100. Memorandum From Robert Cutler to the Secretary of State1

I am writing this memorandum to you in my capacity as a private citizen (though with perhaps a residue tinge of N.S.C.).2

The Dean of Harvard University, McGeorge Bundy, spoke to me toward the end of January of a proposal which had been made to Professor Malia, while on a purchasing mission in the USSR, by a representative of the Soviet Ministry of Higher Education, for an exchange of a small number of scholars and students

This proposal is well set forth in Dean Bundy’s

This proposal is well set forth in Dean Bundy’s attached memorandum and in the attached copy of a more full letter by Professor Malia.3

The attitude of Harvard University is as follows. In the first place, it wishes to be guided by the policy of the United States in making any reply to the above mentioned proposal. Second, if the policy would permit acceptance, an acceptance which Harvard would be glad to explore, Harvard would agree to the exchange only if bona fide scholars were involved, but would limit its exchange to Harvard personnel of professorial or post-graduate grade (not undergraduate students).

In discussing this matter with … Dillon Anderson, it seems to me that the issue raised is covered by an existing NSC policy4 (I do not mention its number so as to avoid classifying this memorandum). Bob Bowie could easily bring the policy paper to your attention. The question at issue is whether the Department of State is willing to move under that policy, getting the necessary clearance from the Attorney General.

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I have ventured to write you this personal memorandum because I find that my opinion, which is favorable to accept this proposal, is shared by Allen and Dillon. If the President had been available when I was here last Friday,5 I would have mentioned it to him, but I do not think in view of what I have written above that it is necessary to bother him. I feel sure that he would agree with the point of view which is just expressed.

In my opinion the U.S. has much more to gain from such an exchange than the USSR. Of course proper safeguards would necessarily be taken in accordance with usual practice. Therefore, I hope that you will find a moment to consider and give some determinative action on this matter.6

The reason for taking such determinative action is that Harvard should make a reply one way or the other without more time intervening. The attached story from the January 25 issue of the New York Herald Tribune7 shows the unfavorable publicity attending too long delay in answering such USSR proposals.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 511.613/2–1056.
  2. Cutler resigned on April 1, 1955, as the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs.
  3. Neither Bundy’s memorandum, which was enclosed with his brief letter of January 25 to Cutler, nor Professor Martin Malia’s letter of January 30, is printed.
  4. Presumably a reference to NSC 5508/1, Document 94.
  5. February 3.
  6. Attached to the source text was a memorandum of February 24 from Bowie to Hanes, to which Bowie had attached his memorandum of the previous day to Hoover expressing his view that student and professor exchanges between the United States and the Soviet Union would be to the overall advantage of the United States. Also attached to the source text was the following memorandum for the files prepared by Robert G. Barnes and dated March 1:

    “The Secretary expressed the view that in his opinion there are many factors both for and against proposals such as the one covered in the attached file. At the present time he indicated that he was against this proposal but this did not mean he would necessarily be against it in one, three or six months.

    “Mr. Hanes has conveyed this information to both Mr. Beam and Mr. Stoessel with the request that Mr. Stoessel appropriately inform … S/P .… Mr. Hanes has also telephoned General Cutler to give him a summary of the Secretary’s views.

    “In view of the equivocal nature of the decision it is suggested that this not be further disseminated.”

  7. Not printed.