241. Intelligence Briefing Note by the Estimates Staff Officer, Central Intelligence Agency (Cline)1

Soviet Views on Geneva Conference Developments

A reliable source reports the following Soviet views on Geneva Conference developments as expressed by Yuri Zhukov, assistant editor of Pravda:

Eisenhower’s performance at the conference has been the subject of much comment in the Soviet delegation. Originally Yuri Zhukov thought that his conciliatory manner was nothing but propaganda but after all he has heard and read this week he admits that Eisenhower has impressed him as a man who does not give his word unless he means to keep it. Marshal Zhukov had said this was the case and always had been with Eisenhower. The Soviet delegation generally now believes Eisenhower is a very forceful and sincere man even though they disagree with him on many points.
The Russians feel they should not lose the opportunity created by the “friendship and conciliation” shown in Geneva this week by the US and the USSR, and the USSR will try to give some “evidences” of their good will.
With respect to Eisenhower’s proposal to permit mutual free inspection, including overflights, as part of a disarmament plan, Yuri Zhukov said that the Russians had expected Eisenhower might pull a rabbit out of the hat but had been amazed when he pulled a “lion” out. Yuri Zhukov observed that he himself was an experienced propaganda expert and could appreciate highly dramatic propaganda maneuvers of this kind. He felt, however, from Eisenhower’s performance all week that there was more than just propaganda in it.
The idea of a bridge between Marshal Zhukov and Eisenhower is in the best interests of both our countries no matter what differences occur in the course of negotiations. Marshal Zhukov would like to visit the United States but “could not go unaccompanied”. Khrushchev would like to go along since he is a man of “infinite curiosity”.
The USSR does not intend to press discussion of Far Eastern issues at this conference because the Russians do not want to embarrass Eisenhower. They feel this meeting has been a “great impetus for a détente”. The USSR would, if it is necessary, be interested in holding another meeting of chiefs of government after the work of the foreign ministers and committees is finished. About this time next year would be a good time.
The conference is making satisfactory progress. “A bird does not build its nest in a day”.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 519. Top Secret.