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Chairman Khrushchev
Foreign Minister Gromyko
Ambassador Avilov, Ambassador to Austria
Ambassador Menshikov
Mr. Troyanovsky, Personal Assistant to Chairman Khrushchev
Mr. Dobrynin, Chief, American Countries Division, USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Molochkov, Chief of Protocol, USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Kharlamov, Chief, Press Division, USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Pahlin, Deputy Chief of the German-Austrian Division of the Soviet Foreign Ministry
Mr. Sukhodrev, Interpreter, USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs


85. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Vienna, June 3, 1961, 3 p.m.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, President's Office Files, USSR. Secret. Drafted by Akalovsky. According to another copy, this memorandum of conversation was approved by the White House on June 23. (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110) A summary of the conversation was transmitted in Secto 16 from Vienna, June 4. (Ibid., Central Files, 600.001/6-461) The meeting was held at the Ambassador's residence.

Vienna Meeting Between The President and Chairman Khrushchev


The President
D--Mr. Akalovsky (Interpreting)

Chairman Khrushchev
Mr. Sukhodrev, Interpreter, USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs

After lunch the President invited Mr. Khrushchev for a short walk in the garden./2/ While in the garden, the President asked Mr. Khrushchev how he managed to make himself available for such prolonged conversations as, for example he had had, with Senator Humphrey and Walter Lippmann./3/ The President said he understood that no one had interrupted the Chairman during those meetings. As far as he was concerned, the President continued, his schedule was very crowded and he was constantly wanted on the telephone, so that it was very difficult for him to have time for lengthy uninterrupted meetings.

/2/A memorandum of the luncheon conversation is printed as Document 84.

/3/For a record of the interview with Senator Humphrey in December 1958, see Foreign Relations, 1958-1960, vol. VIII, pp. 148-152. Regarding the interview with Walter Lippmann, see footnote 3, Document 69.

Mr. Khrushchev replied that it was true that he had indeed had prolonged uninterrupted meetings with Senator Humphrey and Lippmann. The reason why he had time for such meetings was that the Soviet Government had been decentralized to the extent that administrative functions had been transferred to the governments of the individual republics, while the government of the Union retained the responsibility for over-all planning.

The President remarked that our system of several branches of government involved contacts and consultations between the President and the various branches, and that this was a time consuming process.

To this, Mr. Khrushchev replied: "Well, why don't you switch to our system?"

The President then invited Mr. Khrushchev for a private talk inside.

The President referred to the conversation before lunch/4/ and said that some of the problems faced by the two countries had been discussed. Now he wanted to come back to the general thesis. While Laos was one problem now under discussion, others might come up in the future. Thus, it would be useful to discuss the general problem underlying the situation and consider the specifics perhaps later. In addition to Laos, which had already been discussed, such specifics might include Germany and nuclear tests. The President then recalled Mr. Khrushchev's earlier reference to the death of feudalism. He said he understood this to mean that capitalism was to be succeeded by Communism. This was a disturbing situation because the French Revolution, as the Chairman well knew, had caused great disturbances and upheavals throughout Europe. Even earlier the struggle between Catholics and Protestants had caused the Hundred Year War. Thus it is obvious that when systems are in transition we should be careful, particularly today when modern weapons are at hand. Whatever the result of the present competition--and no one can be sure what it will be--both sides should act in such a way as to prevent them from coming into direct contact and thus prejudicing the establishment of lasting peace, which, the President said, was his ambition.

/4/See Document 83.

FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P41

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