5. Summary of Discussion at a Legislative Leadership Meeting, White House, Washington, June 28, 19551


Mutual SecuritySec. Dulles pointed out relationships between our Mutual Security Program, recent developments in Russia, and the Geneva Conference of the Big Four2 soon to be held.

He believed the Soviet leaders were anxious to get some relief from the strains that beset them. Trying to keep up with our pace was one such strain, he said, for they can only hope to do so in the short run, not over a long term. We have, he continued, shown thus far in this Administration our determination to pursue a steady policy, at a level of preparedness much higher than when we came [Page 14] in. The Russians, on the other hand, are now experiencing political weakness—in the absence of a dictator—hence their anxiety to obtain some relief. As a result, Mr. Dulles thought, we should obtain something very worthwhile from our discussions either in terms of Germany, or the satellite states, or some cessation of their international subversive effort—the Cominform.

At this immediate time, he asserted, we should maintain the pressure rather than show any signs of softening, hence we ought to get this Mutual Security Program through. Mr. Dulles pointed out how much of the program would be devoted to loans—necessarily soft ones.

Sen. Knowland and Rep. Vorys both stressed the desirability of having a Congressional stipulation as to a required percentage of loans, otherwise the funds might be overweighted on the grants side. Mr. Dulles felt that a stipulation acted more as a limit rather than a requirement, for the foreign countries expected all to be grants after the Congressional requirement should be met. Mr. Stassen pointed out that we are making more loans rather than grants to the Coal and Steel Community than Congress had stipulated.

Turning to Yugoslavia, Mr. Dulles stressed that it was the best leverage we had for getting an increased independence of the satellites. Russia seemed to have eaten humble pie at Belgrade, he said, and we should not risk any action that would tend to drive the Yugoslavs back to their Russian connections.

As regards India, he thought that if that vast population should lean towards Communism, there would be a great and serious impact on all of Asia. We are not awarding gifts for policies we dislike, he explained, we are simply trying to prevent India from moving towards Communism.

As regards the Geneva meeting, Mr. Dulles said we are going there with a feeling that we may be able to set up processes that may lead to improving the security of the free world and the United States. There is some basis for hope that the Soviet frontiers can go back in such a way as to leave independent “cushion” states between Russia and free Europe.

Questioned by Sen. Saltonstall about Molotov’s attitude at San Francisco, Mr. Dulles said Molotov professed ignorance of international activities. Mr. Dulles added that he did not expect Russia to admit that these questions could be open to discussion, but he thought that they might in fact take some steps that we would see as desirable.

Sen. Knowland agreed that neither Yugoslavia nor India should be cut out of the program, but he felt it important to carry through the equipment inspection regularly required. He said that if we let Yugoslavia get away with this denial of what we should be able to [Page 15] do, it would be discriminatory against our allies. Also, as regards India, it would be bad if the impression got established around the world that we reward neutralism. Sec. Dulles agreed that we should continue to press Tito for some arrangement on this, and we are currently negotiating with him about it; indeed, it helps our negotiators to have Congress take this position. As for India, we give much more assistance to the other nations who are willing to stand up and be counted.

Rep. Vorys asked about the communiqué issued after the Belgrade visit of the Russians—was it as satisfying as it appeared to be? Mr. Dulles said that was uncertain.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated subjects.]

L.A. Minnich, Jr.3
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Legislative Meetings. Confidential. Drafted by Minnich. The legislative leaders met with the President and Secretary Dulles.
  2. The Geneva Summit Conference, held July 18–23, brought together President Eisenhower, Prime Minister Anthony Eden of the United Kingdom, Premier Edgar Faure of France, and Premier Nikolai Bulganin of the Soviet Union. For documentation, see vol. V, pp. 119 ff.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.