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127. Circular Airgram From the Department of State to All Diplomatic Posts/1/

Washington, November 8, 1961, 6:17 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 761.001/11-861. Confidential. Drafted by Anderson (SOV) on November 7; cleared by Bohlen, RSB, and CA; and approved by Guthrie. Repeated to Budapest, Bucharest, Moscow, Prague, Sofia, and Warsaw.

CA-414. The following assessment of the 22nd Congress of the CPSU/2/ was initially prepared for the presentation to the NATO Council of the United States views on this event. At your discretion, you are authorized to draw on it in discussions with appropriate local officials.

/2/October 17-31.

Only time and specific developments will reveal the true significance of this Congress. The following brief analysis is, therefore, only tentative.

1. The general course of the Congress indicated careful advance preparation; Khrushchev's dominance in Soviet leadership was readily apparent in the re-endorsement of the basic lines of the 20th Party Congress and in the choice of the focal points for the 22nd Congress. The dominant aspects of the Congress (campaigns against the Stalin era; the anti-party group, Albania and indirectly Communist China; strong reaffirmation of the 20th Congress line; and the lack of emphasis on new Party Program) reflect Khrushchev's decision to reassert strongly Moscow's primacy in the bloc and the world communist movement.

2. In foreign policy, reaffirmation was given to (a) avoidance of actions entailing a serious risk of nuclear war; (b) endeavors to seek through negotiations with the West agreements favorable to Soviet objectives; (c) assertive Soviet efforts in the underdeveloped areas, and (d) a vigorous "struggle" under "peaceful coexistence" in East-West relations.

3. The moves against Stalinist methods, anti-party group and Albanian leadership were undoubtedly related and have the effect of clarifying Khrushchev's personal leadership status. The move to correct the Albanian problem was intended as a thinly veiled challenge to the Chinese Communists within the context of a "domestic" CPSU Congress and Soviet East European considerations (Albania).

4. The open attacks on Stalin and the specific revelations of the brutal acts attributed to his regime have evoked public discussion within the Soviet Union and are likely to result in considerable disorientation and confusion of the Soviet people unless the effects are carefully channeled. These, combined with public discussion in recent years of incompetence and deceptive acts of minor officials, could undermine faith in the Party leadership.

5. The form and method of the Chinese Communist response are still not indicated. One timing factor supporting Khrushchev's move may have been Communist China's basic internal economic weaknesses at this time. The 22nd Congress' developments confirmed earlier indications that the 81 Party Statement of 1960/3/ was a "papering over" effort required by the failure to achieve a real reconciliation of views.

/3/See footnote 1, Document 16.

6. The Party Program was obscured by other events at the Congress. Quite aside from Khrushchev's desire to focus attention on other matters, this treatment appears consistent with the fact that the Program was not an inspiring document.

7. It is too early to assess the ultimate effects of the changes in the top Party organs, but Khrushchev's pre-eminence has not suffered. While it is clear there is opposition to individual Khrushchev policies, there is no evidence of any organized opposition to Khrushchev's leadership as such. An action against the anti-party group will, however, serve as a warning to those who might be tempted to go too far in opposing the specific policies of Khrushchev.

8. The reasons for "lifting" the apparent deadline for a separate German treaty were not clear./4/ One factor undoubtedly was the apprehension that the USSR and the West were on a collision course. Another factor may well have been the normal evolving of a pre-negotiation position. In any event, the build-up of NATO forces and the firmness of the West on basic principles clearly played an important role. The fact of the existence of discussions with Gromyko afforded Khrushchev the opportunity to lift the deadline without an apparent loss of face.

/4/Khrushchev told the Congress that if the West showed readiness to settle the "German problem," then "we shall not insist on the peace treaty being signed necessarily before 31 December 1961." (Current Weekly Intelligence Review, October 20; Central Intelligence Agency: Job 79-S01060A) Khrushchev wrote Kennedy in a November 9 letter that "in order to create the best possible conditions for the achievement of an agreed settlement the Soviet Government has decided not to insist that the peace treaty be signed by the end of this year." In the same letter Khrushchev proposed, since the West had taken issue with his earlier proposal to station a token force of Soviet troops in West Berlin when it became a "free city," that no Four Power forces be stationed there but instead a UN force be introduced to guarantee the status of the city. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, vol. VI, pp. 45-57.

9. Clearly, Soviet objectives and their determination to achieve those objectives remain undiluted; however, the implications for Western policy as regards intra-bloc and Sino-Soviet ramifications are not fully evident. It is, however, evident that the West must anticipate a continuous application of pressure on sensitive issues and, particularly, must prepare for an increased communist drive in the underdeveloped areas. As regards the Berlin and German problem, there is even a greater need for unity, preparedness and firmness of purpose.



128. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State/1/

Moscow, November 15, 1961, noon.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 711.11-KE/11-1561. Secret; Priority.

1528. Eyes only Secretary. Reference: Deptel 1265./2/ Suggest important have agreement Adzhubei either publish entire interview or agreed version.

/2/Telegram 1265, November 13, reported that the President had agreed to be interviewed by Adzhubei and asked Thompson for his views on subjects that would be useful to raise during the interview. (Ibid., 711.11-KE/11-1361) For further background on the origin of the interview, see Salinger, With Kennedy, pp. 199-200.

Believe Soviet public would expect discussion of Berlin problem although this will obviously be delicate to handle.

Believe our support of exchange program should be mentioned and particularly our desire have more Soviet visitors to US.

Our interest in disarmament should be emphasized and see no reason why President should not express our disappointment at Soviet failure agree to test ban and its action in filling atmosphere with radioactive debris.

While debates with Soviets on ideological grounds are generally not productive believe it would be useful emphasize difficulty which Communist ideology places in way of development of friendship and peaceful coexistence between our countries. President might refer to 81 party delegation declaration? which stated US imperialism had become enemy of peoples of world. Could also refer to Khrushchev's definition of peaceful coexistence with US as "intense economic, political, and ideological struggle" and point out that this could also serve as definition of cold war and hardly basis for real friendship. US believes every country should have system which suits it best and does not pretend that one particular system is bound to prevail throughout world. Communist belief to contrary is source of much friction between us. Believe would be useful for President to state US welcomes increased prosperity of Soviet people and wishes them success in future.

If occasion arises might be useful hit some of most common Soviet misconceptions about US. Soviet people for example unaware magnitude unemployment compensation, role of US regulatory agencies, etc. In referring to peaceful competition between states President could stress role of competition in US and describe our anti-monopoly legislation. Might be useful mention minimum wage and average income, widespread ownership of large corporations, high tax on large incomes, and general evolution capitalist system in US.



129. Memorandum From the Secretary of State's Special Assistant (Bohlen) to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Washington, November 15, 1961.

/1/Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, USSR, Adzhubei Interview. Secret. No drafting information appears on the source text.

Just in case you couldn't lay your hand on Tommy's suggestions in regard to the Adzhubei interview, I am enclosing another copy./2/ I think Tommy's suggestions are very good, and should be carefully considered. However, while I agree that ideological themes are nonproductive, there is a terrible temptation to have the President go into some of them. But, I imagine that for a President to get into that swamp would probably not be wise.

/2/Printed as Document 128.

However, I do agree with Tommy's paragraph on the subject, and I think the President should hit the history of the Soviet Union and the fact that ever since its existence in 1917, it has never had normal relations with any country; the reason being, as Tommy points out, their adherence to a system which they claim is bound to prevail throughout the world. In this connection, I think he might dwell somewhat on the theme of "peaceful coexistence," pointing out that its constant repetition by Soviet leaders is curious, since heretofore there had been many different systems of social organization in various countries without the problem of existing side-by-side ever having been raised.

1. Other aspects which the President might treat are those of Stalin's actions in foreign affairs which, at this stage, might be capable of discussion. One of these might be the Korean war and, as an offshoot thereof, the Soviet Government's sponsorship on a world-wide basis of the charge that we had used bacteriological warfare in Korea. This has since been dropped completely by Stalin's successors, but it might be worth bringing up as an example of why our relations have been troubled.

2. We should try and think of some news or information which is banned to the Soviet people and this brings us directly to the question of nuclear testing. As you know, while the Soviet intention to test was published in the Soviet press, there was no report on individual explosions and nothing has appeared in the Soviet Union in regard to the fifty megaton one. The President might take the theme that facts are facts, regardless of opinion or ideological coloration, and that to censor everything that goes into a country is hardly a defensible exercise in the modern world.

3. In relation to 2., the President might emphasize the role of secrecy in Soviet international dealings and its destructive effect on the development of any state of confidence with the Soviet Union, quite apart from its obvious denial of elementary freedom.

4. The President might refer to the history of our military posture since the end of the war, dwelling on the complete demobilization of the mightiest force which had ever been assembled until just prior to the Korean war; our military budget was some fourteen billion dollars (I think this is right, but I am not sure) and pointing out as a reply to customary Soviet assertions on United States militarism, that facts and their sequence would demonstrate that our present budget resulted entirely from Soviet actions.

5. The President might dwell on our view of the role and potential usefulness of the United Nations, with special reference to the troika principle, pointing out that this principle was in itself contrary to the purposes of the Charter. He could indulge in a little philosophy here by pointing out that if there is a general denial of objective individuals who could serve as international civil servants, this would reduce the world to a jungle of competing systems, and that what seemed to be at fault here was the absence in Soviet doctrine of any objective morality. Even the most elementary of games requires some rules if they are to be played by people.

The President might, as a closer, state that when the Soviet Union came to realize that Bolshevism was not the system designed for every country and has only been installed by force or conquest, and that as the leaders began to act as the head of a national state, there would then be the first beginnings of a possibility of a reasonable and normal relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. He might point out, in this connection, that it is not specific United States interests which are being served by our world-wide involvement, but that we are, in effect, a third force, helping weaker countries to resist the efforts of a great power to install its system against the will of the recipients. The President might note, in this connection, that there has never been a case in history where the people of a country have voted in the communist system in any free vote or choice.

I enclose a list of points which were drawn up by the research boys here, which you may find useful./3/ I also enclose a copy of Raymond Aron's reply to a questionnaire from the Tass agency which Arthur Schlesinger sent over to me, which you will at least find amusing, and possibly useful for this exercise.

/3/Not found.

I imagine we will be getting together on Monday and Tuesday at some time to go over these various points.


FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P68

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