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Volume V
Soviet Union

Washington, DC


70. Telegram From the Department of State to All Diplomatic Posts/1/

Washington, May 18, 1961, 3:40 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.61/5-1861. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Boster and cleared with Davis, Bohlen, Guthrie (SOV), and the White House. Also sent to the Mission at Berlin.

1823. At 10 AM Washington time Friday, May 19, President plans announce meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna June 3 and 4. If this announcement made,/2/ missions may in their discretion draw on following background in discussions with Government and public leaders where appropriate.

/2/For text of the announcement, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pp. 569-570.

Purpose of meeting is to take advantage of convenient opportunity for first personal contact between two leaders and general exchange of views. Idea that such a meeting might be useful when international atmosphere was right first discussed through diplomatic channels earlier this year, but following developments in Laos and Cuba US had dropped idea from active consideration. Soviet Government recently reopened question of meeting and agreement was reached to proceed at this time.

Mission officials should emphasize, in any discussions they may have, that meeting will not seek to negotiate or reach agreement on major international problems which it is recognized involve the interests of many countries and on which there must be full consultation between US and its allies.



71. Editorial Note

On February 21, 1961, Assistant Secretary of State Kohler sent Secretary of State Rusk a memorandum asking him to raise at a Cabinet meeting the question of Soviet Ambassador Menshikov's appointments with U.S. officials. In reply Rusk asked whether the U.S. Government might request the Ambassador to make all such appointments through the Department of State and how this practice conformed to Soviet procedures in Moscow. In an April 12 memorandum Kohler replied that Soviet practice was to conduct all appointments through either the Foreign Ministry or Ministry of Foreign Trade, but that in recent years direct contacts with Soviet officials had expanded, and the Department of State was "most reluctant to provide any excuse for a reversal of this trend." To this end he suggested raising at Cabinet level coordination of Menshikov's appointments "in some fashion." (All in Department of State, Central Files, 601.6111/4-1261)

Under Secretary of State Bowles discussed the problem with McGeorge Bundy following the Cabinet meeting on April 20 and proposed that the question be handled in a memorandum from the Department of State to the White House suggesting that individual memoranda be sent to each Cabinet member outlining the procedure for making appointments with Menshikov. (S/S memorandum, May 3; ibid., 601.6111/5-361) On May 20 the Department of State sent the memorandum to the White House asking that any official having "any discussion" with Menshikov provide the Department of State with a record of the conversation and offering to make available for such meetings, officers proficient in Russian. (Ibid., 601.6111/5-2061)


72. Paper Prepared in the Department of State/1/


Washington, May 23, 1961.

/1/Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 1905. Secret. Drafted by Armitage and cleared by Kohler. In preparation for the Summit meeting the Department of State drafted five series of papers. Series A: General; Series B: Position Papers; Series C: Bilateral Issues; Series D: Background Papers; and Series E: Reference Papers. Complete sets of these papers, which were transmitted to the White House on May 27, are ibid.

Vienna, June 3-4, 1961

Scope Paper

I. U.S. Objectives

A. To improve the prospects of finding an acceptable and workable basis for improving relations with the Soviet Union.

B. To impress on Khrushchev our capacity and resolve to resist Soviet and communist encroachments if he is unwilling to seek a satisfactory basis for better relations and to stress the dangers attendant on continued, sharp confrontations between the two countries.

C. To communicate to Khrushchev the President's understanding and grasp of the world situation, in an historical as well as immediate sense, and his capacity and intent to influence the course of world events.

D. To gain a clearer understanding of Khrushchev as a man and of Soviet policy and intentions.

II. Khrushchev

A. Khrushchev will probably seek--directly or indirectly-- to convey and gain acceptance of the following view of the world situation:

1. The world is divided into two power systems, the communist and the capitalist.

2. The communist system is firmly established beyond challenge in the bloc countries and the processes of political change can take place only in the non-communist countries.

3. The balance of world power has shifted and is shifting toward the communist system, the Sino-Soviet bloc.

4. The Soviet Union does not wish to advance that process by war, that is, a major global nuclear war.

5. Neither can the capitalist powers afford to inhibit that process by resort to war.

6. The capitalist powers must recognize the "realities" of the world situation, i.e., the power shift toward the bloc, and accommodate themselves to changes which accord with the "will of the people," i.e., Laos, Cuba, the Congo.

7. Part of this "realistic" approach requires the recognition that no significant decision on international questions anywhere in the world or in international bodies can be taken without accommodating the views of the Soviet Union.

8. The process of contention between the systems can be carried on by all means short of war, i.e., overt war across international borders, without the risk of global war and without serious effect on U.S.-Soviet relations or the prospects of disarmament.

9. Those relations should be improved; there are no important bilateral differences impeding them; but the U.S. should remove its discriminatory trade policies and withdraw from foreign bases threatening the USSR.

10. The Soviet Union is seriously interested in disarmament but not control and inspection systems without actual disarmament; its proposals are comprehensive and control provisions could be worked out if the Western powers accepted the Soviet proposals.

11. The problems of Berlin and a peace treaty are urgent and should be solved.

B. Khrushchev probably is confident that the communist chances in the long run are good. However, he has a healthy respect and probably a reasonably accurate understanding of the military power and productive capacity of the Western nations, particularly the United States. He, therefore, has little taste for risky adventures.

He believes that there is still room for steady communist gains. This belief stems in part from his doubt that the Western powers have the will or resolve to translate their resources into the elements of power sufficient to cope with the bloc and his doubt that they can find the basis for building effective non-communist political institutions in the under-developed countries. He, consequently, is led to the conclusion that by alternating pressure and overtures he can make the gains at the negotiating table and by shielding local Communist advances with Soviet power. He is also constantly conscious of the specter of growing Communist Chinese power and this gives him added reason to maintain his communication with the Western powers and to explore the terms of a possible accommodation with them.

There are indications that he is sufficiently concerned over the risks of nuclear war and sufficiently convinced of Soviet political capabilities abroad to be seriously interested in disarmament. However, he finds political capital in playing on the disarmament issue and has apparently not thought through the problems associated with disarmament in any meaningful way. He, therefore, has probably not reached conclusions on the terms under which various disarmament measures would be acceptable.

He will undoubtedly press hard his position on Berlin and a peace treaty with East Germany and will try to get some form of commitment to negotiate the Berlin question.

This meeting itself gratifies him and he may extend the President an invitation to visit the Soviet Union if the talks go reasonably well from his point of view.

FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P32

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