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United States
The President
The Secretary
Ambassador Matthews
Ambassador Thompson
Mr. Bundy
Ambassador Bohlen
EUR--Mr. Kohler
Mr. Nitze
Mr. Salinger
D--Mr. Akalovsky (interpreting)

Mr. Khrushchev interjected that he fully understood this.

Even the Russian Revolution had produced convulsions, even intervention by other countries, the President continued. He then said that he wanted to explain what he meant by "miscalculation". In Washington, he has to attempt to make judgments of events, judgments which may be accurate or not; he made a misjudgment with regard to the Cuban situation. He has to attempt to make judgments as to what the USSR will do next, just as he is sure that Mr. Khrushchev has to make judgments as to the moves of the US. The President emphasized that the purpose of this meeting was to introduce greater precision in these judgments so that our two countries could survive this period of competition without endangering their national security.

Mr. Khrushchev responded by saying that this was a good idea and that this was what he called demonstration of patience and understanding. However, judging by some of the President's statements, the Soviet Union understood the situation differently. The US believes that when people want to improve their lot, this is a machination by others. Mr. Khrushchev said that he liked the President's statement in his message to Congress to the effect that it was difficult to defend ideas not supporting better standards of living. However, the President drew the wrong conclusion. He believes that when people rise against tyrants, that is a result of Moscow's activities. This is not so. Failure by the US to understand this generates danger. The USSR does not foment revolution but the United States always looks for outside forces whenever certain upheavals occur. One example of USSR's determination not to interfere in internal affairs of other countries is Iran, an ally of the United States. The Soviet Union does not want a revolution there and does not do anything in that country to promote such a development. However, the people of the country are so poor that the country has become a volcano and changes are bound to occur sooner or later. The Shah will certainly be overthrown. By supporting the Shah, the United States generates adverse feelings toward the United States among the people of Iran and, conversely, favorable feelings toward the USSR. This, of course, is to the US's own disadvantage. The Soviet Union does not sympathize with dictators or tyranny. This is the crux of the matter. No agreement seems to be possible on this point, but this fact should be taken into account. Mr. Khrushchev reiterated that the President's views were correct but that he drew the wrong conclusion. Another example of this situation is Cuba. A mere handful of people, headed by Fidel Castro, overthrew the Batista regime because of its oppressive nature. During Castro's fight against Batista, US capitalist circles, as they are called in the USSR, supported Batista and this is why the anger of the Cuban people turned against the United States. The President's decision to launch a landing in Cuba only strengthened the revolutionary forces and Castro's own position, because the people of Cuba were afraid that they would get another Bastista and lose the achievements of the revolution. Castro is not a Communist but US policy can make him one. US policy is grist on the mill of Communists, because US actions prove that Communists are right. Mr. Khrushchev said that he himself had not been born a Communist and that it was capitalists who had made him a Communist. He continued by saying that the President's concept was a dangerous one. The President had said that the US had attacked Cuba because it was a threat to American security. Can six million people really be a threat to the mighty US? The United States has stated that it is free to act, but what about Turkey and Iran? These two countries are US followers, they march in its wake, and they have US bases and rockets. If the US believes that it is free to act, then what should the US do? The US has set a precedent for intervention in internal affairs of other countries. The USSR is stronger than Turkey and Iran, just as the US is stronger than Cuba. This situation may cause miscalculation, to use the President's term. Both sides should agree to rule out miscalculation. This is why, Mr. Khrushchev said, he was happy that the President had said that Cuba was a mistake.

The President said that he agreed with Mr. Khrushchev and expressed the belief that unless the present Prime Minister of Iran improved the lot of his people and ensured better living conditions, there would be important changes in that country. The second point he wanted to make, the President said, was that he held no brief for Batista. The disagreement between the United States and Castro is not over monopolies; this question could be subject to discussion. The main point is that Castro has announced his intention to act in that general area, using Cuba as a base. This could eventually create a peril to the United States. A further point is, the President said, that the United States recognizes that it has bases in Turkey and Iran. However, these two countries are so weak that they could be no threat to the USSR, no more than Cuba to the US. The President reminded Mr. Khrushchev of the announced policy of the USSR that it would not tolerate governments hostile to it in areas which it regards as being of national interest to it. He inquired what the USSR's reaction would be if a government associated with the West were established in Poland. The United States stands for the right of free choice for all peoples and if Castro had acted in that spirit, he might have obtained endorsement. The United States has never taken any action with regard to such countries as Guinea or Mali, because the governments in those countries were freely elected and their policies are regarded by the United States as the judgment of their leadership. The President concluded by saying that it was critical to have the changes occurring in the world and affecting the balance of power take place in a way that would not involve the prestige or the treaty commitments of our two countries. The changes should be peaceful. Finally, the President said, if certain governments should fail to produce better living for their people, if they failed to give better education, higher standard of living, etc., to their people, and if they worked in the interest of only a small group, their days would be doomed. But in all these developments, the President reiterated, we should avoid direct contact between our two countries so as not to prejudice the interests of their national security.

Mr. Khrushchev said he agreed with the President's conclusion. Likewise, there were some points of agreement between him and the President with regard to Cuba, although there was still considerable disagreement. For instance, Mr. Khrushchev said, he agreed that the right of free choice should be ensured to all peoples but the question of choice should be solely up to the people themselves. If Castro has not held any elections, this is an internal affair and it grants no one the right to intervene. If Castro fails to give freedom to his people he will detach himself from them and he will be removed just as Batista was. It would be a different situation if our two countries took it upon themselves to decide this question. Mr. Khrushchev then said that he had noted some inconsistency in US policy. He specified that he did not mean the policy of the President personally, because he had been in the White House only since quite recently, but rather US policy in general. He said that the United States places great emphasis on democracy. However, if one takes Iran as an example, the ruler there is the Shah, who says that his power was given to him by God. Everybody knows how this power was seized by the Shah's father, who had been a Sergeant in the Iranian Army and who had usurped the throne by means of murder, plunder, and violence. Now the United States supports the Shah and the Iranian people transfer, as it were, their anger from the Shah to the United States. The United States is spending vast sums of money in Iran but that money does not go to the people; it is plundered by the Shah's entourage. The situation with regard to Franco/5/ is a similar one. The US knows how he came to power and yet it supports him. The United States supports the most reactionary regimes and this is how the people see US policy. This weakens US policy. The United States knows that Soviet policy is more popular than US policy in many areas where there is no Communism today. The USSR supports the aspirations of the people but it believes that the main thing is to be tolerant and not to interfere. People should be left to decide for themselves which form of government they desire. As to Fidel Castro, he was no Communist but then the US put pressure on him and applied sanctions against him, the USSR came to his assistance, in the form of trade and technical support. Under the influence of this aid he may turn Communist but, Mr. Khrushchev said, he as a Communist could not see which way Castro would go. Mr. Khrushchev then expressed the hope that the relations between the US and Cuba would improve in such fields as trade, etc. Such a statement, Mr. Khrushchev observed, might sound strange to the United States, but the USSR believes that such a development would improve relations not only in the Western Hemisphere, but also throughout the world. Mr. Khrushchev then referred to Turkey and said that in the recent change that had occurred in that country, the USSR had remained neutral because it regarded the change as an internal affair of that country. Likewise, there had been a second change in Korea within a relatively short time. Neither the USSR nor North Korea had interfered. One can say, however, that the present government will not last very long because it cannot give anything to the people. Of course, if South Korea did something in North Korea, the latter will act and the USSR will support it. However, the USSR's position is that of non-interference and of not creating new points of friction. It is a policy directed at bringing about a stable situation throughout the world. Mr. Khrushchev then addressed himself to the Laotian situation and said that the President knew very well that it had been the US Government which had overthrown Souvanna Phouma. One should be frank and recognize that both the United States and the USSR are supplying arms in Laos. The side supported by the USSR will be more successful because the arms supplied by the United States are directed against the people and the people do not want to take them. In China, the arms supplied by the United States to Chiang Kai-shek went to Mao Tse-tung. Chiang Kai-shek became sort of a transfer point for American arms to Mao Tse-tung. The reason for that was that Chiang's troops simply would not fight against the people. At that point Mao Tse-tung was weaker militarily than Chiang Kai-shek, but he won because his ideas won. In general, the history of revolutions is very instructive. During the Russian Revolution, the revolutionaries were weak and a counter-revolution occurred. The revolutionaries had to fight against the counter-revolutionaries, the British, the Japanese, the French, and others. Even the United States intervened. Mr. Khrushchev recalled in this connection that he had read a book by an American Colonel entitled "U.S. Adventure in Siberia"./6/ Notwithstanding all this, the revolution was victorious because the people were on its side. Mr. Khrushchev then said that we must be patient. If the United States supports old, moribund, reactionary regimes, then a precedent of internal intervention will be set, which might cause a clash between our two countries. The USSR certainly does not desire such a development.

/5/General Francisco Franco y Bahamonde, Spanish Chief of State.

/6/William S. Graves, America's Siberian Adventure, 1918-1920, New York, 1931.

FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P42

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