UNITED NATION, N. Y. (Nov. 20)
A moving plea for the cessation of persecutions directed against Hungarian freedom fighters and for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Hungary was made in the General Assembly here today by Mrs. Golda Meir, Foreign Minister of Israel. It was Mrs. Meir’s maiden speech before the United Nations and it drew a burst of applause from the delegates.
“We,” Mrs. Meir said, referring to the Israel delegation, “have had such an intimate knowledge of boxcars and of deportations to unknown destinations that we cannot be silent. Is it really asking too much for a people to want to decide its own fate, to demand that it alone shall choose flow and by whom it shall be governed, that its young people if they rise against what they believe is wrong shall not be deported from their home and country?”
Mrs. Meir asked the General Assembly to give the privilege of addressing the UN to Mrs. Anna Kethley, Hungarian Social Democratic leader who was briefly a member of the late Imre Nagy government. Declaring that she had heard Mrs. Kethley’s “tragic story,” Mrs. Meir said, “one cannot listen to this woman without being convinced of the truth of her portrayal, with the understatement of details and with the modesty of her requests.”
“It is the tragedy of our generation,” Mrs. Meir told the Assembly, “that small nations have not yet gained the security of exercising their natural right–namely that of being masters of their own destiny.
“There are and probably will be for a long time ideological differences as to which is the right and desired form of society and government, “Mrs. Meir continued. “There is no great harm in this important discussion, as long as it is not held to the accompaniment of tanks and guns as long as the dignity of the human being and the integrity of each nation, large and small, are respected; as long as the advantage of size or territory, number of inhabitants, military strength are not used to force small nations to act and live against their convictions.”
Turning to the denials by the Soviet and Hungarian delegations of the deportation reports which they brand as “vicious propaganda, “Mrs. Meir told the Assembly “we all know that reports of suffering and martyrdom in Europe which were once labelled propaganda turned out to be tragically true.”
“The Israel delegation,” Mrs. Meir concluded, “fervently hopes that the voice of the world’s conscience will be heeded; that the suffering of the Hungarian people will be brought to an end; that these deportations will cease; and that Soviet forces will leave Hungary, and allow its people to build their own future in freedom and peace.”