U.S. Department of State
Vol. X, Part 1, FRUS, 1958-60: E. Europe Region; Soviet Union; Cyprus
Office of the Historian
[Section 8 of 19]
JANUARY - FEBRUARY 1959: VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES OF ANASTAS I. MIKOYAN; THE 21ST CONGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION
59. Editorial Note
First Deputy Premier Anastas I. Mikoyan visited the United States January 4 - 20, 1959, in an unofficial capacity as guest of Ambassador Mikhail A. Menshikov. Llewellyn E. Thompson, Ambassador to the Soviet Union, first learned of the proposed visit in a note from the Soviet Foreign Ministry, December 16, 1958, which was delivered to him the next day. Thompson, who believed it "would be very useful from many points view for Mikoyan to receive at first hand authoritative exposition our policies from highest officials US government," recommended favorable action on Mikoyan's request for a diplomatic visa. (Telegram 1273 from Moscow, December 17, 1958; Department of State, Central Files, 033.6111/12 - 1758) Thompson speculated that the main purpose of Mikoyan's trip would be "to explore possibilities of increasing trade with U.S. and corollary purpose to take our temperature on Berlin question." He also wanted to inform U.S. allies of the proposed visit and to refer them to Eisenhower's letter to Bulganin, February 15, 1958, which had proposed that influential Soviet citizens visit the United States. (Telegram 1274 from Moscow, December 17, 1958; ibid.) For text of Eisenhower's February 15 letter to Bulganin, see Department of State Bulletin, March 10, 1958, pages 373 - 376.
In telegram 965 to Moscow, December 17, 1958, the Department of State agreed with Thompson's recommendations subject to the approval of Secretary Dulles, who was attending the NATO Ministerial Meeting in Paris. (Department of State, Central Files, 033.6111/12 - 1758) Dulles also concurred but first wanted President Eisenhower informed of the visit. (Secto 25 from Paris, December 18, 1958; ibid., 033.6111/12 - 1858) A handwritten note on a copy of Dulles' message indicates that the President was informed on December 18. (Eisenhower Library, Staff Secretary Records, International Series) Eisenhower was presumably informed before or during the 391st meeting of the National Security Council on December 18. As summarized in the memorandum of discussion, Allen Dulles briefed the Council members on Mikoyan's visit as follows:
"Mr. Dulles reported that the USSR had yesterday requested that Mikoyan be allowed to visit the United States in January as a guest of the Soviet Ambassador in Washington. The `cover' purpose of his visit will be trade discussions; the real purpose has not been divulged. Perhaps the real purpose would be to assess the temper of the American people with respect to Berlin and other international situations before the meeting of the Supreme Soviet on January 27. Moreover, the Soviets may believe the visit would appear to be a substantation of propaganda stories `planted' by Moscow that the U.S. and the USSR are engaged in secret negotiations. Mikoyan, 63 years old, was No. 2 to Khrushchev in seniority but not likely to be Khrushchev's successor. A member of the Presidum since 1934 and a Party member since 1915, Mikoyan is remarkable for his political durability and his ability to end up on the winning side in internal struggles. He is interested less in Communist ideology than in bolstering Soviet economic strength, and is said to love `horse- trading'. Reports indicate that Khrushchev treats him in a cavalier manner. Mikoyan visited the U.S. once before, in 1936 for 3 months, to study the canning industry." (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)
On December 27 and 30, Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Robert D. Murphy discussed with Ambassador Menshikov Mikoyan's travel plans and security arrangements. (Memoranda of conversation, December 27 and 30; Department of State, Central Files, 033.6111/12 - 2758 and 033.6111/12 - 3058) In a memorandum to the President, January 2, 1959, Acting Secretary of State Christian A. Herter summarized Mikoyan's itinerary as well as plans for U.S. officials to hold talks with him. Herter recommended that the President see Mikoyan after Mikoyan had returned to Washington following his visits to other parts of the nation. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International File)
Following Mikoyan's arrival in the United States, he met with Secretary Dulles on January 5; see Document 60. An extract from the memorandum of their conversation on the problems of Berlin and Germany is printed in volume VIII, Document 121. Mikoyan also met with Harold E. Stassen, President Eisenhower's former Special Assistant on Disarmament, on January 6. Stassen sent an account of this interview in a letter to the President, January 7. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Administration Series) A memorandum of Vice President Richard M. Nixon's conversation with Mikoyan on January 6 is printed as Document 61.
Mikoyan then traveled to other parts of the United States, including Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. Following his return to Washington, he met again twice with Dulles on January 16; see Documents 62 and 63. Portions of these memoranda regarding Berlin and Germany are printed in volume VIII, Documents 135 and 136. Mikoyan saw the President on January 17; see Document 64. The portion of this memorandum pertaining to Berlin and Germany is printed in volume VIII, Document 137. A memorandum of Murphy's conversation with Eric Johnston on January 19 summarized Johnston's conversation with Mikoyan on January 17. (Department of State, Central Files, 033.6111/1 - 1959) A memorandum of Mikoyan's conversation with Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs C. Douglas Dillon on trade matters on January 19 is printed as Document 65. Dillon also gave an account of his talk with Mikoyan in his speech to the Mississippi Valley World Trade Council in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 27. For text of this address, see Department of State Bulletin, February 16, 1959, pages 237 - 243. A memorandum of Mikoyan's conversation with Secretary of Commerce Lewis L. Strauss on January 19 is printed as Document 66.
For text of Dulles' farewell message to Mikoyan, January 20, see Department of State Bulletin, February 9, 1958, pages 189 - 190. Mikoyan's reply to Dulles, dated January 21, is attached to a memorandum from Foy D. Kohler, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, to Dulles, January 21. (Department of State, Central Files, 033.6111/1 - 2159) For Dulles' report to the National Security Council on January 22 on Mikoyan's visit, see Document 67.
For text of Mikoyan's news conference in Moscow on January 24 on his trip, see Current Digest of the Soviet Press, March 4, 1959, pages 28 - 31. Mikoyan also gave his impressions of his visit in a speech to the 21st Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on January 31. For text of his speech, see ibid., April 1, 1959, pages 56 - 60 and 79. His speech was also summarized and analyzed in telegram 1529 from Moscow, February 2. (Department of State, Central Files, 033.6111/2 - 259)
Intelligence Report No. 7944, "The Mikoyan Visit: An Appraisal," which the Division of Research and Analysis for USSR and Eastern Europe, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, prepared on February 5, is in National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, OSS - INR Reports.
Additional documentation on Mikoyan's visit is in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1183, and Central Files 033.6111 and 411.6141.
60. Memorandum of Conversation
Washington, January 5, 1959.
Anastas I. Mikoyan, Deputy Premier of the USSR John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State Mikhail A. Menshikov, Soviet Ambassador Livingston T. Merchant, Assistant Secretary of State Oleg A. Troyanovski, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, USSR Llewellyn E. Thompson, American Ambassador to Moscow/1/ Edward L. Freers, Director, Office of Eastern European Affairs
Mr. Mikoyan opened the conversation by recalling that he had been to the United States before on an unofficial visit and had talked to Secretary of State Cordell Hull in the company of Mr. Troyanovski's father./2/
//Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1183. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Freers. A note on the source text reads: "Sec saw."
/1/Thompson, who thought it would be advisable to be present during Mikoyan's talks with U.S. officials, had returned to the United States.
/2/During Mikoyan's visit to the United States in 1936, Troyanovski's father, Alexander A. Troyanovski, was Soviet Ambassador to the United States.
The Secretary recalled that he had been at a dinner in Moscow in April 1947 at which Mr. Mikoyan was present but he was not sure whether or not they had met each other on that occasion.
Mr. Mikoyan said that they had met but had not had the opportunity to have a conversation.
The Secretary said that he was happy that Mr. Mikoyan had come to visit the United States. He thought these unofficial visits were extremely useful as a means of eliminating misunderstanding and affording a better appreciation of what were real differences between us and what were not. He said there are real problems, but there is no reason for making them worse and sharpening our differences by creating imaginary and fictitious problems.
Mr. Mikoyan agreed and said it was important to continue these visits. It was always better to avoid differences and reach solutions to problems. This was understood back home and hence Prime Minister Khrushchev had asked him to convey his greetings to the Secretary as had Foreign Minister Gromyko. The Prime Minister had even asked Mikoyan to tell the Secretary that although they two exchanged strong words in the press and otherwise, this was not the main thing. The main thing was to work for peace.
The Secretary recalled the contacts he had had with Prime Minister Khrushchev in Geneva in 1955/3/ and Mikoyan remarked that Khru-shchev had indeed told them about this.
/3/Reference is to the Heads of Government meeting at Geneva in July 1955.
Mikoyan said that there was one thing which was not quite clear to them. At one time the United States accused the Soviet Union of following a hard line. It charged the Soviet leaders with saying "nyet, nyet, nyet" all the time. Now when the Soviet Union seemed to be following a more flexible line, it was the American Government which said "no, no, no" all the time. There had been a change in roles.
The Secretary interrupted to say that Mikoyan would be given the opportunity to say "da, da, da" if he so desired.
Mikoyan made the rejoinder that he would like this to correspond to the real position.
The Secretary made the point that he did not understand that Mr. Mikoyan was here to carry on negotiations on any particular topic, but he did hope that there would be an opportunity to exchange views on the matters that divide us.
Mikoyan said that this was the case.
The Secretary said that he had just been saying to his associates in the Department that ever since he had come into contact with Soviet officials--that is since the San Francisco meeting in 1945--he had found it extremely difficult to have a serious discussion with any of them on the matters that gave rise to tension and even involved risks of war. For example, one thing that concerned us very greatly were the goals and ambitions of the International Communist Movement and the extent to which this movement was supported by the Soviet Union. When he had talked to Molotov/4/ about this, the latter had said that there was no such thing as the International Communist Movement. The Secretary found it hard to carry on a conversation in such a situation. We have no quarrel, he said, with the Soviet Union as a State. We were delighted to see it grow in power and welfare--this would give us no concern at all. It is the extent to which that power is placed at the disposition of the International Communist Movement, which has goals incompatible with our own safety, that causes concern on our part.
/4/Vyachaslav Mikhailovich Molotov, Soviet Foreign Minister, 1939 - 1949 and 1953 - 1956.
[Here follows discussion of Germany and Berlin, printed in volume VIII, Document 121.]
Mr. Mikoyan then reverted to the Secretary's remark about his conversation with Molotov. Mikoyan said that since Molotov had not explained the matter of International Communism to the Secretary, he would explain it. The Secretary interjected the remark that Molotov had not only not explained it, he had said it didn't exist. Mikoyan said it was not a subject for discussion between states, but since this was an informal talk, he would elaborate on the matter. The Communist movement had been in evidence wherever a working class existed, even before the USSR came into being. The Soviets believed, he said, that the ideas of Communism will continue to strengthen. Experience showed that the ways in which it would develop would be different. They believed that this was an affair for each country, its working class and its people. They did not conceal the fact that they sympathized with this development. They do not, however, interfere in the internal affairs of other Communist parties and of other countries. The United States had an intelligence service, with the Secretary's brother at its head. Perhaps he understood this. Several million people voted for the Communist parties in Italy and France. In England, there wasn't a single Communist member of Parliament. In the United States there was no Communist member of Congress. Why was the United States so fearful--even more than France or Italy--although Communist strength in the United States was negligible? In order to understand the Soviets correctly, he continued, it must be recognized that there is a difference between the Communist Party and the Soviet State. There are examples which illustrate this. The Soviet Union has good relations with the UAR. Khrushchev met and talked with the President and Vice President of the UAR, even though they not only do not protect Communists but they attack them and put them in prison. In the USSR there are no political prisoners. The Soviets cannot sympathize with Nasser for arresting political prisoners, especially Communists, but they do consider this an internal matter. Conditions call for this. The Soviet leaders had had many friendly talks with the President and Vice President of the UAR, but there had been no talks about this. This is regarded as an internal matter. The Soviet leaders had very good relations with Afghanistan--with the King and Prime Minister--although there are no Communists in that country. They have good relations with Nepal and its King, although they have never heard of any Communists in that country. They have good relations with Kekkonnen, the President of Finland, where there is a large Communist party. Mikoyan said he had good relations with Mr. Hansen, the Prime Minister of Denmark, which is a member of NATO. He had tried to prevail on him to leave NATO but had had no success. Mikoyan said that he wanted the Secretary to believe that this was the truth. Had they acted in any other way, the Soviets would have been the enemies of Communism.
[Here follows discussion of Germany and Berlin (printed in volume VIII, Document 121) and disarmament.]
The Secretary said that he hoped Mikoyan would discuss economic and trade questions with Mr. Dillon while he was here. Ambassador Menshikov said that he would get in touch with us and make the arrangements for this.
The Secretary said that he was glad to have this exchange of views with Mr. Mikoyan. He recognized that the latter's visit to the United States was concrete evidence of the desire of the Soviet Union to establish a more understanding relationship. Mikoyan remarked that this was quite true. The Secretary said that after Mikoyan toured around the country for two weeks he expected him to come back to Washington Americanized. Mikoyan replied that he had come here for a different purpose and that he hoped for acceptable specific proposals from Secretary Dulles.
61. Memorandum of Conversation
Washington, January 6, 1959.
Richard M. Nixon, Vice President of the United States Anastas I. Mikoyan, Deputy Premier of the Soviet Union Mikhail A. Menshikov, Soviet Ambassador Llewellyn E. Thompson, American Ambassador Oleg A. Troyanovsky, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR Edward L. Freers, Director, Office of Eastern European Affairs
Mikoyan opened the conversation by saying that he brought greetings to the Vice President from Premier Khrushchev and added that the Soviets had been favorably impressed by the Vice President's speech in London./1/ Observing the latter's office, Mikoyan commented that his was twice as large. The Vice President said that we did not think much of Vice Presidents here. Mikoyan replied that we were more democratic here.
//Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1183. Secret. Drafted by Freers and approved by the Vice President's office on January 16. Notations on the source text indicate that Dulles and Herter saw the memorandum.
/1/For text of Nixon's speech, which he made to the English-Speaking Union in London on November 26, 1958, see Department of State Bulletin, January 5, 1959, pp. 14 - 17.
Mikoyan said that he thought the political situation here was not easy for the administration in view of the Democratic control of Congress. He noted that our Constitution provided for a party in the minority to exercise rule and thus differed from other constitutions he knew, but he assumed that this would give the United States more stability.
The Vice President said that we operated on a bi-partisan basis on foreign policy but engaged in much controversy over domestic policy. For example, in 1948 President Truman, whose party had a minority in Congress at the time, was supported by an overwhelming bi-partisan vote on the Marshall Plan. In the area of foreign policy, Congress supported the President and the Secretary of State on major issues. He said that sometimes people outside the United States got the wrong impression about our unity because of our freedom of debate. Looking back on the past 25 years, his impression was that one would find increasing support for national policies rather than partisan policies. If this were not so, there would be a chaotic condition whenever the President was from one party and the majority of Congress from the other. All this did not mean that there were no hot arguments between us.
Mikoyan said that, judging from the press, Americans liked argument. The Vice President said we preferred to work things out easily. Mikoyan replied, "Yes, you can do this among your own friends, but how can the two of us work our problems out?" The Vice President said this could be done better by talking than by fighting, and Mikoyan agreed that this would improve our relations.
The Vice President said that there were several areas of agreement between the American and Russian peoples and some of these were even reflected in the policies of our governments as well. He pointed out that Mikoyan had mentioned Khrushchev's comments about the speech he had made in London. He said this speech reflected the views of the great majority of the American people. They desired and preferred to use the resources of this country to win battles against disease, poverty and want, rather than any other battles between nations.
Mikoyan said this was a good platform for improvement of relations. But, he said, many prejudices stand in the way. If there were frequent meetings and contacts at all levels, only the real differences would remain and even these could then be solved through discussion.
The Vice President said that visits such as Mikoyan was making were useful. He was glad that Mikoyan would be able to see the United States and hoped that he would talk to important industrialists. They were not as bad as some people painted them. He was sure that Mikoyan would see great progress since the time of his last visit. The Vice President said that every visitor to the Soviet Union with whom he had talked--Senator Humphrey, Eric Johnston and others--had told him they had been impressed by three things. One was the progress that had been made in the USSR. Another was the determination to work and succeed, reflected by the Soviet people. The third was the friendly reception given to these visitors, not only by officials from whom it might be expected, but by everyone. The Vice President said he thought Mikoyan would find we were making progress here and that he, too, would meet a generally friendly reception. Certainly there would be nothing but the most friendly reception from the people as a whole. He would find among the American people great admiration for the achievements of the Soviet people in the scientific field. The "Lunik" that had gone on toward the sun had caught the imagination of the American people./2/ He, for one, thought it was good to have this type of competition. Sometimes the Soviet Union might be first; other times the United States. It was the responsibility of those in government to find the means to share the benefits of this process. Economic progress of the world in general would provide ample room for healthy, friendly competition. This brought him to the point as to why there were problems that divide us. Some of these were due to lack of communication. This was a job for our Ambassadors, among others. At times, people did not get the right interpretation of motivations underlying actions. While there existed among the American people a tremendous admiration for the heroism of the Russian soldiers when we were Allies, our people expressed concern when they read statements which indicated a determination by the Soviet Union, through Communist organizations, to increase its influence and to overthrow governments around the world, including our own. This was not said in a critical sense but to show the impression that is made by these statements. The Vice President said he realized that speeches made here might have the same effect upon the Russians. If we were going to talk about peaceful competition it must be just that and not the use of economic power to extend influence.
/2/Lunik I, a satellite launched by the Soviet Union on January 2, came within about 4,000 miles of the Moon and passed into planetary orbit around the Sun.
Mikoyan said that he agreed to the last part of this statement but he said that Soviet intentions were erroneously interpreted. He asked if the Vice President considered their leadership intelligent. Mikoyan said they might make mistakes but they were intelligent. He did not say this with any inflated sense of pride, but said it objectively. In that case, how could the Soviet leaders hope to undermine the United States Government? They would be all Don Quixotes if they did. It was another matter that they felt that the internal processes working in capitalist countries should bring about communism. But that was an internal matter. The development of history occurred in a zig-zag fashion, but it was interesting to note that the richest countries were the least susceptible to communist influence. If de Gaulle had apprehensions about communist influence, Mikoyan could understand this since France had a big Communist Party. There was no basis at all for us to be concerned about a communist danger. Of course, the Soviet leaders' sympathies are on the side of communism, just as ours are on the side of capitalism. After all, we statesmen have our responsibility for governing our countries. Americans might say, "Well, what about Hungary?"/3/ There comes a time in history when action is necessary. They had an alliance with that government. They thought that American intelligence played a role in this affair. They didn't expect us to agree. They thought we wanted to divide and break up their bloc. They believed that a threat to their friends and allies was a threat to their own country. They had had to act, but they were sorry to have done so. If a communist government or any government hostile to the United States came into power in Mexico or Canada we would not stand aside. There is no use to mention examples. Of course, they would be glad if communism came to power in one country or another but it would never succeed if it relied on help from the outside. We must avoid fighting and even avoid propaganda. For instance, we had appropriated $100,000,000 for activities against them. This was not bad for them, and the money had been lost. Their system was strong and even billions of dollars were not enough. After Stalin died they introduced many important reforms which have improved the situation. Of course, Stalin wanted their country to be strong, but his methods did not help. The Vice President interrupted to ask if he meant strong internally. Mikoyan said that he was referring to foreign policy and that here Stalin's line had been too inflexible. The present Soviet leaders had tried to change this policy and had not approved some of the ideas of Stalin but he had carried them through. In his old age, Stalin had not read much, nor had he met many people and he had become detached from life. The decisions he took therefore had no proper basis. The present leaders read a great deal, met more foreigners, and had the possibility of adopting decisions based on knowledge of the full facts. The Soviet people had endured so much suffering in the past that they had a right to a better life now. That is why their slogan was to catch up with America. This was not a menace. On the contrary, it admitted that America was ahead of the Soviet Union and it raised America's prestige. If the Soviet people lived better, what kind of threat was that to America? The Soviets did not want to flood the United States with goods. They wanted them for their own people. They were spending too much money on armaments--though not as much as we were. This was money lost. It would be better in the future to turn these armaments into scrap iron, or still better not to produce them. The United States was increasing its military budget. This meant the Soviet Union must increase its budget. If the former decreased its expenditures for military purposes, the latter would do likewise.
/3/Reference is to the October - November 1956 Hungarian revolt.
The Vice President mentioned propaganda. He said Soviet propaganda differed from ours. The basic goal of our propaganda was to tell other countries honestly and frankly about the policies of the United States. He said he realized that the Soviet Union considered some of our broadcasts, as well as other types of propaganda activity, as devoted to interpreting internal Soviet policies and Soviet policies toward other countries. He personally doubted the usefulness of this and felt that it would be better for both sides to show restraint. He realized that sometimes speeches could be provocative and create positions and attitudes in other countries which would lead to fear and consequently to miscalculation. He said that we worried about this. If people wanted to change their form of government, this was their right. We accepted this and would not ourselves be here if we did not. The real problem was interference from the outside. Was he to understand from Mikoyan's remarks that the Soviet Union did not support Communist parties in other countries? He understood Mikoyan to say that they welcomed the advent of Communism but would do nothing overt to encourage or bring it about. The Vice President said that even since Stalin's death there had been indications that this was not, in fact, Soviet policy. During the past four years, students of Soviet affairs had believed that there had been considerable interference in internal affairs, in the case of some movements that had developed. He realized that the Soviet leaders pretended they did not do so; but just as people in the Soviet Union believed that there had been American activity in Hungary, so people here believed that the Soviet Union supported Communist parties in other countries. Perhaps this was all a carry-over from the past--from the days of the Third International. The Soviet leaders should be realistic and recognize that this feeling existed. Here again, the Vice President said, the competition of ideas would be helpful--but economic and political interference from outside would be objectionable.
Mikoyan said that what the Vice President described was something they did not do. The Cominform had been a detrimental development and had been abolished. Even under Stalin, it had begun to die away. They now had a firm policy of non-interference. They do not even try to interfere in nearby countries where Communist parties are in power. Of course, when their advice is asked they give it, but it is up to these other countries to act on it or not. For example, in the economic field, these countries often turned to the Soviet Union for advice since it was more experienced. It was glad to give advice. What was useful, these countries accepted. What not, they rejected. For example, a Korean delegation had come to discuss plans for rebuilding their devastated country. The Soviet leaders told them that it would be best to give priority to housing, rice cultivation, production of fertilizers, etc.; but not to building machines. They had seemed to agree. The Soviets had told them that machinery would be too expensive to produce. Since it was Soviet general practice to turn over the designs of machinery, etc., free of charge, the Koreans had said they wanted blueprints for a factory to make tractors. The Soviets had said they had no objections but there was not much point to this since the Koreans could not sell more than 2,000 tractors per year and it would be too expensive to produce this quantity. The Soviet Ambassador reported that the Koreans had been displeased and had decided to design the plant themselves. In view of this, the Soviet leaders decided to turn over the blueprints to the Koreans anyway.
Mikoyan continued with another example. He said that the Rumanians wanted to build an automobile plant. The Soviets told them that this was not practical. They said that it would be more profitable for the Czechs to produce these automobiles. The Rumanians could not produce more than five or six thousand a year and the automobiles would be too expensive. The Rumanians claimed that their national pride required them to go into this. They built the plant--and the autos are expensive.
Ambassador Thompson said that he would like to revert to the Hungarian question. He said that when he was in Austria during the period of the Hungarian revolution,/4/ he was in a position to know what we did or did not do with regard to it. He said that from the very volume of our broadcasts some Hungarians believed that there was a chance we would support them. He assured Mikoyan that the United States had never had any intention of encouraging the fighting because it valued human life too much. It would not have stimulated resistance in the face of the odds in the situation. He did not believe that the Soviet Government had ever given the United States credit for the restraint it exercised during the Hungarian affair. We had been disturbed that something might break out in Poland at the same time. Hence, what activity we did engage in was designed to moderate the situation and reduce the toll of human life. The German Government had conducted an examination of our broadcast scripts in investigating charges made against broadcasts from facilities located on its territory. There were a few which we might have changed had we had it to do over, but very few. We believed that Khrushchev was right when he said that the Hungarian Government had been out of touch with its people. Our role had been minimal.
/4/Thompson served as Ambassador to Austria 1952 - 1957.
Mikoyan said that he also believed that the main cause of the events in Hungary were the mistakes of the Communist leaders of Hungary. If that had not been the case, there would have been no basis for the fighting irrespective of any propaganda. The Soviet leaders believed that interference was bad for the side interfering and for the side being interfered with. But, of course, they wanted their camp to remain firm and they believed that they were now working for this much more intelligently and successfully. They did not want to undermine other countries and they did not want to set the United States at loggerheads with its allies. They realized that the United States was sensitive to its interests and that anything they might do which infringed on them would give rise to suspicion. They were conscious of American interests and their actions were not designed to arouse or evoke our sensibilities.
The Vice President said that this not only applied to actions but to words as well. When provocative statements were made, they had repercussions around the world. He realized that both sides were to blame. In order for the Soviet leaders to understand us and the feelings of our people, of Senators and Congressmen, they had to realize that the latter watched every word in the speeches of Khrushchev and Mikoyan and in Pravda statements. Where these were belligerent and aggressive in tone, they obviously had considerable effect here. All sides must be more temperate. We were playing not only with emotions but with instruments of destruction. None of us wanted to set these off.
Mikoyan agreed that this was very dangerous. Perhaps a new approach should be made. The Soviets believed that the Americans were more active in making provocative statements and he said that if the Soviets did so, it was not to remain in debt on the matter.
The Vice President replied that that is the way the process works. One side provokes the other.
The Vice President said that sometimes there are incidents which seem small but they have a great emotional effect. One such incident was that involving eleven missing American airmen./5/ There was more concern felt about this by the average American than about such a thing as the conference on nuclear testing in Geneva even though the latter might be much more important in the long run./6/ Mikoyan said that that was an unpleasant incident and was a misfortune, but the Soviet Union was not to blame. In order to avoid such incidents, it would be best for the planes to use safer routes, especially since these flights yielded nothing good. Planes flew over the Far East or over the Baltic area but they learned nothing new. All this territory had been photographed time and time again--there were Scandinavian Air Lines planes coming in and out, Ambassador Thompson's plane came in and out--the Soviets had nothing to hide.
/5/See Document 55.
/6/Reference is to the Conference on the Discontinuance of Nuclear Weapons Tests, which representatives of the United States, Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom attended in Geneva beginning on October 31, 1958.
The Vice President said his point was that with regard to reducing tension between us, it would be useful to make progress on matters like this. It would be helpful if the Soviet Government gave us an indication or a statement about what had happened to the men involved. Mikoyan replied that they had given all the information they had. There was no sense in their trying to hide anything. Why were the Americans so suspicious about this? The Vice President said that this was reflection of the times and that suspicions did arise. Mikoyan said that this was true and that no cause should be given to arouse suspicions.
Mikoyan said he had the impression that in the last few months our relations had improved. The Soviet leaders had more confidence in us, though it was far from full confidence. Talks in Moscow with Stevenson, Lippmann, Johnston, Humphrey, and others had made a real impression on the Soviet leaders./7/ He said they could not all be false in their attitudes and that, therefore, something real must underlie their statements. Even the Vice President's statement in London had been something unusual. The Vice President said that we did agree on some objectives. Mikoyan remarked that the main thing was that the Soviet leaders did not want war but wanted peaceful co-existence. This was not because they were weak or were cowards. They wanted peace in order to develop their country and have it become rich like the United States. The Vice President said that the United States believed it was in the American interest for the Soviet Union to concentrate its economic resources on the progress and welfare of the Soviet people. There was no question that where economic health prevailed there was less likelihood for support of aggressive action and less feeling of a need for expansion. It was good for both the Soviet Union and the United States to have Asia, the Near East and South America embark on programs which would bring better life to the people there. This was what the Soviet Union wanted, Mikoyan said.
/7/Regarding Adlai Stevenson's talks with Soviet leaders, see Documents 53 and 54. Following a visit to Moscow in late October 1958, columnist and author Walter Lippmann published four articles. The first two described his interview with Khrushchev; the last two gave his reflections on Communist objectives derived from his talks with Khrushchev and other Soviet officials and editors. These articles were subsequently published without change (except for additional comments in the last essay) in Walter Lippmann, The Communist World and Ours (Boston: Little, Brown, 1958). Regarding Johnston's talk with Khrushchev on October 6, 1958, see Documents 56 and 57. Humphrey met with Khru- schev in Moscow on December 1; see vol. VIII, Document 84.
The Vice President said that no one in the United States believed in the concept of preventive war. Anyone who did should be in an insane asylum. Mikoyan said that some years ago there were people who advocated this, though they were not in the Government. As for the present, the Vice President was right.
The Vice President said he spoke for the President and the Government in asserting that the United States had no aggressive intentions. He did want to emphasize one point. While there was disagreement with the President and with Secretary Dulles--and people like Lippmann criticized them--and while we welcomed all this as a means of getting the best policies, there was in the Senate and the House of Representatives overwhelming support of the present foreign policy leadership. He wanted to emphasize that this did not indicate inflexibility. Our policy appeared inflexible but this was not the case. In the case of Berlin, which appeared to us as unilateral probing action on the Soviet Union's part, there was unanimous support in the Congress for the position of the President. Mikoyan said that he had felt all this in his talks earlier in the day with trade union leaders such as Reuther and Carey./8/ He felt that at the basis of the problem was American lack of understanding or possibly even distrust of the Soviet position. The Soviets regarded their move as a peaceful action. How could he assure Americans that the Soviets did not want Berlin for themselves? He had tried to impress this on everyone but had apparently not been persuasive enough. The Soviets wanted an end to occupation status. The occupation had been done away with in East Germany and West Germany. It was time to do away with it in Berlin. West Berlin should not remain undefended, it should not go to the GDR, but it should not go to Adenauer either. As an example of one of the problems, in August, Adenauer had held a special meeting in West Berlin./9/ This had been a provocative meeting with speeches against East Germany. When the Arabs had made such speeches with regard to Lebanon, the United States had considered this as indirect aggression. Adenauer's activities in West Berlin had been a clear case of indirect aggression. The Soviets wanted West Berlin to be a free city, demilitarized--with a police force, but no troops. The Americans would say that the Bolsheviks were just being clever; that they wanted to get Allied troops out of Berlin and then pull it gradually into East Germany. This was not the case. How could the Soviets assure us so? Words did not seem to suffice. The Soviet leaders wanted the status of Berlin to be guaranteed by the Great Powers and the two Germanies with complete non-interference in its affairs and with free access to it by all countries. The Four Powers had guaranteed the status of Austria, and this guarantee had been well kept. The Vice President said that we could not reconcile ourselves to any unilateral action. Mikoyan said that for the time being there had been none, and that we should come to agreement. The Vice President remarked that Mikoyan had put the Soviet position forward very effectively. The United States felt strongly that anything that is done must be by agreement. As far as we were concerned, we could not give up responsibility under the Treaty,/10/ particularly in view of the expressed will of the people of West Berlin. Mikoyan said that the Soviet Union did not want to free the United States of the responsibility for Berlin. It wanted the freedom of Berlin to rest not on bayonets but on international guarantees. The Vice President replied that the main thing was to reach a mutually acceptable settlement so that we do not arrive in six months at an intolerable position. Mikoyan said that we should try to settle the problem before then. The Vice President said that the German problem itself must be settled before there can be any long-term settlement for Berlin. Mikoyan replied that if this meant settlement on the basis proposed by Adenauer, this was a distant prospect. If it meant settlement on the basis of two German States and a peace treaty, it would be a more imminent prospect. Actually, he had the impression that Adenauer was not interested in the reunification of Germany. He had talked all day long with Adenauer and the latter did not even mention this subject./11/ Adenauer had said that general disarmament would lead to a relaxation of tension. The only point he had made with Mikoyan was that no pressure should be put on the people of East Germany in the sphere of religion. Mikoyan had said that unless religion interfered with politics, there should be no pressure. Mikoyan said he had asked Adenauer why he did not talk to the Germans in East Germany. He had remarked to Adenauer that the latter talked to the Abyssinians but not to his own people.
/8/Circular airgram 6751 to all diplomatic and consular posts, February 9, contained an extensive summary of a meeting among James Carey, President of the International Union of Electricians, Walter Reuther, President of the United Auto Workers, other U.S. trade officials, and Mikoyan on January 6. (Department of State, Central Files, 033.6111/2 - 959)
/9/Reference presumably is to a political rally Adenauer attended in West Berlin on December 5, not August, 1958, 2 days before municipal elections in that city.
/10/Reference presumably is to the Potsdam Agreements of 1945.
/11/See footnote 2, Document 57.
The Vice President said that they could not settle this problem in their conversation.
What he wanted to emphasize was that there had been people in the USSR who had believed that the United States would become divided and its system would collapse. There had been a similar feeling in the United States about the Soviet Union, that its internal problems were too great, that it was basically weak. Looking forward, we should begin with the assumption that both countries are strong, neither should fear the other. If we approached each other in that spirit, we could settle some of our problems. Mikoyan replied that he wanted to amend the Vice President's remarks. The Soviet Union had never regarded the United States as weak or divided. The Soviet leaders knew the oratorial prowess of the two American political parties. They had always regarded them both as a common part of the American bourgeois system and they knew that the United States was a strong, organized state. They knew the strength of our economy, our monopolies, etc. They were glad that the United States did not underestimate their situation. This was no menace. Each country should respect the other and not try to subjugate it. However, in the United Nations American representatives often tried to place the Soviets in an inferior position and demonstrate their weakness. This gave offense to them and gave cause for complaint. Such methods did not settle anything. On the question of outer space, the Soviet Union had wanted to take part in the new committee./12/ But it had had to refuse because the membership imposed by the United States delegation had been unacceptable, even though the committee would only have authority in the scientific field. The net result had been the inclusion of various Latin American countries, who could not do much. With the Soviet Union absent, the only point of their presence would be to raise their hands to vote. This affair had led to new conflict in the United Nations which could very well have been avoided. The United States and the Soviet Union are the only countries with space capabilities. The Soviet Union were not members now. Had they been, they might have demonstrated their cooperation. Even in spheres where it is strong, the Soviet Union was being disregarded. The Soviet leaders had directed their representative to let the United States set up its own committee. Mikoyan was sure that the United States would have done the same thing in the circumstances. If we wanted cooperation, we should not attempt to put each other in a subjugated position. There should be full equality. Mikoyan said he could well imagine that we would not come to agreement immediately. It would be better to postpone agreement and come to some modus vivendi. In the United Nations, the Soviet Union and the United States were meeting as adversaries. What was the point of this? The Soviet Union had its pride, too. The Vice President said he wanted to make the point that settlement cannot involve surrender. Each side must be willing to go half way. Ambassador Thompson said that there was another side to the story about the composition of the outer space committee. Zorin had not objected to the participation of the Latin American countries in the committees. He had wanted to pick specific countries suitable to the Soviet Union as against those put forward by the Latin Americans themselves. Thus, there was more to the story than Mikoyan had indicated. Mikoyan said that as far as he could recollect, the main problem was that the Soviet Union wanted equality between two sides--the United States and its allies on one side, the Soviet Union and its allies and with neutral countries, on the other side--in order that there would be no "dictate."
/12/Reference is to the ad hoc committee provided for in a resolution introduced by the United States and 19 other nations (U.N. doc. A/C.1/L/220/Rev.1), which was approved by the U.N. General Assembly on December 13, 1958, as Resolution 1348 (XIII) by a vote of 53 to 9, with 19 abstentions. The Soviet Delegate then stated that his nation, which had voted in opposition, could not accept the provisions in this resolution for membership on this committee and would not participate in it. For a summary of this question, including text of Resolution 1348 (XIII), see Yearbook of the United Nations, 1958, pp. 19 - 23.
The Vice President said today's discussion had shown the advantage of such talks.
Mikoyan said that when we get to know each other better there will be a base for contacts at all levels. Anyone, whoever it is, would get the best reception in the Soviet Union. If the Vice President could find the time to visit the Soviet Union he would see for himself that this was true. The Soviets were prepared to compete with the Americans about who received the other better.
The Vice President said that he did want to come to the Soviet Union some day. He had already visited some 50 countries and would like to add the USSR. He had always admired the heroism of the Russian soldiers. Like many Americans, he had found enjoyment in reading Russian literature. Tolstoy was a real favorite of his, especially his novels "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina". He hoped Mikoyan would not experience some of the hospitality that he had experienced in other countries. Mikoyan said he had read about the Vice President's experiences and had admired his courage. The Vice President referred to the remark that he was known as a staunch anti-communist. He said it was true that he disagreed with communist philosophy just as communists disagreed with bourgeois philosophy. However, he had been among the American leaders who had early recognized the strength and prog-ress of the Soviet Union. He had been the first to advocate a broad exchange policy, even before the government had adopted the policy./13/ This could do no harm. It might not settle problems but it would bring about better understanding. About this he was in the same position as the communists but from a bourgeois point of view.
/13/Nixon was apparently referring to the substance of his speech delivered at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, on June 7, 1956; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, June 25, 1956, pp. 1043 - 1047.
Mikoyan thanked the Vice President for the expeditious manner in which the American Government had settled all matters relating to his visit. He had been made to feel welcome and been received by a very glad attitude on the part of the United States Government. He knew something about the American people since he had traveled in this country for two months on his first visit here. His associates had asked him how he could possibly go to the United States without a bodyguard. He had said that if a bodyguard had been necessary he would not have come. He realized that each state was responsible for whatever happened.
The Vice President said that Mikoyan would find many Armenians in San Francisco. They were among the most progressive people there. They were active in business and engaged in growing grapes; and one of his friends owned one of the best restaurants there. Californians said that Armenians were the toughest people to deal with; that they drove the hardest bargains. Mikoyan said that was probably true of the American Armenians.
Mikoyan said that the Soviet Government was doing the best it could to have everyone meet with the best reception there. This was even true of West Germans. The Soviet leaders were glad that influential Americans were coming to their country and would try to receive them in the best way possible.
62. Memorandum of Conversation
Washington, January 16, 1959, 10:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
Anastas I. Mikoyan, Deputy Premier of the USSR Mikhail A. Menshikov, Soviet Ambassador Oleg A. Troyanovski, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, USSR Aleksandr Alekseevich Soldatov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, USSR John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State Christian A. Herter, Under Secretary of State Livingston T. Merchant, Assistant Secretary Llewellyn E. Thompson, American Ambassador to Moscow Edward L. Freers, Director, Office of Eastern European Affairs
//Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1183. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Freers and approved by David E. Boster on January 22.
The Secretary began by asking Mikoyan's reaction to the reception he had received in the United States. The Secretary said that we believed in the right of peaceful demonstration but there were some people who did carry on activities which might seem offensive to guests. He hoped that Mikoyan has recognized that the American people are friendly as well as curious.
Mikoyan said that he had had a chance to know something about the American people 22 years ago. He had received a good impression this time in spite of the activities of some immigrants. He felt the Russians and Americans could live together in peace and friendship. Twenty-two years ago he had traveled without a bodyguard, this time there was a great deal of security precaution. It would have been better without this, but apparently this had been impossible.
The Secretary remarked that it showed how important he was now.
Mikoyan rejoined by saying that it showed the change in times.
Mikoyan remarked that he had gotten on better with the press than he had expected--either they had become better or he had been able to talk better with them. Businessmen had also been interested in his proposals. 22 years ago he had seen only a few officials of General Motors and Ford. This time he had seen many influential business leaders who had shown great interest. He had met Henry Ford the last time. This time he had met Henry Ford III,/1/ who was also a pleasant man. He had met David Rockefeller,/2/ who had expressed his regrets that the Moscow press and some people there seemed to think his family was war-mongering and wanted a deterioration in Soviet-American relations. Rockefeller had told Mikoyan that his family wanted an improvement in these relations no less than any other.
/1/Presumably Mikoyan meant Henry Ford II, President of Ford Motor Company.
/2/Executive Vice President and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chase Manhattan Bank.
The Secretary said he, himself, was tarnished with the charge of being a leading warmonger. Mikoyan remarked that he would not use the word "tarnished". The Soviets considered the Secretary as the leading strategist of the cold war. The Secretary suggested that when Mikoyan returned to Moscow, he might review the Soviet propaganda line and might well find several respects in which it could be improved. Mikoyan said he would do this on the basis of reciprocity.
The Secretary made the point that in the conversation with Mikoyan he might have to dwell on unpleasant topics. It was important to have a full and frank exchange of views. His attitudes were not personal ones but were basically shared by the people of the United States. Under our form of society the individualistic viewpoint was not the governing one and individuals did not hold public office forever. This might give some satisfaction to the Minister but it would be short-lived because our policies would continue to go on.
Mikoyan said he understood the Secretary was referring to our Constitutional provision for a four-year incumbency by the executive.
[Here follows discussion of Berlin and Germany, printed in volume VIII, Document 135.]
The Secretary said he wanted to talk about two other zones in which danger of war could arise. One was the Far East. There the Chinese Communists were supported by the Soviet Union in the objective that the US must be expelled by force from Taiwan and the West Pacific. Such a policy could have very serious consequences. The United States would not be expelled by force or pressure from its collective security associations in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia. China, like Korea, Vietnam and Germany, was divided. The US was friendly with one part, the Soviet Union with the other. Unification sought by force would almost surely lead to general war. We had exerted great influence for restraint on President Rhee/3/ who wanted to unify Korea by force. On our part, we could not be expelled by force where we were present by invitation or in fulfillment of formal agreements.
/3/Syngman Rhee, President of the Republic of Korea.
Mikoyan said there was no analogy in the situations mentioned-- historically, juridically or in substance. In Germany and in Korea zones of occupation had been set up by victorious allies. In Korea troops had been withdrawn at different dates, then war had occurred--there was no analogy with Germany. As to Mr. Rhee, the Soviets were not sure our professed restraint would always hold. North Korea was now one big reconstruction site and might be envied by South Korea. The former had no intention to fight but if South Korea started, it would fight well, as it had shown. In general it was a good idea to withdraw troops. There was a need for exchanges between the Koreans in the fields of culture and trade as a gradual means of bringing about reunification.
The division in Vietnam, according to Mikoyan, was the result of agreement reached at Geneva by all concerned./4/
/4/Reference is to the Geneva Conference on Indochina in 1954.
Turning to China, Mikoyan said that the United States had been party to agreements that Taiwan should be returned to China along with the other islands. At one time it had not interfered in Chinese affairs--a reasonable policy, useful for the United States. China would win in any case and this would be worse for the United States. After the remnants of counter-revolution had settled on Taiwan the United States had entered into a bilateral agreement/5/ and regarded Chiang Kai-shek as representing China. Treaties with him had not been accepted by the real China. No state would accept such unilateral actions. The Soviets were surprised by Chinese patience. Neither China nor the Soviet Union had ever sought to have the United States leave all the islands in the West Pacific. The United States had a treaty with the Philippines, and troops there,/6/ it had allies in Singapore, it had bases on Okinawa. They did not like this but were not attacking it. In general the Soviet Union wanted all foreign troops withdrawn and peaceful settlements guaranteed by the United Nations. If the United States left Okinawa, it would not be leaving the West Pacific. Since the United States did not want to leave under pressure of force, it should use the respite to leave voluntarily. It would not lose, but gain moral, political and military prestige if it broke with Chiang Kai-shek and recognized the CPR. The latter did not menace the United States, nor did the Soviet Union. The American position gave rise to more anti-Western feeling and tension in the area.
/5/Reference presumably is to the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Republic of China, signed in Washington on December 2, 1954, and entered into force on March 3, 1955. (6 UST 433)
/6/Reference presumably is to the agreement concerning military bases between the United States and the Philippines signed in Manila on March 14, 1947, and entered into force on March 26, 1947. (43 UNTS 271)
The Secretary said Mikoyan had referred to the violation of the armistice in Korea as breaking up the possibility of reunification. This is what had happened at Taiwan.
Mikoyan replied that he had been misunderstood. The Soviets did want reunification of Korea. He had made his remarks as information only and had had no specific purpose in making them.
The Secretary said the Near Eastern situation was complex and he doubted whether he and Mikoyan could agree on any of the elements in the situation. The area was vital to Western Europe as a source of oil and as a means of communication between Asia and the West. The United States had not believed that the military action by the UK, France and Israel in 1956 had been the right way to protect their interests. This attitude should not, however, be interpreted by the Soviet Union as reflecting any United States indifference to what took place there.
We were concerned about apparent efforts of International Communism to gain control of the area, particularly about its activities in Iraq. Although the Soviets had been suspicious of American and British motives in responding to the appeals of Lebanon and Jordan, our withdrawal of troops had proven that we had had no intention of working to sustain Western influence in Iraq from outside. Mikoyan said the Soviets believed, on the contrary, that that had been indeed our objective but that we had not been able to bring it about--public opinion had prevented us. When the Secretary objected, Mikoyan said that both sides would undoubtedly retain their own ideas about this. The Secretary said he was sorry about the Soviet view--it had been disproved by our words and deeds. As soon as a UN formula had been found, we had withdrawn our troops. He said that, on the other hand, he hoped we could feel reasonably confident the Soviet Union did not desire to extend its control in Iraq and other Arab states.
Mikoyan said the Soviets recognized the importance of the Middle East to the West as the source of Arabian oil and as the means of communication to Asia. Bulganin and Khrushchev had made this point directly. The Soviets had, on several occasions, advanced proposals for a Big Power meeting to work out common steps to prevent a further deterioration of the situation and to eliminate outside interference in the area. They had also made proposals about arms shipments./7/
/7/For texts of Khrushchev's letters to Eisenhower, dated July 19 and 23, 1958, proposing a meeting of heads of government to discuss possible solutions to the Middle East crisis, see Department of State Bulletin, August 11, 1958, pp. 231 - 233 and 234 - 235. A Soviet proposal by Khrushchev for a moratorium on arms shipments to the Middle East, which would be conditional on an agreement of noninterference in the area by the powers, was reported in the London Times, February 1, 1958.
The Secretary said we had no quarrel with general principles but the area suggested in the Soviet proposals appeared too broad--stretching from Pakistan to Morocco. Mikoyan said the Soviets had been more interested in the Arab world and in Iran and Turkey in this connection. The Secretary said he had asked Gromyko in October 1957 for clarification of Soviet thinking about the scope of the area covered by their proposals but had not gotten it from him. Mikoyan said they had been talking about the Near and Middle East--certainly not Morocco--the Near East was the main hotbed of tension here. They had acted on the assumption that the three Western Powers wanted to act in the area just as they pleased, without asking the Arabs and without accepting the presence or interests of the Soviet Union.
Mikoyan said the Secretary was wrong in suggesting there had been Soviet interference in Iraq. The Baghdad nations/8/ all had active intelligence services. They knew there had been no Soviet citizens involved. The Soviet leaders had not foreseen the revolution nor had they even heard of Kassem./9/ The Secretary said he could be persuaded that the Soviet Union had played no active part in the overthrow of the Nuri Government,/10/ but he was talking about activities that had taken place since then. Mikoyan observed that if they had not interfered before the revolution it was strange to suggest that they were interfering now. They were glad that the revolution had occurred because it undermined the Baghdad Pact. But, it was not the Communist Party alone but other forces in Iraq as well who were supporting the legal government of Kassem. On the other hand, in the UAR, Nasser was arresting Communists. The Soviet Union had good relations with both countries. Its policy of non-interference was paying off for it in the Middle East. The Soviets had assured the Shah of Iran/11/ that they would not interfere in Iranian affairs, although they didn't like his regime. He had given them assurances that Iran would not engage in any military arrangements directed against the Soviet Union nor allow foreign bases to be set up on Iranian soil. However, since the split in the Baghdad Pact there had been certain developments and his policy seemed to have changed. Iran was providing military bases for the United States. We were thus interfering in the area, not they.
/8/Reference is to the members of the Baghdad Pact, a treaty of mutual cooperation signed at Baghdad on February 24, 1955, between Turkey and Iraq and adhered to later that year by the United Kingdom, Pakistan, and Iran.
/9/Brigadier Abdul Karem Kassem, leader of the army revolt in Iraq in July 1958 and Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior, and Minister of Defense in the new Iraqi Government.
/10/General Nuri el-Said, Prime Minister of the Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan, who was assassinated during the army revolt in July 1958.
/11/Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi.
As to Pakistan, Mikoyan said he didn't know whether there were Communists there or not. He had had good relations with Mirza and had represented the USSR at the Constitution ceremonies. The Soviet attitude towards Ayub Khan was the same as toward the previous government./12/ The Soviets saw no constitutional basis for his government, but this was a matter for the Pakistan people. Western policy in the Middle East was mistaken because it did not recognize that the colonial era had come to an end.
/12/After Iskander Mirza, President of Pakistan, formed a new cabinet on October 24, 1958, and appointed General Ayub Khan as Prime Minister, he announced that he had decided to resign and hand over all powers to General Ayub Khan.
The Secretary said there had been much loose talk about the United States putting in new bases under new treaties with Turkey, Iran and Pakistan./13/ This was not the case. The United States was engaged in fulfilling commitments already made. It had a Mutual Security Act/14/ which laid out the terms and conditions for military assistance. What has been going on has been talks about fulfilling its commitments to Turkey, Pakistan and Iran. These talks were designed to determine the measures needed to bring these commitments up to date.
/13/Reference is to the multilateral declaration respecting the Baghdad Pact, which the United States, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom signed at London on July 28, 1958, and which entered into force the same day. (9 UST 1077) To implement this declaration, the United States subsequently signed agreements of cooperation at Ankara on March 5, 1959, which entered into force the same day, with Iran (10 UST 314), Pakistan (10 UST 317), and Turkey (10 UST 320).
/14/Reference is to the Mutual Security Act of 1954, P.L. 83 - 665, legislation designed to promote U.S. security and foreign policy by furnishing assistance to friendly nations. (68 Stat. 832) The legislation was amended in certain details by Congress in subsequent years.
Mikoyan said it would be better to bury them rather than to bring them up to date. The Secretary said that if Mikoyan saw the texts of the agreements themselves he would be reassured. Our recent commitments might result in some improvement in the military capability of Iran but in general all three countries in our view had excessive military establishments in relation to their resources and we favored greater dedication of the latter to economic development. Mikoyan said that the Soviet view was that the United States was to blame for these large military establishments and that we wanted to keep tension high in the area through this policy.
63. Memorandum of Conversation
//Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1183. Secret; Limited Distribution. Drafted by Freers and approved by Boster on January 22.
Washington, January 16, 1959, 4 - 5:30 p.m.
Anastas I. Mikoyan, Deputy Premier of the USSR Mikhail A. Menshikov, Soviet Ambassador Oleg A. Troyanovski, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, USSR Aleksandr Alekseevich Soldatov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, USSR John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State Christian A. Herter, Under Secretary of State Livingston T. Merchant, Assistant Secretary Llewellyn E. Thompson, American Ambassador to Moscow Edward L. Freers, Director, Office of Eastern European Affairs
In resuming the conversation from the morning session,/1/ Mikoyan indicated that he would like to make some more remarks about the Middle East.
/1/See Document 62.
He said the Soviet Union could not remain tranquil when bases were being set up in countries like Iran and Turkey. They could not reconcile such activity with our peaceful statements. The security of the United States had nothing to do with their southern frontier. Our actions only rendered the United States more insecure since some of these countries might involve us in local conflicts. The Ambassador of India, on the platform with him the other day, had stated that the arming of Pakistan by the United States was a danger to it. Pakistan made threatening statements about Afghanistan. The Soviet Union could not understand either the attitude of the Shah or of the United States regarding Iran. The Soviets had been assured by the Shah that he wanted to improve relations with the USSR and that Iranian territory would not be used against the Soviet Union and no foreign bases would be established. Since talks with him two years ago, Iranian-Soviet relations had improved visibly. Precise frontiers had been agreed upon after 100 years of uncertainty, financial claims had been settled to mutual satisfaction, plans for building hydro-electric stations along the frontier had been agreed upon and trade had improved./2/ Then after the Baghdad Pact split occurred, projects for new agreements emerged. If they were signed, this would bring about a considerable deterioration of Soviet relations with Iran and with the United States. The same applied to Turkey, even though it was part of NATO. New American "pactomania" gave rise to serious misgivings. Did the United States intend to interfere here or to find common ground with the Soviet Union?
/2/The Soviet Union and Iran signed protocols in Tehran on April 11, 1958, which defined their common frontier along its entire length. On August 11, 1958, the two powers agreed to cooperate in the joint utilization of frontier stretches as sources of irrigation and electric power and in the construction of several hydroelectric plans and a dam and resevoir. No record of their settlement of financial claims has been found.
The Secretary said he could not speak for other States, but we considered collective security arrangements a sound principle for countries that want them. Such countries as India and Egypt did not want them and that was their own business. Iran, Turkey or Pakistan would never be used as bases for aggressive United States action against the Soviet Union. With the increased range of missiles, it made no practical difference whether a base were nearby or far away. The USSR perhaps could annihilate the United States from its own bases. The concept that bases in nearby areas were more dangerous than those in remote areas was becoming increasingly fictitious. We had no intention of establishing United States bases in Iran.
Mikoyan inquired why in that case the United States was widening its network of bases, for example in Turkey--and arming them with atomic weapons. The Secretary said countries lying close to the overwhelming power of the Soviet Union naturally wanted to see effective supporting power nearby. He had often told their leaders that more remote power was equally effective. It was human nature to want to see something. This was more of psychological than of great practical significance.
Mikoyan wondered whether our actions regarding pacts led to a deterioration of United States relations not only with the Soviet Union but with non-members of these pacts as well, and thus increased anti- American feeling. How could Iraq trust the United States when three countries surrounding it were allied to the latter and were receiving military assistance from it? They could threaten Iraq or the UAR. These American actions led to acute situations. The Soviet Union on the other hand had good relations with these countries in spite of differing domestic systems.
The Secretary said we were always happy to get advice, but thought that the governments concerned felt we were following the correct policy. Our helping other nations should not be a threat or menace to the USSR. It does constitute assurance to the peoples concerned who are frightened by the magnitude of Soviet power so near at hand. Mikoyan said he couldn't claim any right to offer advice about United States policy but wanted to be frank in expressing his views. The Secretary remarked that he did not want Mikoyan to feel that he resented this.
Mikoyan inquired whether it was the United States intention to provide West Germany with atomic weapons. The Secretary said that under the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act,/3/ which were not likely to be changed in the predictable future, the United States could not in peace time supply nuclear weapons to any other country. Several NATO countries were anxious to have them under their control but we had had to turn them down. There were no such weapons in Europe not under US control. The Brussels Treaty/4/ prohibited the Federal Republic from producing atomic weapons on its own. With regard to press reports mentioned by Mikoyan about lifting restrictions, we did not propose any changes of the Act. We did get it changed to furnish nuclear information to the United Kingdom, on the theory that it was already a nuclear power./5/ We were not even doing this for other countries.
/3/The Atomic Energy Act of 1954. (68 Stat. 919)
/4/A 50-year defensive alliance against armed attack in Europe signed by the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands in February 1948. (19 UNTS 127)
/5/Amendments to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 permitting the transfer of nuclear materials and information to other nations passed Congress and was signed by the President on July 2, 1958. (72 Stat. 276)
The Secretary took up the matter of the Geneva talks on test suspension and surprise attacks./6/ He said he wanted to qualify one earlier remark about the overwhelming support of the people and the Congress for the Administration's policy. He should have indicated that there was a difference of opinion in this country about what our policy should be concerning test suspension. We could see that the latest report about possibilities of detecting underground tests/7/ might be interpreted as reflecting a shift in our policy and as having been designed to block negotiations. This was not the case and, as he had said earlier, we did want agreement. Problems as to what was detectable, what system was required, how it would operate were very complicated but we hoped for a successful outcome and were prepared to negotiate in good faith. We realized that the Soviet Union did not want to be in an unfavorable position in the voting in the Control Commission./8/ We hoped the Soviet Union would understand our position that a control system could hardly work if the country in which it operated had a veto power over its functioning. We would have to study the composition of the control body further. He recalled the offer of the Soviet delegation that it might submit a list of matters where the veto power should apply./9/ When this was submitted it might help to resolve the matter.
/6/Reference is to the Conference on the Discontinuance of Nuclear Weapons Tests beginning on October 31, 1958, and on the conference of experts regarding surprise attack beginning on November 10, 1958, both held in Geneva.
/7/Reference is to the statement by the President's Science Advisory Committee that indicated "that it is more difficult to identify underground explosions than had previously been believed." (Department of State Bulletin, January 26, 1958, pp. 118 - 119)
/8/Reference is to the political and administrative arrangements governing the Control Commission, which the negotiators at the Conference on the Discontinuance of Nuclear Weapons Tests at Geneva were then discussing.
/9/Not further identified.
Mikoyan agreed. He said the Secretary had truly understood Soviet misgivings regarding the American position. The Soviets were generally not too suspicious but did think that doubts could be derived from certain facts. Until a year ago perhaps, people had been saying that it would be impossible to detect explosions. But they could be detected and were being detected. It was impossible to conceal information from intelligence agents in their country and from apparatus outside. The problem was complicated even when scientists dealt with it, but politicians completely complicated it. The Soviets had been apprehensive about the earlier talks, but the scientists had been able to reach agreement. Now, after we had been talking for several months, suddenly American scientists came up with a new discovery that underground tests could not be detected. The Soviets were left with the impression that if this difficulty were overcome, a new one would be put up. We might assert that we could not detect underwater explosions and there would be new talks about oceans.
Mikoyan said he was gratified with the Secretary's statement that we did desire an agreement. They did, too, and would negotiate in good faith. This agreement could be a test as to whether we could agree on any topic. This problem was a clear one and agreement could be reached if the desire were present.
The Secretary said we do detect many Soviet tests but have no way of knowing whether we have detected them all. Mikoyan said that we had not detected more than they had exploded in any event. The Secretary wondered whether we had detected as many. He said if the Soviets have detection devices more advanced than ours, this would be helpful. Mikoyan said that if they did, and agreement were reached, we could all use them. He said the Soviets believed that they could detect all of our tests and that we could detect all of theirs. It wasn't the politicians who decided these questions, anyway. The Soviets were willing to go on with the discussions in the hope of agreement.
In speaking about the surprise attack talks, the Secretary said the approach of the Soviet Delegation had been totally different from ours. They had wanted to discuss the political elements of the problem. We had wanted the experts to do something productive on a technical non- political basis, as had been done in the technical talks on test suspension. As we had indicated in our note yesterday,/10/ we wanted the conference to go on. However, we were not in a position to resume the talks as rapidly as the Soviet Union had desired. Our team was not qualified nor did it have instructions to carry on in the form and manner apparently desired by the Soviet Union. We would have to have some time to explore the matter in the light of the Soviet delegation's position to see if a broader basis could be found to resume the talks. We realized that the Soviet Union might misapprehend our attitude. But, it could be sure that we were not employing delaying tactics but were, in fact, engaging in an intensive restudy of our position.
/10/For text of the U.S. note delivered to the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs on January 15 on the question of renewal of the surprise attack negotiations in Geneva, see Department of State Bulletin, February 2, 1959, pp. 163 - 164.
Mikoyan must have become aware by now that there was a great deal of emotional feeling here about the fate of the crew of the C - 130 plane which was shot down in the Soviet Union. Anything the Soviet Union/11/ might do to satisfy the anxiety of the American public would be helpful from the standpoint of our relations.
/11/See Document 55.
Mikoyan said they had done all they could. However, other information had been given out to the public and this had given rise to suspicions on their part. They had returned all the bodies after the crash. They didn't know about any other personnel since no one had informed them beforehand about the plane and its crew. It made no sense for them to hold any bodies or living crewmen and they were unable to understand the point of American insistence. In fact, it irritated them. They had felt at first that we might not have understood them, but their information had been repeated so often this could not be the case. They, in fact, had a complaint of their own on this matter. They did not know why American planes flew over their territory. It would be better not to endanger lives by such a practice. They would welcome advance information on any planes coming into their country.
The Secretary said that Mr. Mikoyan should appreciate that we don't send planes over their territory to be shot down. This would be stupid. Regular commercial air routes did run close to the Soviet border, however, and it was easy to get off the track.
Mikoyan quickly declared that the plane had not been shot down. It had crashed. He said he knew that regular planes fly close to Soviet borders but technical difficulties could lead to political difficulties.
[Here follows discussion of Germany and Berlin, printed in volume VIII, Document 136.]
64. Memorandum of Conversation
//Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International File. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Thompson. The meeting was held at the White House. Attached to the source text are three memoranda. One from Dulles to the President, January 15, indicates that he would have an oral report for the President on the morning of January 17 concerning his talks with Mikoyan on January 16 and enclosing a briefing paper with suggested talking points for the President's conversation with Mikoyan. In the second memorandum to the President, January 16, Dulles made additional points the President might wish to raise with Mikoyan. The third memorandum from Dulles to the President, January 16, summarized Dulles' conversation with Mikoyan on the morning of January 16. From 8:27 to 8:59 a.m. on January 17, the President met with Dulles, Merchant, Thompson, and Hagerty at which time Dulles presumably briefed the President orally on his meetings with Mikoyan. (Ibid., President's Appointment Book)
Washington, January 17, 1959, 9 a.m.
Mikoyan's Call on the President
The President The Secretary of State Livingston T. Merchant, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Llewellyn E. Thompson, American Ambassador to the Soviet Union First Deputy Prime Minister Mikoyan Ambassador Menshikov Mr. Troyanovski
[Here follow introductory remarks and discussion on Berlin and Germany printed in volume VIII, Document 137.]
After a prompting by Ambassador Menshikov, Mikoyan referred to the President's reply last summer to Khrushchev's letter on trade./1/ This reply had produced a favorable impression but there had been no subsequent progress in this field. The Secretary of State had suggested that he meet with Under Secretary Dillon and he had therefore not discussed this matter with the Secretary of State. The President in his letter had pointed out that even now there was the possibility of developing trade but one difficulty was that the commercial treaty between the Soviet Union and the United States had been denounced. The Congress had also passed legislation directed against the Soviet Union./2/ They had no desire to buy arms or strategic materials and in fact could sell us some.
/1/For texts of Khrushchev's letter to Eisenhower, June 2, 1958, and Eisenhower's reply, July 14, 1958, on expansion of U.S.-Soviet trade, see Department of State Bulletin, August 4, 1958, pp. 200 - 202.
/2/Reference is apparently to the commercial agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States of August 4, 1937. (11 Bevans 1271) This agreement was denounced in the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1951. (65 Stat. 72) Section 5 of that act required the President to deny the benefits of trade agreement concessions to imports from the Soviet Union and its satellites.
[Here follows a brief paragraph crossed out on the source text, which reads: "The President said he had no money. Mikoyan retorted that he had so much he didn't know what to do with it and therefore spent it on arms."]
The President said that Mr. Dillon was a very reasonable and well informed man and he was sure that Mr. Mikoyan's conversation with him would be valuable and interesting. He asked Mr. Mikoyan to carry back to Mr. Khrushchev his thanks for the cordial greeting and say that he reciprocated the sentiments he had expressed for his health and happiness. He was prepared to use the final part of his term to promote a better relationship and he was convinced that this could be brought about. Mr. Mikoyan had spoken of making a beginning. The President had hoped that this beginning had been realized when the Austrian peace treaty was signed and at that time he had expressed the hope that it would be possible to have talks with the Soviet leaders. This had been done at the Geneva conference. Two things had come up there that had aroused great interest and hope. The first was the possibility that Germany could be reunited in such a way that Germany would not become a danger. The agreement had been that this would be done peacefully and by popular elections. The President did not agree that we were too much influenced by any individual in our efforts to resolve these problems. We did not know of any other way of doing this except by free elections. He pointed out that free elections were in our tradition. If we tried to establish an imposed peace we would have to keep observers and maintain forces in order to make Germany observe the conditions imposed and we knew of no practical way other than free elections. We do not desire that there be another militarized Germany. We had had four experiences of German militarism and wanted no more. In our view, Germany also wanted no militarism. In the associations in which West Germany had become a member, provisions in regard to German armaments had been made and had been observed. It was fair to say that we would share the Soviets' anxieties if Germany got in a position to start trouble but the Germans were a strong, virile people and if oppressed could react in a way which we would consider undesirable. It was also important to both of us to remember that if the Germans did not have to bear the cost of arms they would have an advantage in economic competition. We wanted a peaceful Germany united in such a way that neither the Soviet Union nor the United States could have any apprehension about it.
Another point which had come up in the Geneva talks had been the increased contacts, visits, exchanges of literature, etc. The President had sent a letter to Mr. Khrushchev, or perhaps it was to Mr. Bulganin, saying that we would welcome visits here of high Soviet officials For text of Eisenhower's letter to Bulganin, February 15, 1958, proposing, among other things, visits by prominent Soviet citizens to the United States, see Department of State Bulletin, March 10, 1958, pp. 373 - 376. In his January 15 memorandum to the President, attached to the source text, Dulles mentioned that following his meetings with Mikoyan on January 16, he, Vice President Nixon, and other Cabinet members would have dinner with Mikoyan. It may be that the comments of Secretary of Defense McElroy and other Cabinet officials on armaments were made during this dinner.
and he would like to feel that Mr. Mikoyan's visit here was a result of that invitation. The idea of these exchanges had not been implemented in the way it should. We had made arrangements for the exchange of twenty or thirty students but these exchanges should be in the hundreds if we could find enough who had the requisite knowledge of the language. The Russian language appeared to be harder for us than our language was for the Russian people.
The President said he would not speak about trade as Mr. Mikoyan would talk with Mr. Dillon on this but he thought this was an area in which we could seek better relations. We both put too much of our work and talent into arms. In this field we must so act that we can make prog-ress but with confidence in what we are doing. The President said that he wished to conclude as he had started by saying he was persuaded the peoples of both countries wanted peace, and opportunity to improve their cultural level and to raise their standard of living. This basic truth should guide us even when we disagree on some specific problem. He wished to thank Mr. Mikoyan for having come to visit us and if he had encountered bad manners anywhere on his trip he wished him to know that this did not express the attitude of the United States.
[Here follows discussion of Berlin and Germany printed in volume VIII, Document 137.]
Mikoyan said that the President had spoken of military expenditure and he could express full agreement with his remarks. Some of the American cabinet officers and particularly the Minister of Defense had said that the Soviet Union should reduce its arms and expenditures. Mikoyan said that he had replied that this was what they wanted to do but if they did it unilaterally they were afraid the United States would continue to develop its position of strength.
The President interjected that this was what we both always said.
Mikoyan said that then we should both do it together. He pointed out that in the past three years the Soviets had made no increase in their military expenditures whereas the United States expenditures had been very high and Congress on occasion even increased the proposals made by the President which were already at a very high level.
[Here follows discussion of Germany printed in volume VIII, Document 137.]
Mikoyan said that he had been pleased when the President spoke about developing contacts. Some practical steps in this field had been taken and neither side had reason to be disappointed as reciprocity had been observed and both sides had been correct. With respect to students we should exchange not 100 but several hundred. It was true that the Soviet Union preferred to start with a smaller number and he could say frankly why they were so cautious. The Soviet Union was suspicious of the United States intelligence service although it was headed by a very pleasant man, the brother of the Secretary of State, whom he had met last evening. The Soviet Government suspected, although they might be wrong, that this exchange would be used for other purposes than study. If they were real students this was all right but if they were agents it is another matter.
The President interrupted to say that he would be very surprised if it were possible to take an 18 year old student and make an intelligence agent out of him.
Mikoyan said the outcome would depend upon the behavior of the students.
The President said we must develop a situation of confidence so that there would be no need for this feeling of secrecy.
Mikoyan said that Mr. Johnston had arranged an exchange of films and this was important because pictures influence people.
Secretary Dulles observed that certain films were not always helpful, such as crime pictures. Mikoyan replied that they did not make such films and would not take them from us. He said the Soviet films which they were supplying us contained virtually no propaganda and he hoped the President would see them.
[Here follow discussion of Berlin and Germany and concluding remarks printed in volume VIII, Document 137.]
65. Memorandum of Conversation
//Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1183. Confidential. Drafted by Beale. A typed notation at the end of the source text reads: "Note: This memorandum is not a verbatim transcript but is based on detailed notes. In reporting Mr. Mikoyan's remarks the first person pronoun has been substituted for the third person pronoun used by the interpreter."
Washington, January 19, 1959.
Expansion of US-USSR Trade
Anastas R. Mikoyan--Deputy Premier of the USSR Mikhail A. Menshikov--Soviet Ambassador to the United States V. Smolyaichenko--Aide to Mr. Mikoyan Vladimir S. Alkhimov--Commercial Counselor, Soviet Embassy C. Douglas Dillon--Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Llewellyn E. Thompson--United States Ambassador to the USSR W. T. M. Beale--Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Alexander Logofet--Language Services, Department of State (Interpreter)
Mr. Dillon: I am delighted to have this opportunity to discuss common problems of trade. We have always favored peaceful trade and an expansion of trade. This attitude is fundamental to our belief that trade is a very useful thing for every country. In particular, insofar as trade with the Soviet Union is concerned, we feel that there would be a special advantage in promoting greater understanding between our peoples which would lead to the relaxation of tensions. We believe that there would be greater value in the latter sense than in the economic sense. Statements made by the President at the meeting in Geneva were in that line and so it was only natural that he replied in the same vein to Mr. Khrushchev's letter/1/ and hoped that there would be an expansion of trade. We have noted that in the past few years our trade has not been large and we have bought considerably more from the Soviet Union than you have bought from us. Some people have thought that export controls have made it difficult to buy here in the United States. But actually only about 10 percent of the items moving in international commerce are subject to embargo; the rest can be bought under permits and permits will be granted, so we feel that the way to increase this commerce is to start doing it. We have noticed the arrangement to buy steel which some of our companies recently completed in return for purchases of chrome. That was a fine arrangement. One thing puzzles us a little bit. It is fairly clear that most of the long list of items in Prime Minister Khrushchev's letter are available for purchase in the United States. On the other hand he mentioned items which he said the Soviet Union was ready to sell. Many of those we already produce ourselves or buy from others, so that the market for them can't be easily expanded. But perhaps there are some things, more technically advanced, that the Soviet Union has to offer. Our business firms might be interested in such items. We would be interested in knowing more about what those types of goods might be. One thing I think you realize, and that is our business is done by private companies. That is the only way trade can be carried on from the United States. Whether items are available therefore depends upon your negotiations with those private industries and businesses.
/1/See footnote 1, Document 64.
I noticed that one of the main things you indicated an interest in was the products of the chemical industry, such as plastics, synthetics, and so forth. Purchases of those products require negotiations with our chemical industry. From the information available to you, you should be aware that the past business relationships of our chemical industry with the Soviet Union have not been satisfactory. This is because in two or three instances they have arranged to make know-how available and to be paid royalties in return, but in none of these cases have those agreements been carried out. I am aware that the Soviet Union has reasons for being unable to complete those arrangements, but nevertheless the chemical industry feels that they have not been treated fairly. This is something that would have to be looked at very carefully and arrangements made for protecting patent rights, etc., of American producers.
I have noticed that some wonder has been expressed as to why an additional answer to Mr. Khrushchev's proposal has not yet been forthcoming from the State Department. We have prepared such a note/2/ and it would have gone out but, unfortunately, there were political occurrences in the Far East and in Berlin/3/ which, from the standpoint of public opinion, made it impossible to forward the type of response we would have liked to make. While we don't want to feel that political complications are tied into trade, nevertheless it is a fact that they go hand in hand. In a particular case having to do with the extension of credits, there is nothing to prevent normal business credits, that is credits up to six months. Such credits are available. As for other private credits, it is illegal to extend such credits under a law going back to 1934 which was not particularly directed against the Soviet Union but against the defaults of other countries./4/ It would require legislation to change this situation and certainly it would not be possible to undertake such legislation until we had reached agreement on lend-lease products which have not been discussed for some time./5/ I do not know why there have been no further conversations for several years, but the United States is prepared to entertain such conversations at any time the Soviet Union wishes to do so. I cannot think of any one thing that would have a better general effect on public understanding and would do more to advance the cause of expanded trade than a settlement of lend-lease. Now I have talked much too long, and it is your turn.
/3/References are presumably to the controversy over the Formosa Straits and the Berlin crisis.
/4/Reference is to the Johnson Act, enacted on April 13, 1934, which prohibited loans to debtor governments in default to the United States. (48 Stat. 574)
/5/The lend-lease agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union was signed and entered into force on June 11, 1942. (11 Bevans 1281) Negotiations on a settlement of the agreement were suspended indefinitely in late August 1951.
Mr. Mikoyan: I think you might have said more.
Mr. Dillon: I will answer any questions.
Mr. Mikoyan: When Mr. Dulles suggested that I talk with you, I had expected positive and constructive suggestions would be made. We have heard many sweet words but would expect more constructive ones. I have heard you and others make statements that the Soviet Union is carrying on trade for political reasons. I cannot agree. I am now convinced that the United States is carrying out such a policy. The United States has pursued that kind of policy because the answer had been protracted for eight months only because political occurrences have taken place. You are experienced enough to know that political matters do not decide trade matters although they affect them. There is one basic truth: that bad political relations do not contribute to expansion of trade. There is a second truth: that trade expansion does contribute to good political relations.
Mr. Dillon: I would agree with that.
Mr. Mikoyan: Then if you agree with that, we are for the Christian principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. That is the gist of the matter. You said that you buy more than we buy. Evidently you are convinced of this, but I think you are misinformed. I have heard such things being said and I have therefore asked to have something prepared. When making such a statement you take into account only commodities, but you do not take into account expenditures in dollars. The figures for 1957 completely refute what you have said. The export of goods to the United States from the Soviet Union is valued at $16 million, whereas imports from the United States to the Soviet Union are valued at about $10 million. Payments of the USSR to the United Nations are valued at $6 million. So we pay dollars to the United States. Moreover, capital and interest on credits received after the war amount to $7.6 million a year. So the total expenditure of the Soviet Union in dollars in the United States is $23.6 million. The difference of $7.6 million was covered by money we got by selling gold in other countries. These facts refute your thesis on these matters.
So far as the question as to the possibility of exports is concerned, you refer to goods you are producing yourselves or buying from other sources. We are not offering those. We are exporting goods valued at $1.4 billion and those are the goods the United States is importing. Some hundreds of millions of dollars might be chosen to be imported into the United States considering the great expansion of our exports. The Soviet Union has increased its external trade with capitalist countries 3.3 times since [between] 1950 and 1957 inclusive.
The United States is no longer a capitalist country but is a semi- capitalist country. That conclusion speaks for the great possibilities existing in the Soviet Union for an increase in exports. The achievement of self-sufficiency and expansion of the economy in the Soviet Union presupposes an increase in foreign trade.
You refer to private companies and firms as deciding what foreign trade shall be carried on. This is true in a general way, but is not true so far as the Soviet Union is concerned. So far as the Soviet Union is concerned, they are tied hand and foot by the State Department. If the State Department did not interfere or if your legislation were repealed then we would have found a common language with those firms and would have reached agreement with them. After Mr. Roosevelt became the President there was a commercial agreement. This agreement was a simple one but it played a great role. Although you said that your policy does not determine foreign trade matters, still it was the United States Government that denounced the commercial agreement in 1951./6/ As a result we are placed in a state where we are discriminated against. So far as deliveries to the United States of those goods that the United States is not producing are concerned, after the commercial agreement was denounced new import duties were placed on some commodities from the Soviet Union. It may be that you lack concrete information, but judging from what you have said, you are well versed in these matters. As a result of the denunciation of the commercial agreement import duties on some goods are higher than duties on other goods. The duty on manganese ore is four times as high as before although it was a traditional item of trade. The duties on ferro-chrome and ferro-manganese are three times as high. These are strategic materials which add to your war potential, but we are not afraid to sell them. However, let us stick to the views that non-delivery would impede your armaments. I may even console you in the fact that the list which prohibits exports to the Soviet Union only helps us to produce in the Soviet Union and to supply other countries. Timber is a big export item for the Soviet Union, which is large in timber resources. But some import duties are four times as high as some other countries. The duties on birch plywood are three times as high, on tobacco two times as high, and on liquors, including vodka, four times as high. If you don't want to drink vodka, that's all right with me, but it is such a good drink that it seems improper to discriminate. You produce vodka in the United States and you call it by the Russian word "vodka" but you don't pay any royalties on a fixed percentage basis. You only count your claims against us, not ours against you. I therefore reserve the right to raise the question of patents for vodka in the United States.
/6/See footnote 2, Document 64.
Mr. Dillon: Unfortunately it is true, since you produce very good vodka. I know of one American firm that imports it in bulk and bottles it and, as I have found out for myself, it is very good.
Mr. Mikoyan: Why "unfortunately"?
Mr. Dillon: "Unfortunately" because we cannot make vodka as well as you can.
Mr. Mikoyan: It is interesting that you should feel that way.
Mr. Dillon: It is the psychology of friendly competition.
Mr. Mikoyan: What you proceed from is not friendly competition. One more point relating to Soviet furs. Soviet furs do not undermine capitalism. Indeed, they only make your beautiful ladies more beautiful, so they do not undermine your system. Your Congress has banned imports of furs since 1951 without reason. Seven kinds of Soviet furs have been banned but no reasons were stated. Presumably no reasons were given because it is expected that every fool will understand the reasons. But we do not consider ourselves in the category of fools and we can't understand it. Perhaps the reason is that your finance ministry had no other useful business to do. I do not mean your present finance minister, who is a pleasant fellow.
With reference to crabmeat, so far as I know Americans are fond of crabmeat. I have done my best to find why crabmeat imports are prohibited. It was stated that according to exact information available to the United States crabmeat was produced by Japanese prisoners of war or Soviet prisoners./7/ Evidently the minister of finance was a capable man to invent this. It is well known that our canned crabmeat is produced on floating factories. There has never been a single Japanese on those floating factories, and you cannot find a reasonable businessman who will be letting prisoners into his factory to work. There are many civil workers who can do that kind of a job. Last, but not least, we don't have a single Japanese prisoner of war. But the United States Government keeps out the goods. The same argument can be generally applied and then there will be no trade. You might declare that all workers in the Soviet Union are prisoners. Such decisions are not an ornament to your government. If I had revealed these facts on a television program, your people would have laughed at you. You speak in favor of expansion, but is it possible to trade under such circumstances? I expected when I came that you would make some suggestions for eliminating the obstacles existing since 1951.
/7/In briefing the press on the Mikoyan - Dillon interview, Dillon recalled that the United States uncovered evidence in 1951 that Soviet crabmeat was being processed by "slave labor," and the crabmeat was banned under Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which prohibited exports produced by "convict, forced and indentured labor." Dillon said this ban would continue until the Soviet Union supplied evidence that this labor was not indentured. (The New York Times, January 20, 1959)
So far as the claims of the chemical companies concerning disputable matters, there is some foundation for what you say, but your information is outdated. I have been informed on one problem connected with the DuPont Company. Although we had all the rights to insist on our position, nevertheless our economic organization is prepared to reach an agreement. So it should not be a long time before the dispute no longer exists. I have been informed that 17 oil and chemical firms had patent claims after the War. All claims disputes have been completely settled with 15 out of those 17. There is a difference of opinion with the two remaining firms so far as the sum of compensation is concerned. They didn't like the figures on the Soviet side but, instead of negotiating with us, they interrupted the negotiations. We are not responsible for that. Negotiations on sums is the usual thing in a business. Therefore, these kinds of disputes can't be considered real obstacles.
I don't want to go into this depth on an analysis of the list of goods which require permits. You are aware of many things that should be corrected in those lists if we are to develop trade. At one of the meetings I had with your businessmen, I quoted some of the items on the list and there was a great deal of laughter, not at us but at the State Department. It was not my purpose to cause laughter but to convince them that some reason should be applied. I don't know what steps businessmen contemplate should be taken, but they will get there. It is said that your State Department enjoys very great powers, in fact dictatorial powers as it is the fashion to say.
You have referred to chemical firms. They behave better with respect to our trade organizations and our importing organizations have been negotiating to place orders. Chemical firms agreed to accept orders for petrochemical plants but said they had to ask the State Department. Quite a period has elapsed but the firms have informed us that the State Department has neither refused nor taken a decision. This is a very flexible approach, very fine, not rough, there is lots of elegance in this.
So far as credits are concerned, you said that it is possible to get six months credits. I do not quite understand this. Is there an instruction or legislation that makes six months possible and seven months impossible? If you pass that rule on the way we repay our debts why does the rule affect six months credit and not seven months? Certainly six or seven months are of no practical importance. You also emphasize the Johnson Act.
Mr. Dillon: It is the same law.
Mr. Mikoyan: That is right. It is not directed especially against the Soviet Union. Incidentally, we were granted bigger credits by the United States in spite of the fact that we never stated our intention to repay the Czarist debts. Certainly Americans are reasonable enough not to expect us to pay the debts of the Czars. If you mean repaying Czarist debts, then that is another object of laughter. But under your present interpretation of law we are put in the category of those who are not exact payers. An idea has just struck me. We are making payments to you on our obligations. That is our 1945 credit. The entire sum with interest amounts to about $300 million. We have actually paid more than $60 million. Maybe it is necessary in order to support your statement that we have to stop paying interest and capital on this sum. If you stick to that, and your opinion evidently supports it, you have no right to make claims on us and we could save over a quarter of a billion dollars. Your idea is worth study but we consider ourselves accurate payers.
So far as lend-lease is concerned, in the lend-lease agreement it is not particularly stated that we are to pay. There is not a single word to that effect. The gist of the idea in that agreement is that if the efforts are compensated that would be enough for the United States. If we compare our efforts with yours we know that we bore the brunt of the burden of war. So we compensated by our sacrifices several times the efforts of the Americans. In his message of October 9, 1941 Mr. Roosevelt stated: "I solemnly declare to you that in the event the present war plans of Hitler are successfully carried into effect, we the Americans shall be impelled to carry on the same devastating war as he is now waging on the Russian front"./8/ Mr. Acheson, in July 1942, said "Is it possible that you want to put on one side of the scale costs of tanks and ammunition and on the other side the cost of the lives of those who died in these tanks? What comparison is there between such costs and the lives of those people who perish in snow, etc., etc.?"/9/ These quotations make quite clear the position in these matters. You should offer long-term credits to increase the orders that the Soviet Union might place in the United States, and you have promised that firms could make available six months credit. You have also suggested at the same time that we should settle the lend-lease. Evidently we must make payments to you. There is no mutual trade in this, just a one-way street. I draw the conclusion that for reasons of a political nature the cold war continues and you are not prepared to expand trade but to make statements only to console people. In spite of the friendly expressions you have used and the quiet, business-like way you have talked, I am still disappointed. As a matter of fact, as we are not carrying on negotiations I do not see that there is something the United States is willing to do. Let us, therefore, wait until better times. Perhaps they will come.
/8/Roosevelt made roughly this statement toward the end of his message of October 9, 1941, asking Congress to authorize the arming of merchant ships and to revise the Neutrality Act of 1939.
/9/Notes are not exact for this quotation. [Footnote in the source text. Reference may be to a speech given by Assistant Secretary of State Dean Acheson at the Institute of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, on July 6, 1946. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, July 11, 1942, p. 616.]
Mr. Dillon: Thank you, Mr. Minister, for your full explanation which has been very revealing. As regards the use of trade for political purposes, I have not mentioned that subject in talking with you. There have been statements made publicly in which I have referred particularly to the action of your Chinese friends in cutting off trade with Japan, which they admitted was done for political reasons.
Mr. Mikoyan: But you told untruths when you referred to Soviet-Yugoslav trade. It is not true. We have not stopped trade. It is at the same level as before. But you evidently needed to make that statement.
Mr. Dillon: I'm glad to hear that the actions of the Soviet Union toward Yugoslavia and Finland have no political motivation. Many people have thought otherwise.
Mr. Mikoyan: We did not pursue the purpose of developing trade. We have deferred payments but trade has continued.
Mr. Dillon: However, the subject does not have much to do with what we are talking about. You mentioned that popular opinion is important; that political events do affect public opinion; and that political events affect trade. Two events, the abrogation of the trade agreement and legislation concerning furs,/10/ were both the result of action of Congress and were not the result of suggestions by the Executive Branch.
/10/Section 11 of the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1951 required the President to prevent the importation of ermine, fox, kolinsky, marten, mink, muskrat, and weasel furs, dressed or undressed, produced in the Soviet Union or Communist China. For text of section 11 and President Truman's proclamation implementing it, see ibid., August 20, 1951, p. 291.
Mr. Mikoyan: When then shouldn't you make a suggestion to Congress that these be corrected?
Mr. Dillon: Such a suggestion would be possible, but it is a question whether it would be useful until Congress is ready to act, and Congress is responsive to public opinion. Therefore, it couldn't happen until relations are better than they are now.
Mr. Mikoyan: I don't think I am wrong in my impressions from businessmen that they seem to be in favor of an expansion of trade.
Mr. Dillon: You are in favor, and we feel that trade can be expanded in many items. You gave me a long list of items on which our tariffs are higher against Soviet products. I could make one equally long in which there is no tariff difference and in which there could be an expansion of trade, for example, chrome ore. But surely you would not feel that we should stop buying these products from the underdeveloped countries, that we should stop such trade and immediately switch the business to you.
Mr. Mikoyan: I don't demand that. But your requirements are growing; or are they not?
Mr. Dillon: Yes, and possibly an expansion could take place through growth.
You mention difficulties in getting permits. If you take the figures for the past year, out of $22 million for which export permits were asked by various companies, only $3.5 million were not granted. So the great majority are granted.
Mr. Mikoyan: I would like to know what the sum is for those petrochemical requirements that are under consideration. That is another matter.
Mr. Dillon: They don't add up to any particular sum because most of the permits under consideration are for engineering and technical services. These are subcontracted out and they say that they don't know just how big these are.
Mr. Mikoyan: The sum of this category will be bigger.
Mr. Dillon: You should not feel that these will not be granted as no decision has yet been reached on these items.
Mr. Mikoyan: It may happen that there will be no need for permits since we shall either produce these things or buy them somewhere else. This delay is in fact a form of refusal.
Mr. Dillon: Regarding crabmeat, imports are embargoed under law which goes back to 1930. The law does not apply only to the Soviet Union and we are ready to consider its removal and allow the entry of crabmeat if you will allow the Treasury Department to obtain the necessary information to be sure that the conditions existing in 1951 do not exist any more.
Mr. Mikoyan: You haven't got the data to prove your conclusions. You would evidently like to send controllers to be placed at each floating factory. We are fond of crabmeat ourselves and will keep it.
Mr. Dillon: You might talk further with Ambassador Thompson about this and something might be done.
We are glad to hear your figures on trade balance for 1957. Our figures show that exports are valued at $4.5 million, while our figure for imports is very close to the figure you used. I am surprised to hear that you consider that United Nations expenditures are part of trade with the United States.
Mr. Mikoyan: It is a matter of the balance of payments in dollars. We have to sell in the UN countries in order to get dollars. How would we get them otherwise?
Mr. Dillon: Can't you pay in gold?
Mr. Mikoyan: If Hammarskjold/11/ were sitting in Moscow, you would have to pay him.
/11/Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Mr. Dillon: We would pay in gold.
Mr. Mikoyan: We do not want your gold.
Mr. Dillon: Regarding the Johnson Act, the law provides that there can be no loans. The Attorney General has ruled that ordinary commercial credits, that is up to 180 days, are not loans.
As for lend-lease, as you know we have reached accords with all other countries. We don't ask for anything they acquired during the course of the fighting. All we are asking for is settlement of civilian items delivered after lend-lease trade had ended.
Mr. Mikoyan: You might be mistaken in your facts. After the war ended America stopped deliveries with only one day's notice. The civil supplies affected after that valued at $210 million were continued under credit arrangements.
Mr. Dillon: Our figures are based on the date on which we considered that lend-lease was over. We do feel that there is an obligation on the Soviet Union for an undetermined amount. This to be paid over a period of time. We do feel that it should be honored as a valid obligation. Regarding your suggestion concerning a possibility of ceasing payments on your post-war debt, we would regret such action, but it would have the effect of making it perfectly clear that the Soviet Union does not always honor its obligations.
Mr. Mikoyan: I don't understand.
Mr. Dillon: What I said was that Mr. Mikoyan had said that the Soviet Union might not honor the obligations under the credit and that we would regret that but it would have the effect of making it perfectly clear that the Soviet Union does not always honor its obligations.
Mr. Mikoyan: There was no such intention on the part of the Soviet Government. The idea just came to me personally in connection with your statement that we are not accurate payers.
Mr. Dillon: I never said that the Soviet Union was not accurate payers but merely that we couldn't proceed with other obligations until settlement under the lend-lease had been made.
You mentioned items under export control which you considered foolish. We are aware of the items you mentioned to American business people as being under control. The facts are that they are not under control. We didn't want to take issue publicly with what you said, but you were misinformed.
Mr. Mikoyan: We are not going to weaken your strategic position.
Mr. Dillon: We do feel very seriously that there is a great deal of room for a substantial increase in trade and, as the President said in his letter to Prime Minister Khrushchev, all that is necessary is to make contact with private people. If there is no such effort on your part we can regretfully draw the same conclusions that you have drawn, but in reverse, that the Soviet Union is not really interested in expanding trade but merely sends us letters for political purposes. We would hope that times would become better and that we would be able to reach a point where trade can expand because it would be a useful thing.
Mr. Mikoyan: In order quickly to place big orders one has to have credits. In reply to that suggestion you say pay for lend-lease. What kind of trade is that?
Mr. Dillon: Lend-lease must be settled before any credits can be extended in large amounts. Nevertheless, we can increase our trade without large, long-term credits and such an increase would be useful.
Mr. Mikoyan: Well, without repealing some of those laws, there would be some expansion but not a big expansion of trade. Concerning lend-lease I ask you to think over the sacrifices that the Soviet people had to make, the destruction of war and the millions that perished. And then put on the scale the expenditures you went into during the war. You should also consider the outcome--that is, the defeat of Hitler.
Mr. Dillon: The Soviet Union has never until now said that it was not prepared to settle lend-lease. In the past it has made concrete offers and only the exact amount has been in dispute. I am surprised at the Minister's position that the Soviet Union is not prepared to make any payment at all. This is certainly a change in the Soviet position.
Mr. Mikoyan: We are not obliged to pay anything on lend-lease. We want to trade. But first you must give us credit so that we can start. If you can't make credit available, then we must do without trade. Our plans don't take into account credits, but if you give us credits we can make changes in our plans.
66. Memorandum of Visit
//Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1183. Official Use Only. Drafted by Frederick H. Mueller, Under Secretary of Commerce, on January 19. The meeting was held at the Department of Commerce.
Washington, January 19, 1959, 3 p.m.
U.S. Ambassador Lacy Thompson
Russian Ambassador Menshikov
Commercial Attache--Russian Embassy
Under Secretary Mueller
Acting Assistant Secretary Marshall Smith
Mr. Mikoyan remarked again that he was getting used to the photographers in this country.
The first matter brought up was about our highways. Mr. Mikoyan was greatly impressed by the multiplicity of good roads. Secretary Strauss thanked him for the "advertisement" inasmuch as the road program is under the general direction of the Department of Commerce. They fear that it will be a long time before Russia can catch up with us in the development of such a road system. While they have paved highways connecting Warsaw and Moscow and many of the principal capitals of the satellite countries they have a great lack of highways throughout their nation serving the smaller communities. There are some roads in Siberia but they are very primitive.
Mr. Mikoyan remarked that it is high time we get more closely together and agree to cooperate on all matters of mutual interest to ourselves and to them.
Secretary Strauss remarked that 38 years ago when he was associated with former President Hoover in relief work he had been of some assistance in helping Russia during a period of great famine. Secretary Strauss mentioned that he would like to go to Russia sometime and was assured of a hearty welcome. As a matter of fact, Mr. Mikoyan said he would be pleased to have him as his personal guest.
Mr. Mikoyan was asked if the newspaper people, especially at the press conference this noon, bothered him. He said especially on "Meet the Press"/1/ he felt like losing his temper. He said he was not afraid of sharp questions but he could and would bite back. He stated they did not give him sufficient time to answer questions. He brought up the point that in the Middle Ages, when fighting duels, no honorable man would attack when an adversary was not ready. If done, the violator lost honor and was not accepted even by his own associates. Such a man often committed suicide.
/1/For the transcript of the interview with Mikoyan on "Meet the Press," an NBC television news program, on Sunday, January 18, see The New York Times, January 19, 1959.
Secretary Strauss mentioned that we have become used to the press in this country--that Mr. Mikoyan provided them with a number of headlines during his trip in this country. It was apparent that Mr. Mikoyan was somewhat annoyed at the lack of time given him to answer some of the questions, especially at the National Press Club. He said the president of the club made a speech of considerable length and then he was short of time for his answers.
He is not particularly enamored of former President Truman. He feels that Truman's policies, both at the time of his incumbency and since, have not helped our two countries ability to get together and that his recent comments in the press would not help the situation./2/
/2/Truman's "recent comments in the press" may be his two syndicated articles that criticized Soviet policy on Berlin as well as U.S. "diplomatic tourists" to the Soviet Union and U.S. hosts to Soviet visitors like Mikoyan for their eagerness in soliciting the attention of Soviet leaders. (Ibid., December 1, 1958 and January 19, 1959)
When asked if he felt he accomplished what he came for the answer was in the affirmative. While he said that he had no practical purpose for making the trip but merely to exchange opinions and try to feel out the pulse of this country, the results that he has achieved are beyond his expectations.
Secretary Strauss asked why 7 year periods were taken instead of 5 or 9. The answer was that while 5 year periods have usually been taken, they felt that in these changing times and conditions 7 years was a better length of time to accomplish their program. For instance, he mentioned that they had previously emphasized coal production, but in the last two years they have begun to develop their natural gas potential--gas being more efficient than coal. They have postponed their hydro-electric stations, mainly to save capital and to utilize their capital for power stations where power would be most efficiently and cheaply developed.
While they have atomic power plants, the efficiency of such plants is very low compared to thermal plants. Secretary Strauss asked if he could tell us the percentage efficiency difference between atomic power development and that from thermal type, but Mr. Mikoyan could not give an exact percentage except to say it was much less efficient and required more investment and therefore costs considerably higher. Further development in this area is mainly experimental.
When asked if their natural gas had a helium content the answer was in the affirmative "in a small degree". This was not followed up and cannot be assured as to its veracity because of the somewhat hesitant manner in which the answer was given.
Secretary Strauss mentioned that over the portals of the Department of Commerce building is a quotation from Benjamin Franklin, approximately "fair and equitable trade between nations is our goal". He stated he hoped that this could be accomplished between our countries and Mr. Mikoyan said he was of the same opinion.
Russian economic development, he stated, has to be at a much slower pace than they had hoped to achieve because they have so many areas to develop that it is a difficult problem.
He stated that in talking with Mr. Dillon this morning/3/ he felt that he did not accomplish a great deal--that he was somewhat hurt at Dillon's adamant attitude and that it "smells of cold war". He stated that diplomats, and he does not claim to be one, are very cold in their attitude and spend a lot of time "beating about the bush".
/3/See Document 65.
Secretary Strauss stated that the Patent Office is a part of the Department of Commerce and how our patent system has proven to be the bulwark of our whole industrial development. The patent system is an incentive to scientists and assures them of a reward for their initiative and ideas for a reasonable time. He stated that if Russians can take our inventions, without adequate compensation, it is unfair whether it is done directly or indirectly. Mr. Mikoyan stated that something must be worked out and claims not to be informed on this particular situation. He knows that there are contracts in which licenses to use processes are agreed upon and for which payment is made. Secretary Strauss emphasized that he was not talking as much about that but had reference to the copying [of] individual items or procedures without any license. Again, Mr. Mikoyan stated that this must be worked out, but had never been called to his attention. He could not assure us of a change of attitude in this area as he doesn't know.
His attention was called to the international conference regarding patents,/4/ which he had heard about and should be further studied. He feels that all obstacles to normal trade should be eliminated and that "fair and equitable" should be put into effect.
/4/Reference is to the Diplomatic Conference for the Revision of the International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, which convened at Lisbon, Portugal, on October 6, 1958.
Secretary Strauss stated that there was a large list of items on which there were no restrictions as to purchase and that it was only strategic items to which we denied them access. He was rather amused that newspapers quoted Mr. Mikoyan as saying they could not even buy toothpaste in this country, but it was denied that such a statement had been made. He did say, however, they were perfectly willing for them to buy laxatives and other items of this character that were rather ridiculous. He was assured there had been a rather substantial increase in available items and that there was a large list available to them. As a matter of fact we buy much more from Russia than we sell them even though the total foreign trade between the two countries is insignificant. In 1957 they sold us $16 million dollars worth of goods and bought $10 million, however, they claim they paid United Nations $6 million which, they feel, came to this country, and also paid $7-1/2 million for obligations incurred at the end of World War II.
They are particularly disturbed about restriction on importation of furs to this country/5/ and also the high duty on manganese. They stated that since 1950 the trade with other capitalist countries had increased three times, while the trade with the United States had even declined. Mr. Mikoyan said, "let us work together to eliminate this distrust".
/5/See footnote 10, Document 65.
He asked Secretary Strauss whether employees in the Department of Commerce heeded his "commands". Secretary Strauss stated he did not issue commands. He also said that in a democracy only in the military were commands used, but he could assure Mr. Mikoyan that everyone in the Department is in accord with policies as enunciated by him.
The Secretary presented Mr. Mikoyan with a copy of "Washing-ton's Farewell Address" in which he had marked a specific part--this was covered in the press release just issued./6/
An interesting discussion was had on the difference between our religious backgrounds and beliefs, and that of an atheistic country like Russia. The answer was "we do not believe in God but in morality, but let us not discuss whose morality is the highest".
Secretary Strauss said it is the American's belief religion is much more than morality. Mr. Mikoyan brought out that a number of them lost sons in the war who had given their lives for their country. Secretary Strauss stated that love of country is not religion--that while an admirable motive we did not confuse it with religion. Mr. Mikoyan stated that "equality" and "brotherhood of man" was their religion, and again Secretary Strauss stated that this is not our belief. Mr. Mikoyan mentioned that for thousands of years our religion has taught the brotherhood of man but that it still has not been accomplished.
They stated that they will fulfill contracts--how could they continue on and have confidence of their people without keeping their contracts. Mr. Mikoyan claims they have kept their obligations to a tee--not naming them. He would like to see a warmer climate between our two countries.
He presented the Secretary with a present which the Secretary graciously accepted.
67. Memorandum of Discussion at the 394th Meeting of the National Security Council
//Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Prepared by Gleason on January 22.
Washington, January 22, 1959.
[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda item 1.]
2. Visit of Deputy Prime Minister Mikoyan to the United States
Secretary Dulles stated his doubt whether it was worthwhile to take up much of the Council's time with an account of Mikoyan's visit to this country. If the members of the Council had read the newspapers carefully they would know as much about the Mikoyan visit as anyone else.
There was, however, continued Secretary Dulles, one curious and difficult matter to explain about the visit. That is what happened on Mikoyan's last day in Washington and what occurred particularly in his conversation with Under Secretary of State Dillon./1/ On this latter occasion Mikoyan had violently denounced Dillon's proposals for a gradual improvement in trade relations between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Indeed, he went on to make of Mr. Dillon far-reaching demands which he must have known would have to be refused. These included the granting of U.S. credits to the U.S.S.R., treatment of the U.S.S.R. in the context of the Most Favored Nation, and removal of all obstacles to trade in strategic materials. Thereafter, when he left this country Mikoyan accused us of carrying on the Cold War. These maneuvers all seemed to have been contrived and they were extremely difficult to reconcile with Mikoyan's earlier efforts to appear to be conciliatory. On Friday, a day on which Secretary Dulles said he had spent most of his time with Mikoyan, the question of U.S. credits to the U.S.S.R. for trade purposes was not even mentioned, although apparently Mikoyan mentioned this matter briefly to the President./2/ Accordingly, it seemed to Secretary Dulles that these maneuvers were deliberately contrived for a purpose.
/1/See Document 65.
/2/See Document 64.
With respect to the world situation in general, Mikoyan had contented himself with putting on a very spirited defense of all the existing U.S.S.R.positions. One could detect no change or weakening in any respect except perhaps that Mikoyan had asked for talks on Germany which would be limited to two subjects: namely, Berlin and a German Peace Treaty. To this proposal we had replied that in any talks on Germany it would be impossible to isolate these two issues and that such matters as German unification and European security could not be excluded from these conversations. Also we underlined our refusal to meet with the Soviet Union under the latter's dictation as to the agenda topics. The fact that Mikoyan did not reject out of hand this response of ours may perhaps portend some slight concession. Otherwise, there was no weakening whatsoever in the well-known general Soviet position. In fact, said Secretary Dulles, he did not anticipate any significant change in the Soviet position until we had come closer to the end of the six months period at which point the Soviets had threatened to turn over their responsibilities in Berlin to the East German regime.
Mr. Allen Dulles expressed the thought that Mikoyan's ploy on his last day in the U.S. might have been motivated by a desire to provide himself with a thesis for the report which he would make to the Party Congress in Moscow next week. The events of the last day could provide Mikoyan with material for a blast against the U.S. on grounds of our refusal to increase our trade with the Soviet Union. Khrushchev may well be worried about the possibility of too great a relaxation of tensions and Mikoyan could help meet his anxiety with such a blast against the U.S.
The National Security Council:/3/
/3/The paragraph that follows constitutes NSC Action No. 2038, approved by the President on January 23. (Department of State, S/S - NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)
Noted and discussed the policy implications of the subject visit in the light of an oral report by the Secretary of State.
[Here follow the remaining agenda items.]
S. Everett Gleason
68. Editorial Note
The 21st Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union met in Moscow January 27 - February 5, 1959. The Congress was attended by more than 1,200 delegates from the Soviet Union and delegations from some 70 other Communist nations. The focus of the congress was on the long opening speech on January 27 by Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Chairman of the Soviet Council of Ministers, on the Seven-Year Plan (1959 - 1965) of economic development and on other aspects of Soviet domestic and foreign policies. For complete text of this speech, see Current Digest of the Soviet Press, February 18, 1959, pages 12 - 19, February 25, 1959, pages 3 - 10, March 4, 1959, pages 17 - 25, and March 11, 1959, pages 13 - 20. Regarding the evaluation of Director of Central Intelligence Allen W. Dulles of this speech, see Document 69. A summary and analysis of Khrushchev's speech is contained in Intelligence Report No. 7942, "Foreign Policy Implications of Khrushchev's Report to the XXI CPSU Congress" which the Division of Research and Analysis for the USSR and Eastern Europe, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, prepared on February 5. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, OSS - INR Reports)
Other speakers at the congress reiterated Khrushchev's emphasis on overtaking and outstripping the West in per capita output in key kinds of production by the end of the Five-Year Plan and on assuming by about 1970 first place in the world in both absolute and per capita production. They, like Khrushchev, emphasized a foreign policy based on the Leninist principle of "peaceful coexistence" and an end to the cold war but also predicted that increased Communist strength relative to the non-Communist world would result in more assertive policies toward the West. For the condensed texts of many speeches given at the congress, see Current Digest of the Soviet Press, March 11 - June 3, 1959, inclusive.
Khrushchev's concluding remarks to the congress on February 5, which reiterated many of the same themes, are printed ibid., June 10, 1959, pages 23 - 30. For complete text of the Seven-Year Plan Goals adopted by the congress, see ibid., April 1, 1959, pages 3 - 30.
A summary and analysis of the entire congress, prepared by the Division of Research and Analysis for USSR and Eastern Europe, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, is printed in "The Twenty-First CPSU Congress," Soviet Affairs, February 1959, pages 26 - 33.
69. Memorandum of Discussion at the 395th Meeting of the National Security Council
//Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Prepared by Gleason on January 29.
Washington, January 29, 1959.
[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda item 1.]
2. Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security
The Director of Central Intelligence dealt first with Khrushchev's six hour speech at the 21st Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union which had opened in Moscow last Tuesday./1/ He pointed out that representatives of some seventy Communist Parties in different countries of the world would be attending the Congress. Even the American Communist Party was represented. Undoubtedly, the Congress would plan various programs for the subversion of the Free World as they usually did at such meetings. The Congress was now about to go into Executive Session.
/1/See Document 68.
Khrushchev's speech, continued Mr. Allen Dulles, revealed no notable change in the earlier forecast of the economic goals of the new 7-Year Plan. Thus the speech was essentially a propaganda ploy for the new 7- Year Plan. Wide claims were made by Khrushchev for the Plan. He predicted among other things that the U.S.S.R. would surpass the U.S. in per capita production by 1970, a claim which Mr. Dulles believed impossible to realize.
After a brief discussion of the figures presented by Khrushchev, Mr. Dulles went on to point out the claim by Khrushchev that the realization of the objectives of the 7-Year Plan would provide the Communist Bloc with a decisive edge over the Free World by 1970. Also notable was Khrushchev's statement on ICBM's. After considerable study, Mr. Dulles said that the most careful translation indicated that Khrushchev had stated that "serialized production of ICBM's has been organized". If this were an accurate translation, Mr. Dulles indicated that it fitted well with our U.S. intelligence estimates which have assumed that ICBM's would be coming off the production line in small numbers this Calendar Year./2/ Khrushchev's statement did not indicate that Soviet production of ICBM's was ahead of our estimates.
/2/An intelligence estimate [document number and title not declassified], August 19, 1958, concluded: "The USSR will probably have a first operational capability with ten prototype ICBMs at some time during calendar year 1959." (Department of State, INR - NIE Files) Another intelligence estimate [document number and title not declassified], December 23, 1958, concluded: "we continue to estimate that the USSR will probably achieve a first operational capability with 10 prototype ICBMs at some time during the year 1959." (Ibid.) [Here follow discussion of unrelated subjects and the remaining agenda items.]
S. Everett Gleason
70. Memorandum for the Record
//Source: Eisenhower Library, Project Clean Up, Intelligence Matters. Top Secret. Prepared by John S. D. Eisenhower.
Washington, February 12, 1959.
At a meeting held after NSC today, attended by Secretary McElroy, Secretary Quarles and General Twining, Mr. McElroy brought up the question of aerial reconnaissance over the USSR. He pointed out that in the recent Congressional investigations he had been successful in blunting much of the attack on the U.S. posture relative to ICBMs./1/
/1/McElroy may be referring to his briefing in closed session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 16 on the U.S. defense posture, printed in Executive Sessions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Historical Series), 1959, vol. XI, pp. 17 - 53. However, the Congress was continually concerned over the basic premises employed by the Department of Defense, that is, our intelligence estimates. He pointed out that we know the location of no launching platforms within the USSR. He therefore requested the President to consider the matter of additional overflights of the USSR, citing the opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that our planes will not be shot down. General Twining reinforced this request by stating that the Joint Chiefs of Staff would certainly like more information. Mr. McElroy would like to obtain permission to do some planning with State and CIA.
The President mentioned the project to build a more advanced plane to replace the U - 2, which he thinks is coming along nicely. He feels that our activity along these lines should be held to a minimum pending the availability of this new equipment. To this Mr. Quarles pointed out that the new equipment will not be available for eighteen months to two years. This argument did not appear to sway the President, however, in that he discounts the capability of the Soviets to build many launching sites within a year. This he bases on the corresponding construction capability within the U.S., observing that we generally overestimate the capability of the USSR to outperform us. He reviewed the controversy of two years ago over the number of Bisons and Bears available to the Soviets. As it turned out, the threat from these aircraft has been far less than had been initially estimated./2/ The President conceded the great advantage held by Mr. Khrushchev over himself, accruing from the dictatorial methods which Mr. Khrushchev is able to follow.
/2/At his news conference on February 26, 1957, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson revised downward the estimate of Soviet operational bomber strength and said the B - 52 heavy bomber was superior to the Russian Bison, with which it had been compared. (The New York Times, February 27, 1957)
The President is reserved on the request to continue reconnaissance flights on the basis that it is undue provocation. Nothing, he says, would make him request authority to declare war more quickly than violation of our air space by Soviet aircraft. He stated that while one or two flights might possibly be permissible he is against an extensive program. A brief discussion followed with respect to the role of reconnaissance satellites. It was agreed that the satellite, since it does not violate air space, cannot be considered in the same light as reconnaissance aircraft. It was agreed that the satellite represents the greatest future in this reconnaissance area.
At this time General Goodpaster pointed out that an aerial reconnaissance mission in the North had been considered and approved, but had not been flown as the result of unfavorable sun angle and unfavorable weather. This cannot be implemented until March. It is rated No. 1 priority. However, after this delay, a new consideration will be necessary. General Twining agreed that the area of the USSR to be covered by this planned reconnaissance mission in the north is extremely important. (As a side issue, the President pointed out that we will at least learn from the next reconnaissance flight whether the Soviets have an adequate surface-to-air missile at that time. General Twining pointed out that the Soviets have never fired a missile at one of our reconnaissance aircraft.)
In closing, Mr. Quarles noted that there are [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] flights scheduled for the calendar year 1959. These will be cleared on a case-by-case basis with the President. This was agreeable to the President.
As the group was leaving, the President pointed out the close relationship between these reconnaissance programs and the crisis which is impending over Berlin. As May 27th approaches,/3/ the President believes it would be most unwise to have world tensions exacerbated by our pursuit of a program of extensive reconnaissance flights over the territory of the Soviet Union./4/
/3/The Soviet note of November 27, 1958, set a deadline of 6 months, or May 27, 1959, for acceptance by the Western powers of its proposal for the conversion of West Berlin into a "free city." For text of the Soviet note, see Department of State Bulletin, January 19, 1958, pp. 81 - 89.
/4/In a memorandum for the record, March 4, Goodpaster noted that at the President's request he "advised General Twining that the President has decided to disapprove any additional special flights by the U - 2 unit in the presently abnormally tense circumstances." (Eisenhower Library, Project Clean Up, Intelligence Matters)
John S.D. Eisenhower
71. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 411.6141/3 - 1059. Confidential.
Moscow, March 10, 1959, 3 p.m.
1780. In conversation with Kozlov and Kuzmin/1/ at Iraqi reception yesterday latter said he could not understand failure of US businessmen take advantage of opportunities trade with Soviet Union. Said Sov Union prepared sign contracts for deliveries over period up to ten years on basis normal commercial credits and if necessary deposit guaranties in Swiss bank. Said Sov Union would be interested not only in means of production but also consumer goods. He mentioned particular interest in textile mills, railroad cars, pipe, and in fact almost anything we wanted to sell. When I inquired what he meant by normal commercial credits he replied "around 3 percent". When I explained I was thinking of length of credits he mentioned 6 or 7 years. I replied that situation had been explained to Mikoyan and said frankly that Mikoyan's statement that Sov Union had no obligation settle lend-lease had made very bad impression./2/ Kozlov denied that Mikoyan had made this exact statement but admitted this was its general tenor. Said "give us credits and we will settle lend-lease account". I thought first step should be to settle some political questions and create proper atmosphere. Kuzmin replied he was not interested in political questions but business deals and said number of Western countries even including West Germany willing extend credits to Sov Union. Said he had recently signed contracts for delivery number of sugar mills but did not specify supplier.
/1/Iosef Iosifovich Kuzmin, Deputy Chairman of the Soviet Council of Ministers and Chairman of the Soviet State Planning Commission (Gosplan).
/2/See Document 65.
72. Memorandum of Conference With President Eisenhower
//Source: Eisenhower Library, Project Clean Up, Intelligence Matters. Top Secret. Prepared by Goodpaster on April 11.
Washington, April 7, 1959.
The President said he had asked Mr. McElroy and Mr. Bissell to come in to tell them that he had decided not to go ahead with certain reconnaissance flights for which he had given tentative approval the preceding day./1/ He said he wanted to give them his thinking. First, we now have the power to destroy the Soviets without need for detailed targeting. Second, as the world is going now, there seems no hope for the future unless we can make some progress in negotiation (it is already four years since the Geneva meeting)./2/ Third, we cannot in the present circumstances afford the revulsion of world opinion against the United States that might occur--the U.S. being the only nation that could conduct this activity. Fourth, we are putting several hundred million dollars into programs for more advanced capabilities.
/1/A memorandum of conversation among the President, Allen Dulles, and others on April 3 noted the President's "considerable reservations" on the advisability of approving Allen Dulles' proposal [text not declassified]. The President concluded that "he is not happy with the idea of overflights at this time, but he said that he would discuss the matter in detail with Secretary Herter." (Ibid.) No record of Eisenhower's conversation with Herter on this matter has been found. It was probably the proposed flights discussed at the April 3 meeting that Eisenhower had tentatively approved on April 6.
/2/Reference is to the Geneva summit meeting in July 1955.
In summary, the President said he did not agree that this project would be worth the political costs.
He added that he had called Secretary Dulles who had taken the view that if the planned action were in the east he would see no objection but in the north and south of their sector he would not do it. Mr. Dulles had added that if the current negotiations fail, we must at once get the most accurate information possible./3/
/3/According to a memorandum of a telephone conversation between the President and Herter, April 7 at 10:10 a.m., the President informed Herter of his reversal of his decision on the overflights and that he had talked with Secretary Dulles who approved his reversal. According to a memorandum of a telephone conversation between General Cabell and Herter, at 10:40 a.m., Cabell said that he "had just talked to Allen Dulles who had a call from JFD who was somewhat distressed and quite concerned that he had given the word he had to the President." (Eisenhower Library, Herter Papers, Telephone Conversations)
The President said he agreed on the need for information. This need is highlighted by the distortions several senators are making of our military position relative to that of the Soviets, and they are helped in their "demagoguery" by our uncertainties as to Soviet programs. He was concerned over the terrible propaganda impact that would be occasioned if a reconnaissance plane were to fail. He added that there is some evidence that the Soviets really want a Summit Meeting. The President himself feels that there is need to make some kind of progress at the summit, even though we cannot be sure that this is possible. There are, however, some straws in the wind indicating the prospect is not wholly hopeless. He told the group that if at a later time they think the situation has changed, or if a crisis or emergency occurs, or new equipment becomes available, they could raise the matter with him again.
Mr. McElroy said it is far easier for Cabinet officers to recommend this activity than for the President to authorize it, and that he accepted the President's decision very willingly. Mr. McElroy added that currently the Soviet long-range Air Force, which is of very limited size, is the threat. Later, if we do not have solid information, we will have to put our forces on air alert. In addition, there is a need to base our missile program on the hardest possible information regarding the Soviet program.
Earlier the President had discussed this matter at length with me. In response to his request for my advice, I analyzed the proposal as to the importance of possible costs and possible gains, and indicated I would be disposed to favor the two particular actions proposed. I added that, while I had confidence in my analysis of the costs and gains, I felt less sure of the evaluation of their relative importance and would readily defer to the President's own assessment in this respect.
Brigadier General, USA
73. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 761.5411/5 - 459. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution.
Moscow, May 4, 1959, 2 p.m.
2180. I saw Khrushchev at 11:30 this morning. In order that he not have opportunity to interrupt or refuse to hear my representations I had prepared Russian translation of aide-memoire which I handed him and which he read carefully./1/ He then stated that in their notes on this subject they had already given us an exhaustive explanation of points raised in aide-memoire. They had not shot down this plane. Whenever they did shoot down one of our planes they said so. Nothing of the sort happened in this case. They had merely found remains of plane which had apparently crashed. Six bodies that had been found were returned to US. He had read in Western press about British plane which was lost in this area and was suspected of having come down in Sov Union./2/ He had been happy to learn it had crashed elsewhere. The two cases were similar. He then cited a number of other cases of airplane accidents including a Sov plane which had preceded him on a flight to Siberia several years ago. Although remains of plane had been found they were never able to locate pilot. He was aware of our alleged report of conversations of Sov pilots. This sort of thing was done in films and we were doubtless very good at it. He asked me to inform President he could not help in any way despite his wish to do so. He then asked in whose interest it was for US to make this move at this time just before FM meeting./3/ Was our objective to split relations between the two countries and stir up public opinion? He did not think this was in our mutual interests. It was best not to fly over their territory. He said a short time ago there had been a case in Far East but their planes did not go up because our plane was over their territory only for short time. However in cases like this accidents could happen. Their fighter planes were stationed to guard their frontiers and it could lead to accidents if our planes crossed their frontiers without permission.
/1/Reference is to an aide-memoire on the C - 130 airplane that crashed in the Soviet Union on September 2, 1958; see Document 55.
/2/Not further identified.
/3/Documentation on the Foreign Ministers Meeting in Geneva May 11 - August 5 is in volume VIII.
He thought our military people were well disciplined and it therefore seemed that our government must know about these incursions. Apparently they were for reconnaissance to ascertain information re Soviet radar. This could not help good relations. I had spoken of 11 missing men but they knew nothing about them. Perhaps they had parachuted out but he did not know if they had parachutes. Sovs did not fly over our territory and did not think we should fly over theirs. Referring to statements in aide-memoire about shooting down plane he repeated that had not happened.
I pointed out we had evidence in form of conversations of Sov fighter pilots which proved that plane had been shot down. I could assure him this evidence had not been manufactured and we had offered to make it available to Sov authorities and that offer still stood.
I emphasized that plane had not deliberately crossed frontier and he must realize we would not send such slow plane on deliberate mission to fly over Sov territory. I said I wished particularly to emphasize we were not pursuing this matter with any objective of worsening relations. There were 13 families who did not know whether their sons were living or dead and apart from our own desires he should realize pressure these families are naturally bringing upon govt to ascertain fate their sons. As evidence our desire not worsen relations but on contrary improve them I cited impending visit of VP./4/ I said we did not intend at this time to announce anything other than fact that I had taken up this matter with him.
/4/Regarding Nixon's forthcoming visit to the Soviet Union, which the White House announced on April 17, see Documents 92 ff.
Khrushchev replied he understood distress of relatives but what could he do? They had not found any other bodies. He then cited crash of TU - 104 with number of foreigners on board and said many bodies of these passengers had not been found./5/
/5/The crash of the TU - 104 has not been further identified.
I said that although it might now be very late, it could be of some help if our Air Attache could see scene of crash and remains of plane pointing out that we have previously asked permission for such inspection.
He replied crash had occurred in very sensitive military area. It was near frontier of Turkey with which Sov relations were not good and Sov military did not wish foreigners visit this area.
After conversation on other subjects which is being reported separately Khrushchev said as I was leaving "Let's forget about this affair. You come to us as guests and we will welcome you."
[End of Section 8]