To Karl Mannheim (26 November 1946)

From Karl Polanyi
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Dear Mannheim,

Let me just add this to our telephone conversation of this morning, as I said, I must assume that no entry permit for me had been asked for by the Budapest University authorities. This was most probably due to a misunderstanding which arose in Budapest.

In agreement with the British Council in London, I wired to Dean Eckhart, on 14th Octobre as follows: 'Confirm wires from you and subsequently of entry permit when available.' This was in response to the latest communication to reach me on this matter from Budapest, namely from the Ministry of Education, on 12th October. It ran: 'Steps necessary for entry visa taken stop expecting arrival soon'.

Unfortunately, Dean Eckhart (as I see it) took this to mean that I advised him to consult the British Council representative, who however, for local and transitory reasons, was not in the position to be helpful. He wrote to Dean Eckhart to this effect, who thereupon informed me that in view of the 'present position in regard to the facilities of entry', my visit would have to be put off.

I made no mention of these facts to Szakasits, Kéthly Anna and Horváth when interviewed by them about my prospective visit to Hungary, which as I told them was now postponed to Spring. Later, I informed Kaldor György of the fact [that] there must have been quid pro quo in regard to the underlined passage in my wire. To stop rumours from queering the pitch, I should like to ask you to inform Minister Ries of the contents of this letter. Of course, I have kept the British Council in London informed about developments.

On account of the extreme shortness of time, there were, as you know, minor last minute developments in regard to my application at the L.S.E. Applications had to be in by 8th November. I asked first Lindsay, then Carr, then you to be reference. By the time my application was ready, their answers were just in. I gathered you were ill, and now wrote to Ginsberg also, but in the view of the shortness of time, and in order not to appear to put him under pressure I mentioned the fact that I had written simultaneously to the Secretary of the L.S.E. to be excused for an eventual delay in sending one of my references. But before the evening of the 7th, your permission came to hand, together with Ginsberg's. So I sent in both. Thanks again. I begin to have a conscience about keeping you too long on the phone, and so I prefer to bother you in writing about these details.

Do let me know how you have decided about your Hungarian trip. I continue to be impressed by the genuine stirring of the minds. Have you see 'Valóság' the new monthly of the Young Hungary? It is a fair sample of this new and honest spirit.

With best wishes

Yours sincerely,

Karl Polanyi

Letter Informations

Src: Selected Correspondence of Karl Mannheim (1911-1946), ed. by Éva Gábor, The Edwin Mellen Press, 2003, 352-353.