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94. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk and the Director of the U.S. Information Agency (Murrow) to President Kennedy/1/

Washington, June 8, 1961.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 761.00/6-861. Official Use Only. Drafted by Armitage.

An Effective Countertheme to "Peaceful Coexistence"

In the period since early 1956 the Soviets have transformed the concept and phrase, "peaceful coexistence," into a useful political tool by assiduous and continuous propagation at all levels of the government and party apparatus. They have gained abroad a substantial measure of acceptance of this concept as a legitimate objective, not only of their foreign policy but of other countries. It appears as such in repeated joint communiqués of the Soviet Union and other countries and all too frequently in the speeches and conversations of leading political figures, particularly but not exclusively, from the uncommitted countries.

We have attempted to combat it by pointing out both the hypocrisy and true meaning of its major tenets and by indicating that it is nothing more than a Soviet rationalization for using every measure of struggle against the free world except nuclear warfare. Toward this end we have made occasional public speeches and have instructed our posts abroad to disseminate our views of it. This has been manifestly inadequate. In the field of propaganda one simply can not beat something with nothing.

We have needed a single, simple countertheme if we are to do the job. After a long study of the possible alternatives, we have concluded that "peaceful world community" is the most effective phrase we can find. Although this phrase seems to embody the essence of our basic foreign objectives, we recognize that neither it nor any other single phrase will magically accomplish our purposes. If, however, we devote the same degree of attention and effort to it that the Soviets give to "peaceful coexistence," we should be able to invest it with meaningful content, achieve an increasing measure of understanding of the difference between our and the Soviet concept and have some success in associating other countries with our view. "Peaceful world community" also helps us in our efforts to emphasize that "general and complete disarmament" is not an end in itself but an important component of a larger aim. John McCloy quite independently used the exact phrase for that purpose in his conversation with Gromyko./2/ USIA is instructing all its media to employ the term whenever it is appropriate.

/2/Not further identified.

If you approve of this phrase and of its employment in the manner indicated, we will give some thought as to how it can be most auspiciously launched.

Dean Rusk
Edward R. Murrow/3/

/3/Printed from a copy that bears Rusk's stamped signature and Murrow's typed signature with an indication that both signed the original memorandum.


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

Washington, June 12, 1961.

/1/Source: Yale University, Bowles Papers, Box 300, Folder 535. Secret. The source text bears no drafting or clearance information, but according to another copy it was drafted by Armitage and cleared by Bohlen and Kohler. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.61/6-1261) The Department of State prepared this paper in response to a request by Bundy for a talking point paper to debrief the National Security Council on the Vienna talks. (Memorandum, June 10; ibid., 611.61/6-1061)

(June 3-4, 1961)

Overall U.S.-Soviet Relations

1. President began talks with expression of hope conversations would be useful and provide better understanding of problems confronting the two countries.

2. President said common objective should be to conduct competition of two systems without endangering peace. Problem is to find means of avoiding situations in which two countries become committed to actions involving their security. President stressed this point repeatedly.

3. Khrushchev stated desire for improved relations but not at expense other people. Referred to lack of direct conflict in economic field. Stressed need for solution basic questions, failing which tensions would continue: West must recognize de facto that Communism exists and has won right to develop. In luncheon toast Khrushchev decried idea of mutual concessions in negotiation, asking what could he concede and saying concession of even a portion of peace would mean no peace at all.

4. Khrushchev expounded on eventual Communist triumph through spread of ideas; claimed challenge lay in force economic example and in political arena; gave "guarantee" USSR would not try to propagate ideas by use of nuclear missiles; denied intent to use force of arms or impose its system on others.

5. President said USSR seeks to eliminate free system while objecting to any efforts of others to eliminate Communist system in the bloc. Rejected idea of historical inevitability of Communist triumph, defended the right of free popular choice.

6. Khrushchev tried to interpret the President's position as an effort to justify resort to arms to oppose the spread of Communist ideas.


1. President outlined mutual danger of miscalculation. Cited historical examples and emphasized importance of considering views and positions of other side before embarking on a course of action.

2. Khrushchev said miscalculation is vague term, Soviets can not guarantee Communist ideas won't spread. Term can be applied to both sides. USSR will defend its vital interests, can not be intimidated. USSR appreciates loss to both sides which war would bring but use of term "miscalculation" does not affect the USSR.


1. Khrushchev brought up China but stated he was not authorized to speak for the Chinese Communists. Urged the President to adopt a "reasonable" course by recognizing the Chinese Communists. Termed Chinese Communists' exclusion from the UN "unrealistic" but said Chinese Communists would never join the UN if the Chinese Nationalists were still there.

2. He termed present U.S. policy toward Chinese Communists unreasonable and said it might ultimately lead to war. Urged the U.S. to settle its problems with the Chinese Communists and end the "occupation" of Taiwan.

3. Khrushchev probed for possible changes in U.S.-China policy but President left him under no illusions that change could be expected. The President cited the constant hostility of the Chinese Communists towards the U.S. and acknowledged U.S. relations with Chinese Communists were indeed bad. He stressed that U.S. strategic interests were involved in the U.S. position on Taiwan and said that he considered the security of the U.S. involved as well.

Underdeveloped and Uncommitted Areas

1. Khrushchev denied responsibility for popular uprisings against "tyrannical regimes" and charged U.S. supported military dictators and opposed social change. Cited Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, South Korea, Turkey, Spain, Angola. He said USSR supports the aspirations of the people.

2. Khrushchev referred to Cuba, said Castro is not a Communist but U.S. policy could make him one. Termed President's statement that U.S. security threatened dangerous. If U.S. free to act in Cuba, what of Turkey and Iran; miscalculation possible in such situation.

3. President explained U.S. attitude toward Cuba, stressing Castro's destruction of right of free choice and his stated intent to use Cuba as base for expansion in neighboring area.

4. President asked Soviet attitude should West-oriented government be installed in Poland, said social and political changes in the world should take place in ways not involving national security, treaty commitments or prestige of two countries.

5. Khrushchev said Castro would be removed as Batista was if he failed to give the Cubans freedom. Our countries should not intervene. Added that under influence of Soviet aid Castro might turn Communist but Khrushchev could not now see which way Castro would go.

6. President sketched three U.S. interests: free choice through elections for all people; defense of our strategic interests (Spain, Yugoslavia); events in next decade not greatly disturbing the balance of power (referred to effect of Chinese Communist development of military potential).


1. President expressed support for liberation movement in Africa, noted we had rankled allies to sustain this position.

2. Khrushchev replied U.S. position is basically anti-liberation, pro-allies.

3. President referred to Khrushchev's January speech and support of wars of national liberation. Stated that problem was how to avoid direct contact between two countries as we support respective groups; referred to Viet-Nam guerrilla activity and said we do not believe they represent popular will.

4. Khrushchev said people's only recourse often to arms, cited Algeria and Angola. Called them "sacred" wars. Affirmed Soviet support but tried to deny direct Soviet participation.

5. President said we were concerned also with what followed nation-hood in such areas. Balance of power could be disturbed if they associated closely with USSR.

6. Khrushchev charged this meant U.S. could not recognize neutrality unless it followed U.S., said that if some African country went Communist this would be expression of popular will and our interference could set off chain reaction and lead to war.

7. President said situation in Burma, India and Yugoslavia satisfactory to us.

8. President referred again to Poland to illustrate problem of close association of neighboring country with antagonistic power. Mentioned the question of popular support and this led to pointed exchange with Khrushchev on question of popularity of Polish Government.


1. Khrushchev said both sides supplying arms in Laos. Side USSR supporting has popular support and would win out, like Mao vs. Chiang in China.

2. Both agreed Laos not strategically very important, but President noted our treaty commitments in the area and with reference to Laos.

3. Khrushchev took exception to reference to commitments, said U.S. could not assert special rights and dispense indulgences, as forces in world now in balance.

4. President noted U.S. and USSR had expressed desire for neutral and independent Laos, referred to Cambodia and Burma to illustrate meaning of those terms. Khrushchev assented.

5. President emphasized primary need for effective verification of cease-fire, citing reports of violation and need for new instructions to ICC.

6. Khrushchev digressed on anti-popular regimes again and said U.S. talks too much of anti-guerrilla warfare and such talk dangerous. Said guerrilla success dependent on local support, could not be gained from outside the country. Interference from outside could bring war and terrible prospect of mutual destruction.

7. Khrushchev said USSR would not agree to ICC becoming a kind of supra-government; three sides must agree among themselves regarding a cease-fire and U.S. and USSR could use influence to bring agreement about. Gromyko added ICC could act by agreement of Laotian parties. Khrushchev said basic question of formation of Laotian government should not be contingent on a cease-fire.

8. Khrushchev alleged and President denied U.S. had ordered and then recalled order for a Marine landing in Laos.

9. President stressed need of avoiding a situation which could lead to retaliation and counter-retaliation and thus endanger peace.

FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P55

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