s which would prohibit its reproduction.
100. Record of Meeting of the Policy Planning Council/1/
Washington, June 23, 1961, 4 p.m.
/1/Source: Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 70 D 199. Secret. Drafted by Curtis.
Secretary of State Dean Rusk
The Secretary opened the meeting by saying that he wanted to give S/P his
impressions of the Vienna talks. He said that Khrushchev tried to impress
Kennedy with the idea that "communism was here to stay" and that the USSR
was "on the right side of history." The Secretary added that in this respect
Khrushchev echoed views expressed in his January 6 speech. He mentioned that
Khrushchev had emphasized the vitality of the Soviet system and that the
USSR was engaged in a sacred war to "rid backward nations of capitalistic
oppression"; the US had on the other hand accepted the mantle of the status
quo and our collapse was historically inevitable. The Secretary remarked that
he had told Khrushchev that he would make an excellent sales manager for General
The Secretary said that he was particularly impressed with the targets that
Khrushchev evinced--"those countries in which the Soviets find the greatest
opportunities are the same ones with which we are having the greatest difficulties."
The Secretary said that we must reexamine the situation as it existed in
the '40s to know how to deal with the present problems. The Secretary mentioned
in this context that almost every vote in the UN during the latter part
of the '40s was overwhelmingly against the Soviet bloc. Using the Troika
doctrine as a "casus belli" we must find ways and means of associating ourselves
with the neutrals as well as our allies in order to again consolidate the
world against the communist bloc; this should be our aim in the UN this fall.
He said that the January 6 speech gave us ample ammunition to indicate to
the world that the bloc had declared war on us and practically everyone else.
Mr. McGhee said that we must make issue of Soviet interference in the internal
political life of various countries--witness Suslov's trip to India during
the Indian Communist Party Congress--in order to put Soviet intentions in
the proper light. The Secretary replied that this would be difficult because
"our hands are not too clean".
The Secretary said that the US need not become too involved in various regions of the world lest our strength become dispersed; that we should push others to the front. In this context he expressed the feeling that by sponsoring such regional organizations as SEATO and CENTO we had promoted a sharp division among members of these pacts and nonmembers in the respective geographic areas. He said that we must find ways to improve relations among these powers. He agreed that the Commonwealth was a proven device for bringing together disparate elements in a more or less happy union and that we should attempt to strengthen such associations.
Mr. McGhee mentioned that S/P was contemplating a study on the Commonwealth
and that he personally felt that Burma would join the Commonwealth if
The Secretary said that we should try to aid group arrangements showing any
evidence of strength in the Near East and Asia. He cited the All-Asia consultative
committee as one association worth considering in this respect.
Mr. McGhee asked the Secretary to what extent Khrushchev would risk war.
He added that it seemed Khrushchev had outdone Mr. Dulles/2/
in a policy of brinkmanship.
/2/John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State until April 1959.
The Secretary replied that Khrushchev was interested in establishing a
status quo in Europe and that he was currently worried about the rise
of neo-nationalism in the bloc European states. He said that Khrushchev
did not consider Berlin a problem per se but that he would like to use it
as a means of further reducing US prestige. He said that Khrushchev seemed
to be convinced that there would not be a nuclear war and he was of course
right in believing that the USSR military position on the ground was in
his favor. The Secretary added that Cuba and Laos were not serious factors
in the present Soviet strategy. In reply to a question from Mr. Owen, the
Secretary stated that the President's statements on our position regarding
Berlin and Germany had had no profound effect on Khrushchev.
The Secretary asked who performed policy planning in the Kremlin? Mr. McGhee
answered that he had asked Zorin the same question and that he was given no
specific information on the subject other than there were planners at every
level of Soviet government.
The Secretary remarked that it was obvious that the Soviets had made some
fairly fundamental and far-reaching decisions in the last several years and
that they were not going to subject any of their vital interests to a third
party, e.g., disarmament, the Congo.
The Secretary concluded that we must have a policy on Berlin that would
force Khrushchev to realize that continuing on his present course would mean
sacrificing his position among the uncommitted nations. (As an aside, the
Secretary said that he was impressed that Khrushchev was willing to make
the sacrifice.) He said that the only way we could affect a world community
position against the bloc would be to assay what mistakes we had made and
what mistakes the Russians had made; this should be a principal task of
101. Editorial Note
In a memorandum to President Kennedy, June 26, 1961, McGeorge Bundy discussed
closing out the bilateral talks which had begun in Washington June 19
between John McCloy and Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Valerian Zorin in
an effort to reach agreement on an appropriate forum for multinational general
disarmament negotiations. Bundy noted that both Adlai Stevenson, U.S.
Representative to the United Nations, and McCloy believed that the Soviets
"no longer feel--if they ever did--that anything serious can be accomplished."
McCloy and Zorin met for the last time on June 30 and agreed to reconvene
in mid-July. During a meeting with President Kennedy on June 30, Zorin raised
the issue of merging the test ban talks with those on general disarmament
should the test talks fail. President Kennedy reaffirmed his opposition to
such a move. McCloy and Zorin met in Moscow seven times between July 17 and
July 29 but reached no agreement. For text of Bundy's memorandum and the memorandum
of Kennedy's conversation with Zorin, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963,
volume VII, pages 97-102.
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