1869: Establishment of Consular Relations

The first U.S. consular post in the Kingdom of Hungary was established in 1869, when a Consular Agent was appointed in Pesth. A Consul was appointed in 1874 (those appointed after 1888 were accredited to Budapest). The post became a Consulate General in 1904 and was closed in 1917. The only other consular post in the Kingdom of Hungary was at Fiume, the Kingdom’s only seaport. It was a Consular Agency from 1865 to 1908 (Fiorello LaGuardia, future Mayor of New York City, served there from 1904-06) and a Consulate from 1908 to 1917. The postwar Consulate in Fiume, Italy is outside the scope of this paper. Hungary opened its first consular posts in the United States in 1922, with a Consulate General in New York City and Consulates in Pittsburg, Chicago, and Cleveland.

1921: U.S. Recognition of Hungarian Independence

After the United States declared war on Germany, Austria-Hungary severed diplomatic relations with the United States on April 8, 1917. The United States declared war on Austria-Hungary on December 7. The tenth of President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points called for free opportunities for the “autonomous development” of the peoples of Austria-Hungary. The American Commission to Negotiate Peace and the U.S. Food Administration sent missions to Hungary in 1919. The United States was represented on an Inter-Allied Military Mission that oversaw Hungarian compliance with the Armistice. On December 4, 1919, Ulysses Grant-Smith was appointed U.S. Commissioner to Hungary, with the mission of reporting on political developments and promoting commerce. At the time, the United States had not ratified the Treaty of St.-Germain, which recognized Hungary’s independence, or the Treaty of Trianon which defined Hungary’s postwar boundaries. Establishment of relations had to await termination of the state of war, which took place under a Joint Resolution of Congress on July 2, 1921. Hungary’s National Assembly accepted the terms of the Joint Resolution on August 12 and authorized the Hungarian Government to negotiate a treaty with the United States.

1921: Establishment of Diplomatic Relations

The United States and Hungary signed a treaty establishing friendly relations on August 29, 1921. It entered into force on December 17. 1921:Establishment of American Legation in Budapest The U.S. Legation was established in Budapest on December 26, 1921, with Commissioner Ulysses Grant-Smith as Chargé d’Affaires pro tempore. Grant-Smith presented his new credentials on January 24, 1922, and served until April 28. Theodore Brentano was appointed as the first U.S. Minister to Hungary on February 10, 1922. He presented his credentials May 16, 1922 and served until May 6, 1927.

1922: Establishment of American Legation in the United States

Count Laszlo Szechenyi presented his credentials as Hungary’s first Minister to the United States on January 11, 1922. He served until March 31, 1933.

1941: Relations Interrupted

After Germany declared war on the United States, Hungary severed diplomatic relations with the United States on December 11, 1941. A declaration of war followed on December 13. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt believed that Hungary, along with Bulgaria and Romania, had declared war under duress and against the will of their peoples. Congress did not approve a resolution declaring that a state of war existed with these countries until June 5, 1942. U.S. Minister Herbert Claiborne Pell left Budapest on June 16.

1945: Relations Resumed

On January 20, 1945, a Hungarian Provisional National Government signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in Moscow. An Allied Control Commission was established to oversee compliance. The U.S military representative to the Commission arrived in Hungary on February 18. President Roosevelt also designated H. F. Arthur Schoenfeld as U.S. Representative in Hungary, with the personal rank of Minister. Schoenfeld arrived in Budapest on May 11 and established a U.S. Mission there. On September 22, 1945, Schoenfeld delivered a note stating that the United States was ready to establish diplomatic relations with Hungary if its Provisional Government was ready to take measures that would make free elections possible. The Provisional Government replied affirmatively on September 25. Scheonfeld was appointed U.S. Minister to Hungary on December 15, 1945. He presented his credentials on January 26, 1946, and served until June 1, 1947. After Schoenfeld presented his credentials, the U.S. Mission became a Legation once more. On November 2, 1945, the United States accepted the appointment of Aladar de Szegedy-Maszak as Hungary’s Minister to the United States. He presented his credentials January 18, 1946 and served until July 11, 1947.

1956: Relations Interrupted.

Hungary revolted against Soviet domination on October 24, 1956. U.S. Minister Edward T. Wailes arrived in Budapest on November 2, but could not present his credentials before the Soviet Union began suppressing the Revolution on November 4. On January 22, 1957, the Hungarian Government requested Wailes’ recall, claiming that he had been conducting official activities without having presented his credentials. Wailes left Budapest on February 27. From then until 1967, the United States was represented in Hungary by Chargés d’Affaires.

1956: Revolution and Freedom Fight

Hungary revolted against Soviet domination on October 24, 1956. U.S. Minister Edward T. Wailes arrived in Budapest on November 2, but could not present his credentials before the Soviet Union began suppressing the Revolution on November 4. On January 22, 1957, the Hungarian Government requested Wailes’ recall, claiming that he had been conducting official activities without having presented his credentials. Wailes left Budapest on February 27. From then until 1967, the United States was represented in Hungary by Chargés d’Affaires.

1966: Elevation of American Legation to Embassy Status

On November 28, 1966, the United States raised its Legations in Bulgaria and Hungary to Embassy status. These were the last U.S. diplomatic missions to be upgraded. Richard W. Tims was serving as Chargé d’Affaires at the time. Martin J. Hillenbrand was appointed as the first U.S. Ambassador to Hungary on September 13, 1967. He presented his credentials on October 30, and served until February 15, 1969. Janos Nagy presented his credentials as Hungary’s first Ambassador to the United States on October 7, 1968. He served until June 9, 1971.