219. Memorandum of the Conversation at the Soviet Luncheon, Soviet Villa, Geneva, July 21, 1955, 1 p.m.1



  • United States
    • The Secretary
    • Mr. Robert Anderson
    • Mr. MacArthur
    • Mr. Merchant
    • Amb. Bohlen
    • Amb. Thompson
  • USSR
    • Mr. Bulganin
    • Mr. Khrushchev
    • Mr. Molotov
    • Gen. Zhukov
    • Mr. Troyanovsky
[Page 440]


  • 1. International Communism
  • 2. German Unification & European Security

During the luncheon itself, the conversation was at first general, with frequent references from the Soviet side to desirability of re-establishment of good and friendly relations with the United States. Mr. Dulles said to Mr. Bulganin that the problem of the satellites and international communism was very important from the standpoint of the United States. We could understand that this was not a problem that the Soviets wanted to discuss around a big conference table, but that the United States would watch to see what, in fact, happened. Mr. Dulles said he hoped that developments would be responsive to the deep concern of the American people.

Mr. Bulganin and Mr. Khrushchev said that international communism no longer operated from Russia. Mr. Dulles said that much revolutionary literature was printed in the Soviet zone and sent abroad, e.g. to South America. Mr. Bulganin denied that it was printed in Moscow. Bulganin, at one point, said to Mr. Anderson that it would be well if the Ministers of Defense of the Soviets be prepared to show them their military establishments. Khrushchev picked this up and said he was in full agreement.

After luncheon the Secretary with Bulganin, Khrushchev, Molotov, and Marshal Zhukov with Troyanovsky, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Bohlen, had a brief conversation.

The Secretary said that he would like to talk about, it seemed to him, the real differences between the Directives that had been discussed by the Foreign Ministers this morning.2 He felt that the Soviet Delegation wished to subordinate the problem of German unification to the concept of an all European Security Treaty, but the three Western Powers felt that the order should be reversed, and that it was only German unification that called for a consideration of the security problem in Europe. He felt that it seemed clear the joint Directive would not be able to give full satisfaction to either view, and that the problem was to find some acceptable middle line. In his view this could be done by sending both questions separately and concurrently to a future conference of Foreign Ministers.

Bulganin inquired whether the Secretary thought the Foreign Ministers had done all they could. The Secretary and Mr. Molotov said they thought that the Foreign Ministers should continue their work and try to bring the positions closer together.

[Page 441]

Bulganin agreed, and said that as today’s Chairman he thought it would be best not to have a discussion of the question, but merely ask the Foreign Ministers tomorrow to continue their efforts on this point.

The Secretary agreed and said he thought, however, that each of them needed some guidance from his Head of Government, but that this might be done privately and without discussion at today’s meeting. Bulganin and Khrushchev agreed with this point.

The Secretary said he would like to discuss the general problem of NATO and European security. He said that one of the chief reasons for NATO was to associate Germany with nations which had already demonstrated their peaceful character and thus do away in Europe with the fear that Germany might arouse. He felt that this was an important and permanent feature of the NATO and the Brussels Pact, which should not be lost sight of. He said that he completely understood that each great power, in the event of German unification, would not wish to be left aside from the security arrangements which would be necessary to work out. He said that the United States, for its part, recognized this legitimate interest and would be prepared with the Soviet Union and other countries involved, to consider any additional measures necessary to insure security in Europe for all under the circumstances of a unified Germany. He said he thought it would be a mistake to give out the texts of the different Directives to the Press, since this would merely tend to accentuate the differences. The Soviets agreed with this point.

Khrushchev said that in the Soviet view, the problem of German unification was extremely complicated because of measures Western powers had taken, and would take a great deal of time, in view of the situation already existing in Germany, but they felt this security in Europe was a problem that was quite clear and could be dealt with immediately. He said, however, that he thought the Secretary’s statement was very important and extremely interesting, to which Bulganin and Molotov agreed. Khrushchev said that he felt Mr. Eden’s remark concerning the possibility of a demilitarized zone3 was one that deserved serious consideration.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–2155. Top Secret. Drafted by Bohlen. For another brief account, see Merchant, Recollections, pp. 39–40.
  2. For texts of the two draft directives and their discussion by the Foreign Ministers, see Document 217.
  3. See Document 184.
  4. On July 22 Bohlen drafted a supplement to this memorandum, designated USDEL/MC/17 in the records of the U.S. Delegation, which reads as follows:

    “Yesterday at luncheon Khrushchev was talking freely about the fact that they had been refusing no visas to Americans to come to the Soviet Union. I mentioned to him that I knew of at least six or seven correspondents who had outstanding applications, some for many months, who had no favorable action. He expressed surprise and said that as far as he was concerned they could all come in. He said he felt he didn’t care whether they wrote critical articles or not. He then asked Ilyichev about this, who fixed me with a nasty look and said there were six Soviet correspondents who had had applications in for at least three months without any reply whatsoever coming from Washington. At that point the conversation on reciprocal visas for correspondents terminated.” (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 516)