Re “‘Unfulfilled Promises’ on Looted Art” (Arts pages, Nov. 27):
Reminding us that five countries are “foot dragging” in returning World War II looted art, Stuart E. Eizenstat, an expert adviser to the State Department, correctly singles out Hungary as refusing to carry out the 2002 Washington Principles conference request that governments, in his words, “take their historic responsibility for the systematic looting of art from their Jewish citizens.”
In 1997, I negotiated an agreement with the Hungarian government concerning the return of works of art from Baron Herzog’s great 20th-century collection of Old Masters paintings to his American descendants. Hungary’s minister of culture and I agreed that some dozen works would be returned. The descendants, in turn, would return several to Hungary, a generous proposal.
Regrettably, all Hungarian governments since then have reneged. The works in question hang on the walls of Budapest museums with the provenance “From the Herzog Collection.”
The writer was United States ambassador to Hungary, 1994-97.