Hungary–United States relations
Until the end of World War I Hungary had been a part of the Austrian Empire and the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary. United States diplomatic relations with Hungary were conducted through the United States Ambassador to Austria in Vienna. After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire following World War I, Hungary and the United States established bilateral relations through a legation in Budapest established in 1921. The first American ambassador to Hungary (Theodore Brentano) was appointed on February 10, 1922.
Diplomatic relations were interrupted at the outbreak of World War II. Hungary severed relations with the U.S. on the December 11, 1941, when the United States declared war on Germany. Two days later, on December 13, Hungary declared war on the United States. The embassy was closed and diplomatic personnel returned to the U.S.
Normal bilateral relations between Hungary and the U.S. were resumed in December 1945 when a U.S. ambassador was appointed and the embassy was reopened.
Relations between the United States and Hungary following World War II were affected by the Soviet armed forces' occupation of Hungary. Full diplomatic relations were established at the legation level on October 12, 1945, before the signing of the Hungarian peace treaty on February 10, 1947. After the communist takeover in 1947-48, relations with Hungary became increasingly strained by the nationalization of U.S.-owned property and what the United States considered unacceptable treatment of U.S. citizens and personnel. As well as restrictions on the operations of the American legation. Though relations deteriorated further after the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, an exchange of ambassadors in 1966 inaugurated an era of improving relations. In 1972, a consular convention was concluded to provide consular protection to U.S. citizens in Hungary.
In 1973, a bilateral agreement was reached under which Hungary settled the nationalization claims of American citizens. On 6 January 1978, the United States returned the Holy Crown of Hungary, which had been safeguarded by the United States since the end of World War II. Symbolically and actually, this event marked the beginning of excellent relations between the two countries. A 1978 bilateral trade agreement included extension of most-favored-nation status to Hungary. Cultural and scientific exchanges were expanded. As Hungary began to pull away from the Soviet orbit, the United States offered assistance and expertise to help establish a constitution, a democratic political system, and a plan for a free market economy.
Between 1989 and 1993, the Support for East European Democracy (SEED) Act provided more than $136 million for economic restructuring and private-sector development. The Hungarian-American Enterprise Fund has offered loans, equity capital, and technical assistance to promote private-sector development. The U.S. Government has provided expert and financial assistance for the development of modern and Western institutions in many policy areas, including national security, law enforcement, free media, environmental regulations, education, and health care. American direct investment has had a direct, positive impact on the Hungarian economy and on continued good bilateral relations. When Hungary acceded to NATO in April 1999, it became a formal ally of the United States. This move has been consistently supported by the 1.5 million-strong Hungarian-American community. The U.S. government supported Hungarian accession to the European Union in 2004, and continues to work with Hungary as a valued partner in the Transatlantic relationship. Hungary joined the Visa Waiver Program in 2008.
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