310. Telegram From the Delegation at the Foreign Ministers Meetings to the Department of State1

Secto 107. Summary of discussion of item III at Foreign Ministers Conference, October 31.

After introductory remarks by Secretary, Pinay delivered opening speech in which he made following points.2
Organization of peace not exclusively political or military problem. Necessary to re-establish confidence to ensure peace. France attaches great importance to re-establishment freer contacts and easier exchanges. France has tried always to respect free expression of thought and through constant comparison of ideas to promote the objective formation of opinion. Such freedoms pushed to such extent in France that occasionally they are condemned as excessive; but Frenchmen prefer to run such risks to loss such privileges.
France has noted with satisfaction signs of Soviet interest in a more liberal attitude toward cultural exchanges and a more objective presentation of news. France favors development East-West trade. However decrease in such trade is not a consequence of natural developments but rather a consequence of Eastern Europe’s trade policy. Trade sector covered by security controls too small to encourage hope that their removal would result in substantial increase in trade.
While France favors broader contacts France does not hesitate to refer to obstacles arising from different structure of the two civilizations. Recognizing such obstacles may help in exploring the means of overcoming them.
France wants to know USSR as she is and insists that people of USSR should know France as it really is. Cooperation can produce fortunate results only if devoid of ulterior motives and if based on mutual truthfulness.
Pinay proposed that (1) information centers in respective capitals be established, (2) newspapers, books, and periodicals cross borders [Page 654] more freely and (3) that French correspondents in USSR have free access to normal sources of information.
Macmillan emphasized that it is through free passage of ideas and free intercourse of individuals that countries gain proper appreciation both of common interest and differences and learn to compose or at least adjust differences.3
Urged realism and emphasized that real and lasting value or progress on item III will depend on progress made on first two items. We must not be content with papering over cracks. We must try to fill them.
After referring to recent UK-USSR exchanges of delegations and the establishment of Soviet Relations Committee of British Council, he stressed that to multiply group visits without reducing obstacles to free communications is to aim at the superficial and to ignore the essential.
Root cause of the artificiality of present contacts is systematic regulation of opinion which is part of Soviet system. While we understand historical reason for this, it is the free passage of ideas which we regard as the clue to progress on this part of our work. Problem remains so long as Soviet people presented with single official view of our policies and actions, so long as our broadcasts are jammed, so long as other means of conveying news and views so limited as to be almost non-existent.
Root cause of current low level of trade not our system of strategic controls. These controls are result of a lack of confidence and not one of its causes. Low level of trade caused by Soviet Government’s own trade policies. Since World War II USSR’s policy of self-sufficiency extended to include associates in eastern Europe. UK nevertheless ready to consider sympathetically any proposal likely to lead to mutual increase in peaceful trade.
Molotov referred to summit directive4 and to August 5 resolution of Supreme Soviet on Bulganin report of Geneva Conference,5 emphasizing “sovereign rights and non-interference in internal affairs”.6 He then stressed need for exchange of opinions as to scope and direction of work of experts committee. Referring to reservations accompanying Pinay, Macmillan statements, he asserted that Soviet position based on interests Soviet people (not on privileged social groups), on interests of defense of peace and friendly relations among nations. [Page 655]
In Soviet view development of East-West contacts would be successful only if based on development of economic relations between states. This inconceivable without normal development of trade. Each country should be in position to buy and sell without hindrance. Nevertheless a number of obstacles and artificially created barriers impede normal development of trade. Discriminatory measures generally known. These include embargoes on exports, violation accepted practices in credit field and hindrance to free navigation of merchant ships. They create distrust in relations between countries and should be abandoned. Argument sometimes advanced that Soviets have no goods for development of trade, does not take into account fact that volume USSR external trade has increased fourfold since prewar period.
Soviets believe that experts should first examine problem of abolishing existing discriminatory measures hampering development economic relations. In current atmosphere of relaxation these barriers should be removed and most favored-nation principles should be applied in trade and navigation.
Returning to Macmillan point on regulation of public opinion in USSR, Molotov stated that all familiar with history USSR can easily judge how freedom-loving Soviet peoples are and how decisively they freed themselves from Czarist yoke. Work of Soviet Government imbued with desire to raise welfare of people and provide for people full freedom of development.
Molotov then listed recent Soviet actions promoting East-West contact. He mentioned parliamentarians, exchanges of 20 delegations with UK, expansion France-Soviet cultural ties, improvement in US-USSR cultural relations and suggested that much has still to be done.
Speaking about the objectives which should guide work of the experts, Molotov summarized main points of Soviet resolution on development of East-West contacts which he later tabled. (Text cabled separately.)7 In this summary he made point that account taken of wishes re East-West contacts expressed by large number Western businessmen, scientists, etc.
Full text Dulles statement being transmitted through USIA channels.8

Following completion speeches Pinay tabled joint British-French-US memorandum (sent separately).9 Molotov announced that Vinogradov, Soviet Ambassador to France, would be Soviet expert on item III. Baillou, Deputy Director for Cultural Relations in Quai [Page 656] d’Orsay will represent France and Hohler to represent UK. It was agreed that Committee of Experts would organize its own work, taking into account the tabled memoranda; its deliberations would be secret and work would begin eleven am Wednesday November 2. Experts would report back to the Foreign Ministers by November 10.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/11–155. Secret. Repeated to Moscow, London, Paris, Bonn, and New York for the Mission at the United Nations. Passed to Defense. Copies of the U.S. Delegation verbatim record of the fourth Foreign Ministers meeting, which took place at 3 p.m., USDel/Verb/4 Corrected, October 31, and the record of decisions, MFM/DOC/RD/4, October 31, are Ibid., Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 571.
  2. For text of Pinay’s statement, circulated as MFM/DOC/17, see Foreign Ministers Meeting, pp. 228–230, or Cmd. 9633, pp. 135–136.
  3. For text of Macmillan’s statement, circulated as MFM/DOC/21, see Foreign Ministers Meeting, pp. 231–233, or Cmd. 9633, pp. 137–139.
  4. Document 257.
  5. For texts of Bulganin’s report to the Soviet Council of Ministers and the Supreme Soviet resolution, August 5, see Current Digest of the Soviet press, vol. VII, No. 29, pp. 13–21. The texts were also published in Pravda, August 5.
  6. For text of Molotov’s statement, circulated as MFM/DOC/24, see Foreign Ministers Meeting, pp. 234–239, or Cmd. 9633, pp. 139–143.
  7. For texts of Molotov’s statement and the Soviet proposal, circulated as MFM/DOC/24 and 18, respectively, see Foreign Ministers Meeting, pp. 234–240, or Cmd. 9633, pp. 139–143 and 163. The text of the proposal was transmitted in Secto 103 from Geneva, October 31. (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 571)
  8. For text of Dulles’ statement, circulated as MFM/DOC/20, see Foreign Ministers Meeting, pp. 240–245, or Cmd. 9633, pp. 143–146.
  9. For text of the tripartite proposal, circulated as MFM/DOC/19 Rev. 1, see Foreign Ministers Meeting, pp. 245–248, or Cmd. 9633, pp. 164–166. The text of the proposal was transmitted in Secto 102 from Geneva, October 31. (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 571)