Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

top secret

Mr. Bernard M. Baruch1 called upon me today. The call was arranged in the following way. The Secretary of Defense telephoned to me to say that General Bradley2 and Under Secretary Early3 had been staying with Mr. Baruch in South Carolina. During their visit Mr. Baruch expressed his desire to give me certain information relating to conversations which he had had with Mr. Gromyko.4 Secretary Johnson thought that it would be advisable for me to see Mr. Baruch. I said that I would be glad to see him and the meeting was therefore arranged.

The Gromyko Matter:

Mr. Baruch began with a lengthy discussion of his relationship with Mr. Gromyko, with whom he had been thrown in close contact during his service on the Atomic Energy Commission of the United Nations.5 He and Mr. Gromyko had established friendly relations, even though they had violent public disagreements as to policy. Mr. Gromyko continually expressed the view that the United States was making no effort to reach agreement on the control of atomic energy or the atomic bomb and repeated an alleged observation of Marshal Stalin that the United States never gave the Soviet Union anything which could cause it to make concessions in any area. At one point Mr. Baruch stated to Mr. Gromyko his belief that if he could see Marshal Stalin he could convince him of the error of his views in this and other matters. After some general conversation in which Mr. Gromyko said that Mr. Baruch was regarded in Russia as an enemy of the Soviet Union, Gromyko decided to consider the matter further. Later on he informed Mr. Baruch that he could have a visa for the Soviet Union and that he could talk with any of the government officials that he wanted except possibly Marshal Stalin, although that matter would have to be decided later on. He could also go where he wished.

Mr. Baruch said that he had the question of the propriety of his going put up to Secretary Marshall6 although not directly by Mr. [Page 184] Baruch, and was told by Secretary Marshall that he was in favor of the trip. Mr. Baruch was going to Europe in any event in the summer of 1948. He went to Europe, Mr. Gromyko telling him that the visas would be provided by the Russian Embassy in London or in Paris. In London he discussed with Ambassador Douglas7 the advisability of going both to Russia and to Berlin and, according to Mr. Baruch, Ambassador Douglas dissuaded him from both efforts. He therefore returned to the United States, informing Mr. Gromyko that unfortunately for reasons of health he was not able to continue his trip. Gromyko assured him that he could have the visa at any time.

Mr. Baruch said that he had thought of going in 1949, but had decided against it and, of course, the question arose as to whether he should go in 1950. He said that he was inclined to believe that the situation had considerably changed, but that there was little likelihood of any benefit resulting from the trip. He said he thoroughly agreed with various statements of mine which he had seen in the press regarding our relationships with Russia and was, therefore, inclined not to go. I said that it seemed to me that his conclusion was a sound one.

Intelligence Evaluation:

Mr. Baruch said that in his judgment the great lack at the present time was a sound system for intelligence evaluation. He discussed this matter as though the CIA did not exist and said that at the present time we had separate services, Treasury, State and Defense, for the evaluation of separate intelligence. This matter should be corrected. His idea of correcting it was to add to the National Security Council some persons in private life who could spend full time on evaluating information and advising and helping members of the Council reach sound conclusions. Such men should not include persons like General Eisenhower,8 who has presidential ambitions. General Marshall would be an ideal member; Mr. Charles Wilson9 would be another. These men would not only be invaluable in preparing complete evaluation of information; they would add the great prestige of their advice and conclusions of the Council reached with their advice would be quite irresistible so far as the Congress was concerned.

The Cold War:

In Mr. Baruch’s opinion, we are losing the cold war. This requires a complete review of our entire situation vis-à-vis the Russians. One of the purposes of coming to see me was to urge that such a complete [Page 185] review should be made. In addition to such a review, we need immediately to establish on a sound basis industrial mobilization. This would be a very powerful factor in the cold war.

In conclusion, Mr. Baruch said that he had hesitated to burden me on account of the great demands on my time, but that Mr. Early and General Marshall had urged him to come to see me. I expressed my pleasure at the opportunity of seeing and talking with him and my gratitude for his advice and help and assured him that I would give his recommendations the most careful thought.

D[ean] A[cheson]
  1. United States Representative to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission in 1946.
  2. Gen. Omar N. Bradley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  3. Stephen T. Early, Deputy Secretary of Defense.
  4. Andrei A. Gromyko, Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister; Soviet Representative at the United Nations, 1946–1948.
  5. For documentation on negotiations in the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission during 1946, see Foreign Relations, 1946. vol. i, pp. 712 ff.
  6. George C. Marshall, Secretary of State, January 1947–January 1949.
  7. Lewis W. Douglas, Ambassador in the United Kingdom since 1947.
  8. General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of Columbia University.
  9. Reference is presumably to either Charles Edward Wilson, president of the General Electric Company, or Charles Erwin Wilson, President of General Motors Corporation.