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2. David K.E. Bruce Diary Entry/1/

Washington, January 5, 1961.

/1/Source: Department of State, Bruce Diaries: Lot 64 D 327. Secret.

Here follows unrelated material.

Before Senator Kennedy's inauguration, he told Rusk to make me coordinator of the conversations that Soviet Ambassador Menshikov was attempting to hold with various private American individuals. This was quite an assignment. "Smiling Mike" had embarked on a campaign of trying to talk to everybody whom he thought might ultimately have some close association with Kennedy.

I went to the Ambassador's residence on January 5, 1961 and after much drinking and eating, I left and made this report to Dean Rusk:

"At Ambassador Menshikov's invitation, I lunched with him today. He said he welcomed the opportunity to talk unofficially with an American private citizen, and assumed the gist of his remarks would be conveyed to Mr. Rusk. His official contacts were, of course, with Secretary Herter. He recognized the impediments to conversation with Mr. Rusk before the latter was inducted into office. He had seen Mr. Bowles, and would appreciate word being passed to him that he, Menshikov, after reflecting upon their interviews, was now ready to express his reaction to certain points discussed by them. (N.B. Would you please pass this on to Chet Bowles?).

"At another time, the Ambassador referred to conversations that had taken place with Adlai Stevenson and Robert Kennedy. He expects to see Mr. Kennedy again shortly. (He did not mention to me his request for a visit to Senator Kennedy.)

"Menshikov observed that he was an intimate acquaintance--indeed friend--of Messrs. Khrushchev and Mikoyan and, to a lesser degree, of Kozlov. He had commenced his career in trade and commercial matters, becoming later a diplomat. He thought that expansion of trade between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. was of great importance, but did not propose to deal with that subject at this time.

"His principals--especially Khrushchev--believed the coming into power of a new American administration presented an opportunity to resolve existing and dangerous differences between our countries. The atmosphere had changed. Psychologically, it would be easier for the U.S.S.R. to deal with the new Administration than with the old one. He realized nothing could be negotiated until the Presidency changed hands, but, as soon as possible thereafter, serious inter-changes should begin. Meanwhile, he hoped to continue informally to set forth Soviet views as he was now doing.

"Khrushchev felt that, with due regard to the susceptibilities of smaller nations on each side, no real relaxation of tensions could be achieved until the only two great powers agreed upon a program for peaceful coexistence. There are two outstanding problems: first, in order of importance, is disarmament; second, the German question, including West Berlin. This is not to minimize the necessity of dealing with other sources of contention, which should also be considered as urgent. (He made no allusion to China.)

"What Menshikov later said was so nearly a repetition of his statements in the memoranda on his conversations with Messrs. Harriman, Robert Kennedy, Stevenson and Salisbury/2/ that I do not think it useful to set down his remarks except as they deviated from the foregoing.

/2/Menshikov had talked with Harriman on November 21 and December 14, 1960 (memoranda of conversation; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harriman Papers); with Robert Kennedy on December 12 (Robert Kennedy memorandum to Rusk; Kennedy Library, Robert Kennedy Papers); with Stevenson on November 16 (memorandum of conversation; Princeton University, Stevenson Papers, Box 832, Menshikov); and with Harrison Salisbury on December 15 (memorandum of conversation; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, USSR). These conversations are also summarized in Beschloss, The Crisis Years, pp. 40-42, and in Schlesinger, Robert Kennedy and His Times, pp. 439-440.

"Regarding disarmament, Khrushchev believed there were no fundamental differences between us, as both nations realized the utter and criminal folly of a nuclear war. Perhaps the quarrel over inspection and control preceding an agreement on general and complete disarmament was due to a misunderstanding, or was a matter of semantics. At any rate, if Khrushchev could have a private conversation with President Kennedy they could reach a compromise on a system of inspection and control synchronized with stages of disarmament.

"Regarding Germany, Menshikov confined his remarks to Berlin, and repeated in essence what he had said to Adlai Stevenson. I told him previous suggestions by his Government did not seem to promise a solution satisfactory to us. He answered that Khrushchev was flexible on the subject, and believed he could work out something mutually satisfactory in private talks with President Kennedy.

"He came back and back to the desirability and urgency of the two Chiefs of State meeting, and hoped this could happen before President Kennedy saw Adenauer and Macmillan, the first of whom had been announced as a visitor to Washington in February, and the second in March. I said the report about Adenauer was incorrect, since his proposed trip had been cancelled. I had no information about Macmillan's plans, but was not aware of a definite time having been set for him to come to Washington.

"Menshikov agreed that we would have to await the formal taking over by the new Administration before consideration could be given to the possibility of a meeting between the two statesmen. I reminded him of the sentiment prevalent here, of the necessity of preliminary agreements broad enough to warrant a later conference between two or more Chiefs of State. Menshikov replied that Khrushchev thought preliminary understandings could be reached but did not specify how. He said he was sure Khrushchev would be glad to receive a representative of President Kennedy in Moscow to engage in preparatory discussions. I asked if this could be done through normal diplomatic channels. He answered that such a procedure had not been followed in the past, and thought letters between the two Chiefs, and perhaps a special emissary from President Kennedy, might be better. However, he was careful to add this was an entirely personal opinion. He felt himself capable of handling the Washington end, since he had always been kept informed by Khrushchev of the contents of all private communications between Khrushchev and President Eisenhower. He asked whether Ambassador Thompson would remain in Moscow. I answered that I did not know.

"He referred to the difficulties, of which he was aware, on the Western side especially, of bilateral conversations between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. Heads of State, but thought, by the exercise of tact, they could be overcome, as would also be the case with disarmament discussions, which would have to receive the eventual approval of a United Nations Committee.

"Menshikov started to talk about U.S. mistakes in Laos and Cuba but, after some jocularity over Castro, I told him I thought we better disregard those areas.

"He asked if I would renew this talk on a weekly basis. I said I would see Mr. Rusk Saturday and give him an answer Monday, since it might or might not be preferable to make some other arrangement.

"He then handed me the enclosed paper,/3/ asked me to read it and, if I wished, to pass it on. It was his personal production and entirely unofficial. I read it hurriedly, and said I would not comment on it today, though, off-hand, I did not personally find his comments on the German question constructive."

/3/Not found.

Menshikov sent me a hamper of vodka and caviar and invited me to lunch again. I went a second time, but found his conversation a repetition of what he had said before. During the remainder of my stay in Washington, he suggested I meet him again, but I replied that, since the Secretary of State had taken office I thought I should drop out of any future discussions on the matters with which he was concerned.

Here follows unrelated material.

 

3. Current Intelligence Weekly Review/1/

Washington, January 12, 1961.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency: Job 79-S01060A. Secret; Noforn. The source text comprises pp. 7-8 of Part I of the issue. The Current Intelligence Weekly Review was prepared by CIA's Office of Current Intelligence, whose staff also produced the President's Intelligence Checklist and the Current Intelligence Bulletin, both daily intelligence summaries. Based on the daily summaries, the Current Intelligence Weekly Review provided a weekly wrap-up of the key events as well as special articles. Like the Current Intelligence Bulletin, it was disseminated widely to U.S. Government officials. Excerpts from the Current Intelligence Weekly Review have been included in this volume to provide examples of the kind of incremental intelligence information that U.S. policymakers depended on day in and day out to illuminate developments in the Soviet Union.

East-West Relations

At the Cuban National Day reception on 2 January, Khrushchev said the delay in establishing contact with the new US administration was largely responsible for the Soviet party's decision to postpone its 22nd congress until October, according to the Yugoslav ambassador in Moscow. At the same reception First Deputy Premier Mikoyan remarked that Khrushchev did not expect to meet with President-elect Kennedy until "perhaps July."

This link between the timing of the party congress and top-level East-West talks suggests that Khrushchev hopes to achieve some tangible diplomatic success which could be used to demonstrate the validity and effectiveness of his foreign policy before committing the Soviet party to the kind of authoritative and long-range programs that are enunciated by party congresses. The Soviet leaders may also feel that the Chinese Communist challenge makes it imperative that the party congress take unequivocal positions on doctrinal as well as foreign policy questions, and that this will be impossible until the Soviet leaders have an opportunity to assess the character and likely moves of the new US administration.

The new date for the party congress--17 October--and Mikoyan's reported reference to a meeting with the new US President in July suggest that the Soviet leaders are aware that the process of arranging a summit conference will require considerably more time than Khrushchev indicated in earlier private remarks. In talks with Prime Minister Macmillan last fall, Khrushchev mentioned February and March as possible dates for a summit; later he indicated to the West German ambassador that April would be the deadline for talks on Germany.

Khrushchev's latest private remarks along this line suggest, however, that he will initially press for early negotiations. He used a talk with the Icelandic ambassador on 4 January to emphasize his public statement that the Berlin problem must be solved in 1961. Unless the new US administration gave an early indication of willingness to negotiate, Khrushchev told the ambassador, the USSR would proceed with a separate peace treaty with the East Germans.

As is often the case when discussing the Berlin question with Western diplomats other than the three Allied powers, Khrushchev tried to cast doubt on the firmness of Western reaction to a separate treaty. He said he was convinced that the Western powers, with the possible exception of Bonn, were not prepared to fight over West Berlin and claimed that even De Gaulle had told him it was natural that Berlin should be under Soviet influence. Admitting that a separate peace treaty could precipitate a crisis, Khrushchev added that tensions would ease after a time and the new situation would gradually be accepted.

3-1/2 lines of 2-column source text not declassified As a result of Ulbricht's talks with Khrushchev, the East Germans feel that a summit is not likely until this summer and that the USSR will sign a separate peace treaty if Khrushchev fails to achieve his objectives on Berlin through direct negotiations. Khrushchev reportedly assured Ulbricht that the Berlin question would be solved in 1961.

Moscow's relative restraint on Berlin which was evident in the Communist position during the negotiations renewing the Soviet and East German trade pacts with Bonn was again reflected in Moscow's reply to the US note of 26 October protesting East German statements and actions concerning Berlin. The Soviet note of 7 January was brief, devoid of polemic, and merely confirmed the Soviet position as presented in the 26 September note./2/ In response to an earlier US protest, the USSR declared at that time that East Germany exercised full power on the territory lying under its sovereignty, "including in its capital."

/2/For text of the Soviet note of September 26 and the U.S. note of October 26, see Documents on Germany, 1944-1985, pp. 720-723. The January 7 Soviet note was transmitted to the Department of State in telegram 1570 from Moscow, January 7. (Department of State, Central Files, 762.0221/1-961)

The brevity of the latest Soviet note also appears intended to close out the exchange over East German restrictions on West German travel into East Berlin.

 

4. Record of Telephone Conversation Between President-elect Kennedy and Adlai E. Stevenson/1/

Washington, January 13, 1961.

/1/Source: Princeton University, Stevenson Papers, Box 832, John F. Kennedy. No classification marking.

Here follows discussion of other matters.

S: I talked to Rusk and Chester/2/ several weeks ago urging them to suggest to you or discuss with you sometime what seems to me the most important first thing that this administration has to do--and that is to discover what is in K's mind, if possible. There's only one way I know of and this would be by direct talks in Moscow without formality by somebody who is not the diplomatic agent but someone who corresponds to Khrushchev's concept of power. That is, a political figure rather than a diplomatic one; someone who would go there after the inauguration as your emissary to review the situation and exploit what opportunities there may be. I think it is important to find out what his troubles are--as well as to explore with him ours. I am told one trouble of his may be his health--which we don't know anything about.----extremists in the Presidium and China--and what he has to deal with. I think we will not find anyone easier to deal with than K is. I think it is important to find out whether he wants to expand the cold war----if we make proposals on general and complete disarmament--how are we going to proceed--does he want an effective U.N., or is he determined to destroy it?----I know how he reveals himself in conversation--and it could be this could determine quite a good deal, especially if he wants to do business.----What we want to do is discover some means of creating a favorable world order and we must explore the kind of thing we could do--for example, if they would make a gesture of releasing the B-47 pilots/3/ we could with grace make a gesture in their direction. It would be helpful if Zorin at the U.N. got some new instructions and we could have a more profitable meeting in the Spring than we had in the Fall. I think they have been taking the initiative too long now. This would recapture the world's imagination which is one of the first jobs to be done--and I don't think we can do it by being too cautious. I think this is one of the things that you should talk over--I haven't been able to get Dean.

/2/Chester B. Bowles.

/3/A reference to the two surviving crew members of an RB-47 that was shot down by the Soviet Union on July 1, 1960.

K: We should talk about the desirability of bringing Thompson home right away to report, then we can talk to him and see what best way we can proceed from there.

K: Who would be best one to talk to K?

S: I think the unhappy thing is the best one is me. But I haven't wanted to suggest this and it would come at an awkward time--but I would do this if it were deemed wise and helpful--and I would put other things aside. The alternative would be Harriman--he has disadvantages in view of the fact he always insists on talking--and has difficulty in hearing.

I think it would be best to send someone K knows and with whom he has had dealings before--someone he would be quite sure would represent you--someone influential--not just a personal diplomat.

K: Good. We will have a chance to talk before we come to a final judgment on this?

Here follows discussion of other matters.

 

5. Editorial Note

A Department of Defense study, "Evaluation of Possible Military Courses of Action in Cuba," January 16, 1961, reported that as many as 100 Cuban pilots were undergoing flight training in Czechoslovakia and that the USSR had delivered to Cuba in the past 5 months at least 20,000 tons of arms and equipment. So far the U.S. had "no evidence of the Soviets providing Cuba with sophisticated weapons such as missiles or nuclear devices, or MIG jet fighter aircraft." For text of the study, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, volume X, pages 36-40.

 

6. National Intelligence Estimate/1/

NIE 1-61

Washington, January 17, 1961.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, O/DDI Registry: Job 79-R01012A. Secret. The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Joint Staff participated in the preparation of the estimate, which was submitted by the Director of Central Intelligence and concurred in by all the members of the USIB, except the Atomic Energy Commission representative and the Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who abstained because the subject was outside their jurisdiction.

ESTIMATE OF THE WORLD SITUATION

Here follow sections entitled "I. Introduction," "II. The Communist World: A. Soviet Progress and Policy," and "II. The Communist World: B. Chinese Communist Growth and Aspirations."

C. Sino-Soviet Relations and the Future of Communism

25. The character of Sino-Soviet relations in the years ahead will have a profound effect upon the future of communism and thereby on the world situation. The quarrel with Peiping has put the Soviet leaders in a difficult situation. They cannot condone Chinese contumacy without losing control of the Communist movement. They cannot permit an open break without losing what influence they still possess over the Chinese and without gravely weakening the international Communist movement as a whole. The Soviet leaders would consider an open break calamitous, but we do not believe that they would go so far in trying to avoid it as to surrender to the Chinese position; both the USSR's determination to preserve its supremacy in the Communist movement and Soviet national interest in avoiding serious risk of general war would preclude such a course. We also do not believe that the Chinese would submit fully to the Soviet position; their pride, self righteousness, and national aspirations are too heavily committed to permit it.

26. The issues between the partners are basic, and will probably not be resolved in any clear-cut fashion. The meetings in Moscow in November, 1960, clearly did not produce a complete agreement, or one which is likely to be lasting. The estrangement seems likely to continue, with ups and downs as new issues arise and temporary solutions are developed, and possibly moving toward a looser connection. If the Sino-Soviet relationship does in fact develop in this way, there will probably be a tendency for recurrent stresses and strains to weaken the Communist world posture and to diminish the effectiveness of world communism outside the bloc. In particular, factionalism would be stimulated in the Communist movement, with parties or factions in various countries tending to identify either with the USSR or with Communist China. The two countries would compete with each other for influence in a variety of arenas, from revolutionary movements to world organizations. A further widening of the Sino-Soviet split, if it should occur, would dim the image of the bloc as a great and growing power center and thus reduce the pressure upon peripheral countries to accommodate to the Communists.

27. The cohesive forces between the USSR and China are strong, and we believe that the two states will not abandon their alliance against the West. The Soviet leaders would be confronted with a most serious dilemma, however, if the Chinese pursued independently such a militant policy as to become engaged in a major war. Caught between a desire to avoid Soviet involvement, with its attendant dangers, and desire to preserve a Communist state, with its attendant opportunity to re-establish Soviet influence in China, the Soviet leaders might tend toward the latter course. Thus a wider Sino-Soviet divergency would not necessarily lead to a less dangerous world.

28. It is impossible to predict with confidence the course of Communist policy in the decade ahead, particularly in the light of the uncertain future course in Sino-Soviet relations. We believe that the USSR will stick to its present policy of seeking to win victories without incurring serious risks, and of alternating or combining shows of anger and bellicosity with poses of reasonableness and compromise. We say this largely because we believe that the relationship of power between the US and USSR will cause the Soviet leaders to desire to avoid general war, and that within the limits which this desire places on their action there will be constantly shifting ideas of the potential risks and gains involved in the various situations which will arise. A danger exists, of course, that in assessing the risks involved in particular situations or proposed courses of action, the Soviet leaders might overestimate their position while underestimating that of the West. In particular, they might misjudge Western will and determination in the face of Soviet threats or encroachments. Such a political miscalculation could lead to the incurring of serious risks without the intention to do so; it could even lead to general war.

29. We believe that China will persist in pressing the USSR for a more militant bloc policy. It will continue its hostility to the US, and as it becomes stronger--especially after it acquires a nuclear capability--it might press its objectives much more aggressively than at present. On the other hand, the Chinese have in recent years assessed risks carefully, and despite their bellicose talk they have refrained from actions which involved serious risk of large-scale military operations. Thus, their militancy has been tempered by some degree of prudence, and this tendency toward prudence might in time become somewhat stronger as they become more familiar with the dangers of nuclear war and as they come to recognize the vulnerability of their developing industrial capacity. On the whole, however, we do not expect a general shift in the Chinese domestic or world outlook for some time to come, and Chinese militancy will continue to create a serious danger of local or general hostilities in the Far East, and even of general war.

30. Over the next decade at least, there appears to be a greater likelihood of flexibility in Soviet than in Chinese policy. The Soviet leadership's desire to prevent a general war, the wider range of Soviet contacts with the outside world, the continuing pressure at home for liberalization, and the growing capacity of the USSR to provide its citizens with a more comfortable life--these factors taken together may tend toward moderation in foreign policy and toward a recognition of some areas of common interest with the West. It is even possible that the Soviet leaders will come to feel that the USSR has little in common with China except an ideology which the Chinese interpret in their own way, and that by 1970 Communist China, with nuclear weapons and a population of almost 900 million, will be a dangerous neighbor and associate.

FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P 3

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