A mole inside the U.S. Legation

“During the investigation and my interrogations I’ve become convinced that there has been some kind of serious indiscretion regarding the diplomatic courier service. Either somebody at the U.S. Legation in Budapest, or somebody at the State Department in Washington is commiting this indiscretion.” – Hungarian Andrew Marton (Márton Endre), local correspondent of the AP news agency during his interrogation on May 12, 1955.

Marton, who was arrested on February 25, 1955, developed a strong suspicion during his investigation that somebody from inside the U.S. Legation in Budapest was secretly cooperating with the AVO. The state security accused Marton of conducting espionage for the Americans, and soon arrested his wife, Ilona Nyilas as well, who was the correspondent of the UP news agency. 

Andrew Marton and his wife, Ilona Nyilas
Western news piece about the arrest of the Martons. The U.S. government made it clear that their release was an strict conition of any future easing of the tensions between Hungary and the United States.

In fact, both of them were mere tools in the hands of the AVO who wanted to make a gigantic show trial condemning the American diplomatic mission in Hungary.

This show trial never happened in the end, and the Martons were released in the summer of 1956 on the condition that they would be informing the AVO about their American contacts in the future.

Andrew Marton, however, informed the Americans about his aforementioned suspicion about the possible breach of security. Coincidence or not, a chief warrant officer of the Legation was summoned back to Washington only four days after Marton’s release, and his diplomatic career promptly ended.

Come to our “Spies and Masters” walking tour in Budapest to learn the tricks of the feared AVO and to hear the fascinating details of this story and so many other. Book now!

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