|Foreign Relations of the United States 1964-1968, Volume XIV |
Released by the Office of the Historian
29. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State
29. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State/1/
Moscow, April 21, 1964, 2 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL US-USSR. Secret; Exdis.
3221. For S/AL Thompson and EUR Tyler. This is a plea for timely information necessary to effective operation here.
Though we had some idea from British what was going on, this was not enough to spare me embarrassment of getting first word on President and Khrushchev statements re fissionable materials cut-back from local American correspondents. Similarly, we learned of Soviet decision to withdraw crab fleet from Kodiak waters/2/ only in morning Wireless Bulletin, though this was subject on which Emb had been instructed make representations here.
/2/A Soviet crab fishing fleet had recently begun operating in the Gulf of Alaska. In a meeting with Dobrynin on April 8, Thompson asked the Soviets to reconsider the operation, pointing out "the complications that would ensue from such an operation because of the status of king crab as a resource of the shelf and the importance of king crab to Alaska's economy." (Memorandum of conversation; Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 79 D 246, Reel 3, US Officials Memoranda of Conversation with Leading USSR Officials 1964)
Yesterday I had fears of being in disadvantageous position in carrying out Dept's instructions on Laos, in view my total lack information re President-Dobrynin conversation April 18 ./3/ Fortunately, Gromyko's preoccupation with visiting Kenya delegation and resultant unavailability spared me general conversation covering bilateral relations, since I could limit talk with Deputy FonMin Lapin to Laos.
However, essential I receive pertinent information on Dobrynin talks prior more general exchanges with top Soviet officials. Also hope I can have early favorable word on Civil Air Agreement, since Tom Mann's promised review about due.
Will appreciate your help.
30. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State/1/
Moscow, April 29, 1964, 4 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, BG 16-10 MOSCOW. Secret; Limdis.
3311. Embtel 3241./2/ Microphone system presently being uncovered in offices and apartments is extensive, with 17 active microphones confirmed to date and possibility that total of 39 installations will be discovered. We recommend that strong protest, accompanied by photographs, be lodged with MFA over microphones. It is realized, of course, that there are other agency interests to consider before protest is made and therefore request Dept consider and advise soonest.
/2/No copy of this telegram, April 23, has been found, but presumably it transmitted the initial report on the discovery of microphones in the Embassy's walls.
In its protest, Embassy would plan (1) make factual presentation of microphone installations which have been discovered (2) protest these as flagrant violations accepted norms diplomatic practice (3) request cessation this type activity directed against Embassy. Advise any other points Department may wish to include./3/
/3/In telegram 3190 to Moscow, May 4, the Department of State authorized the delivery of a written protest along the lines suggested in this paragraph. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, BG 16-10, Moscow)
Question of taking initiative in publicizing microphone discovery, and timing of such publicity, is something Dept is in best position to decide in light past practices such matters. However, it should be borne in mind that virtually entire Embassy staff is aware of microphone discovery and there may well be inadvertent leak to local US correspondents in Moscow, even though all hands have been cautioned to maintain strict security on subject. Regardless decision on whether to publicize at convenient time, consideration should be given now to line for use in event story leaks.
Appreciate Dept's guidance on this point.
31. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State/1/
Moscow, May 19, 1964, 1 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, BG 16 MOSCOW. Secret; Limdis.
3499. Deptel 3334./2/ I saw Kuznetsov at 1100 local today and handed him protest note/3/ on microphones, revised in accordance reftel. I also left with him one device (Emb technician had previously deactivated and eradicated serial number from device) and two photographs showing method of installation.
/2/Dated May 16, it transmitted four changes in the draft note and informed the Embassy that the Department of State was planning to announce the discovery of the listening devices shortly after the note had been delivered. (Ibid.) The Department of State released a statement on May 19; for text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1964, pp. 665-666.
/3/The text of the 3-paragraph note, which strongly protested the installation of listening devices in the Embassy, was transmitted in telegram 3501 from Moscow, May 19. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, BG 16 MOSCOW) On May 30 the Soviet Foreign Ministry rejected the U.S. protest as an attempt by American officials to conceal their widespread eavesdropping on Soviet missions and personnel in the United States. (Telegram 3634 from Moscow, May 30; ibid., POL 17-2 USSR-US) A memorandum of the conversation on May 30 was transmitted as an enclosure to airgram A-1746, June 5. (Ibid., POL 1 US-USSR)
After reading note, Kuznetsov said naturally he was not familiar with situation and thus not in position comment now. He would report protest to appropriate authorities and MFA would meanwhile look into matter. He went on to say that MFA regards it as obligation to provide for "secure" operations of Embassy and certainly it is not "our" practice impede effectiveness of such operations. Sov missions in US have at times felt their personnel subject to "obstacles" which do not facilitate effective operations. Kuznetsov recalled that in 1962 when on UN duty he had been shown device installed in legs of table Sov mission had sent to local shop for repairs; also he recalled complaint by Sov personnel with regard to tampering with automobiles repaired locally. His recollection was that Sov authorities had not made "strong protest" with regard these incidents. He wondered why we had chosen to make "strong" protest in this case.
I replied that system of listening devices we had uncovered was so shockingly extensive--covering virtually entire Embassy building, including living quarters, that we felt "strong protest" was indeed warranted.
Comment: Kuznetsov was as amiable and forthcoming as he could be in circumstances. He made no inquiries as to possible publicity of our protest and I refrained from any comment on this score. Next following telegram contains text of note as delivered.
32. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State/1/
Moscow, May 24, 1964, 11 a.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, BG 16 MOSCOW. Confidential.
3577. Deptel 3395./2/ Reply to reftel re prejudice to national security through recently discovered microphone network must, in my opinion, be considered in at least three different categories:
/2/Dated May 21, it reported that a "damage assessment" was being taken to determine if the microphone network had resulted in any loss to U.S. national security and asked Kohler to prepare an assessment for the period of his Ambassadorship. (Ibid.)
1. Interception of Conversations.
A. Fortunately, secure rooms have been available during entire period of my incumbency. Consequently, I have invariably operated on assumption that conversations or oral exchanges outside these rooms and particularly in my own office were being overheard and/or recorded. In exchanges with staff and with American and foreign visitors or in press conferences I have refrained from any statements which I was not willing for Soviet side to overhear. Indeed, I have frequently made statements deliberately in the hope, if not expectation, that they would be overheard. For example, as to what I thought would happen in the case of the shooting down of an American observer plane over Cuba. Exceptions to this practice have been in case of frequent consultations with my British, French and German colleagues which invariably take place in the secure rooms of my own or their embassies and less frequent conversations with selected colleagues or on sensitive subjects with a few others, notably the Canadian and Australian Ambassadors.
B. The same rule described in (A) has been applied by all members of the staff working on substantive or sensitive questions. I know of no significant slips or violations. However, our security officer is looking into this aspect in greater detail and will be reporting separately.
C. My own discussions on sensitive matters with staff members have been held in a secure room and the same rule has been applied with respect to conversations on such matters between staff members.
Similarly, the rule has been followed that all material to be enciphered and all other material of a classified nature must be dictated in one of the secure rooms or prepared in the form of handwritten drafts. Here too, I know of no slips or violations.
2. Compromise of Telegraphic Traffic.
A. If it is assumed that all outgoing and incoming telegraphic traffic has been known to the Soviet Govt then this would have been more seriously prejudicial to the national security in ways going beyond the compromise of codes and cryptographic techniques.
B. Even knowledge of telegraphic traffic, however, I do not believe would seriously have compromised any of the principal negotiations which have taken place since I arrived in Sept 1962--notably the Cuban crisis, the Test Ban Agreement, the new Cultural Exchange Agreement and the Consular Convention. In most instances (except Cuba, handled semi-publicly) the basic position papers or negotiating positions were transmitted by courier. Outgoing telegraphic traffic consisted principally of factual reports of negotiating sessions, the substance of which was already known to the Soviet side. Incoming traffic was generally in the form of modified or fresh instructions which were the basis of communications to and discussions with the Soviet side within a short period after receipt. I have been unable to recall any specific occasion, however, when the Soviet side seemed to have been forewarned of a new position in advance and to have been able to prepare a counter which gave them a negotiating advantage.
C. The Soviets would have profited particularly from a knowledge of the considerable flow of information telegrams this Embassy receives, not only from the Dept but from other posts throughout the world, particularly those in critical areas, such as Germany, Laos. This is very difficult to evaluate. I personally am somewhat skeptical as to whether Soviet officials have received this kind of information since I can recall no specific instance when Soviet officials seemed to be in possession of really accurate information coming unquestionably from American sources about our activities or intentions. The one occasion on which Khrushchev alleged to have possession of specific info coming from our own communications was about my role in the wide diameter pipe embargo and this was clearly inaccurate, as I reported at the time. However, it is conceivable that there has been some flow of information which has influenced Soviet actions with respect to such critical problems as the situation in Berlin, harassments on the Autobahn and in air corridors, the situation in Laos, the situation in Cuba and their attitude toward the MLF.
3. There is one type of conversation which takes place in the Embassy which may have facilitated KGB counter-intelligence operations. This would be discussions which have taken place from time to time between Emb officers and individual Americans, notably exchange students and professors, regarding the latter's personal problems and difficulties in the Soviet Union. Generally speaking, such conversations have not taken place in the secure areas and could have provided to the KGB material facilitating their exploitation of the individuals. This aspect will also be gone into in more detail by the Embassy's security officer.
33. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State/1/
Bangkok, May 30, 1964, 3 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL US-USSR. Secret; Immediate; Nodis.
Secto 23. Eyes only for President and Acting Secretary from Secretary. Had one hour talk with Kosygin at Soviet Embassy accompanied by Bowles./2/ Soviet Ambassador and one Soviet FonOff official also present.
/2/The conversation took place at 5 p.m. in New Delhi where Rusk and Kosygin were attending Nehru's funeral.
After exchange amenities Kosygin raised question of trade and complained of interference by USG, especially State Department and me personally, with trade possibilities which would be agreeable to US private interests and Soviet Government. I went over with him steps being taken to review east-west trade by Executive Branch, Senate Foreign Relations Committee and private groups such as Chamber of Commerce. I then outlined problems arising from (a) lack of strong economic basis for substantial trade increases on bilateral basis between two economies which historically have not traded significantly with each other; (b) matters of trade practices such as patents, copyrights, dumping and (c) legislative restrictions rooted in entire postwar history and US reactions to Stalinist pressures.
On (c) Kosygin said, in effect, let's forget past and think about future. On (b) he said they would make any agreements needed under licensing to protect US technology and said they now admit personnel to check on licensing arrangements already made with Western countries. On (a) he said Soviets now have more to sell, beyond vodka and caviar, and could sell us, for example, continuous pouring steel plants superior to anything we now have. I said I knew of no legal obstacles to purchase of such plants by US private interests. He doubted this but I got impression he was referring to tentative discussions with US businessmen of exchange of steel plants for advanced chemical plants on which there probably would be a licensing problem.
[Here follows the remainder of the telegram, which is printed in Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, volume XVIII, Laos, Document 68.]
34. Memorandum From the Deputy Director of the United States Information Agency (Wilson) to the Director (Rowan)/1/
Washington, June 1, 1964.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL USSR. Confidential. Prepared by Wilson following a trip to the Soviet Union and attached to a June 3 memorandum of transmittal from Wilson to Deputy Under Secretary of State U. Alexis Johnson.
The Soviet Union is still a land of paradox and nowhere does it show up more clearly than in the information and cultural fields. Although I was able to engage in some remarkably frank and free exchanges with writers, artists, and even professional propagandists, the repressive hand of the bureaucracy (in my case, in the form of the Ministry of Culture) was never far away. On the same day, for example, I engaged in a free-swinging discussion of the Sino-Soviet rift with the leaders of Novosti, the "press service" which serves as an overseas propaganda organ of the USSR, and then was prevented by the Ministry of Culture from spending an innocuous evening with the editors of a music magazine watching the Red Army Chorus perform.
This paradox of today is still a vast improvement over the Stalinist orthodoxy of eight years ago. Since that time the U.S. Government has slowly expanded its information and cultural activities in the Soviet Union. The process has been, and still is, one of trial and error. The proper approach has been, and still is, one of pushing firmly but not belligerently on a number of doors marked "exchanges", "cultural presentations", "radio broadcasting", "magazine distribution", and the like. If the door doesn't open, return in a while and push again. If it does open, keep your foot in it and establish a program, no matter how meager.
Several years ago, our problem in the information and cultural field was the basic one of identifying the opinion leaders of the Soviet Union. Today, they have been identified and we are in contact with a number of them. The problem now has become one of maintaining and expanding those contacts.
If the present political climate prevails, the U.S. Government programs should be able to continue expanding at a gradual and unspectacular rate. Overoptimism and an excess of eagerness should be avoided. Mr. Khrushchev has said there will be ideological coexistence and the bureaucracy that does his bidding clearly understands this. Nevertheless, the infrequent visitor and the American correspondent, in particular, are naturally attracted to the liberal elements of the society who are willing to talk more freely with them. This produces reactions and stories in the Western press that tend to overemphasize the magnitude of the liberal influence. They are there, they are of immense importance, but their position is still fragile. They are the potential enemies of Mr. Khrushchev and of the mysterious forces surrounding him and this fact is never forgotten. We must be extremely careful in courting them. To court the "unapproved" artists and writers too assiduously and to ignore the "approved" ones can set back the liberalization process. The brand of "pro-American" could prove disastrous to those whose courage and creativity we most admire. We must be careful to maintain our relationships with them but also careful to maintain our relationships with those whose work is approved by the Communist Party. The liberal elements understand the necessity of such a "balance" and welcome it. As Eugene Staples, our extraordinarily capable chief Cultural Officer puts it, "We are still far from the day when we can safely predict even how many Soviet intellectuals will be brave enough to come to dinner, much less state with confidence that we will bring a given Soviet citizen or group into our sphere of activities."
Present indications are that the creative artists have pretty well weathered the storm inflicted upon them in the winter and spring of 1963. For example, although Premier Khrushchev himself described the sculptor Ernest Neizvestny as a "pederast" and his work in words of even fouler connotation, Neizvestny is still sculpting in the same ways and has even received an occasional official American visitor such as Jack Masey, head of USIA's Graphic Arts Exhibit. For 48 hours, I had an on-again, off-again appointment with Neizvestny which was finally scrubbed. But it is significant that the Ministry of Culture found itself in an embarrassing and confusing quandary over whether to let an American "propagandist" visit the man whom Khrushchev had tried to humiliate a year earlier.
An interesting example of how the Soviet creator adjusts to his ambivalent position was provided by Mr. Efremov, director of the Contemporary Theater, who presents modern Soviet plays to sellout audiences. Efremov, who did come to dinner with me, spoke at some length on how he was able to open "Two for the Seesaw" a year ago at his theatre. Forced by the Ministry of Culture to get approval for all his plays, he slipped the "Two for a Seesaw" request to a sympathetic friend in the Ministry of Culture who approved it somehow without the top-level being consulted. When the play opened, to some very hostile reviews from the Party press, there was consternation. Still, the Ministry was afraid to close the play once it had opened. Finally, L.F. Iliychev, head of the Party's Ideological Commission, came to check it and apparently he approved because it was allowed to be shown to wildly enthusiastic audiences.
Reports from the Embassy and the press since my departure indicate that the position of the intellectual in Soviet society continues to change constantly. Iliychev had another session with writers and artists at which the latter apparently won some additional concessions.
The present U.S. Government program directed at these people is generally well-conceived. The heart of the matter is the exchanges program which is being better handled now that more Embassy staff time is being devoted to following up with the Russians who have returned from the United States.
At the same time, we should see to it that important Soviet exchanges, especially those in the literary and arts fields, are exposed to the people and institutions which we consider to be important to them. In the cultural field, it seems to me, the principle of reciprocity--so important and sound in other areas of exchanges--need not be so insisted upon since it is just as much in our interest to expose Soviet intellectuals to the United States as it is to have Americans travel to the USSR.
I have the following comments on the three major programs for which we are fully responsible both here and in Moscow:
1. Voice of America. The VOA has been unjammed in the Soviet Union since June 19, 1963 for reasons still somewhat unclear to our Embassy. There is no question that the Voice is listened to by a wide and growing audience. There is now no opprobrium attached to listening. In scores of conversations, with students in Leningrad, with a female economist from Tomsk, with a young embittered Armenian in Tbilisi, with the talented film director A.A. Tarkovsky, with the leader of Moscow's new theater movement, Mr. Efremov, with the most hidebound bureaucrats, it was apparent that the Voice has become an important source of information. The news is most popular for VOA listeners as well as BBC listeners. Jazz on VOA is next although I observed an interesting phenomenon here. Russian jazz fans, and this includes a great many of the young intellectuals, complain that VOA's music programs are outdated and not up to the latest being played in New York's most far-out joints. For this they are turning to Radio Luxembourg. It would seem that the avid Russian fan, like his American counterpart, has a passion for being up with the very latest.
The main objections to VOA centered around charges of "propaganda" about the United States that were hard to believe. There was little complaint about distortions in programs related to life in the Soviet Union and the Communist world--a tribute to VOA's effort to adhere as closely as possible to the known facts. The intelligent Soviet listeners that I spoke to struck me as shrewd judges of the objective-fact-filled program compared to the emotional super-charged program. VOA's Russian programs, by all accounts, have improved notably in this direction in the past six months. However, there is much left to do under the new leadership in the Russian section of VOA. The lead taken by Ambassador Kohler, a former head of VOA, and our staff in Moscow in providing a critique in depth of Russian programming has been of great value and must continue.
As the liberalization process hopefully continues in the Soviet Union, we will constantly have to be on our toes with VOA to keep it up to date. More access to the West calls for an increasing degree of sophistication to hold the listening audience.
2. The Exhibits Program. In effect, we have had a permanent exhibits program on location in the Soviet Union since 1961 when the first of five travelling exhibits opened in Kiev. The most recent show on the Graphic Arts in America has been a resounding and runaway success, topping all the others. Over 1.5 million Soviets saw this show in Alma Ata, Moscow, Yerevan, and Leningrad which is more than saw the other four shows combined. It was a happy combination of timing and circumstance. The subject matter of graphic arts fits in perfectly with the growing opportunity--and recent unsuccessful repression--for freer expression in painting. The hit of the show was a section containing a number of abstract works. Incomprehensible to many, derided by many others, the abstract work still opened up something totally new to Russian eyes and they were fascinated.
Each of the exhibits has been accompanied by a troupe of young American guides and these have provided the main pay-off for the U.S. Government. Russian-speaking and usually in their early twenties, they soon become proficient in ideological exchange. I believe their experience has largely gone unnoticed in the government. Few Americans have had a better opportunity to talk to the Russian people than the Exhibit guides.
3. Amerika Magazine. Amerika, currently at a level of 60,000 copies per month, is directed at the 8-10 million young Russians who are educated, intelligent and presumably have an interest in the outside world but no access to it. Some intellectuals I talked to were critical of it. They argued that when it was the only Western publication they had access to, it was fascinating. But now that they have some increased access to Western books and publications they feel Amerika is too slick and too shallow. They would like more poetry, more artistic criticism, more on the arts, and less "general Americana".
On the other hand, the Ambassador points out correctly that we do not publish Amerika solely for the benefit of the intellectuals but also for those young and already established opinion leaders who have little or no access to things foreign.
These programs plus our cultural bulletin, (which is now mailed to 6,000 addressees), our English Teaching Newsletter, our Science Bulletin, our special mailings, the highly effective presentations (books and records primarily) program, and of course the all-important exchanges program must be continued and expanded where possible. In addition the following possibilities, prepared by Staples and our staff in Moscow and approved by IAS here, should be explored:
1. Reach Soviet Industrial Managers. There is an important and influential element of Soviet society devoting itself to the science of industrial management. We have much of interest that we can share with them in publications and exchanges. This is an area that is relatively untouched by our present programs and we should examine the possibilities that exist.
2. Expansion of the English-teaching Program. The audience for English-teaching materials is unlimited in the Soviet Union. This applies to written materials, films, and TV shows. While there, I pressed Mr. Enver Mamedov, Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Radio/TV to look at our extensive television materials on English-teaching. We should keep trying to open that door and other English-teaching doors because they lead to important new contacts and opportunities.
3. More Direct Contact Work with Soviet and Communist Correspondents. To date we have been able to do very little in trying to place articles and photographs with Soviet and other Communist correspondents in Moscow. This may be a promising field and was mentioned--with a favorable response--in my conversations with D.F. Kraminov, the editor of Za Rubezhom.
4. Increased Scientific Information Work. So far, two copies of a new Science Bulletin have been mailed to a selected list in the Soviet Union. This should be continued and increased. Furthermore, there are apparently new opportunities for distribution of U.S. scientific material to Soviet science writers.
5. More Work with Africans. Now that there is a new African specialist in the Embassy, work with this highly important group should be expanded. We should examine what materials we can supply the specialist from here for presentation to African diplomats and students.
Staples feels that, of necessity, the program in the Soviet Union has grown like Topsy. We are at a sufficient operating level now where we should attempt to survey the entire Soviet scene in cultural and information terms. As he puts it, "We should know this country well enough to be able to say with assurance that Rostov would be a good city for an industrial design exhibit in spite of the fact that the Soviets claim there is no exhibit space there--when we in fact know excellent space is available; that no one in Yalta has ever seen a copy of Amerika magazine in spite of the fact that according to the Soviet distributing agent 73 copies are sold there; or that Duke Ellington should be scheduled into Novosibirsk because our scientific exchangees tell us the Novosibirsk jazz club plays his arrangements."
[Here follows a 4-page "Sampler of Soviet Opinion."]
35. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Security Committee of the United States Intelligence Board (Bannerman) to the Board Members/1/
Washington, June 1, 1964.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Intelligence File, Hidden Microphones in Moscow Embassy. Top Secret; No Foreign Dissem. Forwarded to Bundy by Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Carter under cover of a June 3 memorandum. (Ibid.)
1. In accordance with the referenced memorandum, the Security Committee has completed a preliminary damage assessment of the audio-surveillance penetration of the U.S. Embassy, Moscow which is attached./3/
2. Based on the technical assessments and inquiries conducted to date by the various departments and agencies, findings and conclusions are as follows:
Complete Soviet control of the American Embassy in Moscow during the construction enabled the Soviets to install an elaborate and effective system of audio-surveillance penetration devices. [9 lines of source text not declassified]
Technical penetration would have furnished the Soviets foreign policy information involving direct U.S.-Soviet negotiations and matters of informational interests to the Embassy. In addition, the Soviets would have been able to acquire considerable data concerning the daily operations of the Embassy including the military attaché program and the external and internal political staffs.
Conclusions as to the Damage Assessment
A thorough and objective analysis of the findings to arrive at definite conclusions is most difficult since the opposition would not take any actions or counteractions which would be directly and obviously revealing of the success of technical penetration.
In the assessment of damage to the U.S. foreign policy interests,/4/ the sum of the individual State Department assessments is that either the Soviet Government did not obtain the information assumed to be compromised or that the material did not reach the Soviet decision makers, or that the latter did not act on the information available to the U.S. detriment in ways observable by the U.S. In addition, while analysis of the telegraphic traffic for the period 1953-1964 has not detected any important damage to U.S. foreign policy interests, an area of uncertainty is necessarily left due to the lack of complete knowledge of Soviet decisions and actions.
/4/See Document 47.
In the damage assessment of areas outside the foreign policy interests, it must be assumed that the Soviets did compile a reservoir of knowledge concerning U.S. intelligence collection requirements within the framework of the attaché program, the success or failure in achieving its collection requirements and the modus operandi of the attaché program in Moscow. Presumably, extensive knowledge would also have been secured concerning all personnel of the Embassy, their personal habits and interests, their areas of official responsibilities, and the substance of their official viewpoints, attitudes and reporting. This reservoir of information can benefit the Soviets in their assessment of U.S. personnel, programs, operations and intelligence collection patterns.
[Here follow the Security Committee's recommendations for further assessment.]
R. L. Bannerman
36. Message From Chairman Khrushchev to President Johnson/1/
Moscow, June 5, 1964.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 77 D 163. No classification marking. The source text is a translation prepared in the Division of Language Services of the Department of State. The date is the day the message was received. In his June 5 covering memorandum, Thompson states that Dobrynin handed him the message. (Ibid.) Dobrynin summarizes the message in his memoir, In Confidence, pp. 120-121, and states that he passed it orally to Thompson.
Dear Mr. President:
I received your verbal message of May 1/2/ even before my trip to the United Arab Republic./3/ I have thought it over and I wish, in turn, to express a few thoughts.
/2/For text, see Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol. XI, Document 26.
/3/Khrushchev visited the United Arab Republic May 9-25.
First of all, I should like to assure you that I also am pleased with the measures taken simultaneously by us concerning the cut-back in the production of plutonium and uranium-235 for military purposes. They have met with widespread approval throughout the world. After concluding the treaty banning nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water and reaching the understanding not to station in outer space any objects carrying nuclear weapons, this new step agreed upon between us constitutes, in effect, a third milestone on the way to ending the nuclear weapons race.
It is good that such a course is gradually becoming established in the relations between our countries, and in international relations in general, although, of course, we both know that the progress achieved along this line is still limited, on the whole, especially if it is compared with the vastness of the problem that confronts our countries and all mankind, that is, the elimination of the threat and the very possibility of a nuclear war.
As I learned from your message, you agree with our proposal that we now take a step forward in the field of cooperation between our countries in the peaceful uses of atomic energy, that is, in solving the problem of the desalinization of sea water. That is also a useful undertaking and, after receiving your reply, I immediately gave instructions to our appropriate organizations to start preparing for the forthcoming meeting with the American representatives.
You suggested that both sides issue a statement simultaneously concerning our mutual interest in solving the problem of the desalinization of sea water. That is acceptable to us. For our part, we are prepared to publish a statement by the USSR State Committee on the use of atomic energy concerning the understanding reached on the meeting of Soviet and American specialists for the joint study of scientific and technical questions relating to the desalinization of sea water by means of nuclear energy. If you have no objection, such a statement by us and a similar one from the American side could be published about a week after the transmittal of this communication by Ambassador Dobrynin. As for the practical details of the preparations for the forthcoming meeting, including the time and place of the meeting, it will not be difficult to coordinate them through diplomatic channels.
We are, of course, pleased with whatever contributions have been made to the improvement of the international situation; this provides further assurance that cooperation between the Soviet Union and the United States of America in this matter is not an impossibility but quite within the realm of reality. In this connection, I liked your recent statement/4/ that you will henceforth try every path to peace, that you intend to keep moving forward and that, after all, the United States is not standing still. I can definitely assure you that we, for our part, will be equally dynamic and equally flexible in searching out ways to promote peace.
/4/Not further identified.
Actually, when in my previous communication I alluded to the question of reducing the number of foreign troops in Europe as one on which it would be worth having an exchange of views, what I precisely had in mind was whether we could not seek to find some way to reach a mutual understanding on the question of strengthening peace in this area. Hardly anyone would dispute the fact that the military confrontation between the USA and the USSR in Europe is one of the fundamental sources of international tension. We did not, and do not, want this confrontation. As long as John and Ivan, gripping sub-machine guns, are tensely eyeing one another across the boundary between the two German states, the situation will remain dangerous, regardless of what anyone says. After all, they are both backed up by weapons of maximum destructiveness. In no other part of the world are our soldiers standing directly opposite one another; isn't that in itself something positive?
Therefore, even if, for whatever reasons, we both cannot send our soldiers home immediately, it would be natural for us to reduce--at least gradually-the level of the Soviet-American armed confrontation in this area.
You express doubt as to the possibility of progress on the question of the reduction of foreign troops in Europe under existing conditions. You indicate that, in order to achieve a substantial reduction of the US troops in Germany, changes must occur in the situation which would afford the Germans and the other Western Europeans some other way of feeling secure. It is hardly advisable to enter into a dispute now on the question of what constitutes a threat to the security of the European countries. Our views on this point obviously differ from yours. But if you consider that it would be difficult for the United States, under present conditions, to reduce its forces in Europe, perhaps it would be easier for the USA if we took the first step in this direction. I can tell you that the Soviet Government intends very shortly to reduce by 15,000 persons its permanent contingents stationed outside the Soviet borders in Europe.
It would be good if you could take a counter step in the same direction, carrying out a similar reduction of your permanent troops in Europe. Here we do not insist on the principle of a precise correlation of our moves in time, nor do we insist that both sides apply the same quantitative measures-on a "soldier for soldier" formula. If we follow a policy of mutual example in this case, it will be possible to reach a number of flexible decisions./5/
/5/Dobrynin raised the issue of reducing forces in Europe during a conversation with Harriman on June 8. According to Harriman's memorandum of the conversation the following exchange ensued: "I said we had already done so. 'Why don't you do the same thing?' I pointed out we had withdrawn some 10,000. He corrected me, 'only 7,500,' and suggested that wasn't enough to be meaningful." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 17 USSR-US)
In your message you mention the US proposals submitted at the Geneva conference on disarmament. I am acquainted with these proposals, just as you yourself are of course acquainted with ours. I do not think there is any need at present to enter into details, but if it is a question of the whole gamut of disarmament proposals, then we surely have before us an unlimited field for serious work on the finding of ways to achieve agreements. The Soviet Government has made, and is making, considerable efforts to plow this field and to grow a good crop on it. However, to be perfectly frank, we do not have the feeling that the other party is acting along the same lines. The fact is that there has not yet been any progress in the Geneva negotiations, and the state of the disarmament problem naturally leaves us with a strong feeling of disappointment.
Now you are in favor of our representatives, who are dealing with disarmament problems, being instructed to make a really persistent effort to reach agreement in this important area. Why not? Let them work a little longer, and a little harder; we have to explore every possibility to the end, that is my feeling. We shall give our representative in the Committee of 18 the necessary instructions. And to increase the chances of success, to ensure that the disarmament negotiations do not sink again into routine, let us both follow the work of our representatives more closely; let us prod them a little if that is needed. As you will obviously remember, as early as 1962, before the beginning of the work of the Committee of 18, the heads of states and the member-governments of the Committee agreed to take a personal interest in the course of the negotiations. That was a sensible decision.
I am thinking that sometime soon it might be useful to instruct our ministers of foreign affairs to examine the course of the negotiations. They could do this, for example, during the XIX Session of the General Assembly of the UN. They will of course have other matters to discuss. Let us see what concrete results can be achieved by our ministers. And then, perhaps, the need will arise for us to meet. We understand that similar views are current in Washington also. But this is, of course, a matter for the future. We should not run too far ahead.
When you state that we must strive to adjust our differences in all fields with due consideration for the interests of others, we understand. We must do everything possible to reinforce, and develop further, the progress made in relaxing international tension and in increasing trust. I cannot [sic] [cannot help but]/6/ note in this connection the great importance of eliminating such a source of complications as the continuing encroachments on the sovereignty and security of the Republic of Cuba. You know our point of view on this question. It remains unchanged, but I allude to it once again because precisely in recent weeks the provocations against Cuba have been intensified, and this can only make the situation even more dangerous.
/6/All brackets in the source text.
The pirate raids on the territory of the Republic of Cuba, the landing of diversionists and weapons, the demonstrative statements of Cuban counter-revolutionary emigrés on the preparations for a military attack on Cuba-all this aggravates the situation and compels the whole world to keep a watchful eye on the development of events in the Caribbean Sea, and to wonder what is going to happen there next. The American Government has on several occasions explained that it does not encourage this activity by Cuban emigrés and that it does not make US territory available for such activity. But then, one may ask, where is all this coming from?
One cannot help thinking that this new outburst of hostile activity on the part of Cuban emigrés coincides in time with the US Government's statement of its intention to continue the intrusions of American airplanes into the airspace over the Republic of Cuba for intelligence purposes./7/ Our opinion of these illegal flights, which are a violation of the UN Charter and of the elementary rules of international law, has been made known to you. I do not want to be repetitious, but I cannot fail to emphasize that our position is the same as outlined in our message. It is important that all parties be quite clear on this matter.
/7/For text of President Johnson's statement on April 21 about maintaining "our reconnaissance and our overflights," see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966, Book I, p. 514.
I know and feel that it is not very agreeable for you when I talk about all this. Believe me that it gives me no pleasure; but concern for the preservation and strengthening of peace compels me to call things by their proper names. Peace is equally necessary to us all. This means that sources of tension have to be eliminated and that the situation in potentially dangerous areas has to be normalized. This must be done everywhere where danger exists-including the Laos-South Viet-Nam-Cambodia areas where the threat is now arising of a collapse of the peace system created by the Geneva Agreements of 1954 and 1962./8/ We have stated more than once that the Soviet Union has no particular interests in this area, and that we only want the peoples of these countries to live as they themselves want, without any outside interference. Unfortunately the United States of America, in this matter also, pursues entirely different aims. This is what complicates the whole picture and pushes events in a dangerous direction.
/8/For text of the July 20, 1954 agreement, see Foreign Relations, 1952-1954, vol. XVI, pp. 1521-1530. For text of the July 23, 1962, agreement, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, pp. 1075-1083.
I repeat, it is imperative that sources of tension be eliminated. This is what comes to mind every time you try to picture to yourself the future course of events in the world. There is much to be done in the strengthening of peace, and we have to increase our efforts in order to achieve more tangible results.
Let me raise one more question. You note in your communication that nothing could be of more benefit for the cause of peace in the world than a proper settlement of the German problem, and you state that the United States is prepared for any settlement of the German problem that would satisfy the legitimate interests of the German people and of other interested peoples, including the Soviet people.
Mr. President, there you hit upon the fundamental question. We consider the German question fundamental because it is the source of all existing tension and dangerous developments in the world. Why the German question? Because the lack of a solution of this question compels both you and ourselves to concentrate the armed forces of one side against the other. If this German question were solved, there would then be no need for you or for us to put out such an enormous quantity of troops and of weapons; there would not be, so to speak, the great confrontation of John and Ivan.
This question may and should be solved-so that the people of the whole world could breathe more easily and, when they go to bed at night, would not be afraid that a war would break out the next day and that they would never get up again. If matters proceed further in their present direction, the threat of war will increase, and there will be no end to this dangerous development. Meanwhile, every statesman bearing responsibility for the preservation of peace can easily see the danger of the existing situation, and, consequently, draw the correct conclusions.
The armies of the Soviet Union and the USA fought together against Hitler's Germany and scored a victory. This was a triumph not only for the peoples who were fighting against Hitler's Germany, it was a triumph for all the peoples of the world. Of course, the Soviet Union and the United States of America, supporters of socialism and capitalism, adopted different approaches to the question of how events should develop after the collapse of Germany, and along which lines the German state system should develop.
Let us be frank. Both Roosevelt, and Truman after him, believed that since Germany was a capitalist country, a country of monopolies, it should remain one even after its collapse-the only difference being that the people who ruled Germany earlier should be replaced. I'll go even further; some people who supported the capitalist system tied their hopes to its preservation in Germany on the assumption that other countries, weakened and bled white by the war, with disrupted economies, would also follow the same road. But history, as is well known, has decreed otherwise.
I will not hide the fact that we, being Communists, hoped of course that the development of Germany, of the entire German state, would go in a better direction. And a better direction, to our way of thinking, is the movement toward socialism.
Each side had the right to judge for itself and to nourish its own hopes.
Nineteen years have elapsed. Neither you nor we need any longer rack our brains as to the direction in which the German regime is developing. Now we simply take note of the facts, of the situation which obtains. In the place of the former German Reich two independent German states have been formed, not only with different but with frankly conflicting socio-economic systems. Western Germany (FRG) has become economically strong, is militaristically inclined, and increasingly reveals itself as a state with aggressive and revanchist aspirations; it openly demands revision of the results of World War II, it attempts in every way to counteract the relaxation of international tension and the creation of firm bases for peace in Europe. Alongside the Federal Republic of Germany another German state has become established and is developing successfully, the German Democratic Republic. I stress the fact that it is developing successfully and I feel it necessary to stress it-so that there will be absolutely no illusions with respect to the German Democratic Republic, so that no one will mistake the wish for reality. And the realities must be evaluated correctly: The GDR is developing as a peace-loving socialist country and is eminently successful in its development.
If all countries bearing responsibility for the peaceful democratic development of Germany acted courageously and discarded unreal and illusory hopes, if they took a sober look at the present situation and correctly assessed future prospects, then in the name of the future and to prevent a catastrophe more terrible than that unleashed by Hitler and his regime, they would sign a German peace treaty.
The signing of a peace treaty would harm no one. None of the parties would lose anything it has today. It is true that the West German revanchists claim that they would lose the German Democratic Republic, but after all you cannot lose what you don't have. And if another hundred years elapses, and even if the capitalist system continues to exist, they still will not get what they want. Such is reality whether Bonn likes it or not.
Speaking frankly, the prospect of reunification of Germany into one state does not please the ruling circles of Great Britain, of France, or of the United States of America. And if they nevertheless support for the time being the position of the revanchist forces of West Germany, this is only as a result of the tension which has arisen-primarily between our two countries. They support the revanchists in the hope of obtaining victory in the cold war, of seeing the triumph of their "positions of strength" policy, as it was formulated by Dulles and Adenauer. Right now, the Western powers have their money on West Germany. They support its dangerous revanchist plans, urge it to arm, and recently they have propounded the idea of creating the so-called NATO multilateral nuclear force-through which they intend to supply the West German Bundeswehr with atomic weapons.
All this is done to gratify the West German revanchists and militarists, and it does not reduce tension, but, on the contrary, intensifies it. However, if we want to avoid catastrophe (and no one is immune as long as the question of the German peace treaty is not settled; it can break over people's heads quite unexpectedly), then sooner or later national leaders will have to muster up courage and soberly assess the existing situation.
What kind of courage is required? I would say great courage and at the same time not so great. Great courage from the viewpoint of understanding the responsibility we bear for preserving peace on earth, and not too great in that we are actually talking about giving form to a situation that already exists. This would not entail sacrifices or losses for either side. On the contrary, both parties would gain from it and the greatest gain would be for the cause of peace-from reducing the armed forces, relieving the peoples of the heavy burden of the armaments race, and from the relaxation of tension. This would be a boon for the whole world.
The most important element in the German question is already decided, in effect, but has not yet been given proper form by those who should have done so. Even such a zealous proponent of a "position of strength" policy as Adenauer recognized that the German issue cannot be settled by military means. And even though this is clear to all, the West continues to pursue an arms race policy, builds up its armed forces, and carries out other military preparations.
But one is, after all, in conflict with the other, and this contradiction contains the basic danger, since ultimately it could well lead to such tension as to unleash a catastrophe.
At present, opinion throughout the world is virtually unanimous on this important question; namely, that the German issue cannot be resolved by liquidation of the German Democratic Republic, its absorption by West Germany and the creation of a single German capitalist state. This is impossible. We are against it. If there still exist people who pursue such aims, they are adventurists. They conceal their aggressive revanchist aspirations under the pious slogan of the extension to all nations of the right to self-determination, although they understand perfectly well that the principle of self-determination is not applicable to the German question and has absolutely nothing to do with the unification of Germany.
Two German states exist upon German territory. This is true. However, the division of Germany took place not along national but along social lines, and the differences between the GDR and the FRG are not national but derive from the socio-economic structures of the countries. This is the decisive factor. There is no force capable of making the workers of the German Democratic Republic renounce their socialist achievements and enter the Federal Republic of Germany where capitalism prevails and the workers are exploited, where the prevailing system represents everything against which the adherents of socialism have been fighting.
The fact that mankind is moving toward socialism is recognized now not only by Communists, but by most of the countries of the world. After all, nearly all the countries which today are freeing themselves from colonial enslavement declare their determination to build their lives on a socialist basis. The ideas of socialism have become so popular in the world that even some rather well known leaders in the USA have suggested that some different name be found for capitalism, since capitalism has become synonymous with imperialism, colonialism, and the oppression of peoples.
How can one seriously expect that the German Democratic Republic, having tasted the sweets of free labor would voluntarily reject the socialist order? This is an illusion, the illusion of people who with every fiber of their being, hate what is new, what is socialist, what is not capitalist, and who continue to look at the world of today with the eyes of the past, maintaining stubbornly that only one system, the capitalist one, has the right to prevail in the world. These illusions have long since been cast out by the peoples of Russia and cast out for good. The remarkable achievements of the Soviet Union in the economic, political, social, cultural, and scientific fields are known to the whole world. Other countries have set out on the road to socialism and have already made great strides.
Mr. President, I hope my remarks will be taken in the right spirit. If we recognize that the German question cannot be settled through force, through war, that the people of the German Democratic Republic cannot be persuaded to renounce socialism-that they will not do-then there remains only one way out; to allow history to take its course and for us to sign a German peace treaty and thus wrap up the Second World War.
The peace treaty would in no way bar the road to unification for the Germans. On the contrary, in our view the treaty should provide for the possibility of unification of both German states on the basis of mutual agreement. And until there is such an agreement, the GDR and the FRG could gradually establish and develop contacts in the fields of trade, culture, etc., in order to multiply the ties between the German states. The German Democratic Republic, through its head of state, Walter Ulbricht, long ago advanced the idea of a German confederation, the existence of which would have been a good foundation for cooperation and for the gradual rapprochement of the two German states.
On our side, as participants in the anti-Hitler coalition of World War II, we could write in the peace treaty that we shall further the efforts of both German states to create a single peace-loving, democratic German state through mutual agreement, and this would be in line with the fundamental principles of the Four-Power Potsdam Agreement, which were aimed against the resurrection of German militarism and Nazism.
In any event, the peaceful settlement of the German question must be carried out in a practical manner; ways toward a solution must be sought. Is there a possibility that such a search might succeed? I believe that there is. After all, only 2-21/2 years ago a certain rapprochement of positions was achieved on such key problems of the German peace settlement as: the German borders, the question of arming the Germans with nuclear weapons, respect for the sovereignty of the countries which have been formed on German soil, the development of a new status for West Berlin which will be both more stable and-if you will allow me-more timely than the present one, and access to West Berlin. Not all the difficulties were overcome at that time, but a certain basis for further progress was nevertheless established.
Has the time not come, or at any rate is it not growing nearer, to return to these questions, to take a new look at existing differences of opinion, taking into account the progress achieved since then in the relation of international tension, in the strengthening of international confidence? It is quite obvious that if we postpone for long the settlement of German affairs, this can only render the situation more dangerous.
These are the thoughts and the reflections which come to me, Mr. President, after thinking over your verbal communication of May 1 of this year. I have endeavored to set forth my thoughts in a frank manner, bearing in mind the fact that our dialogue should enable us to understand one another better and should lead to further constructive results in the interests of our peoples, in the interests of peace in the entire world.
37. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union/1/
Washington, June 24, 1964, 7:44 p.m.
/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, CON 4 US-USSR. Confidential; Limdis. Drafted by Owen; cleared with Thompson, Meeker, SOV, and H; and approved by Richard H. Davis.
3752. Deptel 3598./2/ It has been decided at highest levels not to press for Senate action on ratification Consular Convention until beginning next year./3/ Decision accords with Senator Fulbright's assessment that while he could muster necessary vote to secure ratification, Senate consideration in pre-election period would precipitate harmful debate on US-Soviet relations. On balance it is felt here that postponement in itself will not noticeably prejudice prospect for step-by-step improvement bilateral relations and that acrimonious debate now would be less to long-term advantage than passage later with larger majority and fewer negative side effects.
/2/Dated June 11, it reported that the consular convention had been forwarded to the White House on June 8 with the expectation that the President would submit it to the Senate in a few days. It also advised the Embassy in Moscow not to raise the question of consulates until the Senate acted, which the Department of State expected to be before adjournment. (Ibid.)
/3/The President apparently made the decision at a Tuesday lunch meeting on June 23. In a June 23 memorandum for Rusk, in which he suggested agenda items for the luncheon, Read stated: "Fulbright recommends against pressing for Senate approval this year. Ambassador Thompson and EUR think we should defer to Fulbright on timing." (Ibid., S/S Files: Lot 74 D 164, Secretary-President Luncheon Meetings)
With timing and form at its discretion Embassy authorized advise MFA of above decision./4/
/4/The Embassy informed the Foreign Ministry on June 26. (Telegram 3907 from Moscow, June 26; ibid., Central Files 1964-66, CON H US-USSR)
38. Memorandum for the Record/1/
Washington, July 7, 1964.
/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, USSR, Dobrynin Conversations, Vol. I. Secret. A copy was sent to Thompson.
The Attorney General called me today to give me an account of a luncheon which he had with Ambassador Dobrynin. He reported that the Ambassador delivered a friendly letter from Khrushchev indicating that there would be some Soviet participation in the Oral History project./2/ He reported that the Ambassador's questions turned mainly on the degree of continuity between the Kennedy and the Johnson Administrations. Did President Johnson share President Kennedy's objectives? (Khrushchev's letter was very warm in its praise of President Kennedy.) The Attorney General said he had tried to set the Ambassador's mind at ease on this point.
/2/A copy of Khrushchev's 3-page letter, dated June 29, is attached to an August 25 memorandum from State Department Executive Secretary Benjamin Read to the Department of Justice. Khrushchev expressed sympathy with the idea of creating a John F. Kennedy Memorial Library (but did not mention its oral history project) and promised to send Soviet documents and other materials pertaining to Kennedy's foreign policy. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, EDU 12-2 Kennedy) On August 20 the Soviet Embassy delivered newsreels, tapes, photographs, and newspaper clippings for deposit in the Kennedy Library. (Memorandum from Owen to Davies, August 25; ibid.)
The Ambassador said he understood how hard it was to make any further progress now, but he did think perhaps we could sign the air agreement which had already been initialled. I told the Attorney General that we were holding up on this because of a tactical concern lest such signature complicate our efforts to intensify the isolation of Cuba at the forthcoming OAS meeting. He expressed understanding and we agreed that he could not make this explanation to Dobrynin.
Dobrynin had expressed his concern about the Chinese, who wanted a war in which other societies would be destroyed, while there would be 200 million Chinese left. Khrushchev said that this was building a civilization on a graveyard and the Poles and Russians had asked where such a policy would leave them. But the Chinese had not given any ground. Mao was now becoming a god, like Stalin at the end. People were required to bow down toward Mao and to memorize his teachings. Yet the Ambassador hoped that the situation in Laos would work out all right, and he asked where American policy was heading in Vietnam.
The Attorney General had answered that American policy in Vietnam was following a course laid out and followed by Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, one after the other. It was a policy based on both principle and prestige. In response to the Ambassador's question, the Attorney General said that the U.S. did not wish to expand the war. But if it were faced by a choice between expansion northward as against defeat and withdrawal, the U.S. would take the former course.
The Ambassador had spoken of the dangers of nuclear proliferation and said the Soviet Union was ready to sign an agreement right now if only the United States would give up the MLF. He believed the MLF would not help, and we should reconsider our commitment to it.
The Attorney General asked him what would happen if the Chinese tested a nuclear weapon. The Ambassador's answer was that the test would be only the first step toward a real delivery system. The Chinese economy was in bad shape and the Ambassador indicated no immediate concern about this danger. The Attorney General then reported to me that he had heard from a reportedly reliable journalist of the London Observer that Tito in Poland had said that the Soviets were determined not to permit the development of a Chinese nuclear weapon. (This is a separate matter which the Attorney General did not discuss with Dobrynin.)
All in all, the Attorney General reported that the conversation was friendly and straightforward, and that he found Dobrynin understanding in his acceptance of the fact the U.S. intends peace but will not be pushed around, a point which the Attorney General has made to him repeatedly in recent years.
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