INT: Final few questions. Could you tell me how you feel the Soviets' intervention in Hungary in 1956 was perceived both abroad... how you felt the Soviets... how it was perceived, and your feelings within the Soviet Union?
OT: When the thing erupted in Hungary, at first I think the Soviet leadership was somewhat at a loss as to what to do, because there was a great deal of reluctance to proceed to violent means. And at one stage, the troops were moved in; and they were withdrawn. There was an attempt to come to some terms with Imre Nagy, whatever you use, the Hungarian way or the Western way. But finally, there was a feeling that this thing was getting out of hand completely, and that there was no other way but to resort to violent means - although it was obviously realised that politically this would be... how shall I put it?... very... well, to say it in simple words, very bad for the Soviet Union. But it was done. In fact, I think to the very end, some people like Mikoyan were against it. I remember talking to Andropov, who was our ambassador in Hungary at that time and, many years after, we had a conversation about that, and I was wondering whether we proceeded in the correct way. And he said, "No, you should have seen those crowds wrecking things and attacking the Party offices and what not. If you were there, your approach would have been much different from what it is now." And,... because the Suez crisis erupted almost simultaneously, this looked like a godsend for the Soviet Union. And the fact that there were these notes sent to Britain and France, threatening strikes, not nuclear, I think missile strikes against those countries - that, too, to my mind, was a bluff more than anything else; although there were different opinions in our Foreign Ministry, I remember. Some people thought that this was for real; others thought that this was bluffing. But it certainly was an attempt to draw the attention of world public opinion from Hungary to the Suez. In a way, apparently it did draw some attention.
QUESTION IN B/G: Could I just ask one question? I've heard that the Soviet Union was told via French and via other diplomatic sources that the Americans are not going to go into Hungary. Is that true? And was that the signal for the Soviets to go in?
OT: I have heard about that version, of the Americans saying that they would not go into or intervene in the Hungarian business, if the Soviet Union would not intervene in the Suez crisis, but I have never had any confirmation of that on our side. I don't think that was possible, for...
OT: Two final questions. Going back to the period we were talking about earlier, for me really: in the '55 period, particularly going up to '58, Britain really started what became known as the CND 'Ban the Bomb' campaigns. There were the famous Aldermaston marches; Bertrand Russell became very politically active. How was that perceived by the Soviet Union?
OT: Well, of course the marches, the anti-war marches in Britain, and in some other countries in fact, got a great deal of publicity in the Soviet Union, in the mass media, which was more or less natural. But I don't think that in the leadership that was regarded as something which could achieve anything substantial. I think that was the main mood, so to say.
INT: Was there sympathy for the marches in the Russian people, rather than the politicians?
OT: I suppose there was sympathy, yes, I suppose so.
INT: Final question, then, sir. Britain at times became known as "America's aircraft carrier"; it was looked upon as a staging post for America and for war strikes. How was Britain thought of by the Soviet Union?
OT: Well, it depends. Say in '54, during the Indo-China conference in Geneva, Eden and Churchill, who was still Prime Minister, took a very independent line vis-a-vis the United States. And was co-chairman, Eden was, with Molotov, of the conference. And then Mendes-France came as the new Prime Minister of France, and he was also in favour of some arrangement being made to prevent the war, or to stop the war. And at that time, it looked as if Britain was playing a very independent and important role. Then... a little earlier, the fact that Churchill in '53 suggested a summit, a four-power summit, was also regarded as a very independent move,particularly because the Americans turned it down, turned that idea down. But then the Suez crisis was Britain's - if I may say so - last fling as a major power acting independently of the United States. And from that time on, I think... I'm sorry to say (Laughs) Britain was regarded as being so close to the United States, that there was little hope that they could take an independent line - on any major issue, certainly. Well, to go back a little bit in time, I recall a conversation which I interpreted between Stalin and a group of Labour MPs. A group came, headed by Tony [Ziliakous], and they had a rather long conversation with Stalin, whose main theme - Stalin's main theme - was that Britain, he said, could play a very important role in the world, as a sort of a go-between between the Soviet Union and the United States; or, as he put it, "if you could play using two pedals on the piano". (Laughs) ... but as I said, later on, after Suez, things changed.
INT: Mr Troyanovski, thank you very much for a superb interview.