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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

Americans in Fake News, already in 1988? The US Embassy Annex that never was. KesterTester114 - UPDATED

Updated: Jun 9

Here's the big hoarding (that's Queen's English for 'bill board', American cousins). In Budapest, 1989. And surely a man with the name of C William Verity could not lie?

Photo: But it never happened, folks. Yup, despite being adorned with the Stars and Stripes and Magyar Tri-colour (note the subtle design of the latter - not showing the Communist symbol on the flag :) - I've only just spotted that myself), it never got built.

I suppose that gives another meaning to 'false flag' operation.


So where was this to happen? Answers please via email or site messaging system, citing KT114 if you would.


And if you can explain WHY it never got built, you win the bonus prize - you can buy me four beers instead of two! :)


Oh, and if you give me 20 minutes, I'll try to add an extra clue to KT113 (last week's tester) because it's proving too tough even for the sleuthiest of sleuthers.


UPDATE - Contestants and Winner!


Once again, the knowledge-cum-sleuthing powers of Perspectives-Budapest readership has amazed me.


I really thought this would end up with me buying myself two beers and basking in smart-*rs*d one-upmanship after bewildering all and sundry.


But no! At least some readers bit on the bone and doggedly would not let go, it seems.


First in was Steven Saracco, who was the very definition of succinct.


KDB Bank,

H-1054, Budapest, Bajcsy-Zsilinszky ut”


Not so much as a salutation, Steve? I suppose you were busy. Thank you in any case!


Next in the queue came Misi 'always-ready-to-have-punt' Hollós.


Hello Kester,

I believe the compound was to have been built in Nádor utca (called Münnich Ferenc utca back in 1988), in district 5.

Why it never got built? Because of the far-reaching political changes that took place shortly afterwards (and which were already brewing in June 1988), I guess.

Obviously, there must have been a shift in priorities in Hungaro-U S relations.

Best, Misi”


Péter Róna was in the succincter camp.


Bajcsy Zsilinszky út.”


Somewhere in the mix, Alan Godsave wrote his assessment in the post's comment section, to be quoted by the next contestant, Géza Jeszenszky:


Dear Kester,


I recall the large board on Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út, near  the Arany János St metro stop. It was either in 1988 or 1989.


The explanation is correct:


Alan Godsave

a day ago

This is pure speculation since I have no inside knowledge on this. However, the timing might give us a clue. There were already some rumblings of upcoming changes in the Communist Bloc and the decision could well have been taken to discontinue the project in the light of this. Maybe the Americans saw the possible regime changes as a greater opportunity and therefore chose not to use the cultural path for influence? They would also have needed to restructure their diplomatic representation in Hungary to reflect the changed relationships, therefore that particular consular function could have been rendered unnecessary.

Just guessing!

Barátsággal 

Szívélyes köszöntésselJ. Géza”


Finally, we heard from Zsolt Maroti, whose answers are typically as piercing as a sea-skimming missile.


Szia Kester


Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 46.


Question: what is wrong with the Hungarian flag? As far as I remember there was no Communist symbol on it in the 8o-ies.


zs”


Oh gosh, you've outed me there, Zsolti. I must have been suffering from one of those gaseous brain thingies.


Of course, the Hungarian flag, post 1957, was devoid of any coat-of-arms and other insignia. (I think, in my mind's eye, I was picturing the signs at the borders, which carried what I call the Kádár crest until changed in c 1990. See https://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%A1d%C3%A1r-c%C3%ADmer )


Anyway, back to the big question of the day – who has the correct answer(s), and for whom global celebrity status awaits?


First, I have to admit gratitude to both Steve and Zsolti, because I couldn't remember the exact location of this plot. I do remember seeing a new building appear some years after I took this piccie, but had since forgotten what/where it was.


Yes, indeed, it was a derelict plot (WW2 bomb damage?) in a prime location at Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 46, which you both pin-pointed!


Alas, Misi was a little astray in his location, while Péter and Géza got the street correctly.


This caused not a little consternation among the KesterTester Award Board, who debated long into the night as to the admissibility of their entries.


Eventually, it was decreed that Steven (numbers 1 & 5) and Zsolt (Numbers 4 & 6) should each be awarded two number slips in the draw (as recognition of their accuracy) with Péter (3) and Géza (4) one each.


The lights blazzed as intensely as the cameras rolled on the night of the draw, when, before a gasping audience of the good and great public, a famous previous KesterTester Winner pulled out …. wait for it … from the famed EU-Certified Black Woolly Hat (found at last in an old coat pocket) … Number 3!


Yes, Péter Róna, something tells me you might have other things on your mind today, Sunday, 9th June, but let nothing take away from this moment of unadulterated glory!


You must now prepare for the life of an international celebrity, fighting off the paparazzi and posing for a hundred selfies a day with adoring fans, you are now declared Winner of KesterTester114!


Congratulations to Péter and everyone who contributed to the fun! And yes, Alan, I assume historical events overtook late 1980's US foreign policy. Mr Verity's reputation survives untarnished!


Now, I'd better prepare to vote in the municipal elections! Have a great week!


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Alan Godsave
Alan Godsave
May 19

This is pure speculation since I have no inside knowledge on this. However, the timing might give us a clue. There were already some rumblings of upcoming changes in the Communist Bloc and the decision could well have been taken to discontinue the project in the light of this. Maybe the Americans saw the possible regime changes as a greater opportunity and therefore chose not to use the cultural path for influence? They would also have needed to restructure their diplomatic representation in Hungary to reflect the changed relationships, therefore that particular consular function could have been rendered unnecessary.

Just guessing!

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