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124. Memorandum of Conversation/1/
Washington, October 13, 1961.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 511.613/10-1361. Official
Use Only. Drafted by Mansmann on November 11.
US-USSR Educational and Cultural Exchange Agreement
Boris Nikolaevich Krylov, Chief of the American Section of the USSR State
Committee on Cultural Ties With Foreign Countries
Yuri Volsky, Cultural Counselor, Soviet Embassy
Philip H. Coombs, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs
EUR/SES--Ralph A. Jones
CU/PDS--Ernest J. Mansmann
Mr. Krylov said that he had seen Zhukov who wished him to extend his greetings
to Mr. Coombs. Zhukov is concerned about receipt of the U.S. draft of the
agreement, as time is now limited. He hopes that our draft will be expedited.
The present agreement shows that we started to carry it out only in the second
half of 1960 and that we lost at least three months in planning. Mr. Krylov
said they want to carry out the new agreements from January 1, 1962.
Mr. Coombs stated that he looks forward to meeting Zhukov. We expect our
draft to be ready shortly and want the Soviets to have ample time to study
it. We do not want to lose momentum. Romanovsky was here and it was agreed
that we are both anxious to continue and expand the number of exchanges./2/
Mr. Coombs said that our graduate students have had difficulty in obtaining
access to libraries, etc., in the Soviet Union. Our most advanced graduate
students are capable of studying in the best institutes in the U.S. The Soviet
draft spoke of 50 students a year. Mr. Coombs stated that he was disappointed
in this number and hopes to get a larger flow of students in the negotiations.
This will benefit both sides. We should not skimp on the number. We also want
a balance in the general categories and a balance between the natural sciences
on the one hand and the humanities and social sciences on the other hand.
We try to maintain such a balance in the U.S. We hope for expansion across
the board and for balance. To destroy the myths about each other, we could
go further in radio, TV, book and film exchanges. The experience in the performing
arts under the present agreement demonstrates this and we should apply it
to the other media. We must develop areas of communication immune to day to
/2/See Document 108.
Mr. Krylov said that they want to expand exchanges. We now have known each other for four years as far as concrete cultural exchanges go. We know what is more acceptable in each country. He stated that they are ready to speak about cooperation. They are ready and can cooperate in medicine, agriculture, and technical matters. He said that they had provided for 50 students in their draft because the U.S. had fallen below its quota for academic year 1961-62.
Mr. Coombs stated that we can get more students if we can assure them that their research experience will be as useful in the Soviet Union as their experience here. If we can take some of our brilliant young scholars into Soviet institutes and word of this gets back, we can step up the program.
Mr. Krylov said that in principle, there is no objection in the Soviet Union
to letting U.S. students into institutes, but an institute in the USSR is
like a research center in the U.S. He said that the institutes cannot incorporate
U.S. scholars into their own plans. However, in some fields they could let
Mr. Coombs stated that a Soviet student admitted to M.I.T. gets what a
Soviet student does in his own university plus what he gets in a Soviet institute.
Mr. Coombs wondered if this is a matter of semantics.
Mr. Krylov said that their students find that a subject is not well done in an American university and want to move to another U.S. university. He said that they have over 15,000 foreign students in the USSR who are genuinely satisfied with their programs.
Mr. Coombs said that we are not talking about undergraduates, but rather advanced graduate students from the U.S. to whom you must give the best research conditions.
Mr. Krylov said that we might discuss this; it is not a simple problem but it could be discussed.
Mr. Coombs said that we must work towards six months advance notice of names and groups. Our people cannot wait until the last minute, or we will lose good people, especially in the cultural presentations field.
Mr. Krylov said that he thought that we could work out things based on our
experience with the first two agreements. He said that if the U.S. takes two
and one-half months to study the Soviet draft, that does not give them two
and one-half months to study the U.S. draft if we are to discuss the agreements
together in November. He stated that Zhukov said that he will turn the money
over for agreements with other countries if the U.S. is not interested in
enlarging its contacts. Mr. Krylov said that the European students in the
USSR usually stay one to two years, and are advanced students. The Asians
stay longer and their background is weaker, yet they are in a hurry to get
Mr. Coombs said that as more new countries are opened up, we get more undergraduates
in the U.S. He said that we have about 5,000 foreign students in the country
under Department auspices. The total number of foreign students in U.S. colleges
last year was about 53,000, of which some 10% received some government assistance.
Of the 5,000, over half are fully financed by the U.S. Government; the other
half received partial assistance from the U.S. Government.
Mr. Krylov stated that the bulk of foreign students in the Soviet Union
are under agreements. He said that there are 15,000 foreign students in the
USSR. He added that the expenses of the students at the University of Lumumba
are fully covered.
Mr. Coombs said that his job is first, direct responsibility for State Department exchanges and second, coordination and policy-making for all U.S. exchanges. He pointed out that several government departments are involved in exchanges; ICA has about 5,000. HEW and AEC, etc., are concerned with specialized exchanges.
Mr. Krylov said that in the USSR, they have a simpler system--the Committee
handles all the exchanges.
The meeting ended with expressions of good wishes on both sides./3/
/3/In a telephone conversation with Siscoe on October 18 Secretary Rusk initially
suggested that the Soviets be given a U.S. draft exchanges agreement that
could be discussed later. After Siscoe said that the Department of State
was ready to do this but hesitated lest international developments change
the situation, Rusk agreed to wait for the next Soviet move on Berlin in order
to emphasize to Moscow that all was not business as usual. (Department of
State, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192)
125. Editorial Note
In an October 16, 1961, letter to Chairman Khrushchev, President Kennedy
raised the issue of Laos, questioning whether a situation as complex as Berlin
could be settled peacefully if one much simpler in many ways, such as Laos,
could not. "I do not say that the situation in Laos and the neighboring area
must be settled before negotiations begin over Germany and Berlin; but
certainly it would greatly improve the atmosphere." Kennedy noted as well
that "the acceleration of attacks on South Viet-Nam, many of them from within
Laotian territory, are a very grave threat to peace in that area and to
the entire kind of world-wide accommodation you and I recognize to be necessary."
For text, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, volume VI, pages 38-44.
Kennedy devoted the greater part of his October 16 letter to Berlin and Germany,
largely restating U.S. views on the issue, though emphasizing his willingness
to look for a pragmatic resolution with which both sides could live. He agreed
to have Ambassador Thompson conduct discussions on the issue with Soviet Foreign
Minister Gromyko. In an October 20 letter to General Norstad, Supreme Commander,
Allied Powers Europe, Kennedy laid out U.S. policy on military actions
in case of a conflict over Berlin. "What I want is a sequence of graduated
responses to Soviet/GDR actions in denial of our rights of access." Kennedy's
instructions to Norstad indicated that the United States was ready to escalate
to "General Nuclear war" to defend its vital interests in Berlin and Germany.
For text, see ibid., volume XIV, pages 520-523.
Following incidents on October 22 and 25 in which U.S. personnel were temporarily
refused entry to East Berlin and an incident on October 27 when Soviet tanks
took up positions for a day opposite U.S. tanks at Checkpoint Charlie,
Secretary of State Rusk instructed Thompson to meet with Gromyko and convey
Rusk's "surprise and chagrin" at the developments, which Rusk found "incomprehensible
in light of our talks with him in the US." Thompson was further to say to
Gromyko that he "must surely understand that serious discussions about Germany
and Berlin cannot take place under conditions of duress and increased tension."
For text of Rusk's instructions, transmitted in telegram 1165 to Moscow, October
28, see ibid., pages 545-547.
126. Editorial Note
In an October 30, 1961, letter to President Kennedy, Atomic Energy Commission
Chairman Seaborg reported that the Commission "as a whole" believed that "in
view of the limitations of underground testing and in light of the comprehensive
nature of the recent Soviet tests, national security considerations require
that the United States embark upon a program of atmospheric testing at the
earliest appropriate time." For text, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963,
volume VII, pages 210-214.
At a National Security Council meeting called on November 2 to discuss
resumption of nuclear testing in the atmosphere, Central Intelligence Agency
analyses of recent Soviet tests were presented, indicating that there had
been 37 or perhaps 39 tests at 3 sites, the largest detonation possibly exceeding
60 megatons. The tests had impressed the intelligence community with their
broad nature. In subsequent discussion, Seaborg stated "that if the US tested
only underground while the Soviets tested in the atmosphere, we would be in
no position to compete with them." The President indicated his intention to
release a statement to the effect that "no decision has yet been made on testing
in the atmosphere, but that authorization has been given to undertake preparation
for testing." For text of the memorandum of the meeting, see ibid., pages
217-222. For text of the President's statement released to the press later
the same day, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States:
John F. Kennedy, 1961, pages 692-693.
FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P67