13. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy1


  • Expansion of Exchanges with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe

Your memorandum of February 8 asked for a report on exchanges with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and for recommendations for expanding these exchanges with the Soviet Union and Poland.2 An interim reply was sent to you on February 11.3

[Page 48]

The report which you requested is attached4 and consists of four parts which are summarized below.

1. Interim Report on Implementation of U.S.-U.S.S.R. Exchanges Under November 21, 1959 Agreement.5 This paper reviews the implementation for 1960 of the current American-Soviet Exchange Agreement and reflects that only about 40 percent of the planned exchanges have been completed. The performance within the several categories varies for different reasons, the primary ones being Soviet interest in scientific and technical exchanges, reluctance to engage in long-term exchanges and a desire to avoid informational exchanges.

2. Exchanges with Eastern Europe and Possibilities for Expansion. This paper reviews exchanges with Eastern European countries and indicates that, except in the case of Poland, exchange activity has been strictly limited because of the unfavorable political climate in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, the cautious attitude of Rumania, and the only recent resumption of diplomatic relations with Bulgaria. Modest and gradual increases can be expected with Rumania and Bulgaria, but there is little hope for any significant change in the cases of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The large-scale Polish program is unique because exchanges have been developed and financed primarily by private American groups, particularly the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. The opportunities in Poland are still large but these are limited by the attitude of the Polish Government and the available official funds.

3. Background Considerations: Expansion of Soviet Bloc Exchanges. This paper considers the basic factors involved in joining in exchange programs with the Soviet Union, notes the inherent risks and the need to negotiate firmly for equivalent advantages, but concludes that exchanges arranged and carried out imaginatively, persistently, and with adequate resources of trained personnel and funds can be responsive to and advance our long-term interests.

4. Possible Increases in Exchanges Program with the Soviet Union. This paper reviews the possibilities for expansion of exchanges with the Soviet Union and suggests specific fields in which these exchanges may be increased. It also sets forth financial requirements for this [Page 49] expansion and recommends measures to increase the efficiency of administrative procedure.

Dean Rusk6
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Box 328, National Security Action Memoranda: NSAM 13 re: Exchanges of Persons Behind the Iron Curtain. Official Use Only. Drafted by Siscoe on February 16. A stamped notation indicates that it was received in S/S at 8:10 p.m. on February 16. A notation in an unknown hand for Battle at the top of the memorandum reads: “Mr. Rusk talked with Ralph Dungan on Thursday March 9, concerning this memo. Mr. Dungan said that it was cleared with the President and action could be taken. (LB: JMR, 3/13/61).” Battle sent a copy of the memorandum to McGeorge Bundy under a March 23 typewritten covering note. (Ibid.) Also printed in Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. V, Soviet Union, Document 30.
  2. In the February 8 memorandum to Rusk, the President wrote: “I would like to get a memorandum on our exchange of persons programs behind the Iron Curtain, particularly with Poland and with Russia. What we could do to step them up.” (Ibid.) A typewritten note at the conclusion of the President’s memorandum indicates that it was NSAM No. 13. Another copy of the memorandum, with a typewritten notation that the memorandum was from notes dictated by the President to Evelyn Lincoln, is in the Kennedy Library, President’s Office Files, Departments and Agencies Series, Box 87, State: February 1961: 1–15.
  3. Not printed. A copy is in National Archives, RG 59, S/SNSC Files: Lot 72D316.
  4. Not printed.
  5. The Agreement Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for Cooperation in Exchanges in the Fields of Science, Technology, Education, and Culture in 1960–1961 was signed by American and Soviet officials in Moscow on November 21, 1959. For the text of the joint U.S.-Soviet communiqué and a statement issued by the Department of State on November 21, see Department of State Bulletin, December 7, 1959, pp. 848–849. For additional information concerning the Agreement, see Foreign Relations, 1958–1960, vol. X, Part 2, Eastern Europe; Finland; Greece; Turkey, Document 22.
  6. Printed from a copy that indicates Rusk signed the original.