700.00(S)/1–2452: Circular airgram

No. 492
The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices 1

top secret

US–UK Discussions on USSR

In recent top-level US–UK discussions on the USSR, we expressed the view that the primary objective of the regime is to maintain itself in power first in the USSR and then to maintain its influence in the satellite areas. We said we did not think that our greatest danger lay in the possibility of a mass attack on western Europe but rather in creeping actions taken through satellites in parts of the world which would exhaust the western powers, such as is now taking place in Indochina. We therefore concluded that the main lines of military policy, as laid down in the report of the NATO Wise Men Committee, for 1952 and 1953 were correct—i.e., not to attempt to create forces beyond the capacity of ourselves and our Allies to maintain but to create sufficient force to make any action by the USSR in Europe too dangerous to be attempted. [Page 962] Prime Minister Churchill expressed the opinion that the central factor in Soviet policy is fear and that the Soviets fear our friendship more than our enmity. He hoped that the growing strength of the West would reverse this, so that the Soviets would fear our enmity more than our friendship and would thus be led to seek our friendship.

  1. Prepared in the Bureau of European Affairs. Sent to Belgrade, Bonn, Brussels, Copenhagen, The Hague, Lisbon, Moscow, Oslo, Ottawa, Paris, Reykjavik, Rome, and Vienna. It constitutes a close paraphrase of Secretary Acheson’s record of the meeting of President Truman and Prime Minister Churchill and their advisers on the U.S.S. Williamsburg on Jan. 5, 1952. See vol. vi, Part 1, p. 730.