Page 1, 18th February 1949

18th February 1949
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The currency transactions said in the Budapest court last week to have been made by Cardinal Mindszenty, came within a special provision made by the Government itself and did not offend against the law.

This is one of a number of points made by Niklas Nyaradi, former Finance Minister of Hungary, in an article published by the Nets' York Herald Tribune, which appear to indicate that even assuming that the Cardinal had done the things alleged against him, he would still not have offended against the law.

In it Mr. Nyaradi recalls how in the spring of 1947 the official Superior Economic Council authorised the National Bank to grant permission to churches and their philanthropic organisations to change gifts of foreign currency at higher than the official rate.

This decision was taken by the Communist majority to increase the flow of foreign money into Hungary.

But when the Lutheran Bishop Ordass opposed the Concordat between the State and his Church and the Communists wished to get him out of the way it was on charges of " illegal currency transactions " that they sentenced him to jail.

Mr. Nyardi, who was still Finance Minister at the time, protested that it was under the Economic Council's authorisation that the Lutheran Church had acted, but his protest was rejected " on grounds of superior political considerations."

He suggested that the position with regard to the Cardinal's alleged currency offences is similar.

In his article Mr. Nyardi disposes also of the " espionage" and " monarchist plots " charges against the Cardinal.

He tells how, acting on the instructions of the then Premier Nagy, he personally approached the U.S. Government early in 1947 with a view to the restitution of the crown jewels, including the Crown of St. Stephen, to which the prosecution attached such importance in the Cardinal's trial, and met with a friendly response.

But after the Communists had " captured " the Government and he himself had resigned, Mr. Nyaradi on his own responsibility asked them to

withhold restitution.

"1 succeeded," he says. "in winning the support of the Hungarian Government for my action by arguing that restitution of the crown jewels was bound to cause great rejoicing in royalist and Catholic circles, thus causing embarrassment to the Government,and the Soviets."

The Cardinal's attitude on this matter was, therefore, he argues, identical with that of the Government itself.

As to the espionage charges brought against Cardinal Mindszenty, Mr. Nyaradi contemptuously declares that the documents published in the " Yellow Book — the only evidence produced—" do not furnish any legal proof, since their significance appears only in 'written confessions ' by the defendants."

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