7: January, 1920
<< 6: December, 1919 || 8: February, 1920 >>
January 1, 1920. Today is another day like yesterday, with fog banked up
so thick that one cannot see across the street. I was not feeling fit to receive callers,
but there certainly was a raft of them, and I have a pack of cards several inches high.
A telegram was received from our Embassy in Paris, stating that Grant-Smith had sailed
from the United States on the seventeenth and that they would advise me when he arrived in
Paris. As he has had more than ample time, had he gone direct to a French port, it is
presumed that he stopped in England en route, and my original schedule about getting away
from here about February 1 will undoubtedly be carried out.
Mr. de Pekár, the former Hungarian Minister of Liaison, insisted on seeing me today
and gave me one of the medals of the National Museum with a dedication on it to myself
from the grateful Museum. This honor was conferred upon me on account of my having saved
the Museum from being looted by the Roumanians.
The whole situation is beginning to get on the nerves of all of us, and we shall all be
mighty glad to get headed towards home. I hope this time I will not be held up at the
eleventh hour and stuck off on some other skunk-skinning detail.
January 2, 1920. This morning I rose at six o'clock, feeling much refreshed
after a cold bath, had breakfast at seven, and Colonel Sheldon and I took a special train
at eight for Dunatetétlen, where we arrived at 11.10.
After arriving at the house and lunching, I assembled my whole adopted family to the
number of about fourteen, including servants, etc., got them to the railroad station and
started exactly on time, at four o'clock. After leaving our protégés at their house in
Budapest, Colonel Sheldon and I immediately came up to our quarters, where we had dinner
and all retired fairly early.
Word was received that Colonel Yates and Colonel Poillon had arrived, the former on his
way to the United States and the latter from Bucharest in order to see me and talk over
the Roumanian situation. I shall, therefore, see them tomorrow and hope to be able to
start Colonel Poillon off right as regards those liver-complexioned Roumanians.
January 3, 1920. Most of the morning was spent at the office catching up with
back work, and in an effort to start in well with the New Year.
This afternoon I spent in winding up private affairs.
January 4, 1920. This morning, being Sunday, I went to my office at 9.30 and
had been there but a short time when General Bridges, of the British Service, came in with
the new British High Commissioner to Hungary. Apparently the latter had been instructed to
get in close touch with me and has made several appointments for interviews before my
Colonel Poillon later came in and we had quite a conference, during which he informed
me that the Queen of Roumania had told him that I was a Jew, that Colonel Loree was a Jew,
that my aides were all Jews, and that everybody about the office was a Jew; that we were
buying up a vast quantity of articles, which was a very bad policy; and, in general, good
Queen Marie gave us Hell and repeat(1). I gave Colonel
Poillon considerable information on the general situation and in particular about the
Roumanians, and had him to lunch, after which we continued our conversation for two or
In the evening Colonel Loree and I were invited as guests to a dinner, given by General
Bridges and Mr. Hohler, the British High Commissioner(2),
to General Franchet d'Espérey, at the Hotel Ritz. The other guests present were Generals
Graziani and Mombelli, each with a staff officer. The dinner was rather elaborate, and
either it was decidedly heavy or sitting opposite one Frenchman, with another one on my
left, gave me the first attack of acute indigestion I have had in months.
While at coffee, the British High Commissioner asked me to talk over the situation with
him, which I did in as much detail as possible under the circumstances, and he has
arranged to come and see me daily in order to get wise to what has occurred in the past.
January 5, 1920. Today I received confidential reports from Admiral Horthy,
covering the Bolshevist activities in this section of Europe. It appears that the
Communists have a well-perfected organization in Vienna, which has become the center of
their activities, and their plan is in February or March to have general uprisings in
Hungary, Czecho-Slovakia, Austria and Italy. They feel confident that they will be most
successful in the last-named country(3).
Their plans were obtained from the confessions of a party of four or five who were sent
over to Budapest from Vienna for the express purpose of blowing up Admiral Horthy's
Headquarters, the Royal Palace where General Gorton and myself are located, the Government
Building, the Coronation Cathedral and the Opera House. Fortunately this little bunch was
spotted and arrested before they did any damage and, as a result of their confessions, it
is believed that much danger may be averted. I am having copies of all their confessions
made and forwarded for the information of our State and War Departments.
This afternoon I received a letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Moffat, the American Red
Cross representative in Budapest, enclosing a cablegram from the United States in which I
am asked to make recommendations in regard to the continuation of Red Cross activities in
Budapest. In compliance with this I sent the following letter:
Budapest, 5th January 1920
From: American Military Representative in Hungary
To: American Red Cross
Subject: Conditions in Budapest and Hungary
1: The Roumanian military forces occupied practically all of Hungary from early in
August until November 14, 1919, upon which latter date they evacuated the city of
Budapest. Their requisitions and seizures, by which names they dignified their general
looting, were about as systematic as the antics of a monkey in a cabinet of bric-a-brac.
They took machinery and instruments that were ruined beyond repair the moment removed from
their locations; they seized and removed practically all available food supplies, even to
the last animal and the seed grain from many farms; and their general conduct and
procedure were in violation of international law, the customs of war, and the requirements
of decency and humanity.
2: The result of all this has been a sadly impoverished and destitute Hungary which,
instead of being an indemnity asset for the Allies, is, owing to the act of one of them,
Roumania, a sadly stricken poverty patient.
3: While in Bucharest in September I saw a Red Cross organization and equipment out of
all proportion to existing or possible future needs in a country which, while already well
supplied with food, was running in thousands of carloads of necessities from her prostrate
neighbor. Despite the ultimatum of November 16 from the Supreme Council for Roumania to
evacuate immediately all of Hungary, the Roumanians still occupy all of the country east
of the Theiss and are continuing their barbarous methods even to the seizure of seed
4: As we were apparently powerless to prevent our Roumanian associates from creating
the conditions above described, it becomes in my opinion our imperative duty to alleviate
them in every way possible.
5: I recommend that the American Red Cross organization in Budapest not only remain,
but that it be enlarged to cover all of Hungary now free of invaders, and that it then
gradually expand as long as necessary to meet the increased difficulties now being
prepared by the Roumanians east of the Theiss.
H. H. Bandholtz
Brig. Gen., U.S. A.
These colds that one has in Europe seem to be caused by a different bug, which gives a
good deal of the effect of the "flu" and leaves one like a dishrag for several
days after the cold seems to have left. It does not leave one's nerves in the best
condition. This condition is not improved by having a pleasant-faced valet like Lugubrious
Luke, who comes in like a cloud of gloom every morning and disturbs my room. He speaks
Hungarian, German, and I believe French, fluently and understands absolutely nothing.
Yesterday a party came up into our offices and dumped down four hundred thousand dollars
in American currency, with the request that I send it to Trieste to purchase lard from
Swift and Co. As we have no means for sending such a small sum, and as we do not care to
keep it in our possession, we had them lug it back, and we shall try to make arrangements
through our Vienna Mission to handle the matter.
January 6, 1920 This morning I came to the office and got my work well under
way, and then I went down to the old painter where I spent the whole forenoon.
In the afternoon Colonel Poillon and Colonel Yates came to the quarters, and we spent
considerable time going over the situation, after which I came to my office and spent most
of the time at my desk, except for a short conference with General Gorton and the new
British High Commissioner, Mr. Hohler, to whom I have loaned temporarily the use of one of
my office rooms.
January 7, 1920. Last night Colonel Sheldon and I went to the opera, lured by
the understanding that, in the Hungarian production of "Carmen," the prima donna
in the last act pulls a corset string up out of her bosom and chokes herself to death. As
this was rather a novel finale, we decided to go and see it, but were disappointed.
This morning, like yesterday morning, I came first to the office, got my work going and
then went out and sat the whole forenoon for the old artist, who encouraged me by saying
that he was sure the picture would not be dry enough to be taken inside of a month and
ought not to be moved inside of a year. He admitted, however, that, although he was
experienced in painting, he knew damned little about packing paintings, in which I agreed
Upon returning to my quarters from the artist's, I found that Admiral Horthy had been
over to see me and was desirous of making an appointment. Accordingly I went over to his
Headquarters in the afternoon and spent about an hour and a half with him. He went into
great detail in explaining the Bolshevist situation in this part of Europe. He repeated
what I already knew, viz., that four Bolshevists who came over from Vienna had come for
the purpose of blowing up his Headquarters, blowing up the Royal Palace with General
Gorton and myself, the Prime Minister's, the Government Building, the Coronation Cathedral
and the Opera House.
The Admiral is satisfied that the Austrian government, as now existing, is almost in
the hands of the Communists and that Béla Kun and many of his confreres, although
supposed to be interned at Karlstein, are given every conceivable liberty, at least as
regards correspondence. He is also sure that the first outbreak will be in
Czecho-Slovakia, and he expects them to turn loose in Prague during the month of February.
I explained to him that the United States had already deported 250 Bolshevists, and
recently in one night's roundup had arrested 5,000 more who would be deported as soon as
found implicated in the movement(4).
We then shifted to the other issues, and he told me that he considered that former
Prime Minister Friedrich was a political adventurer, his speeches were incendiary and were
of a type to which very ignorant hearers would be glad to listen, but which any sane man,
not ill advised on the doctrines, would find impossible of execution. He wanted to know
what the status of our government was as regards the Hapsburgs, and I told him that could
best be determined by the message which the Supreme Council had sent to the Archduke
Joseph when he was at the head of the Hungarian government. The Admiral further stated
that he had been approached by men in all positions and advised that he take over
dictatorship. This, he said, he did not personally want to do, but was wondering, in case
it were necessary, how our government would look at it. I told him, of course, this would
require an inquiry before I could answer.
He is positive that Friedrich will be elected by a large majority and made Prime
Minister, and that one of his first acts will be to put in the Archduke as palatine, to be
followed shortly afterwards, if possible, by his coronation. It is believed in some
quarters that the Admiral is thinking of the King job for himself but whether he is or
not, the Archduke Joseph certainly
has the bee buzzing loudly in his own bonnet.
January 8, 1920. I am getting to be quite an opera fan and may as well keep it
up as long as the Royal Box is available, because one cannot always disport oneself amidst
such regal surroundings.
In the afternoon, after going through routine work, I had a long conference with Mr.
Hohler and discussed with him the various propositions given me by Admiral Horthy, without
letting him know from whom I had received them.
A courier arrived with a few letters today. Fortunately one of them was from my young
friend and former chauffeur in the New York Division, Lieutenant Littwitz, who wrote me
more in detail about Mrs. Bandholtz's condition than anything that I have had in months.
It seems good to have somebody that can sympathize with me in my situation here and give
me the kind of news that is most needed.
January 9, 1920. Last night I went to see a snappy little opera called
"Don Juan" which, not by actual count but from estimate, had forty-eight
osculation scenes. A rooster-legged galoot with a face like a Wah-wah monkey and
omniverous as regards females, was the main guy. All the girls looked alike to him;
whenever he saw a skirt he would run her down, scratch his wing at her, claw the dirt and
then bite her in the face. One female who was trying to be the bride of another ass, was
repeatedly bitten and seemed to like it.
Things got so animated that even a statue came to life and coughed up a lullaby. In the
final scene Don Juan got drunk, the singing statue came in ŕ la Spook, coughed up another
lullaby and things got so hot that the house caught fire and Don Juan was asphyxiated in
his own gas, and responded to three encores.
This morning I went to old Stetka again with Count Teleki, my aide, for what I supposed
to be my last sitting, and as I was feeling a little bit cranky, it kept the old fellow
Exzellenz, bitte ein wenig freundlich.
When we finished for the morning, he told me that this last sitting was like a last
ultimatum to the Roumanians; he would like to have me come again. So I agreed to come
This being the day upon which our courier arrives from Vienna in the morning and goes
back in the evening, I was kept busy all the afternoon in the office, getting out my
memoranda to the State Department and shipping off the completed pages of my journal.
January 10, 1920. After winding up last night all business connected with the
courier, I saw that there was still time to go to the opera, so Colonel Sheldon and I left
about 6 o'clock to see "La Bohéme."
The afternoon was all spent in my office and Count Széchényi(5)
, the husband of Gladys Vanderbilt, came in and spent about an hour with me.
January 11, 1920. Last night we had as our guests the entire Szirmay family,
including Count and Countess Szirmay, and the Countesses Juliska, "Electricity,"
Puszi and Mani.
This morning was to be my last day with the old artist, so I went down to his atelier
accompanied by Count Teleki at 10.30 and stayed with him until about 1.30. He asked me to
come again tomorrow, but I told him I'd be damned if I would. So he went on trying to put
a little more intelligence into my forehead and touching up my hands, and finally said
that he would not need me again.
After lunch I came right over to the office and had a conference with Colonel Poillon,
who had just returned from Vienna, and then I had a long talk with Count Somssich.
The Count stated that he had received a telegram from Count Apponyi, the head of the
Hungarian Peace Delegation, requesting information as to the kind of representation of the
United States in the Supreme Council, and asking as to whether or not he should furnish
copies of all papers, memoranda, etc., to the American Ambassador. I sent a code telegram
embodying this information to the American Embassy in Paris.
During the conversation, I catechized the Count in regard to his opinion as to the
outcome of the election, and he is not so certain that Friedrich will be elected. He says
that Friedrich has pulled off so many asinine stunts that the people are beginning to lose
confidence in him and doubt if he is the type of man which they want at the head of the
The Count, like all other Hungarians, is of the firm opinion that sooner or later
Hungary will have to be a kingdom, and he is in hopes that there will be something in the
peace terms which will authorize the restoration of a monarchy, but which will forbid a
Hapsburg from sitting on the throne of Hungary. He says there are three Hapsburgs who will
be pretenders, the first being the present King Karl, the second the Archduke Joseph, and
the third Prince Albrecht. Karl could say to the Hungarians that in case they recalled
him, he would bring Croatia with him, because Croatia is fanatically loyal to him. Prince
Albrecht, on the other hand, has large holdings in the north and could make a like promise
in regard to Slovakia if he were elected. The Archduke Joseph, the count considers to be
an honest, capable and brave man and well qualified for the regal honor; but he is afraid
that should any one of the three be put in power, there would always remain too many
pretenders as long as a Hapsburg dynasty reigned. Most of the Hungarians would like a King
of the English royal blood, or some one selected by the English, in order to have British
The Count also related portions of a conversation he had had with the French General
Franchet d'Espérey(6), on the occasion of the latter's
last visit to Budapest. The Count says, that assuming an attitude that Hungary placed her
faith in the League of Nations, he had discussed the prospect of treaties, etc., when the
Frenchman waxed furious and said that the League of Nations was worthless; that France,
owing to Wilson, had received an execrable peace; that France needed, ought to have, and
would have had, the left bank of the Rhine, but that Wilson prevented it. The Count is of
the opinion that the peculiar French attitude of favoring Roumania and being invariably
anti-Hungarian, is more or less on account of a desire to oppose England and make it
difficult for the latter to gain headway in this section of Europe.
January 12, 1920. Last night Colonel Sheldon and I went to the opera to see
"The Masquerade," not expecting to see very much, but stayed through the last
act and were simply delighted with it.
The plot is based on a governor who is in love with his secretary's wife. The Serbian
attaché, who came into our box, assured us that it was purely a Platonic love affair, but
as such there was surely a hell of a lot of squeezing and biting in it.
This afternoon I was called upon by a Colonel Vina, who said he was representing the
Italian government in settling the frontier between Austria and Hungary. It took about ten
minutes to air the room out after he left, and he will probably vote for whichever party
turns out the most champagne.
Mr. Zerkowitz came in and I gave him instructions to go over to the Prime Minister and
deliver to him the following letter, and to tell the Prime Minister that I was disgusted
with some of the members of his cabinet:
Budapest, 12th January 1920
From: American Military Representative in Hungary
To: His Excellency the Hungarian Prime Minister
Subject: Attitude of Food Ministry on Importation of Supplies.
1: In order to alleviate in a slight degree the shortage of foodstuffs in Hungary I
recently consented to aid in the importation of sugar from Czecho-Slovakia for the use of
officials and employees of the posts, railways, telegraphs, telephones, and banks.
2: I considered it necessary, however, to require a guarantee that the sugar imported
would be used for the purpose stated, that there would be no profiteering, and that the
fixing of prices and distribution of the sugar would be under the supervision of the
3: I am now informed that the required guarantee has been refused by the Food Ministry,
and under the circumstances I am regretfully obliged to withdraw my support from the
entire transaction in question which appeared to be at the time a most praiseworthy
H. H. Bandholtz
Brig. General, U.S. A.
January 13, 1920. It is a great Comfort to have no more visits to pay to the
old artist, and it enables me to catch up on all my back work.
In order to cinch the sugar deal, I sent for Mr. Zerkowitz and had him accompany me
over to the Prime Minister's, and translate for me to the Prime Minister my opinion of the
whole sugar deal, which was about as follows:
On account of the acute suffering in Hungary for lack of both sugar and fats, I had
been approached by persons requesting that I aid them in importing into Hungary from
Czecho-Slovakia, thirty carloads of sugar for officials and employees of the posts,
telegraphs, railways, and banks, and requesting in particular that I assure the
Czecho-Slovak authorities that empty cars would be returned, or others substituted for
them on the border. This I had consented to do, but in view of the fact that the American
Mission, neither collectively nor individually, was allowed to engage in any business
transactions, I insisted that I receive a letter from the appropriate government Ministry
to the effect that this importation was for the purpose stated and that no profiteering
would be permitted.
I had received a proper communication from the Food Ministry in regard to twenty-four
carloads intended for the banks and was assured that a satisfactory contract had been made
by the importer with the Hungarian government, and I therefore notified the bank that the
transaction could proceed.
I told the Prime Minister that, however, I was now informed that the contract with the
government required the importers to deliver six carloads of this sugar to the Food
Minister at about 33 1/3 per cent below cost to them, as a result of which they were
authorized to sell, at about three times cost, the remaining eighteen cars; that I
considered this a most reprehensible transaction and that I would not be a party to it;
that the whole proceeding must be absolutely clear and above board, and uniform prices
throughout. I told him also that in the case of the other six carloads of the thirty, the
Food Minister had required a deposit of fifty thousand crowns as a guarantee that the
sugar would be imported with the penalty of forfeiture of the same in case the sugar had
not arrived within six weeks. I added that in view of the fact that the American Mission
was protecting the enterprise, this was an insult to me, and in any event it had the
appearance of graft, and I would not stand for it.
His Excellency explained that the present Food Minister, who had been forced upon him
by Sir George Clerk, was of the peasant type, that he was utterly unqualified for the
position, and that he had not the slightest idea of what his proper functions were. He
assured me that there would be a new Minister by the twenty-fifth of the month and begged
me to suspend action, and he could have the matter adjusted and bring it before the first
meeting of the Cabinet.
January 14, 1920. After clearing up what little desk work there was in the
forenoon, I went down town with Colonel Sheldon to do some shopping and returned about
noon. I got word from the Foreign Office that Mihály Károlyi, who had turned over the
Hungarian government to Béla Kun and who is now in Czecho-Slovakia, was planning to go to
America in disguise and under an assumed name for the purpose of spreading communism
there, and that the Czecho-Slovak Minister of Foreign Affairs, Benes was going to arrange
for the passports. I therefore sent a cipher telegram to the American Minister at Prague
and also to our State Department, to advise them of K.árolyi's intentions(7).
In the afternoon I was called upon by a delegation of bishops and others, consisting of
Bishop William Burt, Bishop William 0. Shepard of Wichita, Kansas, Doctor John L. Nuelsen,
Resident Bishop in Europe, Mr. A. J. Bucher, editor of the Christian Apologist from
Cincinnati, and Mr. Hanford Crawford, all of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
I gave these gentlemen an idea of what had happened during the Roumanian occupation and
arranged to do my best to send them on their way, and invited them to lunch tomorrow.
January 15, 1920. After cleaning up the work at the office, Colonel Loree and
I went to see the paintings which I had purchased, and to attend to one or two other
down-town affairs. Then I came home for our lunch with the bishops.
I had planned an interview for them with the Prime Minister at 12.15 and then sent
Captain Gore to get them. As was to have been expected, when he arrived at the hotel there
were difficulties. The bishops were having a meeting and had given orders that they were
not to be disturbed. However, he disturbed them. When they came down to get started, one
of their number was missing. They finally located him. When they landed up at the
government building, they were between twenty minutes and half an hour late, and the Prime
Minister had gone on with his other audiences. The result was that instead of showing up
at the house for lunch at one o'clock, it was after two when they arrived. They were very
contrite, but laid the delay all upon the fact that they had been detained by the Prime
Minister, ignoring the fact that the initial guilt was theirs.
We gave them a square meal which they seemed to appreciate. Finally we sent them on
their way rejoicing, arranging first to have the two ladies of the party come to lunch
with us tomorrow.
The work is falling off so that if we do not get away from here soon, we shall all of
us certainly get into mischief.
January 16, 1920. Rumors of Bolshevist uprisings are persistent and seem to be
fairly well founded. Although the Hungarians will not give us the details, we know that
there was a so-called attempted Bolshevist uprising a few days ago near the Ganz-Danubius
Works, and it
is understood that about twenty Boishevists were killed in its suppression. We have it
pretty straight that recently Bolshevism reigned for about two hours in the town of
Szolnok, which is on the Theiss River about thirty miles east of Budapest, but that it was
vigorously and thoroughly suppressed by Horthy's troops, who killed several hundred
Bolshevists and had only four of their officers killed.
A telegram was received from Mr. Grant-Smith, indicating that he will arrive in Vienna
about the twentieth, and that he will there await his supplies and then come to Budapest.
This again leaves us up in the air as to our plans, because it may take several days
before his supplies reach him. Like the watched pot which never boils, the last days of
our stay seem to be interminable.
January 17, 1920. This morning I received pretty definite information that the
Bolshevists in Vienna are planning an uprising to take place on Thursday the
twenty-second, and that there will be a sympathetic one at the same time in Budapest. The
authorities here are well prepared to suppress anything that may occur, but none of the
people in Vienna seem to have the slightest idea of what is going on in their midst.
The Hungarians today received information in regard to the peace terms, and although
they have known almost definitely for months just what these peace terms would be, the
blow, when delivered, like the death of a long-suffering invalid, has come as a shock. All
of the public buildings and many other buildings are draped in mourning and black flags
are flying everywhere. It is understood that there are to be three days of this kind of
mourning before normal life will be resumed. Incidentally, it gives another excuse for
laying off work. If the Hungarians were a trifle more industrious and energetic, they
would have less cause to complain of Jewish domination.
January 18, 1920. Last night Colonel Loree, Colonel Sheldon, Captain Gore and
myself attended a dinner given by our old friend, Dr. Lazar Baitch, the Serbian Minister,
and the Serbian Military Representative, Major Body, and Mrs. Body. The other guests
present were General and Mrs. Gorton and Major and Mrs. Foster, of the British Service,
Count and Countess de Troismonts, of the French, and some nondescript whom I could not
As invariably happens on such occasions, Doctor Baitch, after one sip of champagne, got
communicative; after two he became confidential; and after three, affectionate and
cuddlesome. During the dinner he had much more than three sips, so when he rolled up to me
I was prepared for all sorts of confidences, which came. He cussed the French in fluent
and voluble French, could not do the Italians justice in any language, was warm in his
praise of the British, and demonstrative as Hell when it came to America.
He said that Serbia and Hungary must get together and combine against Roumania(8), and that Greece and Serbia should likewise get together
on account of Bulgaria. He told me that the Greek representative on the Reparation
Commission, who arrived here a few days ago, had come and told him that his government had
instructed him to follow the lead of the Serbians in everything on the Reparation
. About half past ten, with our tummies filled with food and our eyes filled with
cigarette smoke, we pulled out for our quarters and played four different kinds of
solitaire until bedtime.
The Danube is apparently on a rampage, and I understand it is the highest it has been
since 1827. Of course these people, before they began to try to save any of their
property, allowed the water to get up into their storehouses and flood them. Too bad they
are such procrastinators.
This morning I had planned to go over and see Admiral Horthy and have a plain talk with
him in regard to his soldiers again becoming active and assuming a strong anti-Semitic
attitude. He also wants to buy my car when I leave, and I thought I would show it to him
by daylight. I found, however, that he was away on a hunting expedition with Mr. Hohler.
That left me with practically nothing to do.
In the evening Captain Gore and I went down to the telegraph office to get telegrams
now coming over our lines for the Hungarian government, and then called on the Szirmay
January 19,1920. The Danube today practically reached high-water mark, has
flooded a good many houses, and is causing some damage. It is understood, however, that
from now on it will begin to recede and that there is no serious danger.
January 20, 1920. In the afternoon, by appointment, I called upon Admiral
Horthy, told him that I wished to call his immediate attention to the case of the American
citizen Black, who had received ill treatment at the hands of Hungarian officers on
December 31; that I hoped that he would give this matter his immediate attention, as it
would do a great deal to prejudice American feeling against Hungary should the incident be
published. He promised that he would take it up immediately.
I then told him that I was sure it would appeal to him as being advisable to be frank
with me in regard to any Bolshevist uprising, or anything of the kind; that I had repeated
and almost confirmed rumors of the killing of some Bolshevists at the Ganz-Danubius Works
in Budapest, and of an incipient Bolshevist uprising at Szolnok. He appeared astonished at
this information, and said positively that he had never heard anything of the kind;
furthermore, that he had just come from Szolnok within the past twenty-four hours. He then
called in his Chief of Staff, who substantiated everything that the Admiral had said.
The natural inference is that these persistent rumors of Bolshevist uprisings and
killings in Hungary are due to unfriendly propaganda, but it is hard to tell just who
January 21, 1920. As the days roll by and the end of our stay approaches, the
monotony becomes more deadly and the work more uninteresting, and we are all anxious to
Most of the day was spent in routine work, but I had a short talk with General Gorton,
during which he told me that the worm, in the shape of the Inter-Allied Military Mission,
had finally turned. They had decided to send a telegram to the Supreme Council informing
that honorable body that it was the opinion of the members of the Inter-Allied Military
Mission that the Mission had been treated with superciliousness and contempt almost from
the beginning, and then to give the concrete cases of telegram after telegram containing
inquiries, requests for decisions, etc., which had been addressed to the Council and which
never had even been
acknowledged. I told General Gorton I was glad to see that they were finally getting a
little ginger, but it had taken them about six weeks after I left the Mission, practically
for that same reason, for them to show any pep.
Hardly a day passes now but that I receive several letters offering me valuable
collections of carved ivory, Gobelin tapestries, rare old paintings, antiquities, etc. The
prices for the collections range all the way from five thousand dollars up. The ivory, I
remember, could be purchased for the mere pittance of fifty thousand dollars, and they are
sure to mention dollars, because at this writing it takes two hundred Hungarian crowns to
equal one dollar, whereas before the War two hundred crowns equaled forty-three dollars.
I received a telegram this date from Mr. Halstead, stating that Mr. Grant-Smith had
arrived there and would remain probably a few days.
Owing to the difficulties of railroad transportation present on account of the coal
shortage, I had originally planned to secure a special car, have it run over Szeged and
attached to the Simplon Express, and go rough that way. However, in view of the fact that
the Hungarian Peace Delegation is to leave here about February 7 by special train directly
to Paris, and because they have expressed not only a willingness but a sire to take my
entire party on that train, we shall probably go that way and reach Paris earlier than we
would the other way by starting on the fourth.
These poor simps, instead of tightening up their belts, gritting their teeth and
bucking into things, spent tree days in idiotic mourning when they heard the Peace terms
announced, having known for the past six or eight months just what these peace terms would
be. No dancing, operas, or anything of the kind is permitted, and now that Count Apponyi
has returned with e peace treaty to discuss the terms, they have decided have another day
of useless mourning tomorrow, then all stores will be closed and all business suspended.
This eternal crying over spilt milk does not appeal to an American. I guess, however, with
the type of peasant they have in the country and the lower classes in the city, it is
necessary to pull off these stunts, the same as was in the Philippines.
This afternoon Count Apponyi called upon me and spent about an hour in describing his
experiences in Paris. He seemed very much encouraged over the fact that he had actually
been given a hearing and felt that to a certain extent he had impressed his listeners.
He said when they first arrived in Paris he was subjected to considerable rudeness from
M. Clemenceau who, however, later on appeared to be very much mollified.
After having been at the Chateau de Madrid some days, the Count says that they had
their own credentials returned to them as being satisfactory. They then received the
credentials of the representatives of the other powers, among which, however, the
credentials of the American representative were missing. The messenger informed them that
they were to be ready to accept the peace terms on the following day. The Count,
thereupon, wrote to Clemenceau that it would be most difficult for them to go over the
credentials of the Entente Powers and to be prepared in such a short time to receive the
peace terms. He requested that there be a delay of at least one day, incidentally calling
attention to the fact that the credentials of the American representative were missing and
requesting information as to the manner in which they were to negotiate with the United
M. Clemenceau replied promptly and brusquely to the effect that he was astonished that
the Hungarian Delegation should resort to any such puerile excuse; that the peace terms
would be ready to be delivered at the time prescribed and that if the Hungarian Delegation
was not then ready, it would be construed as a refusal to receive the peace terms, in
which case there would no longer be any reason for their remaining in Paris; that the fact
that an American representative was not present at the conclusion of the terms with
Germany, did not prevent the conclusion of the terms with Germany and did not prevent the
conclusion of a treaty with that power. The Count called my attention to the fact that
nothing had been said in his communication to M. Clemenceau as regards Germany.
To this communication, Count Apponyi replied, in effect, that the specific object of
the journey of the Hungarian Peace Delegation to Paris had been to receive the peace terms
and that, therefore, they would receive them, whenever given to them; that in the meantime
he had received the credentials of the American Ambassador, which relieved the situation
in that respect, and that he would be very glad indeed to do his utmost to facilitate
He then wrote, through M. Clemenceau, to the representative of each power, stating that
he felt, in justice to his country, he should request that he be allowed to present his
case properly before the Supreme Council, but, should this not be possible, he would
respectfully request each individual representative to give him a personal hearing. The
Count thought that the result of this was the compromise granting him permission to
address the Supreme Council, with the understanding that there would be no discussion. He
said, however, that when he was through speaking, Mr. Lloyd George asked him for several
additional explanations, which really amounted to a discussion, and that during these
~ 344 ~
January 22, 1920
explanations he was able to present many things in a different light from that in which
they had formerly appeared to the Supreme Council.
I asked what effect he thought the withdrawal of M. Clemenceau(9)
would have upon the Hungarian case, and he said he was afraid that it might make matters
worse; that Clemenceau, true to his name of "The Tiger," and being very much
embittered, would probably do his utmost to even up scores; and that whoever succeeded him
would be afraid of his attacks. I asked if on the other hand, in view of the fact that
Clemenceau had been defeated, this did not show that his opponents were no longer afraid
of him and that they would now show like independence of action toward the Supreme
Council. He said that he had not thought of this point of view, but hoped that it was so,
and that he felt sanguine of at least a modification in the severe terms to Hungary in
case Mr. Lloyd George should become President of the Supreme Council and the sessions
should be adjourned to London.
January 22, 1920. This date I was in telephonic communication with Mr.
Grant-Smith in Vienna. He expects to arrive in Budapest on the morning of January 27,
awaiting his supplies here instead of in Vienna. As I had arranged to remain one or two
weeks with Mr. Smith in order that he might absorb the situation instead of endeavoring to
swallow it at a mouthful by one interview, and as the return of the Peace Delegates to
Paris early in February will synchronize with my departure, Count Apponyi invited my party
and myself to return on their train. There will also be a British representative and a
French representative on the train, and, as it will assure our staying here a sufficient
length of time to turn affairs over to Mr. Grant-Smith and to arrive in Paris without
difficulty, I accepted the invitation with cordial thanks.
January 23, 1920. Last night was the five-hundredth presentation of the
popular Hungarian light opera, "János Vitéz," and about the four-hundredth
appearance in it of their favorite actress, Fedák Sári. I received a complimentary box
with an urgent invitation to attend, so I took the damned thing in.
January 24, 1920. Yesterday all the stores were closed as threatened, and a
general day of mourning was again observed.
In the forenoon General Soós, accompanied by Count Anton Apponyi, a nephew of the
statesman, came to see me about arranging for the purchase by the Hungarian government of
a large quantity of supplies which had been sold by the United States to the Ukrainian
government and which the latter, being practically already defunct, could not pay for.
They brought in a telegram from a commercial representative of the United States
Liquidation Commission, recommending that negotiations be entered into with Hungary for
the purchase of the supplies which Ukrainia could not take. I sent the telegram and added
likewise the information as to the quantities and where they were. It appears that there
is enough hospital equipment for five large hospitals at Marseilles; that there is over
five million dollars' worth of clothing and supplies at Bordeaux; and about two hundred
and fifty thousand dollars' worth of automobiles and motorcycles at Langres.
As Count Apponyi has been in America and talks English fluently, I lit into him about
the slowness of the Hungarian government in acting upon complaints of abuses of American
citizens. He became very much interested, took down all the data and said he would
personally push the matter through with both the Hungarian Commander in Chief and the
Last evening I called on the Szirmays, but I sent Colonel Sheldon to the opera with
them to see the "Troubador," in the last act of which there is much crude and
brutal slaughtering, to which, being a soldier, I am naturally opposed.
This morning I was called upon by a delegation of Slovaks, who protested earnestly
against the treatment they have been receiving at the hands of the Czechs. They voiced an
appeal from the various minorities in the countries now lost to Hungary, stating that they
had been condemned unheard at Paris; that they had been separated from a country to which
they had been joined for a thousand years; that they had been annexed to nations of lower
culture and despotic and violent characteristics; that they had been treated, not as human
beings, but rather as chattels or currency, and had been given as such to the Roumanians,
the Czechs, and the Serbs.
They implored the Supreme Council to give them a plebiscite, and gave warning that in
case the present plans were carried out, the treaty of peace would not result in peace,
but in war.
The gentlemen who called upon me were representatives of two thousand who met in
Budapest, practically spontaneously, without any encouragement or assistance from the
They also brought up the question of the separation in Czecho-Slovakia of the church
from the Church of Rome(10)
, and wished to go to America so that the Czecho-Slovak government and people could not
spread unfavorable propaganda among the Slovaks in the United States.
After these gentlemen departed, accompanied by Count Teleki, my aide, I visited first
the Museum of Posts, Telegraphs, and Transportation, which is very interesting; and then
the Agricultural Museum, which is one of the most celebrated of its kind in the world.
January 25, 1920. Today is the election, which is going to last two days(11)
. All women over twenty-four years of age are required to vote, under penalty of four
thousand crowns' fine and imprisonment for three months and loss of franchise for the
ensuing year. The weather today, as during the past three days, is beautiful, which would
seem to indicate a Republican victory, although there are no such things in Hungary.
The river has gone down appreciably and all danger of a flood has been removed.
January 26, 1920. This morning, accompanied by my aide, Count Teleki, I went
down to the Parliament Building, where I was met by a guide and a governmental
representative who took me all through the building. It is not quite as ornate as capitol
buildings usually are, but it is most appropriate and is really a magnificent edifice.
That these people can get excited is shown by the fact that they showed me the bullet
holes in the Speaker's desk, where a member of the opposition, in 1913, shot at Count
Tisza who was then presiding. For the past year there has been no assembly, and the
building has not been utilized for its ordinary purposes.
January 27, 1920. Mr. U.S. Grant-Smith, Colonel C. B. Smith, Colonel Nutt,
Lieutenant- Colonel Causey and Consul Hatheway, who accompanied Mr. Grant-Smith, all
arrived in Budapest this morning and came up to the office about 11 o'clock. After a long
talk, I took them to the house, where we had lunch. After lunch, they were shown over the
Royal Palace and then scattered to keep various appointments.
This is the second day of the Hungarian election and everything is proceeding as
quietly as could be expected. The Christian Nationalist party, of which Friedrich is the
head, is apparently in the lead and will win a majority throughout the country without the
necessity of fusion with the next stronger party, called the "Small Farmers."
January 28, 1920. Last night, as there was a first presentation of a short
opera, I decided to attend, and it turned out to be a sort of a three-ring circus,
starting in first with an opera called "The Last Dream," then a ballet, and then
another opera, the translation of the title of which was "The Harlequin."
This morning Mr. Grant-Smith came over about ii o'clock, and at 1 1.15 we went to see
the Prime Minister, Mr. Huszár, who started by giving me a hell of a big send-off,
explaining what a debt of gratitude all Hungary owed me and a lot of similar rot. Mr.
Grant-Smith, not to be outdone, said that this was realized by our State Department, who
had looked upon my administration here with admiration and respect. The Prime Minister
then started to ask a few favors and Mr. Grant-Smith immediately told him that any such
things must be given to General Bandholtz, who would be absolutely in charge until his
departure; that he, Mr. Grant-Smith, was here to learn the situation and absorb what he
could in the interim between the present and my departure.
After quite a little session we departed, and Colonel Loree, Colonel Sheldon, Captain
Gore, Colonel C. B. Smith, Colonel Nutt, Lieutenant-Colonel Causey and myself went down to
the Hotel Pannonia, where we were the guests at lunch of the Burgermeister Bódy. It was
really a very good lunch and very little talking. The Burgermeister toasted "His
Excellency, General Bandholtz, and the other Americans," to which I responded with a
toast to "The future of Hungary, and may it be prosperous, successful and
I arrived back at the office at three-thirty and was called upon by a staff officer
from the War Ministry to ascertain whether or not there had been any reply received from
the telegram sent in regard to purchase by the Hungarian government of supplies that the
Ukrainians had not been able to pay for.
January 29, 1920. Last night Colonel Sheldon, Colonel Loree, Captain Gore and
myself took dinner with Count and Countess Szirmay and my adopted family. Three or four
young Hungarian counts, who are scratching their wings at the girls, were also there as
In the afternoon Mr. Grant-Smith was in the office for some time, going over my
memoranda and getting posted on the situation. He asked me if I knew that, since early in
December, instead of being just the American Military Representative in Hungary, I was the
United States Commissioner in Hungary. I told him I did not, that they had never told me
what the devil I was. So I had simply wired that, if no objections were offered, I would
designate myself as American Military Representative in Hungary; that no objections had
been received, and, therefore, I had so designated myself
I received a cablegram from Washington, stating that through some clerical error my
recommendation for Distinguished Service Medals for Generals Graziani, Mombelli and Gorton
had not been immediately forwarded, but was coming now and they trusted that action would
be taken on the same in the very near future.
I also received a telegram from Colonel Harry Howland in Paris, stating that the
sailing date of the "Adriatic" had been postponed from February 25 until March
3; that he had reserved a suite of two rooms for four passengers, at a total cost of three
hundred thirty-eight pounds, eight shillings; that no first class single rooms were
available; and that he desired confirmation of the reservation at once. We decided to make
the reservations on the "Adriatic," so at this writing we should sail from
France March 3, which, I suppose, will land us in New York somewhere around the tenth. It
would probably be much cheaper to remain here in Budapest for some weeks, but on the other
hand there is no telling what railroad difficulties we may be up against. Therefore we
decided to go to Paris, get our stuff together, and be robbed by the French once more.
If there is time, and the expense involved is not too great, I may take a trip to
Spain, as I have never yet been there and am anxious to see the Spaniard at home, having
known him so well in other countries.
January 30, 1920. Last night I went to see the opera "Aďda," but it
was another of those endurance tests, and I left after staying three hours. The stage
effects were magnificent and the little cockeyed gazelle who took the part of Aida, in a
red chemise, had a beautiful voice. As I understand the last act is devoted to a
suffocation scene, in which they keep on howling even after they should have been properly
gassed, it was probably just as well that I missed it.
This noon I gave a luncheon to Mr. Grant-Smith, having as other guests General Gorton
and Major Foster, of the British Service, Mr. Hohler, Count Széchényi, and Consul
Our last few days here are practically a struggle for existence in the way of getting
gasoline. It is now costing us only a small matter of $1.50 per gallon. As a result,
practically everybody is walking.
January 31, 1920. Count Somssich called upon me this morning to discuss the
situation. He said that a clash is imminent between Friedrich and Huszár, owing the fact
that the former maintained that when he quit the Premiership at the request of Sir George
Clerk, was understood that he would return to office after the elections. The elections
now being through, he maintains that he should again be the head of the state. Huszár is
determined to combat this, and it is believed at Admiral Horthy will support Huszár.
I pointed out to Count Somssich, as I did to Huszár the other day, that Friedrich's
political utterances during his political campaign had done the country incalculable harm.
He had given his constituents what he ought would please them, rather than what they ought
to have. He invariably referred to the Hungarian Army as being the best army at present in
Europe, well disciplined, well trained, well armed and well equipped, capable of expelling
the Roumanians and thrashing the Czechs and Serbs combined; whereas we all know that, in
its present condition, the Hungarian National Army could not lick a chicken with the pips.
These speeches, however, were practically the only ones that were repeated in the French
and other foreign papers and naturally interested foreigners accepted the utterances of a
former Prime Minister as being authentic, which gave them the feeling that there was no
necessity for doing anything for Hungary except to crush her still more.
I had Mr. Grant-Smith come in and meet Count Somssich, who shortly afterwards departed.
This noon Colonel Loree, Colonel Sheldon, Captain Gore, and myself were entertained at
luncheon at the Ritz Hotel by Mr. Grant-Smith, after which we returned to the Palace.
Yesterday there were being distributed handbills, of which the following is a
Join our party, because our country will be strong only if we have a
There is only one royalist party, which wants a National Kingdom, vidz.:
The Hungarian National Royalist Party.
Every real Hungarian who is not ashamed to be Hungarian, should join us.
If you do not want to fall into darkness, join our party, which fights for the one ideal.
Long live the candidate of the Hungarian National Royalist Party:
His Royal Highness Archduke Joseph,
the future King of Hungary!
Hurry into our camp, because the time to act has arrived.
The Hungarian National Royalist Party.
1. Compare this to Diary on September 8, and footnote No. 33.
2. Thomas Beaumont Hohler was appointed High Commissioner of Great
Britain in Hungary on January 5, 1920. During his stay in Hungary, he became very
sympathetic towards the problems of the Hungarians. Charles ŕ Court Repington says in his
diary, After the War (Boston, 1922): "I saw Hohler after lunch. He is fully
of opinion that great injustice has been done to the Magyars under the Treaty"
3. It will be remembered that Italy was then actually menaced very
seriously by Bolshevism and that it was saved from this calamity by the establishment of
4. Without proper information, General Bandholtz refers here to the
shameful persecution of radical-minded and liberal people in the United States by the
Attorney General Mitchell Palmer. A scathing condemnation of it may be found in the book
of the Undersecretary of Labor at that time, Louis F. Post, Deportations' Delirium of
1920. See also H.P. Fairchild's Immigration, p. 427.
5. Count Lász1ó Széchényi, at present [1932 and for a long time
afterwards] Hungarian Minister at Washington.
6. At the end of the world war, Commander in Chief of the Southern
Army of the Allies. Cf. Introduction.
7. It will be remembered that Károlyi has on later occasions been
refused admission to the United States.
8. How differently international relations have developed. But it
must be remembered that the relations between Roumania and Serbia were very strained on
account of the situation in the Bánát.
9. On January 17, Paul Deschanel had been elected President of
France, defeating Clemenceau, who thereupon resigned with his Cabinet on the following
10. One of the chief causes of discontent on the part of the
Slovaks is the fact that many Czechs are freethinkers and agnostics, and offend the devout
Roman Catholic Slovaks by passing laws unfavorable to the free exercise of their religion.
11. As a result of these elections and by-elections of February'
so, the following parties were elected:
National Christian Union 68
Christian Socialists 5
Economic Christian Socialists 4
National Christian Party of Small Landowners 3
Christian Party of Small Landowners 4
National Party of Small Landowners 71
National Democratic Party 6
The Social Democrats refrained from voting. The Károlyists did not elect a single
candidate. An interesting chart of the Hungarian parties may be found in Malbone w.
Graham's New Governments of Central Europe, New York, 1924 (p. 242).
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