U.S. Department of State
Vol. X, Part 1, FRUS, 1958-60: E. Europe Region; Soviet Union; Cyprus
Office of the Historian
[Section 12 of 19]
128. Memorandum of Conference With President Eisenhower
Washington, September 25, 1959.
Secretary Herter, Ambassador Lodge, Ambassador Thompson, Mr. Merchant, General Goodpaster
The President welcomed Ambassador Lodge back after his trip. He said he had read his reports with the greatest of interest./1/ It seemed that the trip was going better all the while. Mr. Lodge confirmed that this was true, after hitting bottom at Los Angeles. Leading to that were several incidents, first the disrespectful and immature performance at the Press Club in Washington, followed by heckling by a few drunks at the Economic Club session in New York, and what was really a vulgar, even obscene show on the set in Hollywood. The publicity people at the studio wanted pictures for promotional purposes of the dancers with Khrushchev and quite obviously he was offended at this treatment of the Premier of Russia.
//Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DDE Diaries. Secret. Drafted by Goodpaster on September 28.
/1/Copies of all of Lodge's memoranda of conversations with Khrushchev were sent to the White House and are in the Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International Series, or Staff Secretary Records.
Although Lodge had said he would arrange for a trip to Disneyland, while on the plane, the Chief of Police of Los Angeles said he would not accept responsibility after there was a tomato-throwing incident coming in from the airport. Gromyko presented his "demarche" to Lodge at 2 AM and this was the low point of the trip. The turning point came on the platform at Santa Barbara. Although the security people objected, Ambassador Lodge took responsibility for leaving the train with Khrushchev and the crowds gave him a very cordial reception. San Francisco was wonderful in every respect, capitalizing on the poor performance at Los Angeles. The public were fine and the President's appeal had wide impact. Then there was a splendid day in Iowa. Mr. Garst is a phenomenon in himself. Again there was an excellent performance in Pittsburgh by Governor Lawrence/2/ who strongly supported what the President is doing.
/2/David L. Lawrence, Governor of Pennsylvania.
Ambassador Lodge said that from his week of travel he had the clear conviction that Khrushchev is a remarkable, although very difficult, man. He then gave a personality sketch of Mr. Khrushchev. Mr. Lodge spoke from notes which he will furnish as the basis for his oral report to the President./3/ He said that Mr. Khrushchev has an open mind on some things, although not on the Communist "religion." He is a very good and attentive listener. While he says that he saw nothing he did not know about on the trip, it is obvious that it has had an impact on him. First, he better understands the independent, separate nature of our local government. Second, he is deeply impressed by much that he has seen--the condition and attitudes of our people, our roads, automobiles, factories, etc. He was struck by the vitality of our people. He probably does not now really think that the Soviets are likely to surpass us, at least anytime soon.
With regard to policy questions, it is clear that he wants peace and thinks that Russia needs peace in order to do what he wants the nation to do. He thinks his disarmament scheme has serious merit. He is ready to ease up on jamming of Voice of America broadcasts, but will not allow appeals to rebel against the government to be made to the Russian people. He is very correct and conventional regarding China, but says no more than he absolutely has to say on this subject. He seems ready to agree on an exchange of books. He also is agreeable to an information questionnaire on national needs for internal security forces. He seems to be ready to settle the lend-lease accounts. He is boastful of having penetrated the CIA. He says he has cut down the number of Soviet Secret Police by 75%. He wants to trade jet planes with us, and leave his TU - 114 with us. (Mr. Merchant said it is having mechanical difficulties.) He is keenly interested in having a treaty of peace and friendship with the United States. He is interested in expanding trade and removing restrictions upon trade. He may gradually remove some of the restrictions on travel within the Soviet Union, but should be allowed to do this by himself, in his own time, without being pressed.
Ambassador Lodge said he hopes that the atmosphere when Khru-shchev leaves will be one of "let's keep on talking." It is important to decide whether the President is going to Russia or not. Ambassador Thompson suggested that this should not be put on the basis of making them pay some price to get the President to come. The President said he would of course not do this, but would simply leave the timing uncertain. The minimum in his mind is that Khrushchev must make some proposal by which the world could understand that we are not to have a catastrophe over Berlin.
Ambassador Lodge suggested that some time the President should thank the Air Force, the railroads, the police and others who had a hand in the arrangements for Mr. Khrushchev for the splendid work they did. At the same time he thought we should make a study of our system of handling the visits of Chiefs of State. This was too casual and decentralized. Mayors are much too independent to leave to work matters out on their own. In fact, we should not rely heavily on local politicians.
The President recalled that no one had thought of taking Khru-shchev around on this kind of a trip when the proposal was made. This was something he asked for. There is an obvious risk since he is the embodiment of evil in the eyes of many people.
Mr. Lodge said that some of the worst difficulty came from the turmoil created by newsmen. They were all right at fixed installations where they were kept under careful control, but where there was movement in the open the situation was terrible.
The President thought that if in his talks with Khrushchev they could get two or three significant things lined up, he could then take Khrushchev up to his farm, giving no advance notice. He might even drop in with him at the Navy football game, although this seemed unlikely.
Ambassador Thompson observed that Khrushchev did not consult Gromyko in preparing his speeches. Rather he called on his son-in-law and members of his personal staff; his daughters also apparently had a hand in them. Ambassador Thompson said that Menshikov was constantly feeding poison to Khrushchev throughout the trip. Mr. Lodge confirmed this, saying that whenever there was something that could be criticized, Menshikov would do this. He also tried to keep Lodge away from Khrushchev but failed in this. The President agreed with this judgment, indicating that he considers Menshikov evil and stupid.
The President said he is trying to get a central idea on which to base the discussions. He thought he might say that Khrushchev has now had a good introduction to our country, and that the big thing that he wants to know is whether Khrushchev truly wants to promote the conditions that will bring true peace and make it last, and not just spar for advantage in the discussions. If the former is true, while we may have fluctuations in our relations and occasional difficulties, we can go back to this principle and make progress. Under this concept, Berlin is just something that they want, an advantage they are trying to gain. The President said he would try to set some such pattern as this in the discussions this evening.
The President said he is considering going to church at 8:30 AM in Gettysburg. He could be back at Camp David at 10:00. Mr. Herter said that in the meantime Mr. Dillon could talk about trade questions with the Soviets. Ambassador Lodge felt that Khrushchev would probably not want to go to church. He was offered the opportunity to do so on the trip, but said it would be misunderstood.
In commenting about Germany, the President noted that we have a treaty with West Germany, and cannot of course keep him from having one with East Germany. Mr. Herter said the real point is that he cannot, by concluding a treaty, terminate our rights. Ambassador Thompson suggested asking Khrushchev what he thinks the consequences of such a peace treaty would be. Mr. Merchant thought this would be a good way of bringing out that he cannot sign away our rights. The President commented that if Khrushchev could agree to let the German question rest for three years while we go ahead with actions in other fields, we may find that it becomes easier to solve. Mr. Herter added that they must not push us on reducing troops or curtailing our freedoms there in the meantime. The President asked whether there would be any point in his taking this matter up with Khrushchev alone. Mr. Herter thought this was a promising thing to do. Ambassador Lodge commented, however, that Gromyko had proved to be a good influence on Khrushchev during the trip. He returned again to the subject of Menshikov, indicating that Menshikov had arranged the dinner last night/4/ directly with Mr. Ridder of the Journal of Commerce and that the dinner had been a gross mistake, both because Mr. Khrushchev was so tired and needed the rest and also because it became the occasion for a couple of very unskilled and rather stupid people to try to "bait" and heckle Mr. Khrushchev.
/4/See Document 127.
The President said he might start off by saying that he realized that there had been some unpleasant incidents on Mr. Khrushchev's trip and that he is sorry for them. At the dinner last night, people were picked to attend who had no more sense than to try to needle him. Mr. Lodge said that the trouble arose in several places where the group tried to treat Mr. Khrushchev like a visiting lecturer rather than the head of a powerful nation. He said that it is possible to reason with Khrushchev, providing one approaches him correctly. The President suggested that someone tell Gromyko that he feels we should not make Berlin the one thing that governs and controls our entire relationship. Ambassador Thompson said that he believes Khrushchev really does want us to accept the status quo as the price of having peace. He thought, therefore, that a good approach would be to say that the settlement of the cold war does not remove the issue of Eastern Europe. The split of Germany is dangerous. Regarding Eastern Europe, we have no thought of the use of force, but we do hope that the governments there will become more responsive to the will of their people. The President recalled that in 1952 he had said we would use all peaceable means toward their liberation, and that he had confirmed that Foster Dulles agreed with this (after some initial public confusion). The President asked whether he could call on someone on the subject of disarmament to expound what we think about the matter generally and about Khrushchev's proposal./5/ Mr. Herter initially misunderstood and told the President what is being prepared on the longer range basis. The President asked who would be ready to talk on this tomorrow--who knows the details of Khrushchev's plan. Mr. Herter commented on some elements of the plan--for example, that no control machinery is provided for its early stage. However, Mr. Herter did see an element of genuineness in Khrushchev's proposal. He hoped the "Committee of Ten" of the United Nations could go into it very thoroughly and in detail./6/
/5/See footnote 2, Document 117.
/6/Reference is to the Ten-Nation Disarmament Committee established by the U.N. General Assembly on September 10.
Mr. Herter said there is good prospect of some agreement on exchanges and contacts, and on the peaceful application of atomic energy. The President said he is rather dubious as to whether anything can be done regarding outer space agreements. The President told the group that the networks have indicated they would give him a half hour at 10:30 on Sunday night/7/ if he found it necessary, and that he could let them know as late as 7 P.M. on Sunday. Mr. Herter thought it might be as well or perhaps better simply to issue a statement by the President if one were needed. He thought it is better not to have the notion of a "reply" speech hanging over Khrushchev's head. The President said, however, that our people are worried, and he is anxious that they should not have a wrong impression concerning the talks. Mr. Lodge also thought it would not look good to say that we are holding time in reserve. The President emphasized that he has no thought of letting this be known publicly.
Secretary Herter strongly recommended holding a press conference next Tuesday to sum up and comment on the visit./8/ Mr. Lodge said he hoped the President could then express appreciation to the people who helped on the trip. The President asked that the State Department prepare a three-minute statement he could read to open the press conference which he might decide to hold on Monday.
/8/For the transcript of Eisenhower's press conference, held on Monday (not Tuesday), September 28, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisen-hower, 1959, pp. 694 - 702.
As the meeting broke up, Ambassador Thompson said he hoped the President might find an opportunity to express awareness that Khrushchev is trying to raise the living conditions of his people.
Brigadier General, USA
129. Memorandum of Conversation
Camp David, September 26, 1959.
//Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1475. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Akalovsky and Goodpaster and approved in the White House on November 10.
Khrushchev's Wartime Experiences
The President Secretary Herter Ambassador Lodge Ambassador Thompson General Goodpaster Mr. Akalovsky Chairman Khrushchev Foreign Minister Gromyko Ambassador Menshikov Mr. Soldatov Mr. Troyanovski
During their breakfast conversation, the President and Mr. Khru-shchev were talking about the costly error in military operations of becoming inflexible and refusing to give up a foot of ground. The President recalled that Hitler kept reinforcing the North African front with excellent fighting units long after the Germans were contained in Tunisia and when the complete destruction of their forces had become inevitable and simply a matter of a few short weeks. He reinforced them practically to the date of surrender. The President said his own method had been to reinforce success and turn an advance into exploitation.
Mr. Khrushchev agreed with these observations, and expressed the admiration the Russians had had for General Eisenhower as a commander. Mr. Khrushchev then, as I recall, recounted some incidents from the war in Russia. He said he was the "political commander" (in this capacity holding a position parallel to that of the military commander) of a field army on the southern front in the Kiev area. At one point in the German advance, in spite of great efforts the Russians had made to save this revered city, encirclement of their whole force had become imminent and he and his military commander has issued orders to withdraw. The army on his flank, of which he said Timoshenko/1/ was the military commander, had issued similar orders. The army group commander had not objected to these orders, but when they reached Stalin he revoked them and gave orders that the army would stand fast and not withdraw. When he was informed of the fact that Stalin had canceled this particular order, Mr. Khrushchev continued, he immediately realized that Marshal Vasilevski,/2/ then Chief of Staff, apparently did not have the courage to argue with Stalin and to explain to him the validity of the order from the military standpoint. Marshal Vasilevski was in general a yes- man and never had the courage to defend his own point of view. Khrushchev then telephoned to Stalin, but Stalin would not come to the telephone. Instead he had Malenkov,/3/ who shared his office with him, talk to Khrushchev on the phone. Khrushchev said he knew that Stalin was in the room with Malenkov--in fact, their desks were only about fifteen feet apart--because he could hear Stalin in the background talking to Malenkov. Stalin would not come to the phone, and would not agree to permit the withdrawal of the armies. Khrushchev told him that Timoshenko, who was an outstanding soldier, agreed with his (Khrushchev's) views. Stalin said that this simply showed that Khrushchev had undue influence over Timoshenko. Khrushchev said this was untrue because Timoshenko was a strong-minded man and no one could influence him unduly. In the final event the armies were made to stand fast. They were encircled and practically destroyed by the Germans. Their equipment was completely lost. And this was all the fault of Stalin's stubbornness. Stalin had a tendency to make military decisions thinking primarily in terms of prestige considerations, without taking into account the actual military situation. This, Mr. Khrushchev said, was very wrong and had affected unfavorably the course of military operations during the war.
/1/Semen Konstantinovich Timoshenko.
/2/Marshal Aleksander Mikhailovich Vasilevsky.
/3/Malenkov was a Soviet member of the State defense committee 1941 - 1945.
Khrushchev went on to say that had Zhukov been in Vasilevski's spot, this would not have happened. Zhukov would have stood up to Stalin. He was a very strong-minded man and could not be swayed from what he thought was right. (At this point Mr. Khrushchev turned to the President, and said that Zhukov was a man of unshakable convictions, which is a fine thing in a military man, adding with what amounted to a leer, "so long as this is limited to military things.") He said that Zhukov was by no means faultless, however, because at a later stage Zhukov made an attack in the Kharkov sector in spite of being told that his flanks were insecure and he was risking encirclement by powerful German armed forces. Zhukov went ahead, in a bull-headed way, and his forces were encircled and suffered very great losses. He said that Zhukov would never accept responsibility for this, and he quoted an old Russian proverb that Generals win cities and soldiers lose them./4/
/4/In a memorandum for the record, November 27, John S.D. Eisenhower wrote he had seen this Department of State memorandum of a conversation which he attended and had the following to add after this paragraph:
"Apparently on this Kharkov offensive, Khrushchev was still serving in the capacity of a political commander or commissar. Again, he telephoned Moscow and spoke to Zhukov who ordered, in the name of Stalin, that Khrushchev's army make this attack. Khrushchev, at this time, warned that the entire army of 400,000 men might be destroyed. Zhukov ignored this. Forced to make the attack, Khrushchev's army did in fact suffer decimation. As a sequel, some five years later, at an official gathering, Mikoyan, under the influence of alcohol, brought up the subject with Stalin and pointed out humorously that Khrushchev had been right in protesting this costly attack at Kharkov. In his lighthearted mood, Mikoyan failed to see the intense anger on Stalin's face as he rose from his chair. Khrushchev himself saved the moment by saying to Stalin: `It is all right. We would have lost the 400,000 men had we attacked or defended.' This seemed to satisfy Stalin." (Eisen-hower Library, Staff Secretary Records, International Series)
Khrushchev's account of the battle of Kharkov is at some variance with his earlier recollection of this episode, which he presented in his "secret speech" to the 20th Party Congress on February 25, 1956. For text of this speech, see The New York Times, June 4, 1956.
Khrushchev spoke of Hitler's great mistake at Stalingrad. The Russians were strong only in the city and Field Marshal Von Paulus/5/ could have crossed the river and captured the Soviet forces and the area by flanking maneuvers. At that time the Soviet lines in the western part of the big encirclement were quite weak and could have been broken through very easily. However, Hitler gave orders that the city be taken frontally since it had become a matter of German honor and prestige. This was an impossible task for Von Paulus. In addition, he held Von Paulus in place long after he should have broken out to the west, and instead tried to have other forces break through to Von Paulus with forces that were quite inadequate from a long distance away. By the time he permitted Von Paulus to attempt a western movement, the Soviet forces had been strengthened to the point where no escape was possible.
/5/Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus.
130. Memorandum of Conversation
Camp David, September 26, 1959, 1 p.m.
Problems and Procedures Paper
United States The President Mr. Akalovsky
USSR Chairman Khrushchev Mr. Troyanovsky
//Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1475. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Akalovsky and approved in the White House on October 12.
The President had the Problems and Procedures Paper (copy attached) read to Mr. Khrushchev in Russian, whereupon Mr. Khru-shchev replied that his first impression was that the paper contained nothing substantive and that it was a mere list of problems and possible procedures. It seemed to freeze the existing positions rather than suggest specific steps for solving the existing problems. He said that the only thing this paper provided for was a commitment on the part of the Soviet Union not to sign a peace treaty with Germany. The paper also put the Berlin question in the first place and failed to provide any specific recommendations with regard to disarmament.
The paper seemed to confirm the reports which had been circulated before his arrival in the United States that the United States expected to impress him with its might and wealth to such an extent that the Soviet Union would retreat from its position on Germany and Berlin. Mr. Khrushchev said that he had known about the wealth and the power of the United States even before coming to this country and, therefore, he could not be impressed or intimidated.
The President replied that the purpose of the paper was to set up procedures under which the outstanding issues and problems could be periodically reviewed at the highest level so as to see what progress was being achieved in certain areas. It had been his hope, the President said, that the paper would not freeze the respective positions as Mr. Khrushchev had said, but rather help toward negotiation of reasonable solutions. As to Mr. Khrushchev's reference to the United States' intention to impress him with its power, the President said that Mr. Khrushchev had not been invited here to see our power and might. He said he was sure that Mr. Khrushchev had at his disposal good services and people who were informed on the situation in the United States. The President also pointed out that he himself had never used the word power in his statements. The main point was that there should be no ultimatum by either side that it would take unilateral action.
Mr. Khrushchev replied that the paper in effect was an ultimatum by the American side and that if the procedure suggested in it were to be followed nothing would happen except that the Foreign Ministers would pull out their old papers and restate their old positions. This in turn would lead to the Soviet Union's signing a peace treaty with Germany with all the consequences which this would entail.
The President observed that there was nothing more inadvisable in this situation than to talk about ultimatums. Both sides knew very well what would happen if an ultimatum were to be implemented. The big question was to find out how to move ahead and find reasonable approaches and solutions to the existing problems. For instance last fall the Soviet Union had presented its position with regard to Berlin and explained some of the reasons why it was taking the position. Now it appeared that the Soviet position was that the United States must run away in order to have that problem solved. This of course is unacceptable to the United States and the President said the only thing that the United States wants is to have Soviet assistance in seeking reasonable solutions to all the problems. The President pointed out that he was not asking for the early unification of Germany because he himself did not know how and when this could be brought about. What he did want however was that a solution be found which would satisfy the people in West Berlin, East Germany, West Germany and also all the other powers that had signed the armistice protocol together with the Soviet Union years ago. The intention of the Soviet Union to go ahead on its own had created a new problem and what the United States was trying to do was to find a reasonable solution to this problem without having to run away or without being deprived of the right to talk.
Mr. Khrushchev thanked the President for his words and said that he understood his thinking; yet, he said, the paper just presented was dealing only with procedures and contained no substance. The set-up provided for in the paper reminded him very much of Adenauer's ideas. If the Soviet Union were to be dragged into this set-up, solutions of problems would be put off for ten or fifteen years or even indefinitely. He said that he saw no reason for supporting Adenauer on this score. As far as Berlin was concerned he said that he wanted to repeat that attempts should be made to find a solution which would not affect the prestige of either side. A time limit should be set up within which the United States and the USSR would apply pressure on the two Germanys and urge them to settle their differences and come to terms. If the two Germanys achieved no progress in their negotiations after the expiration of the time limit, a peace treaty would then be signed by agreement between the USSR and the US.
The President responded by emphasizing that Berlin is not the big question between the USSR and the United States. What created difficulties was the Soviet attitude toward this question which prevented discussion between the two countries in a bigger way and of more far-reaching importance. What worried the United States was the fact that the Soviet Union insisted that the Berlin question had to be settled its way and that then the other problems could be negotiated. The President said that he did not know precisely how the Berlin question could be resolved but that he had hoped to set up a friendly atmosphere in which negotiations could be conducted. The Soviet position on Berlin had created a difficult situation and, therefore, it was necessary to find a reasonable solution.
Mr. Khrushchev said that the United States should understand in what a difficult position the US paper was putting him. The Soviet Union had introduced at the UN far-reaching disarmament proposals and the US was now referring them to a disarmament group and to a series of meetings without even stating its views on those proposals. At the same time the paper committed the Soviet Union not to take any action with regard to Germany or signing a peace treaty. The Soviet Union believed that Berlin was not the primary question and that it should be put in the second place after disarmament.
The President agreed again that Berlin was not the biggest problem between the Soviet Union and the United States but repeated that if the Soviet Union did not act as a partner and intended to take unilateral action, the situation would remain very difficult.
Mr. Khrushchev denied that the Soviet government intended to take unilateral actions and referred to the Foreign Ministers meetings this summer. In the course of those meetings the Soviet Union had expounded its position but the Western side just would not listen to it. It appeared to him that the reason for that was Adenauer's unwillingness to have the German question settled. Mr. Khrushchev professed not to understand why the Western powers needed the occupation regime in West Berlin and why they didn't want to liquidate it by signing a peace treaty. He repeated that the Soviet Union did not want to take any unilateral action and that he wanted to solve the German problem together with the United States in the friendliest possible manner.
The President observed that the paper had never been intended as a stand on positions; its purpose was simply to indicate how different problems could be studied, both bilaterally and multilaterally in an intelligent way, and then, if agreement could be reached on the establishment of a better basis for negotiations, the respective positions on individual problems could be presented in detail.
Mr. Khrushchev rejoined by saying that there was nothing new in this paper, that it contained nothing about the views of the United States on the points listed in it. The paper said nothing on disarmament or on the relaxation of tension in the world; it contained no provision for relieving our peoples of the arms burden. Thus it gave no hope to the world. Mr. Khrushchev said that it appeared to him that the United States was not yet ready for disarmament--this was very disappointing and if it were true there was nothing left for the peoples of our countries but to continue to bear the burden of the armaments race.
The President stated that Mr. Khrushchev was apparently making a mistake if he thought that the United States hesitated to present its position. The United States did not hesitate to explain its position as fully as possible on such questions as disarmament, propaganda, the ideological differences between our two systems, but such positions must be negotiated. The purpose of the paper was to provide for a procedure under which negotiations could be conducted and under which the Heads of State could periodically review their status.
Mr. Khrushchev replied that this was an old method and that something new was needed. Under this US plan many questions would arise: such questions as that of the basis for the work of the various conferences provided for in the paper, their membership, the question of parity, etc. In other words this plan was no improvement as against the situation that had existed so far. Mr. Khrushchev said that he was sorry that he did not understand this scheme or the principles underlying it, but that his impression was that it did not provide for anything new. The scheme, he said, was devised to bind the Soviet government and to permit the United States to conduct its own policy from a position of strength. The Soviet Union found such a policy unpleasant and outdated. Mr. Khrushchev then continued by saying that he was pleased with the reception accorded him in the United States and with his meetings with the President. Yet, while he and the President seemed to be in agreement when talking in general terms, the old positions taken at the Foreign Ministers conferences reappeared as soon as they came down to specifics. This was very disappointing and he was very sorry that the situation was not different.
The President then suggested that the conversation be interrupted and that Chairman Khrushchev and he go to lunch. He said that he wanted to add only one thought--that he was willing to make as many procedural concessions as necessary if the Chairman could suggest a better method for negotiations. Yet there was one point which he had to stress. He said that he would have to resign if ever he accepted a time limit after which the United States would have to withdraw from Berlin. Such a proposition would never be accepted by the American people. What was necessary was to negotiate such a plan as would be acceptable not only to the United States and the USSR but also to Europe as a whole. The President emphasized very strongly that he just could not agree to be forced out of Berlin and then sit down and discuss other problems.
Mr. Khrushchev stated he could not understand why the question was put in this plane. He said that he personally and the Soviet Union wanted peace and it was for this reason that the Soviet Union wanted a peace treaty with Germany. Since a peace treaty with Germany would not be signed for warlike purposes, he could not understand why it would disturb the American people. Neither he personally nor the Soviet people could understand why a peace treaty was regarded by the American people as a threat to peace. As far as the President's reference to his being forced out of Berlin was concerned, Mr. Khrushchev said that this was not the Soviet Union's intention. It seemed to him that agreement could be reached on the problem of disarmament and also on working out a document on Berlin without setting a specific time limit but which could not be interpreted as meaning that the occupation regime would be perpetuated. The United States seemed to object to the Soviet Union's insisting on a specific date while the Soviet Union thought that the United States wanted to perpetuate the occupation regime--therefore perhaps the two sides could try to avoid both extremes and attempt to work out a document which would neither set a definite time limit nor be formulated in such a way as could mean that a perpetuation of the occupation regime was endorsed. Mr. Khrushchev said that he understood the President's concerns and his difficulties but that he also hoped that the President understood his own situation. He said that the Soviet Union wanted a peace treaty with Germany and that the United States was threatening it indirectly both in press reports, which spoke of the possibility of a conflict over Berlin, and in statements by American generals who had spoken about sending their tanks to break through to Berlin. Mr. Khrushchev then again referred to Chancellor Adenauer and said that it was unnatural for the United States to support Adenauer's policy against a peace treaty, because after all the United States had acted correctly when it refused to listen to Stalin and his associates and signed a peace treaty with Japan.
The President replied that no peace treaty was under discussion here. In recapitulating the situation, the President said that he understood that in view of the fact that the United States did not want to perpetuate the occupation regime and that the Soviet Union did not want to try to force us out of Berlin, both sides would try to negotiate and see how soon the differences on this score could be resolved, differences which the Soviet Union had been calling residues of war. If on this basis progress could be reached, then other, broader areas could be broached and thus a brighter future for humanity could be secured. The President said he understood that Chairman Khrushchev did not like the American paper; therefore he suggested that Mr. Khrushchev's staff prepare a short paper presenting the Soviet approach in a concise manner so that it could be discussed, if not tonight, then perhaps tomorrow morning.
Mr. Khrushchev replied that he didn't see much point in putting out a paper because a reshuffling of subject matters or points would not change the general situation. As he put it, the result of an addition does not change if the components change place. However, he did not clearly reject the President's suggestion, but only expressed doubt as to its usefulness. The conversation ended at 1:45 p.m. whereupon lunch was served.
/1/No classification marking.
Camp David, September 26, 1959.
The major problems between the US and the USSR and the principal irritants to the relationship between the two seems to be:
1. Berlin and Germany.
2. Disarmament, including the current Nuclear Test negotiations.
3. Propaganda and the lack of adequate contact and exchange of persons and ideas.
4. Ideological and other conflicts involving third countries.
These problems are interrelated and will not be resolved at once. The most promising avenue for progress seems to be to set up procedures to assure a continuous search for solutions through peaceful negotiation. The US, the USSR, the UK and France have responsibility in most of these matters. It would seem possible to set up permanent consultative machinery between these powers, with other interested powers brought in as required, as follows:
1. A conference of Foreign Ministers to review progress every six months;
2. A meeting of Heads of Government with Foreign Ministers similarly to review progress every year;
3. Provision for over-all review at the Heads of Government level after five years;
4. Special machinery, either multilateral or bilateral as appropriate, can be set up for more extensive study of these problems. This could be done on an ad hoc basis or on a more formalized basis as in the case of the Nuclear Test Conference or of the Ten Power Disarmament Group.
It would be made clear in a manner acceptable to the Heads of Government that all of the above presupposes that no unilateral action will be taken at any time which would vitiate the operation of this process of peaceful negotiation.
131. Memorandum of Conversation
Camp David, September 26, 1959.
//Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1475. Secret. Drafted by Akalovsky and approved in the White House on November 10. The source text indicates the conversation was held during lunch.
American Exhibit in Moscow
The President The Vice President Secretary Herter Ambassador Lodge Secretary Anderson Ambassador Thompson Dr. Kistiakowsky Mr. McCone Mr. Akalovsky Chairman Khrushchev Foreign Minister Gromyko Ambassador Menshikov Mr. Sobolev Mr. Soldatov Mr. Troyanovski Mr. Zhukov Mr. Yemelyanov
In the course of the general conversation during the luncheon Mr. Khrushchev again referred to the attempt by the United States to impress the Soviet people with gadgets displayed at the Moscow exhibit. He repeated his statement previously made to Ambassador Lodge and others during the tour of the United States, that this attempt to lure the Soviet people had completely failed. He then again ridiculed the so- called Miracle Kitchen at the exhibit and recalled his remarks on this matter which he made to Mr. Nixon during his visit to Moscow./1/
/1/See Document 92.
The Vice President pointed out that during his tour of the exhibit with Mr. Khrushchev he had emphasized that the Miracle Kitchen was only a demonstration of something that might be used in the future and that there was no attempt on the part of the United States to represent that kitchen as something that was already part of American life.
Ambassador Thompson stated that, although the kitchen exhibit in itself may have been somewhat on the silly side, the same exhibit had been shown all over the United States as merely a glimpse into the future and that there was no intention whatsoever to mislead the Soviet public into believing that the Miracle Kitchen was already in every household in the United States.
Mr. Khrushchev rejoined by saying, in a rather irritated and excited manner, that the Soviet people could not be impressed with such things as displayed at the American exhibit in Moscow, that they had a high standard of living of their own, and that any attempt to lure them toward capitalism would fail.
132. Memorandum of Conversation
Camp David, September 27, 1959, 9:35 a.m.
US Under Secretary Dillon Mr. Akalovsky
USSR Chairman Khrushchev Mr. Gromyko Mr. Menshikov Mr. Soldatov Mr. Troyanovsky
Mr. Khrushchev opened the conversation by saying that it was up to the United States to open or close the country for trade with the Soviet Union.
The Under Secretary replied that there were possibilities considerably to expand the trade between the USSR and the United States. However, the question was what the USSR wanted to buy. As the Chairman had said the other night,/1/ the USSR seemed to be interested in peaceful trade. Mr. Dillon said that he could state that all such commodities were available, including such commodities as machinery and equipment for the manufacture of shoes and synthetic fabrics. He said that he had looked at the records and that at least five different processes in the synthetic textile field had been made available to the Soviet Union during the past year.
//Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1475. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Akalovsky and approved by Dillon on September 24.
/1/Presumably during the dinner on September 24; see Document 127.
Mr. Khrushchev responded rather violently, stating that this was not a platform for discussion. What he was interested in was abolition of discriminatory practices directed against the Soviet Union. He said that he was not prepared to discuss any specifics; this was something to be discussed by his Minister of Trade, who was not accompanying him on this trip. He then said that he had not come to the United States to learn how to make shoes or sausage, but rather to discuss the general principles of trade between the USSR and the US. The Soviet Union would welcome it if the United States were to rescind its discriminatory practices in trade with the USSR. On the other hand, if the United States should refuse to do so, this would mean that it wants a continuation of the cold war, which, although regrettable, would not disturb the USSR--the Russian spirit, he said, was strong and would hold out even in that situation. Any offer to the USSR of such items as shoe lasts, etc., was insulting to the people of the Soviet Union. They knew how to make shoes, perhaps even better than the Americans. Mr. K then invited the Under Secretary to look at his shoes and see that for himself.
The Under Secretary replied that there were two problems involved in this situation, that of buying and that of selling. As far as buying by the Soviet Union was concerned, practically the whole U.S. market was open to the USSR except less than 10% covering commodities of strategic and military importance. The Chairman had said that the USSR was interested in peaceful trade; the United States was also interested in such trade. Mr. Dillon then said that he didn't intend to discuss specifics either. Details could be discussed between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Soviet specialists who might come here for that purpose.
Mr. K then again emphasized that what he wanted was the abolishment of discrimination against the USSR. He said that he was not talking of trade as such but rather of a principle, of the Soviet Union's right to trade. U.S. companies would sell what they wanted to sell and the Soviet Union would buy what it wanted to buy. The main thing was that there be the right to do so.
The Under Secretary replied that the Soviet Union already had the right to purchase things it wanted. As to the selling situation, it was true that some seven or eight years ago the United States Congress had passed a law which had frozen the level of duties and had thus prevented the extension to the USSR of the benefits granted to the most favored nations./2/ A change in that law, Mr. Dillon said, was not possible without an action on the part of the Congress; this action depended on the state of public opinion in this country and on the general state of the relations between the U.S. and the USSR.
/2/Reference is to the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1951; see footnote 2, Document 64.
Mr. K interjected that it was necessary to make a beginning somewhere. The Under Secretary agreed with this remark and then said that there was another restriction on the trade with the USSR, which was the prohibition of the import of certain types of furs from the USSR./3/ This question was now under study and, if the conditions in Congress were favorable, a revision of this situation would be sought as a test for future liberalization of trade regulations applied to the USSR.
/3/See footnote 10, Document 65.
Mr. K said that this would be a good thing to do.
The Under Secretary said that the Executive Branch would not want to ask Congress to take action on this situation if it was clear that the Congress would reject such a request. Yet, there was a chance of having this action taken perhaps during the next session of Congress. Mr. Dillon agreed with Mr. K that the whole question of trade was more of a political nature than economic. It was also a question of public relations. Studies conducted by the U.S. Government indicated that there was no room for a tremendous increase in trade with the Soviet Union because the commodities which the USSR had in excess were not needed by the United States;/4/ those commodities were produced in the United States or were obtained from other countries such as India, Canada, etc. Therefore, the growth of trade with the USSR would be gradual. However, it was important to create a better atmosphere. The Under Secretary then went on to say that there was one thing which the Soviet Union could do and which would contribute greatly to a normalization of the situation. He said that, as Mr. K undoubtedly knew, the trade in the United States was conducted by private companies. Many companies, including, for example, chemical companies were afraid to trade with the USSR because they felt that they had no solid protection of their patents or royalties. For that reason an agreement on the protection of patent rights, including an agreement on such a related subject as copyrights, would help our private business and give it some confidence. The question of protection of these rights, Mr. Dillon said, was one of the problems most frequently mentioned by our private businessmen when they come to the Department of Commerce.
/4/One study mentioning the small market for Soviet goods in the United States was Intelligence Report No. 7749, "Khrushchev's Proposals for an Expansion of US-Soviet Trade," prepared by the Division of Research and Analysis for USSR and Eastern Europe, Office of Intelligence Research and Analysis, June 27. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, OSS - INR Reports)
Mr. K said that this question was one that had to be decided between the USSR and the individual companies concerned. He said that if the USSR bought something, it would pay for it, just as had been the case in the USSR's dealings with du Pont. If the U.S. were to rescind its discriminatory restrictions then a new deal with du Pont would be possible.
The Under Secretary pointed out that the Soviet Union, on the basis of the reports received from its Embassy in Washington, was probably fully aware that at its conventions the U.S. chemical industry had passed resolutions indicating its apprehensions with regard to trade with the Soviet Union and its reluctance to engage in such trade until and unless its patent rights are fully protected./5/ Mr. Dillon said that perhaps the Chairman himself had not seen his Embassy's reports on this subject, but he should know that this was the situation.
/5/Not further identified.
Mr. K reiterated that this was a specific question to be decided by the two sides at the time when contracts were negotiated. He then again stated that the whole problem of trade was more political than economic. He noted that some people in the United States wanted the Soviet Union to buy chemical products from them; this was a totally unrealistic approach. The Soviet Union was a powerful nation capable of manufacturing any equipment by itself and of producing all the things it needed. Therefore, if the United States did not want to sell equipment to the USSR, the latter could manufacture the necessary equipment itself or buy it from other countries as it had already done. The Soviet people did not live on a deserted island and were not in a desperate situation. Some people still did not realize that the Soviet Union was a grown up nation and that it could build even such things as the United States had not yet been able to produce. The United States' approach was high- handed and amounted to a policy of Diktat and of cold war. This policy, Mr. K said, had failed in the political field and it would also fail in the economic field. The Soviet Union was a strong nation and it could hold out. He then stated that the Soviet Union did want to trade with the U.S. but that such trade would have to be on the basis of equality and without injury to the national pride of the Soviet people. Any attempt to impose certain conditions on the Soviet Union would fail. Any attempt to offer the Soviet Union such items as shoe lasts was offensive to the Soviet Union and would not constitute a basis for discussion.
The Under Secretary replied that the only reason he had mentioned machinery for the manufacture of shoes was that this item, as he recalled, was on one of the lists of items submitted by the Soviet Union.
Mr. K then very strongly emphasized that the United States should not injure the national pride of the Soviet people and their sensitivity.
The Under Secretary, reverting to the question of patents, stated that this question could be dealt with between the companies and the USSR when the situation arose. Yet there was another step that the USSR could take in order to facilitate a revision of laws regulating such situations as fur import or duties. He said that Ambassador Lodge had told him that the question of Soviet lend-lease obligations had been briefly mentioned in a conversation between him and the Chairman and that the Chairman had expressed agreement to have negotiations started in order to settle this problem./6/ A settlement of this problem could help create a more favorable public opinion and a more favorable climate in Congress, which in turn could help abolish the existing restrictions with regard to trade with the USSR. The Under Secretary emphasized that there was no direct connection between the two problems but that, nevertheless, a settlement of the lend-lease obligations could help create a better atmosphere in Congress and thus be conducive to the abolishment of restrictions.
/6/Khrushchev's remarks agreeing to negotiations on the lend-lease problem are contained in two memoranda of conversation with Lodge during their visit to Wall Street and the Empire State Building on September 18. (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1473)
Mr. K confirmed the fact that he had had this conversation with Ambassador Lodge and then said that, as Mr. Mikoyan had stated earlier,/7/ the Soviet Union was prepared to discuss this problem with a view to settling. However, the Soviet Union's contribution in blood during the last war should be taken into account during such discussions. Mr. K said that he was positive that the United States would obtain little economic advantage as a result of the lend-lease problem being settled, because it spent more money for propaganda than it would receive from the Soviet Union on the basis of the latter's lend-lease obligations. Yet he was aware of the fact that a settlement of this problem would constitute a moral satisfaction for the United States and would help create a better atmosphere in Congress. He said that he was also aware of the fact that this problem was used by elements unfavorably inclined toward the USSR to create friction between the two countries. Mr. K then continued by saying that in this matter, too, there should be no discrimination against the USSR; the U.S. should approach this problem in the same manner as it did with regard to other countries such as England, etc. Any discriminatory approach in this matter with regard to the Soviet Union would hurt the pride of the Soviet people because their contribution in the last war had been the greatest. There was another point, Mr. K said, which he wanted to mention and which indicated that the U.S. would not obtain any economic advantage from a settlement of the lend-lease obligations. He said that in a conversation he had had with the President, the latter had remarked that while in 1948 the U.S. military appropriations amounted to 12 billion dollars, now they were 50 billion dollars./8/ The difference between the two figures showed how insignificant the sum derived from a lend-lease settlement would be. The lend-lease problem was, as a matter of fact, so insignificant from the economic point of view that insistence on its settlement could be compared to catching fleas in a dog's hair. Nevertheless the Soviet Union would be willing to appoint representatives to start negotiations on this subject.
/7/See Document 65.
/8/The President's remark has not been further identified.
The Under Secretary replied that this would be very helpful and suggested that contacts be established through diplomatic channels with a view to starting negotiations.
At this point, Mr. Gromyko whispered something in Mr. K's ear, whereupon Mr. K stated that the question of lend-lease had bearing on the question of credits. Yet, he said, this matter should be discussed on the ministerial level.
The Under Secretary agreed that the question of lend-lease had bearing on the problem of credits because the latter were regulated by Congress so that a settlement of lend-lease would be very helpful.
Mr. K. then said that the fact that there was little trade between the United States and the USSR was not a natural situation but rather an artificial one. He said that he did not want to impose his views on Mr. Dillon but that, nevertheless, he wanted to state it. If the United States should abolish discrimination, he continued, trade of course would not jump immediately because it was in a frozen state now; it had to be warmed up just like a plane had to warm up its engines one by one before it could take off. Trade was even more complicated than an aircraft and, therefore, it would be only natural if it did not jump upward immediately. He then said that assuming that the happy day would come when a disarmament agreement would be concluded, the U.S. industry would then have to be reconverted to peaceful production. This would be useful for both the USSR and the United States. The USSR would immediately place big orders, with credits, of course, because it could not pay for everything at once, while the United States would benefit from such orders by having full employment in the country and by having a peaceful production compensating for the production of armaments. Mr. K said that he wanted to make one point very clear: credits were not a gesture of mercy and sometimes he who gave credit was more interested in it than he who obtained it. But, he remarked, this was something for the United States to decide. His own considered view was that credits would be more beneficial to the United States, both politically and economically, than to the USSR, especially so since the United States appeared to be the only country unwilling to extend credit to the USSR. Other countries had already granted credit to the Soviet Union; true, that credit had been private, but the day would come when the respective governments would also grant government credit. He said that he wanted to repeat that the Soviet Union was not begging for credits--its pride would not allow it to do so. It would rather starve than beg, but then, of course, the future prospects for the Soviet Union were not those of starvation but rather of overweight. The only thing that had prompted him to raise the question of credits was common sense. Furthermore, various private companies, such as Ford, General Motors and others had granted credit to the Soviet Union in the past. Now if Mr. Dillon were to help in this respect his reputation as being a conservative and aggressive man would disappear. Some day, when the proletariats took over, Mr. K remarked facetiously, he would put in a good word for Mr. Dillon and say that he had helped the proletariat. The same thing would apply with regard to Mr. Lodge. Mr. K then went on to say that both Mr. Gromyko and himself thought that Mr. Dillon looked very much like Dimshets, the Soviet engineer who had built an iron and steel plant in India. Dimshets was one of the best Soviet engineers, and he, Mr. K, respected him very much.
The Under Secretary expressed his appreciation of the explanation by Mr. K of his basic view on trade policy. This explanation helped the United States understand the situation. As to the question of credits, they were regulated by a law passed in 1935,/9/ a law which had not been directed against the USSR. This law would have to be changed to make the granting of credits to the USSR possible. As to the credits by private companies referred to by Mr. K, they had been granted before 1935. A better atmosphere in the relations between the two countries now would help with regard to the granting of credits by private firms.
/9/Reference presumably is to the Johnson Act, enacted in 1934, not 1935. See footnote 4, Document 65.
Mr. K said that he had nothing to add because American laws were an internal matter of the US. The Soviet Union could have its views on American legislation, it could express its opinion as to whether certain laws were sensible or not, but it was up to the United States to decide what to do. Mr. K then said that tomorrow, Monday, at 4:00 p.m. he was going to speak at the rally in Moscow and asked Mr. Dillon whether he could tell his people that this conversation gave hope that trade between the USSR and the US might be developed and that the existing discrimination practices would be rescinded. He added that he realized that Mr. Dillon could not change laws.
The Under Secretary replied that, as he had pointed out before, the problem here depended upon Congress and, in the last analysis, on public opinion. Thus, as tensions existing between the two countries were alleviated, if they were, this would affect the development of trade and could lead to a lessening of special restrictive laws.
Mr. K stated that he would repeat Mr. Dillon's remarks word for word at the rally tomorrow.
133. Memorandum of Conversation
Camp David, September 26 and 27, 1959.
Nuclear Exchange; Communist China
US The President The Secretary of State Mr. Merchant Ambassador Thompson Mr. Kohler Mr. Akalovsky
USSR Chairman Khrushchev Mr. Gromyko Mr. Soldatov Mr. Troyanovsky
After his return from taking Mr. Khrushchev to his Gettysburg farm, the President said that Mr. Khrushchev had told him that they were cutting way back on their atomic power plant program on grounds that it was too expensive.
Mr. Khrushchev also told the President that the Soviets were making a number of atomic powered submarines, some of which were equipped with missiles. He also stated that the engines installed in the submarines were superior to ours.
September 27, approximately 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Khrushchev, referring to the conversation he had just had with Mr. Dillon,/1/ said that he could report to the President that the temperature was neither cold nor hot, i.e., the situation as he saw it was neither fish nor fowl.
//Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1475. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Akalovsky, Merchant, and Kohler and approved in the White House on October 12.
/1/See Document 132.
The President jokingly remarked that in America they also say, "nor red herring". He then said that he had just been in church and that his preacher had preached both for Mr. Khrushchev and himself.
The President then referred to the Protocol signed between Mr. McCone and Mr. Yemelyanov regarding possible contacts in the field of atomic energy./2/ He said that he had only seen the protocol but had not read it. His understanding was that the brief protocol was addressed to both the Chairman and him and that it contained recommendations with regard to certain actions to be taken in that field. He believed that there was no point in making that document public until both Mr. K and himself had studied it. Later, through diplomatic channels, agreement could be reached as to the publication of that document.
/2/The reference is to a memorandum of cooperation between the Soviet Union and the United States on the reciprocal exchange of unclassified information on peaceful uses of atomic energy and nuclear physics research, which McCone and Yemelyanov signed in Washington on November 24. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, December 28, 1959, pp. 958 - 959.
Mr. K replied that he had not seen the document either. However, he pointed out that he had approved in advance the fields of contacts in that area and that Mr. Yemelyanov had full authority from him in dealing with Mr. McCone. In general, he said, the Soviet Union was prepared to start with small steps first and then expand contacts in the field of atomic energy.
The President said that the U.S. was also prepared to do so.
Mr. K said he knew about this and observed that he was familiar with the President's desires in this field. It was strange, he remarked smilingly, to see the President, a military man, be so peaceful. He then recalled a statement by Mr. Macmillan in which the latter had said that Mr. K was afraid of war more than anyone else./3/ At that time, Mr. K continued, he wanted to reply to this statement rather sharply but he changed his mind. The point was, he said, the Soviet Union was not afraid of war but still wanted to prevent it. Mr. Macmillan had made that statement before his visit to the USSR and he had not been reminded of it during his visit there./4/
/3/Not further identified.
/4/Macmillan made an official visit to the Soviet Union February 21 - March 3.
The President said that, as far as he was concerned, he was afraid of nuclear war and that to his mind everyone should be. During the last war, he said, he may have had moments of exhilaration in commanding huge armies, but now war has become nothing more than a struggle for survival. The President then inquired whether Mr. K wanted to discuss any specific points.
Mr. K replied that he did, namely, the question of an agreement on disarmament.
The President observed that he agreed that this point be placed first on any agenda that might be developed for future negotiations, because this was the most important question.
At this point the Secretary suggested to the President that he discuss, perhaps privately, the procedures for a communique on their talks.
The President said that he had been told at Gettysburg about the hundreds of correspondents down there, including not only Americans and Russians but British, French and many others. This indicated the great world interest in these talks he and the Chairman were having. Despite the fact that everyone had been told that no negotiations would take place, he thought it might be desirable that he and Mr. Khrushchev have another private talk.
Mr. Khrushchev nodded assent to the President's statement, but said he first wanted to mention another subject. He said he had no brief to speak on behalf of the Chinese Government and that, even if such authority had been offered, he would not have taken the responsibility on himself. However, he would be visiting China in the near future and he would not want to be in the position of saying he had lost the Chinese needle in a haystack. He would like, therefore, to inquire about U.S. policy toward the Chinese Government and what the future course of our policy might be.
The President replied that the Chinese Communists by their own actions have made it practically impossible for us to talk with them except in a very sketchy way through the occasional ambassadorial talks. These had taken place first in Geneva and now were continuing in Warsaw but related mainly to such questions as that of the American personnel imprisoned or detained in Communist China. The Chinese Communists are engaged in aggressive actions and have defied the United Nations. Until they purged themselves, there was not much prospect of any change in our position. In fact, there was not much we could do in the circumstances. We were basically in a position of waiting.
Secretary Herter interjected that the Chinese Communists were still threatening to use force against Taiwan and the islands in the Formosa Straits. They were still holding five American prisoners and were refusing to release them, although they had promised to do so in writing./5/ Communist China was still an outlaw as far as the United Nations was concerned because of its aggression in Korea.
/5/Reference is to the agreed announcement issued by the Ambassadors of the United States and the People's Republic of China in Geneva on September 10, 1955.
Mr. Khrushchev replied that the Soviets regard it as too bad that the United States takes the position that it does with regard to the Chinese Communist Government and believes that this position does not contribute to a good overall international atmosphere. With respect to the question of the Americans detained in China, Mr. Khrushchev said he knew nothing about this and he could not comment on the subject. However, when he goes to Peiping in the near future he thought he might ask the Chinese leadership about the question. With respect to the question of Taiwan, the Soviets agree with the Chinese Communists. Taiwan is a province of China and what goes on with respect to the island is part of the process of the Chinese revolution and the Soviet Union fully understands China's aspirations in that respect. The United States is to blame for the fact that the Chinese Communists are not in the United Nations. In opposing the Chinese Communists, the United States has taken advantage of its temporary majority in the United Nations and has pursued a policy which is in fact detrimental to the United Nations. It would be better if the United States would do away with all this and thus contribute to the general peace. He said the President should realize that if some islands were detached from the United States by a mutinous general and the USSR should support that general, the United States would not like it. Taiwan is a part of China and Chiang Kai-shek is comparable to Kerensky, though the latter has no territory at the moment. Essentially, however, the United States concluding a treaty with Chiang is like the United States concluding a treaty with Kerensky. He understood, however, that Kerensky had recently married a rich American lady, so maybe Kerensky would not be interested and would not now need U.S. Government support.
The Secretary said he wanted to stress that the Chairman had made an important statement in saying that the USSR supported the Chinese Communist use of force against Taiwan.
Mr. Khrushchev said he believed that the Chinese Communists have the right to liberate Taiwan from a Chinese general who has mutinied against the Government. In that respect the Soviet Union supports Communist China.
The President said that it was clear that our views were so divergent on this subject that there was really no point in discussing the question in detail. However, if his memory served him right, in the later stages of World War II, the United States, the USSR and Britain had all agreed to support Chiang, who had fought the Japanese so valiantly during the entire war, as the legitimate Government of China. Since then the Soviet position had become different. It was the belief of the United States that there had been a great cataclysm in China and as a result, Chiang Kai-shek had been driven to Formosa. He could not be considered a mutinous general. The President would repeat that our positions were now diametrically opposed and that there would appear to be no use in discussing the question further.
Mr. Khrushchev replied that he agreed that there was not much point in further discussion of this question. It was true that during the war the Soviet Government had had good relations with Chiang. General Chuikov,/6/ who later was the famous defender of Stalingrad, had been a military adviser to Chiang. In fact, many other Russian generals also advised Chiang. However, a revolution is a revolution. It turns everything upside down. If one could suppose that some Soviet general should have mutinied, seized Sakhalin and concluded a treaty of support with the United States, the Soviet Government would have had to hit him and hit him hard. In the reverse case, the United States would take the same action if one of our generals seized an island and secured Soviet support. Therefore, he could not understand why Communist China should act differently. However, he agreed the question did not seem ripe for discussion.
/6/Vasili Ivanovich Chuikov.
The President replied that he did not agree with the comparison which the Chairman had made. These were not valid analogies. President Chiang Kai-shek headed the legitimate Government of China. It was true that he had been defeated on the mainland but he had decided to hang on where he could, that is, on Taiwan. In no way could he be compared to a mutineer.
Mr. Khrushchev replied that there could not be two legal governments in one country. The question arises as to which will be the legitimate government in China--Formosa or Peiping. The only possible answer to this question is Peiping, as the government established in the Chinese capital. He said the President prefers Chiang. This was a matter of taste. He prefers Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai./7/
/7/Mao Tse-tung, Chairman of the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China; Chou En-lai, Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China.
The President replied that it was not a matter of taste. The U.S. has obligations toward the Government of the Republic of China which it respects and intends to fulfill.
Mr. Khrushchev retorted that these were obligations which we took on ourselves voluntarily. They were not given to us by an act of God. Therefore, they could be changed. Furthermore, the Soviet Union also had undertaken certain obligations.
The President said he certainly did not claim perfection with respect to the many decisions he was called upon to make. He simply sought to do the right thing.
Mr. Khrushchev said that he had to respect the President's statement. He merely would point out that he considered that there was a lack of consistency in our policy. The President said that if the two German states remained, they would be an indefinite hot bed of conflict. If this statement was true with respect to Germany, then it was true with respect to China, too. In fact, it was more serious with respect to China because in Germany the two states had respectively 18,000,000 and 50,000,000 inhabitants. In China the Chinese Communists had 650,000,000 to 7 - 9,000,000 on Taiwan.
The President agreed that it was possible to make such a comparison. However, he commented that human affairs got very badly tangled at times and that we would simply have to try to straighten them out.
Mr. Khrushchev replied that he realized this but that he had just wanted to point out the inconsistency of our policy. He then quoted a Russian proverb which turned out to be untranslatable as related to the conversation, to the effect that "policy is like a wagon tongue between two horses".
The President said he wanted to add that while he admitted the comparison between the German and Chinese situations, he wished to point out that the U.S. seeks peaceful settlements in both instances.
The Secretary added also in Korea and Viet Nam.
Mr. Khrushchev said that he did not insist on a military solution in China. There could be a peaceful settlement, he continued, if the U.S. did not give military support to Chiang. In turn, he continued, the USSR also gave military aid to the Chinese Communists. Chiang was our ally, Mao was their ally. However, he agreed that this subject had been exhausted.
The President commented that it would remain a problem for some time.
Mr. Khrushchev agreed with this, saying he meant that the subject had been exhausted only insofar as the present exchange of views was concerned.
The President then referred to the suggestion that he and the Chairman have a private talk as to whether they wanted to say anything at the conclusion of their talks. They could then turn over to their aides the necessary drafting.
Thereupon the President and Chairman Khrushchev entered private discussions at approximately 11:45 a.m./8/
/8/The memorandum of this conversation is printed in vol. IX, Document 14.
134. Memorandum of Conversation
Camp David, September 27, 1959, 1 - 1:45 p.m.
//Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1475. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Thompson and approved by Goodpaster on October 29.
Quality of American Chocolates; Van Cliburn
The President Ambassador Lodge Ambassador Thompson General Goodpaster Mr. Akalovsky Chairman Khrushchev Ambassador Menshikov Mr. Soldatov Mr. Troyanovski
At lunch on the last day of Mr. Khrushchev's visit to Camp David the Secretary, Mr. Gromyko and others were working on the communique and as the time was short the rest of the party proceeded to eat lunch without them.
There was little discussion of substantive matters. Mr. Khrushchev produced a box of chocolates which he said had been given to him by Van Cliburn with the request that he and the President eat them together. These were passed around the table and Mr. Khrushchev remarked about the high quality of American chocolates. Ambassador Menshikov said in Russian that Russian chocolates were better. Mr. Khrushchev turned to the interpreter and said "Don't translate that remark." Then, having noted that I had heard it and that the President was waiting for a translation, he explained what Ambassador Menshikov had said and said he had asked the translator not to translate the remark because it was so tactless. Ambassador Menshikov's only reaction was to say rather sourly that at least he personally preferred Soviet chocolates.
With respect to Van Cliburn, Mr. Khrushchev said either on this or an earlier occasion that Van Cliburn had expressed disappointment that he had not been able to play for Mr. Khrushchev on the White House piano which he said was possibly the best instrument in the world. The President said he had not realized that the White House piano was so special. Mr. Khrushchev went on to remark about the great success which Van Cliburn had had in the Soviet Union. It was not quite clear to me whether Mr. Khrushchev was fully aware of Van Cliburn's presumptuousness in attempting to needle the President through him about failure to use him to entertain Mr. Khrushchev.
135. Editorial Note
On September 28, President Eisenhower held a press conference on the recent Khrushchev visit; see footnote 8, Document 128. Eisenhower also informed the principal U.S. allies on his talks with Khrushchev. In a letter dated September 28, Eisenhower wrote West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer; see volume IX, Document 18. Copies of similar letters which Eisenhower sent to British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, dated September 29, and to French President Charles de Gaulle, dated September 30, are in Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204. A seven-page memorandum summarizing the Eisenhower - Khrushchev talks at Camp David was transmitted separately to Adenauer, Macmillan, and de Gaulle on September 30. A copy is ibid. Numerous memoranda of conversation between Department of State officials and foreign diplomats in Washington as well as between U.S. Ambassadors and foreign leaders at various posts abroad from September 28 to 30, in which foreign governments were briefed on the Khrushchev visit, are ibid., Central File 033.6111.
Eisenhower also wanted to follow through on the many issues discussed with Khrushchev. On September 29, he wrote a letter to Secretary of State Herter asking him to "keep on the ball with respect to all the subjects we have considered in our recent conferences," particularly those pertaining to the Khrushchev conversations. In this regard, the President mentioned exchanges on peaceful uses of atomic energy, trade in general, broadening of other kinds of contacts, and jamming of broadcasts to the Soviet Union, and suggested using Ambassador Llewellyn E. Thompson, rather than Soviet Ambassador Menshikov, as the diplomatic channel for further discussions. (Ibid., 711.11 - EI/9 - 2959) In his reply, dated October 1, which was initialed by Eisenhower, Herter agreed with the President's suggestions. He noted "the particular urgency you attach to the question of VOA broadcasts and I will get to work immediately with George Allen on this." He also wrote that he had asked Livingston T. Merchant, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, to coordinate this activity, "and we will hope to have status reports for you both as specific items come up for your approval, and at regular intervals on the totality of the subjects involved." (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Dulles - Herter Series)
Regarding Herter's subsequent discussions within the government on the issue of Voice of America broadcasts and the exchange agreement signed in Moscow on November 21 by Ambassador Thompson and Soviet Chairman for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries Zhukov, see Part 2, Document 22.
A report on the Khrushchev visit is printed as Document 136. Minutes of the Cabinet meeting on November 6 on the implications of his visit for future U.S.-Soviet relations is printed as Document 137.
136. Report on the Khrushchev Visit
KHV/R - 1 Washington, undated.
[Here follows a three-page summary of arrangements, itinerary, and the general course of Khrushchev's visit to the United States.]
//Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 65 D 81, CF 1475A. Confidential. Attached to the source text is a memorandum from Kohler to Secretary Herter, October 29, which noted that this report was "prepared by the U.S. official party and others in the Department concerned with the visit." Kohler also noted: "Annexes to the report are being issued separately in three series--factual, analytical and documentary. Of these, the following contain analyses supporting the principal conclusions reached in the present report: 1) Khrushchev's view of the United States; 2) the Soviet correlation of forces thesis; 3) Khrushchev's treatment of the disarmament issue; and 4) Khrushchev's treatment of the issues of Berlin and Germany."
The factual and analytical annexes are attached to the source text but not printed. The documentary annexes are ibid., CF 1475B.
Khrushchev's Behavior and General Attitude
From the outset of his trip, Khrushchev made it clear that while he intended to praise the Soviet system, forecast the future "peaceful" victory of communism on a world-wide scale, and on occasion criticize the United States (for trade discrimination, "intervention" in Soviet Russia after the revolution, etc.), he would tolerate no questions or statements made in his presence which he considered "provocative," i.e., directly or indirectly critical of himself, the USSR, or communism in general. Thus, at his first meeting with President Eisenhower he complained of Vice President Nixon's September 14 speech before the American Dental Association/1/ in which the Vice President stated that Khrushchev's visit would give Americans the opportunity to answer Khrushchev "courteously but as effectively and as articulately as possible" on major issues. Similarly, when at Khrushchev's appearance at the National Press Club on September 16 (about which, on the basis of previous experience by Mikoyan and Kozlov,/2/ he may have had misgivings) the first question asked him involved his role during the Stalin period, he harshly attacked the motives of the questioner and left the query unanswered./3/
/1/See footnote 2, Document 109.
/2/Mikoyan's appearance at the National Press Club on January 19 was summarized in The New York Times, January 20, 1959. For text of Kozlov's July 2 speech at a luncheon sponsored by the Overseas Press Club and the National Press Club, see ibid., July 3, 1959.
/3/The transcript of Khrushchev's September 16 press conference at the National Press Club was printed ibid., September 17, 1959.
Khrushchev's insistence on his own dignity and prestige and those of the USSR, and his constant assertion of the superiority of the communist system, were partly motivated by practical considerations. At the same time, the lengths to which he carried these efforts and the compulsive (and often counterproductive) way in which he reacted to all criticism-- explicit, implicit and imagined--illustrated that he possesses to an extraordinary degree the feelings of inferiority characteristic of his countrymen and their resultant drive for self-assertion.
During the first part of his trip an accumulation of irritants (occasional recurrence of critical questions, statements made by American speakers regarding the US which he considered critical of the USSR by implication, refutation by them of critical points regarding the US that he had previously made, the cool reception he was getting from the crowds along his route, security measures which prevented him from mingling with the public and which in any event he probably considered excessive and humiliating), in combination with his own growing fatigue and certain specific incidents during his stay in Los Angeles, led to a threatening display of his anger at the Los Angeles civic dinner given him on the evening of September 19./4/
/4/See footnotes 1 and 2, Document 119.
The Los Angeles irritants included a one-line speech of greeting at the airport by Mayor Poulson (Khrushchev put aside a prepared text and gave an equally brief reply),/5/ the absence of the public from the airport ceremony, a report that the local police authorities would be unable to assure his security if he visited Disneyland, the sparsity of crowds along his routes through the city (which had not been announced), a rather undignified public polemical discussion with Spyrous Skouras at the 20th Century Fox luncheon/6/ (where Khrushchev publicly complained about the Disneyland matter), and the tasteless display put on for his benefit by the cast of "Can Can."
/5/Reported in The New York Times, September 21, 1959.
/6/For text of Khrushchev's discussion with Spyrous Skouras, President of Twentieth-Century Fox, on September 19, see ibid., September 20, 1959.
That evening at the civic dinner Khrushchev took violent issue with a relatively inoffensive speech made by the mayor by insulting him, threatening to go home, threatening a renewal and implied intensification of the cold war, boasting of the USSR's serial production of ICBM's, etc. Even in this angriest of his performances, Khrushchev, however, continued to praise the President, contrasting his realistic and courageous attitude with those who, he claimed, failed to understand the seriousness of the alternatives facing the world (which he variously described as war and peace and as detente and a dangerous continuation of the cold war). Mme Khrushcheva later stated privately that her husband "completely lost his temper in Los Angeles" and attributed his tactions to fatigue./7/
/7/Not further identified.
Presumably sobered by the bad press which his performance in Los Angeles received and his own probably urgent desire to keep his trip from ending in public failure, refreshed by a couple of hours' sleep early in the train trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and heartened by the generally friendly reception accorded him by the crowds which gathered at station stops along the way, Khrushchev regained his composure. Despite occasional evidence of fatigue at the end of tiring days (shared by other members of the official party), he maintained this composure during the balance of the trip. He did this despite occasional recurrences of what he doubtless considered provocation (for example, Mayor Christopher's closing remarks presenting Khrushchev with a gavel at the San Francisco civic dinner September 21)./8/ This composure, together with the generally more friendly public reception along the balance of his route (to which he appeared extremely responsive), doubtless permitted him to absorb more of what he saw than he otherwise would have done. Partly as a result of this improved atmosphere and partly as a reflection of his efforts to give as much substance as possible to the impression that his reception by the US public was warm (which the Soviet press had all along claimed), his acknowledgment of US achievements became more generous. The terms which he prescribed for a US-Soviet detente also became noticeably more moderate in form, although their substance was not altered.
/8/Mayor Christopher's closing remarks at this dinner have not been found, but for text of Khrushchev's response after accepting the gavel, see The New York Times, September 22, 1959.
Main Themes of Khrushchev's Public Statements
The line Khrushchev tried to convey in his public appearances in the US was essentially that which he expounded in advance in his article "On Peaceful Coexistence," written for the October issue of Foreign Affairs (and appearing in the September 3 issue of the New York Times). In this article and in his subsequent speeches, Khrushchev presented "peaceful coexistence" and all-out thermonuclear war as the only two alternatives the world faced, called for the renunciation of war as a means of settling disputes, asserted that peaceful coexistence should develop into peaceful competition for satisfying man's needs in the best possible way, but stated that the ideological struggle between communism and capitalism would continue and reaffirmed his faith in the "inevitable" victory of communism. Also in his Foreign Affairs article Khrushchev asserted that the growing strength and deterrent power of the Soviet bloc opened up a real possibility that war could be excluded once and for all from the life of society and called for a number of steps to be taken--all of them by the West--to make peaceful coexistence possible. These included a recognition of the permanence of the socialist system wherever it now exists, an end to political and economic discrimination against the Soviet bloc, the development of trade with the USSR, and the acceptance of the USSR's proposals on Berlin and Germany.
This basic message was essentially the same as that he had expounded during the Vice President's trip to the Soviet Union (i.e., communism was on the way up; capitalism and its strongest exponent, the United States, were unpopular and on their way down and would be superseded by communism; in view of the growing strength of the Soviet Union and the bloc in general, and in view of the devastating nature of modern war, the United States would be committing suicide if it attempted to resist the advance of communism by means of war).
In his public speeches in the United States, however, Khrushchev usually avoided explicit claims regarding Soviet military strength. Having directly referred to the subject at the Los Angeles dinner, he subsequently apologized to soften the effect of his remarks. In general, he stuck to statements regarding the economic and political strength of the bloc and described the horror and folly of war in general terms applicable to the USSR as well as to the United States; nonetheless, on every conceivable occasion he reminded the US of Soviet prowess in rocketry by mentioning the successful Soviet "moon shot" which had taken place on the eve of his visit.
Along with his arguments concerning the impossibility and hopelessness of combating the growing strength of the bloc, Khrushchev made major efforts to show that the USSR was engaged in raising its own standards of living, that communism was founded on humane and even Christian principles (September 27 TV address),/9/ and that the USSR thus posed no threat to anybody (i.e., that it was unnecessary as well as hopeless to resist it).
/9/For text of Khrushchev's September 27 radio and television address, see ibid., September 28, 1959.
Khrushchev frequently remarked that through his visit the US public was getting a chance to see for itself that he did not "have horns." On a number of occasions he used his very substantial talents for humor and ham-acting to show himself in a human light. An important part of his effort was his decision to bring along his generally personable family. To have himself accepted as a human and likeable being, however, was obviously balanced in his mind by the need to project his image as the strong, vital, determined, and confident leader of a great and growing power and of a historically invincible world movement.
In the course of the trip Khrushchev sought to make his message acceptable to Americans by publicly acknowledging the desire of both the President and the US people for peace with flattering references, especially after Los Angeles, to one or another aspect of American achievements, including admission of the present US lead in certain fields, notably the standard of living and the productivity of farm labor. Also probably intended for the same purpose were his statements that he drew no distinction between the people of the US and their government, although the force of these declarations and of his recognition of the desire of the President and the people for peace was lessened by his statements (particularly in his September 27 press conference and his address at the Luzhniki Stadium on his return to Moscow)/10/ regarding influential elements in the US who were resisting a relaxation of tensions. Both in the Luzhniki speech and in a subsequent Pravda article by Yuri Zhukov,/11/ Vice President Nixon was identified as a major villain in the piece, while praise of the President for his desire for peace was continued. It is, moreover, probably true that in publicly drawing no distinction between the people and the government of the United States, Khrushchev hoped to induce Americans to do the same with regard to the Soviet Union.
/10/The transcript of Khrushchev's press conference on September 27 and text of his speech at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on September 28 are printed ibid., September 28 and 29, 1959.
Khrushchev's Probable Reactions to and Assessment of the Trip
In attempting to assess Khrushchev's reactions to his trip, there seems every reason to suppose that our productive capacity, high stand-ard of living, popular solidarity, etc., did make an impression on him despite his previous statements that he already knew all about the US from films, extensive reading, etc. (Khrushchev's conversation indicated that he did, in fact, already know a great deal about the country, although what he knew was interlaced with half truths and Soviet stereotypes.) Over and above the fact that his faith in communism, which is at once his greatest political asset and his raison d'etre, would not permit him to admit the long-term viability of our system, certain of his ingrained habits of thought and feeling probably made him react to much of what he saw as self-indulgent, wasteful, chaotic, and decadent. He quite probably believes what Soviet economists tell him about the USSR's faster rate of economic growth, although he may well have carried away with him the conviction that, even granted these faster rates of growth, it would take the Soviet Union a long time to catch up with the US in standard of living. It seems unlikely that his ideas in the military field were changed in any way.
In his assessment of the present political and psychological mood of the US, it seems probable that any impression of vitality and courage he obtained from the people he met was at least partially offset by what he no doubt considered his success in forcing us, through the threat inherent in the Berlin situation, to extend him the invitation and arrange private talks with the President.
In coming here to insist on the USSR's great-power status, the bloc's invincibility, the inevitability and goodness of communism, Khrushchev displayed considerable courage. With the possible exception of his oversensitivity to imagined slights, he never permitted nervousness to show. Indeed, the whole performance, at least until it was apparent that he was staging it satisfactorily, must have been something of an ordeal. Coming here as he did and saying what he did, he could not very well have admitted failure (as was illustrated by the Soviet press's deliberate misrepresentation of his initial reception in the United States as "warm").
In retrospect, he probably feels he has every reason to be satisfied. He certainly impressed the United States with his forcefulness and determination; he showed his own people and others in the world that he was recognized and respected by the United States as the unquestioned leader of a great world power. Moreover, he probably feels that he has given a further impetus to Western negotiation with the bloc and that the West's commitment to negotiate will tend to preclude increased Western defense efforts. At least temporarily, he presumably believes he has achieved a partial detente at little or no cost to the bloc. This, he may hope, will permit him to gain a summit meeting on favorable terms. Even should such a meeting fail to achieve any major security agreements the USSR would consider beneficial, he might feel that the Soviet Union could emerge a year or two from now substantially more powerful than it is today. The detente line, moreover, may be intended to improve Soviet opportunities for penetration of the underdeveloped areas (Khrushchev's UN address/12/ certainly reflects interest in this subject) where, during the more active threat-and-crisis period of the last year and a half, developments have been far from satisfactory from the Soviet standpoint.
/12/See footnote 2, Document 117.
Khrushchev's remarks regarding the impossibility of liquidating all aspects of the cold war overnight, in addition to protecting the Soviet position on certain aspects of its policy that it does not want to give up, indicates that he visualizes a partial detente of some duration as possibly desirable granted the proper conditions, i.e., that the detente appears to be working to what the USSR considers its advantage. Moreover, Khrushchev's recent statements in Peiping/13/ advising against testing the capitalist system by the use of force, while no doubt partly intended for American ears and hedged around so as to leave the Chinese Communist position on Taiwan at least theoretically intact, presumably also reflect a real desire to keep the Chinese Communists from taking any early aggressive action on a scale that might involve them in hostilities with the US, or which would seriously jeopardize the present Soviet efforts to produce a partial detente.
/13/Khrushchev visited Peking September 30 - October 4. For texts of two of Khru-shchev's speeches in Peking on September 30, in which he stressed the relaxation of international tension and "peaceful coexistence," see Current Digest of the Soviet Press, October 28, 1959, pp. 19, 20 - 22.
Probable Impact of the Trip on Future Soviet Approach Toward the US
While the USSR has already laid the groundwork for blaming any setbacks on the road to "friendly relations with the United States" on influential elements in the US opposed to a relaxation of tension, the extent to which Khrushchev through his trip has probably made himself a hero in the USSR as a peacemaker in favor of closer relations with the West means that it would be far from easy for him to admit failure in his self-proclaimed efforts. At the least this would require considerable, apparently substantiative evidence of allegedly US hostile action or intent. His praise of President Eisenhower as a man of peace tends to commit Khrushchev at least in this specific regard for the balance of the President's tenure, while the damning of Vice President Nixon (which could be extended to other presidential potentials if necessary) might provide a cutoff date in case of need. This is not to say that US efforts in the meantime to promote the security and stability of the free world will be allowed to pass unnoticed, or that the USSR may not use at least implied threats in an attempt to improve its position. Should the USSR consider some action of the US a threat to the security of the bloc, there is no reason to doubt that its reaction would be direct and overt. The degree to which Khrushchev has committed himself to his alleged role as a peacemaker, however, indicates that he will continue, for the time being at least, to pose as such and to be careful to avoid major crises for which the USSR might to its own citizens appear responsible.
Khrushchev's line regarding US-Soviet relations, combining an unyielding exposition of the Soviet position with an expressed desire to assure peace and bring about a US-Soviet rapprochement, represented an equivocal mixture from several points of view. It was assertive enough to fit in with traditional Soviet bargaining methods in a pre- negotiation period, while at the same time sufficiently hopeful to interest the West. It was tough enough to prevent serious opposition on the part of doctrinaire elements within the bloc who would oppose any real modus vivendi with the West, but hopeful enough to win Khrushchev great popularity at home among the wide elements of the Soviet population which would like a real detente and a faster rise in the standard of living. Even the partial and probably temporary detente the line is intended to produce has an equivocal nature: to the more doctrinaire elements, it can be represented as a tactical move to improve the USSR's power position and penetration possibilities; to those who doubt that even fairly rapidly growing Soviet power will permit the spread of communism to be safely combined with national safety, it can be represented as a logical step toward a real relaxation of tension reducing the danger of war.
Khrushchev has shown an ability simultaneously to think a variety of thoughts which to our minds appear contradictory. There is no reason to suppose that he is not equally sincere in wanting to assure both peace and the victory of communism. He is also probably equally sincere about his interest in maximizing the USSR's power relative to prospective enemies, while at the same time raising the standard of living of his own people and the bloc in general, believing that the latter course, too, would promote the spread of communism.
In the light of these considerations, it appears likely that, as stated above, Khrushchev feels confident that he can get what he wants out of a summit conference or other negotiations with the West at an acceptable if not minimal cost. Even failing to achieve agreements acceptable to the USSR (other than a temporary formula on Berlin), he might consider it useful, other factors being equal, to continue the new less threatening stance for a year or two until the increments to the USSR's relative power position, which he believes to be promised by its current military programs, have at least started to come into being. At that time, Khru-shchev may believe, he could judge whether things were progressing satisfactorily from his point of view or whether his efforts to educate the West to what he considers the realities of the modern world called for a more concentrated and effective "heat treatment."
137. Minutes of the Cabinet Meeting
Washington, November 6, 1959, 9 - 11 a.m.
[Here follow a list of participants and the President's brief comments on an unrelated subject.]
US - USSR Relations (CI 59 - 62)--Mr. Herter, speaking from the Cabinet Paper,/1/ reviewed the background and purpose of the Khru-shchev visit, stressing particularly the President's hope that the visit might serve to remove some of the misconceptions that existed about the United States. Mr. Herter pointed out that on the first visit of Mr. Khrushchev with the President the only really significant thing was that Khrushchev had not deigned to discuss at all the disarmament proposal he would be making to the UN a few days later, preferring to keep the matter of the speech a closely guarded secret, though he did refer to it as being "right here in my pocket and no one is going to see it". Mr. Herter noted also the accomplishments at Camp David as set forth in the communique, plus the additional statements made subsequently/2/ that there would be no time limit placed in ultimatum fashion on the Berlin negotiations. He noted also the brief discussion of China and the impossibility of having any profitable discussion at that time./3/ However, when Mr. Khrushchev went to China,/4/ there was evidence but not proof that he did what he could to soft peddle the issue.
//Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Cabinet Series. Confidential. Drafted by L. Arthur Minnich, Jr., the President's Assistant Staff Secretary.
/1/A copy of a paper prepared by Secretary Herter, entitled "Assessment of Chairman Khrushchev's Visit--Summary of Instructions to U.S. Missions Abroad," November 2, is ibid.
/2/For Eisenhower's and Khrushchev's statements on Berlin following the Camp David discussions, see vol. IX, Document 16.
/3/See Document 133.
/4/See footnote 13, Document 136.
Mr. Herter emphasized that the Russian effort now is to attempt to build up a feeling around the world that a new era of peace has set in. Mr. Herter said that some of our friends might over react to this in terms of moving much more warmly toward closer relations with Russia, despite the fact that the Russian representative in the UN recently attacked us vitriolically./5/
/5/Not further identified.
Mr. Herter concluded that the visit could be considered a gain but that only future developments will reveal the worth of the visit. In the meantime, there is a need for other nations to realize that there has been no change in policy on our part.
Mr. Lodge pointed out that people in the UN had thought well of the visit and the way it was handled by the U.S., but that there was growing talk of a "spirit of Camp David". Mr. Lodge then noted the tendency in the non-white world (which is most of the world in terms of population) to look askance at the United States as being a "white" country and therefore associated with the Colonial Powers. He felt that the aftermath of the Khrushchev visit provides us a great opportunity to correct this attitude, since these countries regard us now as being somewhat more reasonable. We should focus attention on the Declaration of Independence rather than on the Communist Manifesto where it has been, and in doing so we should not endeavor to sell the specific word "Capitalism" which is beyond rehabilitation in the minds of the non- white world. As Mr. Lodge stated, the U.S. can win wars but the question is can we win revolutions.
Mr. Lodge cautioned that the U.S. could not afford any appearance of backtracking from the attitude it has had about the Khrushchev visit, since this would encourage the presently quiescent critics of the visit to sound off.
Mr. Lodge thought that the United States could seize and hold the diplomatic initiative by taking specific actions which might be something of the type of the following:
1. Revive the Baruch plan for atomic control and disarmament./6/
/6/See footnote 9, Document 75.
2. Working for the presence of the UN in Berlin.
3. Focusing more on our assistance to under developed nations through the multilateral UN programs which far exceeds the Soviet contribution.
We could well afford to invite and challenge the Soviets to match our effort.
Domestically, Lodge thought we should give more consideration to the possibility of a greater growth rate of the national economy--perhaps 6% rather than 3% annually. He also stressed the harm done to our world relations by domestic race and color problems, where a single incident like Little Rock/7/ can do irretrievable harm. The President immediately asked why the sending of Federal troops had not done good rather than harm by showing our determination to maintain the rule of law. Mr. Lodge agreed that in this respect some benefit had been obtained but the adverse effects of the rioting were tremendous.
/7/In late September 1957, President Eisenhower federalized the National Guard and sent regular Federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce a court order requiring integration of a high school.
Mr. McCone discussed the atomic scientists exchange visits and his experiences in Russia,/8/ pointing out such things as the Russian capacity for fully organizing efforts to promote special projects, Russian scientific respect for China's potential in science, and the possibility of further exchanges in areas where new information is already being made public anyway. He also noted specifically the Russian agreement to holding technical discussions by the USSR, US, UK and the French as to safeguards against misuse of nuclear power reactors and materials.
Sec. Benson gave his impressions from his visit to Yugoslavia, Poland and Russia, and distributed copies of his summary report./9/ He noted especially the superiority of U.S. agriculture and the probability that Russia will need a decade or more before catching up to our industrialized farm activity. He also talked at length about his visit to a church in Moscow and his firm faith that religion will never die there.
[Here follows discussion of unrelated subjects.]
/8/McCone and a group of U.S. scientists toured Soviet scientific laboratories and installations October 9 - 18.
/9/The summary report of Benson's trip to Yugoslavia, Germany, Poland, the Soviet Union, Finland, Sweden, and Norway September 23 - October 9 is in Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Cabinet Series.
138. Letter From Foreign Minister Gromyko to Vice President Nixon
Moscow, November 17, 1959.
DEAR MR. NIXON: The Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, N.S. Khrushchev, asked me to answer your letter of August 1/1/ which raises the question of the possible departure of certain persons from the Soviet Union to the United States of America.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 261.1111/11 - 1759. Confidential. Transmitted as an enclosure to despatch 258 from Moscow, November 17. A notation on the despatch indicates that the original and the Embassy's translation of this letter were sent to Nixon's office on December 4. In telegram 1438 from Moscow, November 17, which also transmitted the text of this letter, Thompson reported that when Gromyko handed him the letter that morning, he also referred to Secretary Herter's recent letter to Gromyko with two accompanying lists of American citizens and relatives of American citizens who desired to leave the Soviet Union. Thompson said that virtually all the people named on the two lists had applied for Soviet exit visas, but Gromyko said that in the past U.S. information was often incorrect and that the required applications to the Soviet militia had not been made. (Ibid., 261.1111/11 - 1759) Herter's letter to Gromyko and the two lists have not been found, but the letter was summarized briefly in telegram 1377 from Moscow, November 11. (Ibid., 261.1111/11 - 1159)
First of all, I would like to mention that correspondence is already underway with the US Embassy in Moscow concerning some of the persons you mention and that the Embassy has received the necessary information and answers. I have been assured that when necessary this will be done also in the future.
Concerning the question raised in your letter about the departure from the USSR to the USA of some other Soviet citizens, the decision in such cases lies within the competence of police organs [militia]/2/ in accordance with the procedure established in the Soviet Union. A necessary condition for consideration of a departure case is a formal personal application by the individual concerned.
/2/Brackets in the source text.
Of course, if there should be an appeal by the Soviet citizens you mentioned to the indicated organs with an application for departure, their requests will be considered with proper attention as is always the case in the consideration of such affairs.
For my part, I express the hope that the Government of the United States of America will show due cooperation and understanding in satisfying the interests of Soviet citizens who express the desire to leave the United States for the Soviet Union.
With sincere respect,
/3/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
139. Letter From Foreign Minister Gromyko to Secretary of State Herter
Moscow, December 22, 1959./1/
ESTEEMED MR. SECRETARY OF STATE: With reference to your letter of October 22/2/ regarding the departure of certain persons from the Soviet Union for the United States of America, I would like to note that the position of the Soviet Government on this question was set forth in general outline in my letter to Vice President Nixon of November 17./3/
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 261.1111/12 - 2159. Confidential. The source text is labeled "Informal Translation." A memorandum from Service to Calhoun, December 21, attached to the source text, indicates that Soviet Counselor Smirnovsky handed this letter to Richard H. Davis on December 21.
/1/If the letter was actually delivered on December 21, the date of the letter is in error.
The Soviet Government has held and continues to hold the point of view that questions of reuniting relatives who are separated must be regarded with appropriate attention, and the appropriate Soviet organs invariably are guided by this approach in examining all concrete requests for departure from the Soviet Union. Incidentally, as I have been informed, a number of requests for departure from the USSR to the USA have been approved recently.
As concerns the manner of examining such questions, in accord-ance with generally accepted practice emigration matters can be taken up only in those instances where there is an official request from the person desiring to depart.
I was glad to learn from your letter that the Government of the United States for its part does not intend to place obstacles in the way of the departure from the USA to the USSR of those persons desiring to do so. I allow myself to express the hope that in the future the American authorities, in accordance with this principle, will show the necessary cooperation in the departure of such persons for the Soviet Union.
/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
[End of Section 12]