US-Hungarian Relations Ten Years After 1956


  • Tibor Glant



United States-Hungarian relations, Cold War, 1956 Revolution and War of Independence, Vietnam War, My Fair Lady, Kirk Douglas, Edward Alexander, János Kádár, Hungarian art, USIA, cultural diplomacy


1966, the tenth anniversary of the 1956 Revolution, was a key year in US–Hungarian relations. Diplomatic relations were raised from the lowest to the highest level, but suspicion and tension remained. Neither side knew what to expect from the other on account of the anniversary, the Vietnam War, economic and cultural negotiations, and the fate of Cardinal Mindszenty. A traditional diplomatic historical approach is supplemented here with cultural materials to present the full scale of contacts ranging from high political issues to the visit of Hollywood movie star Kirk Douglas in Budapest. First Secretary of the Legation for Press and Cultural Affairs Edward Alexander receives special attention, because he played a crucial role in the events of 1966. As press secretary, he helped calm Hungarian fears over what American journalists might report about the anniversary, while as cultural affairs officer he worked on documenting and expanding American cultural presence in Hungary. In the latter capacity, he opened the USIA Library at the Legation, fraternized with blacklisted painters of the Zuglói Kör [‘Zugló Circle’], monitored the Hungarian stage production of My Fair Lady, and reported on the publication of American literature in Hungarian.






Special Cluster: The 1956 Revolution and Its Aftermath, Seen from Sixty Years On