen as Regent. He
stated furthermore that King Karl had never resigned as sovereign of Hungary and that he
was still considered by the people to be such; that he had it from reliable authority that
Karl was contemplating a return, and was afraid that in case he should return the people
would shout "Vive le Roi!" He wanted to understood that he was against the
restoration of the Hapsburgs under such conditions, even to the extent of going to
Transdanubia to oppose Karl.
He then launched on another subject and stated that all the bourgeois parties had come
to him and expressed a desire to collaborate with him and his party, that all prospects
along these lines were bright, but that the Social Democrats were blocking the
proposition. He said that he had offered to meet Garami, the leader of the Social
Democrats, but that Garami had refused; that he had had an engagement to meet two of the
other Social Democrats at 6 o'clock this date, but that they had sent word that they
preferred to write him a letter instead of coming. He said the Social Democrats insist on
several portfolios, in particular those of the Interior and of Commerce, which they could
not have; but that he was willing to concede them two portfolios, those of Labor and
People's Welfare, and a third cabinet position without portfolio. I repeated to him what I
had said at our previous interview, that it was up to the Hungarians to organize some
cabinet that could be recognized by the Entente, and that the Entente certainly would not
stand for the return of Karl or for the immediate restoration of any Hapsburgs.
November 11, 1919. Yesterday afternoon while down town, I called upon Count
Szirmay's family, and while there the Countess Teleki, daughter of the owner of our house,
came in and remarked upon the delightful time they had had at our party. Knowing that she
had been very strongly impressed by one of our officers, I asked her if she did not think
that Colonel Sheldon was a delightful gentleman. She said: "Yes indeed, he is, and I
do so like that young boy, Captain Gore, with his pink baby face." Evidently Colonel
Loree and myself made no impression.
Just as we were finishing dinner last night, an urgent letter came in from Count
Somssich, brought by a gentleman and a lady, who had just received word that three members
of their family, including a three-year-old child, had either been killed or badly wounded
by the Jugo-Slavs. Human life seems to have lost all its sacredness in this section of
Europe. All I could do for these two poor people was to give them a letter to my friend,
the Serbian Minister, asking him to do everything within his power to help them get to
After Prime Minister Friedrich left me yesterday afternoon, I went over to see Sir
George Clerk and gave him in detail my whole conversation with Friedrich, in order that he
might not be hampered in his work. This morning Lieutenant-Colonel Causey came in from
Vienna and told me that the situation in Vienna, as regards food and fuel, was far worse
than in Budapest and was really critical. He was also interested in the Hungarian
political situation, as he knows the Social Democratic leader, Garami, very well. He
promised to see him and try to bring him to reason and to form some understanding with
Despite their oft-repeated and solemn promises, the Roumanians continue to steal
property right and left. It is simply impossible to conceive such national depravity as
those miserable "Latins" of Southeast Europe are displaying.
November 12, 1919. This morning's session of the Mission was held at General
Graziani's headquarters, owing to the fact that we have no fire in the Palace. In his
connection, it might be added that although this is the twelfth of November, and it has
been damnably old, I have been able to have a fire in my room only one day.
When I arrived at the French Mission, General Graziani met me, rubbing his hands and
shivering, and stated that, although yesterday they had had plenty of heat, their supply
of firewood had given out since then md unfortunately our session would have to be held in
a room as cold as any in the Palace.
Right off the bat we had a beautiful little evidence of the "fine Italian
hand." At the previous meeting, we had sent a communication to the Roumanian
Head-quarters directing them to turn over to the Inter-Allied Military Mission the big
Hungarian wireless station during the Roumanian evacuation, and between ourselves we had
arranged that the only wireless expert with the Mission, an Italian officer, should be
placed in charge of it until the Hungarians occupied the city. General Mombelli, before we
had hardly got started on the session this morning, stated that he was now prepared to
take over the wireless station and would establish an office at his own headquarters where
he would be very glad to have the members of the Mission send any wireless messages which
they wished to have forwarded to Paris or elsewhere; that fortunately he had an expert and
was well prepared to run the wireless station. I told him that all this sounded sweet and
alluring, but asked by what authority we proposed to take over the wireless station; that
we were not an occupying army; that the Berlin station and the Vienna station had not been
taken over; that if we took over the wireless station, we should also take over all the
Hungarian telegraph and telephone stations, which we could not do; that my understanding
was that we take the station over only during the evacuation by the Roumanians, and that
it then be restored unconditionally to the Hungarians. General Graziani heartily accorded
with my views, and then and there ended the Italian dream of monopoly of aerial
communication in Hungary.
General Mombelli then stated how he had been informed that the Hungarians proposed to
give a big manifestation, including the presentation of a bronze bust and the freedom of
the city, and a number of other things, to the Italian Colonel Romanelli, on account of
his services during the Bolshevist régime(4)
; how he had frowned upon this, and that now they were proposing to give a
manifestation at some theater, which, according to his views, might result in a counter
manifestation by the Roumanians, and was, therefore, not advisable. This brought out more
clearly than usual the fact that for some reason or other there is friction between
Mombelli and Romanelli, the latter being on more of a diplomatic than a military mission.
However, everything considered, it would be most inappropriate at this time, despite our
hostile feelings towards our allies, the Roumanians, and our friendly feelings towards'
our enemies, the Hungarians, either to participate ourselves or o allow any of our
subordinates to participate in pubic demonstrations, and we decided that nothing of the md
should be allowed.
We directed the President of the Day to send a communication to the Hungarian
government, to the effect that we desired to have submitted to us a list of all he
prisoners-of-war liberated by the Roumanians, against whom the Hungarians proposed to
institute proceedings either criminal or for treason. This was done because undoubtedly
there will be many attempts on the part of the Hungarians to even up personal and
political matters whenever they can get their hands on certain of their compatriots, now
held as prisoners by the Roumanians.
I brought up again the Roumanian complaint against our Committee that investigated
their prison camps, and proposed that we write the Roumanians a letter acknowledging
receipt of their communication; informing them that it was noted that all the good
conditions which they described as existing in their prison camps covered dates subsequent
to the time of our investigation; that we were glad there had been any improvements; and
that many of their statements, among which was one to the effect that our Committee had
been accompanied by a Hungarian interpreter, were based upon false premises or were
entirely groundless. The object of this letter was to show on our records that we had
received the Roumanian letter and replied thereto, as otherwise they would make the
statement that they had given us a reply that was simply incontestable. It was then
decided to send a copy of the Roumanian reply to the Supreme Council and enclose therewith
a copy of Colonel Sheldon's critique on the same, which is drawn up on the plan of the
We also sent a telegram to the Supreme Council recommending that the Roumanians be
required to return a specified amount of rolling stock, including motor trucks.
Yesterday afternoon, accompanied by Colonel Sheldon, I went over to see that miserable
little scalawag, Diamandi, to intercede for a Hungarian judge named Miskos, who had
formerly been in charge of Roumanian prisoners-of-war in Hungary, and whom the Roumanians
were now swamping under a deluge of preposterous charges. The miserable little rascal,
knowing it he had me on the hip, said of course he could not tolerate any interference
with the sovereign rights of Roumanian government to try its prisoners, but if wre asking
it as a favor of course it would be gladly granted, and he would take the matter up with
General Panaitescu. Colonel Sheldon and I therefore accompanied him downstairs with some
other new arrivals, and cooled our heels in the corridor for ten or fifteen minutes while
Diamandi and Panaitescu held a star-chamber session. They then came out and stated that
General Mosoiu would be over very soon to see me about it and Panaitescu immediately
plunged into a characteristically Roumanianesque circumlocutory dissertation on
court-martial in general and on the Miskos case in particular. It took the combined
efforts of Colonel Sheldon and myself for some minutes to succeed ally in choking him off
and telling him we did not give a damn about that; that it would be discussed with Mosoiu
when necessary, and we wished to know why in Hel1 the Roumanians, in violation of their
solemn promises, were seizing all the tobacco stored in Budapest. He then stated that he
had given orders to have it stopped and to take only what was actually necessary for their
troops, and he would see that all requisitions were stopped. This being about the
four-thousandth time that some Roumanian high official has made this statement, it had a
corresponding effect and, so as to avoid giving them the satisfaction of keeping me
waiting for Mosoiu, I left the building.
Later on, Mosoiu came over to my office and fortunately I was out, and Colonel Loree
told him if he wanted to see me he would have to come the next day.
About noon today he came in, puffing and blowing, rolled up to me, spit in my eye, told
me how much he admired and loved Americans in general and myself in particular, assured me
that he was a thorough and honorable soldier, that he had won the love and admiration of
the town where he had been stationed before, that it was a public calamity that he had not
been earlier placed in command of Budapest, and assured me that Judge Miskos and his
companions would receive only the best and kindest of treatment, and then whispered to me,
in a voice that made the Palace tremble, that he was sure that Judge Miskos would be
liberated in a few days. I then spit in his eye, wished him "au revoir," and the
November 13, 1919. Shortly after arriving at my office this morning, Colonel
Dimistrescu came in to say "Good-bye" and, while I was giving him my opinion
about various kinds of conduct on the part of the Roumanians, Colonel Loree burst through
the door to tell me that one of the Roumanian companies in town was engaged at that minute
in breaking into and pillaging houses. This started my visitor off on a new tack, and he
promised to get busy immediately with his headquarters and stop the looting. While he was
talking the matter over in Colonel Yates' office, I received word at the Roumanians were
violating a safeguard and were robbing a farm; so I went out where the Roumanian was
talking to the others, and told him in rather forcible language that I was now put to the
necessity of telegraphing Paris that the Roumanians, on the verge the evacuation, were
beginning to pillage and loot like a band of robbers.
Yesterday Colonel Sheldon went out to one of the prison camps, in connection with the
turning over to the Hungarians by the Roumanians of prisoners-of-war, and found that
practically no arrangements had been made for this work. Today they are to take over some
sick prisoners whom the Roumanians have been keeping in a Hungarian hospital, attended by
Hungarian doctors and at Hungarian expense.
Yesterday morning there appeared in the papers a notice from Roumanian Headquarters
that they proposed distribute large quantities of food to the inhabitants of Budapest.
Then in characteristic Roumanian style, they broke into the food depôts belonging to
Hungarian government and distributed these supplies right and left, thereby completely
upsetting the ration system of Budapest, but during the process being photographed as
international philanthropists. It is understood that that little rascal, Diamandi, was
present himself at one place where they turned out some company kitchens, then robbed a
nearby restaurant of food supplies and called together a lot of children in order to be
photographed while feeding the poor. As no wood was handy, they got some newspapers,
crammed them into the stove and, while they were burning, had a rapid photograph taken in
order to complete the picture.
November 14, 1919. Late yesterday afternoon, Colonel Sheldon had called up
Colonel Dimistrescu to tell him that it was reported that the Roumanians were threatening
to bombard the town of Kecskemét because the body of a Roumanian soldier had been found
near that place, and to tell him that such action was contrary to international law and to
the customs of civilized warfare. In view of the fact that Dimistrescu asked Colonel
Sheldon three times whether the protest was being made in the name of the Inter-Allied
Military Mission or in the name of the American Mission, about 9.30 I went over with
Colonel Sheldon to the Hungaria Hotel, routed Colonel Dimistrescu out to inform him that
whenever any member of the Inter-Allied Military Mission sent a message to Roumanian
Headquarters it was necessarily in the name of the Mission, and then asked him what he
meant by asking if the protest emanated from the American Mission, and what he would have
done had he been told that it was only the American Mission. He squirmed around and lied
like a true Roumanian and said that his question had really meant nothing, but in their
records they kept track of the various Missions separately and it was solely for that
purpose that he had made the inquiry.
This morning before daylight, the Roumanians pulled it and the Hungarians came in, at
least to the west portion of the town, the City of Buda, where detachments lined up at the
bridges to wait until the signal after 10 o'clock for crossing the Danube and occupying
likewise the city of Pest. The whole evacuation of Budapest by the Roumanians, and its
reoccupation by the Hungarians, bids fair to pass off without noteworthy accident.
At the session of the Mission this morning, at which General Mombelli presided and
which on account of the cold in the Palace was held in the Italian Mission, we brought up
the question of Roumanian liaison, and General Graziani stated that Colonel Dimistrescu
had told him that he thought for a few days at least it would inadvisable for any
Roumanian officer to remain behind in Budapest, all of which speaks well for the courage
of the Roumanians.
I suggested we notify the Hungarian government that, in view of several inquiries
received by individual embers of the Mission, this Mission exercised no control over
private property in any of the museums and the Hungarian government was free to restore
any such its own judgment.
November 15, 1919. Today was a disagreeable, nasty day, with some snow and
slush under foot.
The Hungarians continued to come into the city and are in actual occupation.
Yesterday afternoon I went over to the Hungarian National Museum and returned to them
the key which I had taken possession of on October 4, and I removed the seals from the
doors. They gave me a receipt for the key and asked permission to retain, as a historic
document, the seal from one of the three doors upon which they were placed. I gave them
one, retained one for myself and gave the other to Colonel Loree.
As we were barred from attending the big celebrations given by the Hungarians in honor
of the Roumanian evacuation, we accordingly invited a number of people, including General
Gorton, General Mombelli and his family, our host Count Edelsheim, and the families of
Count Szirmay and Teleki, and had a little dance.
November 16, 1919. This is the great day for the entry of Admiral Horthy's
army, and the bells began to ring early to indicate the arrival of the troops.
Unfortunately, none of us could witness this for fear of international complications, so
we worked as usual. They were to have a big public mass in front of the Parliament
Building. Tonight they are to have some kind of big celebration at the opera, to which, of
course, none of us can go, for the same reason that kept us away from the parade.
Mr. Dubois, representing the United States Department of State, called this morning to
explain that he was on a mission to endeavor to compile a report on the political
situation of Central Europe, and asked for my assistance in getting together data and in
preparing his report in general. This of course I was very glad to furnish him, as he will
undoubtedly be able to check up many of the reports that come to me.
November 17, 1919. Yesterday was a big day in Budapest and fortunately
everything passed off with dignity and decorum. There was a cold rain in the morning,
which rather dampened the ardor of those participating the public mass, but it cleared up
in the afternoon and at night, I understand, the opera House was packed. Although no
members of the Inter-Allied Military Mission were in attendance, the British Admiral
Troubridge and the French Admiral on duty in Budapest both, accompanied by their staffs,
occupied conspicuous boxes, thereby making the rest of us conspicuous by our absence.
I presided at this morning's session of the Mission, and view of the fact that Sir
George Clerk is wiring the Supreme Council scare-head telegrams, we decided to send a
report to the effect that conditions in the city of Budapest and vicinity, since Hungarian
reoccupation have, everything considered, been excellent; that Admiral Horthy's troops
have shown themselves to be well disciplined and under control. I also sent a personal
report of attendance at the opera of the British and French admirals.
Sir George Clerk is still much concerned about his work, and properly so. He does not
seem to be able to handle these people at all and keeps on paying overmuch attention to
the complaints of Garami and the other Socialist leaders(5).
As a result of all this, Friedrich is proceeding serenely on his way and paying very
little attention to anybody else. Some of the Hungarians have made the statement that, as
long as the Entente cannot force the Italians out of Fiume(6)
and could not even oblige a little nation like Roumania to obey its orders, there is no
reason why Hungary should be unduly concerned about such a feeble combination.
Just before General Mardarescu left Budapest, General Gorton and I went to see him and
he promised faithfully to leave behind fifty-three motor trucks for the distribution of
food. When our men went to get the trucks, instead of fifty-three, they found only
thirty-six, not one of which was serviceable and most of which were lacking in wheels,
motors, or something equally important; and then when Mardarescu left, he even took these
along. We have, therefore, wired the Supreme Council recommending that the Roumanians be
required to return the fifty-three trucks which they took.
November 18, 1919. This has been the coldest day that we have had. It froze
hard all day and at night a heavy snowstorm began.
I was down in the city, both in the forenoon and in the afternoon, to see how matters
were progressing, and everything is remarkably calm.
Sir George Clerk, in evident fear that he is not going be able to accomplish his
mission, sent some scare-head telegrams to Paris, which apparently gave the impression
that Admiral Horthy and Friedrich were arresting all of their political opponents. As a
matter fact, the arrests that were made were practically insignificant, and none were made
that were not perfectly justifiable. Under the circumstances, I was obliged to telegraph
the American Commission accordingly, in addition to which Colonel Loree left Budapest last
night for Paris in order personally to explain the situation, they are apparently
bewildered by the conflicting telegrams from Sir George Clerk and the Inter-Allied
This evening we had for dinner Major Moffat of the American Red Cross, Captain Weiss,
formerly on duty with Mr. Hoover and who is now about to return to the United States, and
Captain Richardson, who is in charge of the American organization for feeding children. At
present he is feeding daily in Hungary 33,000 children, over half of whom are in Budapest,
and he expects soon to increase the number to 100,000.
November 19, 1919. It snowed good and hard last night and early this morning,
with about four inches of snow on the ground, and it snowed practically all day. As a
result many sleighs were in evidence.
At the session of the Mission this morning, General Gorton presided, and showed a
telegram, which by courtesy of Sir George Clerk had been handed to him, giving the
decision of the Supreme Council in regard to the various Hungarian boundaries. Among other
things, it stated that the Supreme Council was still considering the question of the
exploitation of the coal mines at Pécs by the Serbians. As a result of this, we directed
the President of the Day to telegraph to the Supreme Council, informing them how we had
received this copy of their telegram, deprecating that they had not seen fit to advise us
directly in regard to a matter so essentially military, and requesting that they sustain
our action in requiring the Serbians to evacuate immediately all of the district of
. One letter, received sometime ago from the Serbians in regard to the evacuation,
contained the statement that in view of the fact that the Entente had not forced the
Roumanians to evacuate, they could see no reason why they should pay any attention to such
As our good friend, Sir George Clerk, had been apparently badly rattled over
prospective arrests during the first days of the Hungarian reoccupation, and had
apparently thought that the blame lay a good deal with the police, which was under the
supervision of Colonel Yates of the American Army, I submitted to the Mission some
statements in regard to actual conditions during the evacuation, and the Mission decided
unanimously to congratulate Colonel Yates on the excellent manner in which everything
pertaining to the police situation had been handled.
As a telegram of the day before yesterday from Mr. Polk indicated that Sir George
Clerk's scare in regard to the outcome resulting from Hungarian reoccupation had permeated
to the Supreme Council, I went over this morning and had a personal interview with Sir
George, showing him Mr. Polk's telegram, telling him our wires had undoubtedly got
crossed, and that if any such idea obtained in the Supreme Council as the retention of the
Roumanians in Hungary, I considered that results would be most disastrous. Sir George
promised me to telegraph immediately to the Supreme Council, stating that everything was
lovely and that prospects were most encouraging.
At the session on the seventeenth, there had been presented by the French Mission a
proposition for the turning over to the Roumanians of three batteries of our guns each, of
10.4 centimeter howitzers, in exchange with the Roumanians for an equal number of 8
centimeter guns. The whole proposition looked a little bit fishy, especially in view of
the fact that sometime before, when General Gorton was President of he Day, a
communication was sent to the Roumanians stating explicitly that this deal was off. It
appears that he whole proposition was a little private transaction between
Lieutenant-Colonel Berthon, French, and Colonel Dimistrescu, Roumanian. At the session
this morning, we received a protest from Admiral Horthy in regard to such a transfer, and
it was decided that it would not take place. Later on, a telephone message was received
from the Roumanians insisting that such a transfer should take place not later than the
twenty-first. They will be politely invited to side-step to Hell.
At noon Admiral Horthy called upon me and we spent about an hour in conversation. He is
a fine-appearing, intelligent-looking officer, and I believe is sincere in his desire and
intention to do everything for the best. He deprecated Friedrich's obstinacy and I think
is afraid that he may have to remove him sooner or later by force, although at present it
looks as though some sort of an agreement could be arrived at. The Admiral promised me
that it would be his constant and earnest endeavor to prevent any excesses on the part of
his countrymen or the pulling off of any stunts that would affect the situation.
November 20, 1919. It continued to snow all day, and sleighs were in evidence
throughout the city.
Owing to the coal shortage, all the street cars have stopped running and the electric
current has been reduced by 50 per cent.
In the evening at 6 o'clock, accompanied by Colonel Sheldon, I called upon Admiral
Horthy and went into considerable detail concerning the situation. I also informed him of
the rumor that we had heard that the Supreme Council had sent a final ultimatum to
Roumania, giving her eight days for reply, and demanding that she reply affirmatively
without quibbling, equivocation or prevarication, to the various points presented to her,
and requiring that she immediately evacuate all of Hungary and sign the Peace Treaty,
including its Minority clauses.
From all word received, it is apparent that the Roumanians are seriously contemplating
progressing directly east of the Theiss River, instead of stopping there as they had
The Admiral informed me that he would probably remain with his headquarters as at
present at the Hotel Gellért, in the same place where General Mardarescu had had his
headquarters, that he would then move for short time up to the War Office, and would
eventually establish headquarters outside the limits of the city of Budapest.
During the day, I arranged to send Lieutenant-Colonel Moore to southeastern Hungary, to
that portion of Baranya where the Pécs coal mines are, to investigate to conditions. When
he approached the Serbian Minister in regard to the matter, that poor little toy balloon
nearly burst and did all sorts of vehement protesting, stating that he could not visé any
passports or anything of the kind. As the territory Colonel Moore is to visit is,
according to the terms of the Armistice, to be permanent Hungarian territory, I gave
Colonel Moore a letter of instruction informing whom it might concern that he was
proceeding on this duty by order of the Inter-Allied Military Mission, which in giving its
orders was acting in strict conformity with its authority from the Supreme Council. We
will now await developments.
We had no guests tonight and spent a quiet evening in our quarters.
November 21, 1919. During the evening the snow turned into rain and fog, and
today it is indescribably disagreeable. There is slush everywhere and, owing to the
stoppage of the street cars, the streets are full of struggling pedestrians.
The meeting of the Mission was held at General Graziani's quarters, in the house which
is owned by the Countess Széchényi, the sister of my friend, General Cornelius
Vanderbilt. They had hoped that the American Mission would occupy the building, and we
really had first choice at it. I decided, however, that I did not want to have Neily
Vanderbilt chasing me up afterwards and asking me what I had done with any property that
might be missing from his sister's home.
At the session, General Gorton and I in turn explained what we had gathered from
Colonel Moore's verbal report on conditions at Szolnok, to the effect mainly that he had
gathered from Colonel Dimistrescu, not by a direct statement, but from his general conduct
and bearing, that the Roumanians were apparently going to continue their evacuation up to
the line of demarcation; but adding that these signs might mean nothing, seeing that they
came from Roumania.
I then explained Colonel Moore's experience of last night with the Serbian Minister,
and stated what I had done in this case. It was approved by the Mission. It was further
decided to telegraph the Supreme Council requesting that the Serbians be required to
evacuate immediately all portions of Hungary they were holding and retire behind their
line of demarcation, and it was
added in particular that it was recommended that they be required to withdraw from the
town of Pécs. It had been intended to include this in the telegram of the day before
yesterday, but through error it had been omitted.
Colonel Yates stated this morning that he thought the Hungarians were making far more
arrests than they were reporting, and I instructed him to investigate and see whether or
not they were emulating the illustrious example of the lying Roumanians.
November 22, 1919. Last night we entertained the Envoy Extraordinary and
Minister Plenipotentiary from The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes to the
Inter-Allied Military Mission, meaning thereby our old friend, Dr. Lazar Baitch, his
colleague Major Body, nd Mrs. Body. We also had Colonel Yates and Major Moffat of the
American Red Cross. The Hungarian champagne warmed up the cockles of Lazar Baitch's heart
to such an extent that he was soon waltzing with Colonel Yates while Colonel Sheldon
played the piano, and later on wound up with a skirt dance.
At noon today there was a big meeting at one of the schools, to which I was invited as
the senior American representative, and where we listened to several most eloquent
addresses in Hungarian. The eloquence was to be judged only by the gesticulations, as
Hungarian is a language which no one can read or understand without swallowing a paper of
fish hooks. Before we wound up, a little girl came up and made some remarks in what
purported to be English. Anyway she handed me a big bouquet of chrysanthemums, and I
kissed her on the right cheek, to the accompaniment of vociferous applause.
I have acquired a new Hungarian valet, who speaks only German and Hungarian, and forces
me to go back to my childhood of forty-five or fifty years ago, when German was almost as
easy as my native tongue. He insists on making me do a great many things that I do not
want to do. Among others, he tries to force me to take a warm bath in the morning when I
am determined to take a cold bath. However, when his back is turned I let the hot water
out and turn the cold water in, so I am able to circumvent to a certain extent his
We just received word today from our beloved allies, the Roumanians, that they have
decided to remove the pontoon bridge at Szolnok, all this despite their solemn promises
that they would leave it. The Roumanians are really the most reliable people in the world
when it comes to depending upon their breaking any promises they make.
November 23, 1919. Last night Colonel Sheldon, Captain Gore and I were guests
at dinner at the house of Baron von Groedel, and while there we met young Baron Weiss,
whose family is the wealthiest in Hungary, and whom the Roumanians robbed of eight hundred
million kronen worth of property.
Yesterday morning a staff officer from the French Admiral called at my quarters to say
that three weeks ago he [the Admiral] had called upon me and left his card. He was
wondering if I had received it as I had never returned the call. So later in the
afternoon, accompanied by Captain Gore, I went to the Admiral's quarters, found him in,
and told him that within twenty-four hours his call had been returned and my card left at
his quarters, but I wished that there should be no misunderstanding and therefore I had
come personally this time to make sure that there could be no mistake. Not to be outdone,
he called upon me again my office early this morning, so that we are now quits.
The newspapers announce that the Hungarians at last have formed a new cabinet with
Huszár(8) as Prime Minister and Friedrich in charge of the
War portfolio. is to be hoped that Sir George Clerk's labors are now approaching their end
and that he can proceed to his proper Station as Minister to Czecho-Slovakia.
November 24, 1919. Last night we entertained Admiral Horthy, General Soós,
Count Edelsheim, General Gorton, and Colonel Yates at dinner, and our chef absolutely
At this morning's session at the Italian Mission, where course General Mombelli
presided, General Graziani gave us a report of Colonel Berthon's trip to Szolnok, by which
arrangements were made for internationalizing the railroad bridges across the Theiss
River; and we were informed that the Roumanians had already removed the pontoon bridge at
General Graziani also read from the Hungarian papers a retraction which had been made
by the Hungarian Colonel Lehár, of the ridiculous statements attributed to him in a
previous issue of the Pester Lloyd, in which he was quoted as having said that
Hungary had the only disciplined army in all Central Europe.
Lieutenant-Colonel Moore, of my Mission, was later brought in, having just returned
from a trip to the Pécs coal mines where the Serbians are in occupation. He stated that
the Serbs were running rampant through the whole section, that even many kilometers beyond
Pécs, which is itself about thirty kilometers inside the Hungarian lines, the Serbians
had established complete civil government, and were intimating in no uncertain terms that
they proposed to stay permanently. The troops that they had in garrison were in a rotten
condition of discipline, and conditions on the whole were most unfavorable. He reported
that of the one hundred and fifty carloads, of ten tons each, that were turned out daily
by the Pécs coal mines, about one hundred and twenty carloads were taken over by the
Serbian government and the rest only was used for local consumption. The Serbs had even
gone so far as to demand verbally, as a tax, 20 per cent of all the private deposits in
After the meeting, I went with Captain Gore and Major Moffat to see the American Red
Cross at work and was very much gratified. In one place they were systematically issuing
to the poor large quantities of clothing in appropriate individual lots, and in another
place they were furnishing food and clothing to infants. is work of this kind that
immensely raises the prestige
of the American name.
November 25, 1919. Yesterday afternoon was a very busy afternoon, owing to the
fact that our courier was leaving for Vienna, which, taken in connection with the morning
session of the Mission, jammed things all together in the last half of the day.
Unfortunately this courier business does not mean much because, although leaving here
Monday evening and arriving in Vienna Tuesday morning, our mail will lie over there until
Monday before going on to Paris.
This morning I received several telegrams from Colonel Loree, among others, word to the
effect that he had seen General Bliss and Mr. White of the American Commission and
explained to them that it would hardly be advisable to continue this Mission in case the
American Commission to Negotiate Peace were permanently dissolved(9)
. This was absolutely along the lines my instructions to Loree before his departure,
and likewise strictly in accord with my own personal ideas. When I mentioned the matter,
however, to one or two Hungarians, the first one being Count Somssich, the minister of
Foreign Affairs, he simply collapsed and said the mere fact that an American Mission was
here gave them confidence in the future, and assured them of a square deal. He assured me
it would be nothing short of a calamity in case we left here before the elections in
January and the establishment of a permanent government. I interrogated him and several
others and told them plainly that I had no delusions of grandeur, was not a megalomaniac,
and wanted to know whether they were trying to tell me things which would be most grateful
to hear, or whether they were really sincere in their belief that the American Mission
should continue for a while longer, and that in any event I should remain on account of my
knowledge of the situation, absorbed from nearly four months' stay. Their protestations
that it was necessary that the Mission, as now organized, remain, were undoubtedly
sincere, so I felt obliged to telegraph Colonel Loree that the Hungarians felt that their
main guarantee for a square deal lay in a continuation until after election of the
American Mission, but I added that, personally, the sooner I could go home the better I
would be pleased. It will now be a question of waiting two or three days to learn what the
final decision is.
The Roman Catholic Cardinal, who is called the Prince Primas of Hungary, called upon me
this morning, accompanied by a bishop as interpreter, to thank me, not only for what I had
done for Hungary, but in particular for having saved most of his treasures which were in
the Museum that the Roumanians were going to rob. Like all high functionaries of the
Catholic Church, he was a jolly old fellow, and I enjoyed his visit very much.
November 26, 1919. At this morning's session of the Mission, at which I
presided, General Mombelli was very sore because Sir George Clerk had not sent notice to
the Mission of the fact that he had recognized the new Hungarian government under Huszár.
As a matter of fact, Sir George did notify us, but through rather devious channels. He
sent a letter to the Italian counselor giving a list of the ministry and telling him he
had recognized the new cabinet, then sent General Gorton a copy of the same and asked
Gorton to let the rest of us have copies. In view of the fact that the Italian counselor
had not a damn thing to do with the government or anything else, neither Mombelli nor
Graziani could understand why Sir George had adopted such a peculiar method. I don't think
he meant anything by it, but just didn't know any better.
It was decided to send another telegram to the Supreme Council, calling attention for
the third or fourth time to the fact that the Serbs had planted themselves in the Baranya
district apparently for life, and also to he fact that the Supreme Council had never yet
given us any decision as to whether or not the Serbians were to remain or to beat it. We
therefore asked specifically for a statement that the Serbians were immediately to
evacuate territory which did not belong to them, or that the territory was to be given to
The day before yesterday I was the recipient of a long tale of woe from Baron Than,
representing the Archduke Joseph, to the effect that the Czecho-Slovaks vere seizing the
private property of his estate in Czecho-Slovakia, including his wife's personal letters,
and were proposing to sell the whole thing at auction. I immediately telegraphed our
Minister at Prague that it was inconceivable that any civilized nation could be guilty of
such rotten conduct, informing him that I had likewise notified the American Commission in
Paris. At the same time, I sent a copy of the telegram to General Mombelli, who was
President of the Day, and he put in a vigorous protest with Minister Hodza, the
Czecho-Slovak representative in Budapest. The whole situation throughout southeastern
Europe seems to be a "go as you please" game.
As a report had been received that the Roumanians, despite the fact that an Armistice
was in existence had shelled the defenseless town of Tokaj, killing several of the
inhabitants, it was decided to call upon the Roumanians for an explanation of their
peculiar yet characteristic conduct, and also to invite their attention to the fact that
they were still raiding private estates.
A commendatory letter was drafted and given to Major Edward Borrow, of the British
Army, for his excellent services, particularly in connection with keeping track of the
rolling stock that the Roumanians had seized.
Yesterday afternoon I went down town and had some dental work done by a Hungarian
dentist named Dick, who had been a student of Dr. Brophy in Chicago. Colonel Sheldon and I
both went to see him again this afternoon.
Owing to the coal shortage and the early nightfall, all stores now close at either
three or four o'clock, and the city is decidedly gloomy by mid-afternoon.
November 27, 1919.(10)
General Gorton told me this morning that, having heard of the possibility that my
Mission might close up shop and leave in a few days, had wired the British Commission in
Paris protesting and requesting that we remain here until after the Hungarian elections.
Some way or other, the Hungarians today found out at it was our Thanksgiving Day and I
received large bouquets of flowers with cards from the Archduke, from Cardinal Csernoch,
the Prince Primas of Hungary, from the Prime Minister, from various other cabinet
ministers, from Admiral Horthy, from General Soós, from the Mayor and Council of
Budapest, and any others. The Cardinal came over about noon with big flock of counts and
barons, countesses and baronesses, and we had quite a celebration. The Prime Minister also
came in, not only to felicitate us on our national holiday, but to express his thanks for
the justice and sincerity with which the American Mission had operated from the beginning,
and for the interest that had displayed in unfortunate Hungary. I told him that neither my
country nor myself had anything to gain whatever, that we desired nothing but fair play,
at America has always sympathized with and endeavored to aid unfortunate nations and
people, and that if I had succeeded in impressing them with that idea, I had really
accomplished my mission; that the various expressions of thanks and appreciation from all
Hungarian officials I accepted, not as coming personally to me, but as coming to my
About 6 o'clock a code message came from Colonel Loree to the effect that the American
Commission would meet tomorrow and decide whether or not the American Military Mission
should continue, whether I should remain with a small body as an observer, or whether we
should entirely quit Hungary.
In view of the fact that it was Thanksgiving Day, I gave a dinner at my quarters to all
the American officers in Budapest, those attending being Colonel Sheldon,
Lieutenant-Colonel Moore, Captain Shafroth, Captain Gore, Captain Weiss, Major Moffat of
the American Red Cross, Captain Richardson of the American Children's Welfare Association,
and my Hungarian Aide, Lieutenant Count Teleki. Before the dinner, most of them attended
the Grand Opera which was turning out a musical enigma called the "Magic Flute."
Captain Gore and I did not arrive until within about three-quarters of an hour of the
conclusion of the performance, because we were obliged to remain at home to decode Colonel
Loree's telegram. However, we saw too much of the performance even at that late hour. All
that I could gather was that a gray-headed young man with robust body and spindle-shank
legs had to go through seven kinds of Hell in order to win a little
squirt of a prima donna with a face like the head of a tobasco bottle. Some of the
dancers in connection with opera might have been worth going through one or two Hells for,
but only a lunatic would have gone through seven for the prima donna.
Our chef, in a strenuous effort to turn out a real American Thanksgiving dinner, turned
out the rottenest meal since we have had him. He asserted in raucous tones, interpolated
with the usual number of Hungarian consonants, that he knew how to make a pumpkin pie and
he did. It was pumpkin all right, and it was pie, but it was the same kind of a crust that
we had on
our chicken potpie, and the pumpkin was chucked into in cubes about an inch square.
Another time we will limit him to his well-known repertoire.
November 28, 1919. As General Gorton left last night for Vienna to meet Mrs.
Gorton, who is expected to are there in a day or so, General Graziani presided and met at
the French Mission. General Graziani read a translation from one of the Hungarian papers
of what was supposed to be a report on an address by Friedrich the Christian-National
Party, of which he is the head, and which contained one particularly strong sentiment as
I state frankly that we cannot and must not have confidence in the Entente.
was decided to write Herr Friedrich a letter, calling attention to this, and requiring
an explanation and retraction in the paper.
Telephone reports came in yesterday that, whenever a Hungarian appeared at the bridge
at Szolnok he was promptly shot at by the Roumanian sentinels on the other side, despite
the agreement the Roumanians made that the bridges at Szolnok and elsewhere would be
opened to traffic for the Hungarians. This is the usual Roumanian style of keeping a
We also received word that the Serbians were retiring from Pécs and pulling off all
sorts of rotten stunts. Therefore it was decided to send a committee of four officers, one
from each Mission, immediately to Pécs to investigate and handle the situation.
While I was attending the session of the Mission, Colonel Kelly of the U.S. Engineers,
called, and Colonel Sheldon very properly invited Kelly and Mrs. Kelly to informal
November 29, 1919. Last night we had Colonel and Mrs. Kelly to dinner, and
they left this morning by boat for Belgrade.
I recently received a clipping from a Roumanian paper, which in big headlines had the
A reply from General Mardarescu.
The following was sent to Vienna from Budapest.
The conduct of the Roumanians with regard to the Hungarians and the Allies is best
characterized by the reply of General Mardarescu as given to the protest of the
Inter-Allied Military Mission against requisitions:
"Gentlemen, you have four telephones but I have 80,000 bayonets."
Of course the old scoundrel never said such a thing or we would have choked him on the
spot, but the worst part of it is that if he had said it, it would have been the truth,
which is still further proof that he never did it.
Last evening I received a very touching telegram from Mr. Halstead, of the American
Mission in Vienna, which he stated:
Regret exceeding carelessness of a clerk this Mission caused pouch for your Mission to
be returned to Paris and your pouch for Paris remain here. Greatly chagrined. Pouch be
returned from Paris by courier leaving there Monday and sent down by Thursday train first
His chagrin was nothing compared to our disgust. I also received a telegram from Mr.
Polk in which he asked me to telegraph him fully as to whether or not was still necessary
to keep up the Inter-Allied Military Mission, adding that he desired to withdraw all
Inter-Allied Military Missions as far as possible, in order not to become too deeply
involved in European politics, and to avoid any criticism from Washington. He suggested
that I should remain as High Commissoner until the arrival of the American civil
representative. I replied that in my opinion the Inter-Allied Military Mission could well
be dispensed with, as it had carried out its instructions as far as possible. I might have
added that it had never received any backing from the Supreme Council all the time it was
here, although my people always backed me to the limit. I also suggested that I reduce my
force to about one-half of what it has been in the past.
By the same messenger, I received a cable from the United States which was the best
that I have received since being over here. It was from my young friend Littwitz, who sent
only three words:
Wife improving splendidly.
It is a pleasure to be of service to anyone as appreciative as Littwitz has been of the
few things I did for him.
November 30, 1919. This morning, accompanied by Colonel Sheldon, Mr. Zerkowitz
and my Hungarian Aide, Lieutenant Count Teleki, I called upon His Excellency, Prime
Minister Huszár, and we were received with all the pomp and circumstance with which
Hungarian officials delight to surround themselves. A magnificent major-domo all dolled up
like one of the old time drum majors, met us at the entrance and led us by a whole line of
obsequious flunkies, each of which was shining with oriental splendor. By a circuitous
route, so as to take in all the swell rooms, they led us to the reception room, where the
Prime Minister met us at the entrance.
It then became evident that I need not have brought Mr. Zerkowitz along as interpreter
because there was a young man named Bárczy who came forward, and who had the most
beautiful flow of English I have ever heard, at least as far as the flow is concerned. His
Excellency would spout and spit Hungarian for about one minute, then M. Bárczy would open
the floodgates of his eloquence and spit ornate and flowery English for fifteen minutes.
It was all to the effect that the Hungarians appreciated all that the Entente had done for
them and, of course, in particular America. They wanted us to stay by them until after the
elections, of course again in particular America, and most particularly myself. I
responded with like hyperbole, and after half an our the meeting terminated and His
Excellency escorted us all the way out to the head of the stairs. He greatly admired my
heavy riding crop, and wanted to know if it was the same one with which I had driven
company of Roumanians out of the Palace courtyard, and which had been my sole weapon when
I stood guard over the government office when the Roumanians were threatening to come up
and arrest the whole cabinet. Upon my replying in the affirmative, he asked that I turn it
over to their National Museum, so I suppose that will be the end of my fine old riding
crop, which I shall miss damnably.
Colonel Sheldon has been bitten by the philatelic microbe and his case, for the present
at least, seems to be more hopeless than my own. If he is introduced to a high official,
the first thing he says is:
Has Your Excellency any stamps in his pants?
and the inquiry has become so stereotyped that I am afraid he will address it to the
countesses and baronesses who seem to be flocking into his office, but of whom he allows
none to penetrate into my sanctum unless they are older than the devil or as ugly as Hell,
in this respect emulating the example of one Colonel Taber Loree.
1. Henry Tureman Allen, Commander of the American Army of Occupation
2. Pichon, Stephen Jean Marie. Journalist, politician, diplomat, and
Minister of Foreign Affairs of France from 1906-11, March, 1913- Aug., 1914, and Nov.,
1917-July, 1920. An ardent nationalist and follower of Clemenceau.
3. Compare note on Sir George Clerk, October 20.
4. During the Bolshevik régime, the Italians maintained
suspiciously friendly relations with the Bolshevik government. They furnished Béla Kun
arms and ammunition in exchange for breeding horses, jewelry, etc. when Béla Kun escaped
to Austria, the Italian Military Mission gave him an escort, thus guaranteeing him and his
company safe conduct. The head of the Italian Military Mission was then Colonel Romanelli.
He often used his influence with the Hungarian Soviet government to make it act more
humanely in the treatment of its adversaries at home, and he frequently secured the pardon
of condemned political prisoners. See Cécile Tormay, An Outlaw's Diary, New
York, 1924, pp.175 and 185. The relationship of Italy to Hungary was guided by her
interests in the Fiume question. She apparently liked to see her other allies in trouble,
so that their attention would be diverted from the Dalmatian coast.
5. Compare note on Sir George Clerk, on October 20.
6. Gabriele d'Annunzio had seized Fiume on Sept. 13 and Zara on Nov.
4, in defiance of the decision of the Allies.
7. The main city of this district is Pécs, or Fünfkirchen.
8. Karl Huszár, a Christian Socialist.
9. On Nov.19 the United States Senate had definitely rejected the
Treaty of Versail1es.
10. On this day the Treaty of Neuilly was signed with Bulgaria. The
Roumanians and the Jugo-Slavs were not permitted to sign it until they had signed the
Treaty of St. Germain, with its Minorities provision.
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