Does this look like a clandestine CIA office to you?
I was walking along Molnár Str. in downtown Budapest yesterday and couldn’t help but remember the secret and curious history of this building. According to a top secret report by an agent of Katpol (a secret Hungarian military intelligence organization) in 1948, “the secret service of the United States” was running the “candy- and toy store at Molnár street 27”.
Most curiously, the manager of the store was apparently a Hungarian nun of the Sisters of Social Service, a charity organization led by the prominent opposition MP, the fervently Catholic Margit Slachta.
After the Katpol agent’s warning, the Hungarian secret service placed the candy store under constant surveillance. It was not an easy job to do that unnoticed on this long, narrow street. This same agent reported 10 days later, on December 1, 1948 that “the store is being watched in an exceedingly clumsy way” by the Hungarian authorities, and that the people operating the “candy store” have noticed the suspicious activity and started burning documents in the office space upstairs.
The Catholic Sister who ran the store, as well as Margit Slachta eventually made their way to the United States, fleeing the Communist authorities. The Katpol agent – also a woman – who reported on them soon crossed the border, too.
The difference is, she only pretended to be fleeing – she was on a secret Katpol mission.
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[Note: the candy store, if it really was a front to “the American secret service”, it most likely belonged to “The Pond” secret organization or to the U.S. Army’s Counterintelligence Corps (CIC). The CIA was founded only a year before, in 1947.]