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

Secto 240. East-West Contacts. Contacts WG devoted Wednesday, November 9, to remainder unagreed items as well as consideration undiscussed items common agenda. Morning session began with discussion tourism and ruble rate. Hohler pointed out that by free right of travel British mean people being free buy ticket and travel where like. He then turned to question exchange rate and emphasized that this affects virtually all forms contact between Soviet Union and Western countries. Stoessel referred United States initiative in sponsoring March 31 resolution of ECOSOC on the development international travel as concrete indication positive United States stand on increase private tourism. He also noted removal passport validation restriction announced by Secretary Dulles on October 31. Kemenov emphasized his disagreement with statement that tourist travel USSR very expensive. Soviet tourist organizations, he said, grant especially favorable conditions facilitating travel USSR for foreigners. If foreigner travels more than 1,000 kilometers on Soviet railways he gets reduction up to 50 percent. For football match between teams USSR and Western Germany more than 2,000 Germans went Moscow. Kemenov added that question ruble exchange rate not within competence Soviet experts who are unprepared discuss matter here.

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WG then proceeded subject restrictions imposed on diplomatic missions. Manach indicated Western delegations have in mind restrictions on freedom movement, possibility establishing contacts with population and access sources information available other countries to members diplomatic missions. He referred also to photographs and import quotas. Hohler and Stoessel expressed agreement with French presentation. Stoessel noted need for better housing diplomats Moscow and stated if Soviet Government manifests intention remove restrictions imposed upon United States representatives USSR, then United States would be disposed to consider proportionate reduction restrictions placed on Soviet diplomats in United States. Stoessel then delivered rebuttal to Khvostov statements on radio broadcasting in which he made following points: (a) Radio Free Europe private non-governmental organization which does not broadcast in Russian language. (b) We unable on short notice examine VOA broadcasts identified by Khvostov. USDel convinced dispassionate review VOA output directed USSR would show these broadcasts objective in character. Approximately 50 percent content straight news and remainder objective news commentary and features on matter topical interest. (c) Neither United States nor USSR party Geneva Convention 1936 but both are parties Atlantic City Telecommunications Convention 1947, Article 44 of which deals specifically with harmful interference. (d) Montevideo UNESCO resolution addressed itself substantially to condemnation harmful practice of jamming. (e) United States believes it entirely possible to devise technical procedures fairly accommodating broadcasting needs two governments (such accommodation would be facilitated if Soviets would take steps eliminate jamming) United States note of December 3, 1953.2

Kemenov, responding to Western statements on diplomats, stated restrictive measures being taken against members Soviet diplomatic missions in Western countries, therefore any questions this matter fall within province negotiations between Ministries Foreign Affairs concerned.

Having completed discussion unagreed items WG resumed discussion remaining items on common agenda, taking up first Soviet item 5C and Western items 3 and 5. Khvostov indicated Soviet item corresponds closely with Western item on exchange government publications, and best way tackle item 3 relating to distribution in USSR of official Russian language publications is through direct negotiations. Stoessel then set forth Western positions on both government publications and American-type magazines. Manach noted Soviets [Page 730]already distributing Etude Sovietique in 30,000 copies and French would like to ask for reciprocity with adequate guarantees re distribution in USSR. Hohler pointed out re government publications that considerable difficulty arises from non-availability lists, moreover number Soviet publications not available and impossible for Embassy purchase. Soviets then asserted their item 5C should be entirely acceptable to all and could be basis for agreed text.

WG then proceeded to Soviet item 5D and Western items 14 and 15. On tourism and sporting exchanges Kemenov expressed doubts concerning wisdom reference to principal cultural institutions and sporting organizations arguing this constituted rather controversial matter. On exchanges students he expressed view concrete projects should be subject bilateral negotiations. Stoessel indicated United States attaches particular importance this phraseology re principal institutions and added United States Government wishes be informed in advance on cultural and sporting exchanges in order make careful plans. This principle, he said, essential to orderly exchanges of benefit both countries.

WG now turned to Soviet 5B and Western item No. 9. Khvostov expressed view Soviet Delegation WG could prepare measures changing existing abnormalities in radio broadcasting field and fruitful solution could be found for cooperation in radio broadcasting using radio strengthen confidence between peoples and exclude possibilities warmongering. He said it would be possible elaborate specific proposals on bilateral or multilateral basis and draft agreement for cooperation in broadcasting field. Such cooperation could also include exchanges technical experience in radio broadcasting and television. Such an agreement, he said, would lead to removal necessity restrictive measures in broadcasting field. In response Stoessel again identified systematic jamming as the basic obstacle interfering with cooperation this field and remarked from statements Soviet Delegation did not appear USSR dispose take steps relinquishing jamming. Hence, our item 9 as described by Secretary October 31 would benefit both countries. Manach indicated France prepared to develop exchange artistic TV and information programs. Half hour information programs each week would, of course, have to be objective. Rennie, speaking for United Kingdom, pointed out 5B of Soviet proposal did not specifically mention radio. Consequently Soviet Delegation has raised matter which goes beyond original document they produced. Kemenov’s reply emphasized that in view its importance radio subsumed under expansion cultural relations. He then stated Stoessel statements to effect jamming fundamental obstacle and USSR not ready put end systematic jamming both erroneous. He added that since Soviet proposal goes considerably further than proposals made by United States in that Soviet proposals considerably wider and [Page 731]more “fascinating” Khvostov then repeated that agreement in broadcasting field would lead to suppression necessity restrictive measures in radio broadcasting. Morning meeting adjourned 1:25.

In afternoon session convened 3:30 Stoessel reemphasized fundamental character jamming problem and again cited United States note December 3, 1953. Manach referred to broadcasting station East European country which broadcast program concerning French, more particularly matters pertaining to Algeria. He also mentioned pirate broadcasts emanating from another East European country entitled “This Evening in France” and “This Morning in France”, both of which interfered in internal affairs France.

Hohler expressed British view Soviet proposals too large and diffuse for discussion in committee and expressed belief Western proposal3 simply one which could be accepted on merits. Rennie then delivered remarkably eloquent and effective speech which made following points: (a) All looked forward at end last war to termination terrible distortion and misuse one of world’s greatest inventions. (b) Refuses believe inventors radio intended we should go back to using radio devices to make series horrible noises. (c) We should not let go by opportunity not replying any charge or implication that people who entered international conferences on radio had any but highest motives or were not serious when they signed agreements. Rennie then expressed personal view that interference conducted on a general principle without relation content. In support his statement he pointed out BBC Russian broadcast containing statement by leaders Soviet Agricultural Delegation jammed. BBC broadcast sermon preached in London by metropolitan of Minsk also jammed as well as statements as worded by Russian leaders at Summit talks. He then discussed nature BBC broadcasting to USSR pointing out 33 percent BBC Russian output straight news, 33 percent news commentary and 25 percent projection of Britain. Talking at random BBC script he pointed out how many news items dealt with reports favorable to USSR. “I do hope”, he concluded, “that when we get into discussing what can be done about this situation, we shall not find ourselves in a game of character assassination by allusion, and so on, with things which are not in fact happening”.

In reply which immediately followed Kemenov twisted sense Stoessel remarks suggesting USDel had concurred in importance arriving at agreement concerning collaboration in broadcasting field. This necessitated second restatement by United States of its position. Meeting adjourned 5:35 p.m. with agreement experts would meet 11 a.m. Thursday.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/11–1055. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Paris, London, Bonn, Munich, and the Mission at the United Nations. Passed to USIA. The seventh meeting of the Working Group on Contacts meet at 10 a.m. on November 9.
  2. Transmitted to Moscow in instruction A–53, November 27, 1953, for delivery to the Foreign Ministry. (Ibid., 962A.40/10–353)
  3. For texts of the Soviet and Western proposals on East-West contacts, see Foreign Ministers Meeting, pp. 239–240 and 245–248.