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

Moscow, March 20, 1961, 1 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.61/3-2061. Confidential; Priority; Limit Distribution.

2229. In frank but friendly discussion Kuznetsov yesterday believe made dent in his thinking but only small one. Depth of Soviet suspicions is incredible.

Here follow three paragraphs on Laos.

On disarmament Kuznetsov observed Stevenson and Gromyko had reached agreement not discuss substance disarmament at GA but would confine debate to establishing directive on general principles. I said certain we were not going to get ourselves bound to principle one treaty on general and complete disarmament and pointed out they had even exploited UN resolution to limit debate in previous meetings. On forum I said we were beginning to think no point in making concessions to Soviet point of view. We had reluctantly agreed to parity on disarmament committee and now they were pressing for their thesis of a three bloc world. I said even neutrals opposed to this and we considered committee already too large.

Kuznetsov said they were trying to be considerate of our position to give us time work out policies but pointed out we had many experts already familiar with problem. I replied that in previous meetings and in Pugwash discussion appeared to us they had not seriously studied disarmament problem. Each time we were about to come to grips with real substance they broke up meeting and walked out. I emphasized strongly seriousness with which we approaching problem but said this involved questions which were vital to our survival and no attempt of theirs to manipulate public opinion would cause us to jeopardize our security. If they wanted to exploit this situation they could do so but this would not advance cause of disarmament. Kuznetsov expressed suspicion we were merely stalling in order build up our armaments. He referred to increases in US military budget. He also referred number of times during our conversation to statements made by President and others about Eastern Europe and particularly Bowles' speech at Farmers Union Convention./2/ He quoted several times sentence Bowles alleged to have used to effect US could not tolerate Communist regimes. He said Soviet Govt was seriously studying meaning this phrase and others used by American statesmen. I replied sentence he had quoted did not appear in summary which I had received and basic thesis Bowles' speech was endeavor find accommodation between us. I also pointed out that after Declaration 81 parties and Khrushchev's Jan 6 speech they could scarcely expect us not to reply. They had expressed readiness support so-called wars of liberation. In contrast I cited restraint we had shown during Hungarian affair. Would have been easy for us at that time to have stirred up Poles and East Germans but we had no desire use force or cause useless waste of lives. I said this in sharp contrast to their policy of stirring up trouble wherever they could. When he tried to slide over Communist parties statement I said declaration that US was enemy of peoples of world had made deep impression in US. He tried contend this referred only to certain circles but I suggested he re-read statement. I said we could never take actions condoning regimes in Eastern Europe unless and until they were supported by people but this did not mean we were going to take any action overthrow them.

/2/For text of this speech, March 14, see Department of State Bulletin, April 3, 1961, pp. 480-486.

I raised lend-lease question but got no reaction except his complaint that we were refusing sell them tractors which they could not understand.

Kuznetsov expressed opinion frank exchange of views had been helpful and hoped we would have further occasion discussions this kind.

Thompson

 

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

Washington, March 23, 1961, 9:05 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 961.63/3-2361. Confidential. Drafted by Richard T. Davies (SOV/P); cleared with McSweeney, USIA, P, AF/P, ARA/P, FE/P, and EUR/P; and approved by Davis.

1457. Joint State-USIA. According press reports from Moscow, Soviets have lifted censorship on despatches filed from Moscow by foreign correspondents. Dept has issued statement welcoming move as step towards removal barriers to free flow information and expressing hope it will be followed by removal bars to flow of information into USSR (principal bars are selective jamming foreign broadcasts in Soviet languages and non-availability to general Soviet public of representative non-Communist foreign periodicals and publications).

In commenting upon this action, US officials and output should take primary guidance from Dept statement (carried in Wireless File). Officials should avoid giving impression we do not regard lifting censorship as welcome advance, should stress hope this step will eventually be followed by removal or attenuation present severe controls on material from outside world available Soviet people and should draw upon following background points in order put move in context.

1. Censorship of foreign correspondents' despatches was no longer effective bar to transmission censorable information to outside world, since present relatively heavy flow foreign visitors ensures many such items in any case become known outside USSR within a few days.

2. Consequently existence of censorship apparatus served only as propaganda liability, in removing which Soviets now able create impression further "liberalization''.

3. Ultimate sanction against foreign correspondents who seriously offend regime or consistently transmit critical material remains, i.e., Soviet ability either expel them from country or, in less urgent cases, refuse allow them re-enter once they have left USSR on leave. (Since 1945, according Dept records, six American correspondents expelled from USSR; nine refused visas.)

4. Removal censorship thus reinforces compulsion upon responsible correspondent whose duty to his employer requires him strive maintain representation in Moscow, to exercise self-censorship and avoid offending Soviet Government to point at which it would expel him or refuse let him re-enter. While censorship in operation correspondent could have some assurance it would excise material Soviet Government might regard with disfavor. Correspondent must now be his own judge in questionable cases.

5. Censorship has been lifted on outgoing material but situation unaltered with regard material available to Soviet people: latter continues be as tightly controlled as ever by Soviet Government. Most serious controls exercised through continued selective jamming foreign radio broadcasts in Russian (about 30-35% jammed out) and other Soviet languages (a high percentage of which jammed out) and through fact non-Soviet-bloc periodicals and publications (except for Communist Party literature) not available for purchase by Soviet citizens and can be read in libraries only by those who have political clearance.

As facts warrant also useful cite situations elsewhere particularly in your host country, which emphasize general accessibility variety of foreign press, radio, television, motion-picture materials, in contrast with thoroughly controlled flow such materials to Soviet citizens.

Report official and press reactions to Soviet move.

Rusk

FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P24

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