Soviet leaders opt to suppress Hungarian Uprising (1956)

On October 31st 1956, with Soviet troops already crossing the border to deal with the Hungarian Uprising, Soviet leaders met to consider what action to take. Under Khrushchev‘s direction they decided to install a new government under János Kádár:

“Comrade Khrushchev sets forth the various considerations:

We should reexamine our assessment and should not withdraw our troops from Hungary and Budapest. We should take the initiative in restoring order in Hungary. If we depart from Hungary, it will give a great boost to the Americans, English, and French (the imperialists). They will perceive it as weakness on our part and will go onto the offensive. We would then be exposing the weakness of our positions. Our party will not accept it if we do this… We have no other choice. If this point of view is supported and endorsed, let’s consider what we should do.

[Agreed: Zhukov, Bulganin, Molotov, Kaganovich, Voroshilov and Saburov.]

We should say we tried to meet them halfway but there is not now any government.

What line are we now adopting?

We should create a Provisional Revolutionary Government, headed by Kádár. Best of all, a deputy: Münnich as premier and minister of defence and internal affairs. This government we should invite to negotiations about the withdrawal of troops and resolve the matter. If Nagy agrees, bring him in as deputy premier. Münnich is appealing to us with a request for assistance. We are lending assistance and restoring order.

We should negotiate with Tito. We should inform the Chinese comrades, the Czechs, the Romanians and the Bulgarians. There will be no large-scale war.

[Furtseva] What further can be done? We showed patience but now things have gone too far. We must act to ensure that victory goes to our side.

[Pospelov] We should use the argument that we will not let socialism in Hungary be strangled.

[Shvernik] Comrade Khrushchev’s proposal is correct…

Shepilov, Brezhnev, Furtseva and Pospelov are to handle the propaganda side.”