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Volume V
Soviet Union

Washington, DC


60. Editorial Note

In telegram Supnu 1549, April 21, 1961, the U.S. delegation to the Geneva Disarmament Conference informed the Department of State that since the resumption of negotiations on March 21 the Soviets had "not only stood still on positions they have been maintaining since the summit meeting last spring" but have made it "clear that they are not budging in even the most minute particular from previous positions." In a memorandum prepared for a National Security Council meeting on April 22, John McCloy stated that "it now appears clear that the intent of the Soviet negotiators at Geneva is to avoid a prompt conclusion of a Test Ban Agreement." For texts of telegram 1549 and McCloy's memorandum, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, volume VII, pages 41-47. Earlier, in National Intelligence Estimate 4-2-61, "Attitudes of Key World Powers on Disarmament Issues," April 6, the intelligence community had expressed its belief "that the Soviet leaders see, in agitation of the disarmament issue, a prime opportunity to further their political purposes in the non-communist world. What is not so clear is the extent to which they may actually desire to conclude agreements on disarmament." For text of the NIE's conclusions, see ibid., pages 35-38.


61. Editorial Note

National Intelligence Estimate 11-7-61, "Soviet Short-Term Intentions Regarding Berlin and Germany," April 25, 1961, concluded: "We believe that in the relatively near future the USSR will present a formal demand for the renewal of negotiations on the question of a peace treaty for 'the two Germanies' and a new status for Berlin. Almost certainly, Khrushchev still prefers to negotiate on this matter rather than to provoke a crisis by unilateral action, chiefly because he desires to avoid the risks of a showdown in this dangerous area of East-West confrontation." For text of the NIE's conclusions, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, volume XIV, pages 56-57.


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

Washington, May 2, 1961, 7:02 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 511.613/5-261. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Martens (EUR/SES) and approved by SOV, OEE and Siscoe (EUR/SES).

1885. Your 2679 and 2695./2/ Professor Byrnes, Chairman of Inter-University Committee, informed substance reftels and reacts as follows:

/2/Telegram 2679, April 28, reported that Embassy officials had tried to dissuade Charles Gribble and Leonard Kirsch, who had come to the Embassy that day to announce that they intended to marry Russian women the following week. (Ibid., 511.613/4-2861) Telegram 2695, May 2, reported that a New York Times correspondent was aware of the situation but had agreed to hold the story until informed of developments by the Embassy. (Ibid., 511/613/5-261)

Difficult to be specific from distance in situation like this. However, cannot overemphasize concern and desire for Gribble and Kirsch reconsider matter in terms their whole future life and happiness. Committee strongly hopes students would seriously reconsider, particularly in view (a) difficulty and possible inability for wives obtain exit permits (what would students do if wives cannot leave?) (b) fact emotions may mislead one in strained emotional and physical environment such as experienced by exchange students in U.S.S.R. (Is this time and place to make such important life-long decision?) (c) possible motivations of girls other than or in addition to normal feelings of love including possible desire find means of leaving U.S.S.R. or possible police control of girls (d) possibility for police pressures and dangers to families of girls who remain in U.S.S.R. and through them on girls and ultimately on their husbands. (End Brynes statement)

Department agrees serious efforts to discourage these marriages should be continued.

NY Times approach based on Committee passing of information to its Times contact on info-only basis. Committee has taken necessary steps with Times prevent any premature use./3/

/3/On May 4 the Embassy in Moscow reported that after a talk with Ambassador Thompson, Gribble agreed to postpone his marriage for at least a year, but Kirsch intended to proceed. (Telegram 2718 from Moscow; ibid., 511.613/5-461) On May 17 the Embassy reported that Kirsch had been married that day. (Telegram 2826; ibid., 511.613/5-1761)



63. Editorial Note

Under cover of a memorandum dated May 3, 1961, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gilpatric forwarded to President Kennedy for consideration by the National Security Council a paper entitled "A Program of Action To Prevent Communist Domination of South Vietnam," which had been prepared by an interdepartmental Task Force. Among the paper's proposals was the following: "We should consider joining with the Viet-Namese in a clear cut defensive alliance which might include stationing of U.S. forces on Viet-Namese soil." Such a move "would place the Sino-Soviet Bloc in the position of risking direct intervention in a situation where U.S. forces were already in place." For text of the paper, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, volume I, pages 93-115.


64. Current Intelligence Weekly Review/1/

Washington, May 4, 1961.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency: Job 79-S01060A. Secret; Noforn. Prepared by CIA's Office of Current Intelligence. The source text comprises pp. 7-8 of the Weekly Review section of the issue.

Developments in Soviet Foreign Policy

Moscow last week expanded its attacks on the US over the events in Cuba to include vituperative criticism of the President personally as well as broad denunciations of US policies--especially in the "Observer" articles in Pravda on 28 and 30 April. While the Soviet leaders are determined to exact the maximum propaganda gains from the Cuban developments, their treatment of the May Day activities suggests that they do not plan a long period of bitter hostility toward the US such as followed the U-2 incident. Their statements made no mention of the U-2 affair of last May Day, and the official editorials for this year's celebrations and the address by Marshal Malinovsky were relatively moderate in comparison with the "Observer" articles and not predominantly anti-American in content.

Pravda's editorial on 1 May, however, referred to the "criminal intrigues of American imperialism" in Cuba, and Malinovsky in his order of the day and speech in Red Square repeated this line, stating that "armed intervention" against Cuba was organized by "imperialist circles of the US." Malinovsky also warned that the "aggressive circles of the imperialist states . . . are resorting more and more frequently to military action to put down the growing national liberation movement" in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The military section of the Moscow parade differed little from those in recent years. No new equipment was shown, and the emphasis was on missiles and armor, a common practice for several years. Malinovsky claimed at one point that the USSR now has "perfect weapons which excel anything an army has ever had." Although this could be taken to refer to weapons as yet unrevealed, it is more likely that he was merely praising the general quality of Soviet military equipment. In Berlin, the East German Army displayed 21 T-54 medium tanks and about 15 armored amphibious tanks, the first seen in its possession.

Malinovsky's warning that West Germany is the main point of military peril in Europe reflects the increasing attention given to Germany by the bloc. A communiqué issued on 28 April at the end of Rumanian leader Gheorghiu-Dej's visit to Warsaw called for the "fastest possible" conclusion of the German peace treaty and transformation of West Berlin into a demilitarized free city. The communiqué also warned that the bloc would sign a separate peace treaty if the Western powers continue to "endlessly delay the conclusion of a treaty with the two German states."

Khrushchev also took up the German and Berlin issues in his conversation with West German Ambassador Kroll on 24 April. He used this talk to offset the impression that he was committed to a showdown on these issues before the Soviet party congress in October. He claimed that originally he planned to call for a settlement of the problem during the first quarter of 1961 but that he had decided to give President Kennedy more time.

While strongly emphasizing his determination to settle the issues during 1961, Khrushchev told Kroll that the bloc had set no precise deadlines and would be willing to wait until the West German elections and "possibly" until after the party congress before convening a bloc peace conference to sign a separate treaty with East Germany. Such restraint, however, would depend on no "unexpected" Western moves, such as a Bundestag meeting in Berlin.

As to the consequences of a separate peace treaty, Khrushchev stated that the Western powers would have to make arrangements with East Germany to maintain their communications with Berlin and that he would advise Ulbricht to abolish the air corridors. In response to Kroll's statement that this could bring about an international crisis, Khrushchev said he was convinced that the West would not risk a general nuclear war over Berlin. He said that he expected the West to resort to economic sanctions and possibly a break in diplomatic relations, but that the USSR could cope with such measures.

Khrushchev assured Kroll that the prospect of a showdown over Berlin "need not affect negotiations already begun with the US," but added that he was skeptical about the outcome of any such negotiations. Although Khrushchev failed to mention prior East-West negotiations before a bloc peace conference, his willingness to give the President more time suggests that he still expects a further round of negotiations. His readiness to wait until next fall also suggests that he is aware that the process of arranging new talks will take longer than he anticipated last fall and that negotiations could extend beyond the party congress.


FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P29

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