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16. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Diplomatic and Consular Posts/1/

Washington, January 27, 1961, 11:17 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.61/1-2761. Confidential; Verbatim Text. Drafted by Davies; cleared by Kohler, Davis, McSweeney, AF, EUR/P, RA/P, and USIA; and approved by Tubby.

1115. Joint State-USIA message. We note from news reports some Western European, and particularly British, newspapers are dealing euphorically with release RB-47 fliers as possible harbinger substantial and rapid improvement Soviet-US relations.

USIA is preparing and will transmit via Wireless File wrap-up responsible US editorial comment on release RB-47 fliers. PAO's should strive achieve maximum placement, particularly Western European press.

In discussing matter US officials should point out that:

(1) US gratified by release, as President noted;

(2) No US concessions involved;

(3) No high level meeting mentioned nor future negotiation on any international issue discussed;

(4) President's orders not resume penetrations Soviet airspace only continuation situation which has obtained since last May;

(5) Basic US view Olmstead-McKone release is that it belatedly rectifies wrong done by Soviets in illegally holding two airmen for seven months;

(6) US, like other countries, waiting to see how Soviet Government, which has recently stridently re-proclaimed its goal of achieving Communist world by any and all feasible means short general nuclear war (81-Party Statement of December 6/2/ and Khrushchev speech of January 6) will translate into deeds its often-proclaimed desire for better relations.

/2/For text of this declaration, see the World Marxist Review, December 1960, vol. 3, No. 12; an extract is printed in RIIA Documents on International Affairs, 1960, New York, 1964, pp. 222 ff.

For USRO--Distribute to other dels public-affairs guidance contained numbered paras above. (Do not distribute first two unnumbered introductory paras.)



17. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State/1/

Moscow, January 28, 1961, 3 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.61/1-2861. Secret; Limit Distribution.

1784. There would be many advantages in informal meeting between President and Khrushchev before President in position where he could be expected to take definite positions on controversial issues. Principal one would be to enable President to convince Khrushchev of his intention not to seek solutions by force and of his willingness undertake serious negotiations. I believe Soviet policy was for a time influenced by conviction Khrushchev gained from his meeting with Eisenhower that latter man of peace. Probably only specific result such meeting would be agreement upon which issue we would tackle first, which I assume would be atomic testing.

On other hand it would be difficult and perhaps unwise to hold such meeting until President has had at least preliminary contact with our Western allies. Moreover, if Khrushchev came merely to continuation of assembly he would for his own reasons probably feel obliged to take part in discussion of current issues and although he might keep his shoes on, such intervention could scarcely be helpful. Particularly difficult would be such questions as Laos and Congo. I suspect Khrushchev realizes this and will not take initiative although position might be different if there were special session on disarmament alone.



18. Record of Secretary of State Rusk's Staff Meeting/1/

Washington, January 30, 1961, 9:15 a.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Secretary's Staff Meetings: Lot 66 D 147. Secret. Prepared by Stoessel.

and the Congo.

3. Information Line on Soviet Union

Mr. Tubby suggested that consideration should be given to the tone of the line being used at present in VOA broadcasts to the Soviet Union. It might be that this line should be modified down somewhat. Mr. Washburn/2/ felt that the present line was satisfactory. It is factual and does not seem to bother the Soviets. In fact, jamming is easing in some degree.

/2/Abbot M. Washburn, Deputy Director of the United States Information Agency.

The Secretary thought we should review the situation with regard to Soviet-US relations. We have our fliers back and we have announced that no more overflights are to take place. Otherwise, there is no real change in the situation. We should not encourage the thinking that a new dawn is rising in relations with the Soviet Union. The Secretary doubted that we should make any change in our information line toward the Soviet Union although he agreed that serious thought should be given to the problem.

The Secretary asked Mr. Bowles to look into this subject to see whether any modification in our line is desirable.

Here follows discussion of Mexico and Laos.



19. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State/1/

Moscow, January 30, 1961, 6 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 761.51/1-3061. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Also printed in Declassified Documents, 1977, 77E. A copy of this telegram at the Kennedy Library bears the notation, "President has seen." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, USSR General)

1797. Eyes only Secretary. In non-political fields this Embassy chiefly supplier raw materials and not staffed to attempt finished intelligence estimates. Nevertheless I am becoming increasingly convinced we are grossly over estimating Soviet military strength relative to ours.

I of course am not privy to all our intelligence on this subject though I do see much of end product. It seems to me this over estimate has resulted from natural tendency our military to assess enemy's capabilities at maximum as may be only prudent from this point of view. Other factors have been US service competition for funds, our under estimation their capabilities in past, Soviet forceful exploitation of their achievements in atomic, missile and space technology.

I shall not attempt go into evidence that leads to my conclusion but hope have opportunity discuss this upon my return Washington. It clearly not my province attempt estimate our military needs and I am in any event convinced we must maintain strong military posture along with attempt reach practical measures reduce or eliminate armaments. From political point of view would hope we would concentrate on second-strike capability and make clear doing so.

Wish point out however our estimate Soviet military capabilities also affects our (1) estimate their intentions in political field, (2) formulation our own policies to meet our estimate of their capabilities and intentions and (3) our estimate their reactions our policies and actions.

Among other things I think re (1) that because of emphasis on danger in military field we have tended underestimate seriousness of threat in political. Re (2) I think we sometimes react in military way to Soviet political actions which in turn helps them achieve political objectives. Re (3) if Soviets as relatively weak militarily as I suspect, their reaction to SAMOS,/2/ attitude toward inspection, etc. would be quite different than if they are as strong as we give them credit for. (While I am convinced we should proceed with SAMOS I believe its use will require careful preparation and handling).

/2/Satellite and Missile Observation System.

It may be that we need two estimates of Soviet military capabilities, one for purely military use in determining our own defense needs, and other as basis for policy determinations, particularly in political field, in which case we could be more realistic and not allow such wide margins for security reasons.


FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P 8

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