103. Memorandum of Discussion at the 289th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, June 28, 19561
[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and item 1, “Significant World Developments Affecting United States Security.”]
2. East-West Exchanges (NSC 5427; NSC 5508/1; NSC 5602/1; NSC Action No. 1522–g; Memos for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated June 6 and 19, 1956; Memo for All Holders of June 19 Memorandum, dated June 22, 1956)2
Mr. Anderson briefed the National Security Council on the contents of the draft statement of policy on the subject, and pointed out that, in addition to the usual membership, the Secretary of Commerce and Messrs. J. Edgar Hoover and J. Walter Yeagley, Chairman of the Council’s internal security committees, had been invited to attend this Council meeting. (Copy of Mr. Anderson’s brief filed in the minutes of the meeting.) At the conclusion of his briefing, Mr. Anderson suggested that the Secretary of State explain the philosophy behind the policy report.
Secretary Dulles said that this paper, as Mr. Anderson had pointed out, had come to the National Security Council by a somewhat unusual route. He himself had personally drafted the statement of policy, for the reason that the situation with regard to East-West exchanges had seemed to be hopelessly bogged down. [Page 227]The President had grown impatient, and had asked the Secretary of State to draft a new policy position on this subject.
The basic theory behind the new policy statement was that as this Government had hitherto been proceeding in the area of East-West exchanges its attitude had proved too passive and inert. All initiative in developing East-West contacts had been left either in the hands of the Soviets or in the hands of private American groups. This situation Secretary Dulles believed to be wrong, and he took the position that the U.S. Government should be thinking about what it wanted to do as a government, and not simply continue to act as a screen for private U.S. or Soviet proposals for increased East-West contacts. The President had evinced a very great interest in this matter at the Summit Conference at Geneva, and had maintained his interest ever since that time. Indeed, Mr. William Jackson had made a most thorough study of the problem of East-West contacts prior to the Summit meeting, and Mr. Jackson was of course present at the meeting today. As a result of Mr. Jackson’s studies, a program for U.S. initiatives in the area of East-West contacts had been presented to the Soviets at the Geneva Foreign Ministers meeting. The Soviets, however, had turned down the U.S. program because, they said, it promoted the kind of exchanges which would be valuable to the United States but not the kind of exchanges desired by the Soviet Union. While this had been the Soviet attitude at Geneva, there were now indications that their views were changing.
Secretary Dulles then pointed out that the 17-point program elaborated by Mr. Jackson was a very good illustration of the kind of exchanges which the United States felt would be advantageous. As for the Soviet view of East-West exchanges, they had two main objectives in mind—first, through these exchanges to gain technical information which would prove of value, and secondly, to set precedents with respect to exchanges which they could make valid for third countries and thus gain political advantages which they could not hope to gain from exchanges with the United States. There were many types of exchanges which might prove advantageous or tolerable to the United States which would be bad for third countries not sufficiently strong or sufficiently shrewd to resist Soviet machinations. In concluding his statement on the general philosophy of the new policy statement, Secretary Dulles said that it reflected his belief that the United States could and should assume the offensive in the area of East-West exchanges. If we did this we could present the Soviet Union with hard choices and sharp dilemmas that the Soviets will not like, rather than, as in the past, permitting the Soviets to confront the United States with such choices and dilemmas. While the United States would never take the [Page 228]military offensive against the USSR, it should certainly be prepared to take the offensive in the area of East-West contacts.
As to the dangers to third countries of the U.S. example of encouraging exchanges with the Soviet Union, alluded to by Mr. Anderson and noted in the present policy paper, Secretary Dulles agreed that the United States would have to proceed here with very great care. As a basic precaution against a misunderstanding of U.S. motives and objectives in encouraging East-West contacts, Secretary Dulles said that he had suggested confidential explanations by the U.S. Government to other governments which might be pressured by the Soviets for exchanges which would not be to their advantage. For example, in explaining our policy to the other American Republics, we could quite easily make use of the vehicle of the Organization of American States (OAS). Conversations in this body would certainly minimize the risks of the weaker American Republics inviting exchanges with the Soviet Union and citing the example of the United States as a guide. With the countries of Asia and Africa, which might well prove to be the target of Soviet initiatives, we could explain our policy on exchanges with the Russians by means of bilateral conversations. Secretary Dulles admitted, however, that private conversations, whether bilateral or otherwise, would probably not wholly eliminate the risks that third countries might misunderstand our policy and as a result themselves become involved in unfortunate exchanges with the USSR. This was a risk which we should have to run. The theoretical test of the proposed exchanges between the U.S. and the USSR was whether or not, on balance, they proved advantageous to the United States. They might well do so by at long last providing the people of the Soviet Union with accurate knowledge of the kind of opportunities that existed in the United States for the ordinary run of citizens. Such knowledge might well stimulate pressures on the Soviet Government to confer on its people rights and advantages similar to those enjoyed by U.S. citizens. Such pressures generated in the Soviet Union would certainly begin to absorb the thoughts, plans and resources of the Soviet Government and, accordingly, minimize the amount of energy and resources which the Soviet Government could devote to its attack against the free world on other fronts.
Secretary Dulles emphasized that no policy directive in and by itself would provide a certain answer as to the advantages and disadvantages of each exchange proposal. Each such proposal should be weighed on its own merits, though, of course, we might be obliged to accept a specific disadvantage and pay a specific price in certain instances in order to secure an over-all net advantage for the United States in the exchange program. Success or failure of the program would depend on operations carried out under this new [Page 229]policy paper. After all, no policy can do more than indicate broad general principles, and Secretary Dulles believed that the present report goes about as far as one could usefully go in setting forth the criteria to govern East-West exchanges. Accordingly, it was now time to “get going” on the new program. The United States was already far behind the rest of the procession. Adoption of the new policy paper would get us into the way of dealing with this problem more intelligently and more expeditiously. If the policy did not work, it could be changed in due course. Case law may in time modify statute law, as it were.
At the conclusion of Secretary Dulles’ statement, Mr. Anderson pointed out that the Council had not received the formal written views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the proposed new policy, and asked Admiral Radford if he would give orally the views of the Joint Chiefs.
Admiral Radford then handed Mr. Anderson a copy of the written views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.3 He pointed out that these written views were in agreement with the position on this paper taken by the JCS Adviser on the NSC Planning Board when the policy had been considered by the latter group.4 Furthermore, the Joint Chiefs recommended that the Department of Defense be represented along with the Departments of State and Justice in responsibility for coordinating the implementation of the policy. Apart from these matters, Admiral Radford indicated that the Joint Chiefs of Staff were very worried indeed about the impact of this new policy on our alliances unless we made crystal-clear to our allies the objectives that we sought in taking this new initiative toward expanding East-West contacts. Explanation by the U.S. Government to other friendly governments was not in itself enough, because these other governments would have to explain to their people why it was perfectly safe for the United States to indulge in contacts with the Soviet Union, whereas it might be dangerous for the country in question to follow the U.S. example. Accordingly, Admiral Radford believed that the Council should give careful consideration as to how far we could go in coming out with a public explanation of the basis for this new U.S. policy. If the 17-point program drawn up by Mr. Jackson and set forth in the present paper as a guide was to be [Page 230]applied as a package, that was one thing. If the 17-point program was to be applied separately, it was quite another thing. The Council should remember that the groups sent to the United States by the Soviet Union would all be hand-picked. The cards would be stacked against the United States because individual U.S. citizens would be free to visit the Soviet Union, although when they got there they would see only what the Soviet Union wanted them to see. Lastly, the U.S. Communist Party could be expected to encourage all kinds of American leftists to visit the Soviet Union. These people would come back, as had the scientific group lately, with reports all highly favorable to the Soviet Union. In conclusion, said Admiral Radford, the Joint Chiefs are prepared to admit the validity of the new policy proposed by the Secretary of State, but they were very worried as to the safeguards with which it would be carried out.
Mr. Anderson then called on Secretary of Commerce Weeks for his views on the policy. Secretary Weeks said he would address himself solely to those exchanges of personnel in which the Department of Commerce had a special interest. Thus, said Secretary Weeks, in exchanges of businessmen and industrialists the Department of Commerce was of the opinion that it should be given a formal role to play in the carrying out of the new policy. For example, the Department of Commerce should be consulted in advance as to the makeup of the teams of U.S. industrialists who were going to be sent on exchanges to the Soviet Union. The Department of Commerce was in a position to give good advice as to the membership of such teams, as well as advice as to what they should look for in the Soviet Union and what, in exchange, the Russians should see in the United States. Up to now, at any rate, the Department of Commerce had had no say in any of these matters.
Secretary Weeks then went on to comment on the impact of the export control legislation. The export control legislation circumscribed closely what it was legal for us to allow visiting Russians to see. For example, since our export control legislation forbade us to export radio tubes to the Soviet Union, it was obvious that it was contrary to the spirit of the legislation to permit visiting Russians to see radio tubes in the United States.
In conclusion, Secretary Weeks said he had a couple of specific recommendations to make in behalf of the Department of Commerce. First, if Russian teams were going to come to the United States, the United States should get a quid pro quo out of the visit. Admittedly the over-all policy on East-West exchanges was a responsibility of the Department of State, which developed our foreign policy. On the other hand, the substantive content of the exchanges was not in itself a foreign policy matter, and therefore Secretary Weeks hoped that whatever department was best able to give good [Page 231]advice should have an opportunity to provide such advice. Certainly the Department of Commerce should be tied in more closely in all matters relating to what the Soviets were doing in the industrial field.
Mr. Anderson pointed out that the coordination of the implementation of U.S. policy with respect to East-West exchanges had in the past been confined to the Departments of State and Justice. Currently, however, and with respect to the new policy, the Planning Board was recommending to the Council not only that the Departments of State and Justice continue to be responsible for implementation, but had also added other departments, agencies and boards, as appropriate. Secretary Dulles said that he entirely concurred in the views just expressed by the Secretary of Commerce, and he believed that the Department of Commerce should be brought right in on the ground floor with respect to any exchanges of industrialists or other exchanges in which the views of the Commerce Department would be useful. Mr. Anderson went on to say that if the Council so desired, the Planning Board language could be amended to add specifically the Departments of Defense and Commerce to the implementing machinery if the more general language suggested by the Planning Board—namely, “other departments, agencies and boards, as appropriate”—was not deemed sufficient to cover the matter.
Secretary Dulles said he was inclined to doubt the wisdom of specifying any other department than the Department of Justice (and State) as constituting the coordinating group. After all, the Department of Justice, for obvious reasons, would be involved in each and every exchange between the U.S. and the USSR. Other departments and agencies of the Government would be brought in only when a given exchange proposal involved the specific responsibilities of that department or agency. The implementation of the proposed new policy would continue to be bogged down if the Council insisted on putting in as coordinating authorities every department of the Government which might conceivably have any interest in the exchange. Accordingly, the Secretary of State thought that the general language on implementation proposed by the Planning Board was quite acceptable. Proposals for adding other departments by name would probably have the result of stalling any offensive on the part of the United States to increase East-West exchanges. Secretary Dulles insisted that he did not look on the proposed new policy as forming the basis for a stalling operation but, rather, to permit us to assume the initiative.
The Acting Secretary of Defense asked permission to state his general philosophy with respect to the proposed new policy. Secretary Robertson then said that the recommendations of the Joint [Page 232]Chiefs of Staff, as earlier reported by Admiral Radford, had the hearty endorsement not only of the Service Secretaries, but of the Department of Defense as a whole, particularly with respect to the need to stress the effect on weaker third countries of initiative by the United States in the direction of increased East-West contacts. While he stated himself to be strongly in favor of taking the offensive in the field of East-West contacts, Secretary Robertson said he was very worried about the possible effects of the proposed new policy on such alliances as NATO and SEATO. Accordingly, he strongly recommended that the Council agree to accept the substitute paragraph 10 proposed by the Department of Defense.5 This Defense version of paragraph 10 simply made explicit and firm the possible danger to our military alliances and to the political and economic cooperation in the free world of the adoption of an increased program of East-West contacts by the United States. Moreover, while the Department of Defense did not wish to have a hand in setting up all the different exchanges which might be contemplated between the U.S. and the USSR, it did wish to have its voice heard in any exchange which involved the responsibilities of the Department of Defense.
Speaking sharply, the Secretary of State informed Secretary Robertson that the Department of State was, after all, charged with the responsibility for conducting the relations of the United States with its allies—NATO, SEATO, and all the others. Quite possibly the State Department conducted these relations badly, but it was nevertheless the fixed duty and responsibility of the State Department. Secretary Dulles assumed that the Department of Defense did not aspire to take over these duties of the Department of State. Secretary Robertson replied that the Defense Department certainly did not wish to take over any of the responsibilities of the State Department. Nevertheless the Defense Department had a very real interest, for example, in the relations between the United States and those foreign countries in which the United States had military bases.
The Vice President said that he thought the language which directed implementation of the policy was suitable and OK, and that Secretary Dulles, having heard the discussion at the present meeting, would certainly bear the different points of view in mind and would be certain to bring in the Department of Defense and the Department of Commerce when such a course of action was clearly indicated with reference to a specific exchange proposal. On the other hand, if, instead of the Departments of State and Justice, a [Page 233]whole large board of officials was assigned the task of implementing the new policy, very little would ever get done under it.
Admiral Radford suggested certain new language which would indicate that the Department of Defense should be kept informed of all impending exchange proposals in order that the Department of Defense could be in a position to state its interest and concern over any given proposal. If it were not kept informed of all current and impending exchange proposals, the Department of Defense might never know when its interests were involved in any specific exchange proposal.
Secretary Dulles replied that this was certainly fair enough, and a very good suggestion. Indeed, all interested departments and agencies should be kept informed of impending exchange proposals so that they could assert their right to a voice in the matter. On the other hand, he could not approve of a large board made up of representatives of all the conceivably interested departments, where every one of these individuals would have to be heard on every single proposal, whether his department had any specific interest or responsibility for the proposal or not. Such a large implementing board would serve to diffuse responsibility to a point which would assure that nothing would happen under the new policy.
Secretary Weeks said he had one additional suggestion to make. These other departments should not merely be kept informed, but kept informed in such a way that they would be given an opportunity to provide advice to the Departments of State and Justice before a decision on any given exchange proposal had been made.
Secretary Dulles said he had no objection to this suggestion either, but he assumed that Secretary Weeks would not be particularly interested in a proposal for an exchange of musicians between the U.S. and the USSR. Secretary Weeks replied that he would have none whatsoever.
The Vice President commented that the discussion had certainly brought out what the Council wished to have done by way of a coordinating group. Mr. Anderson said that he would circulate appropriate language to indicate the Council’s wishes in this matter.
Mr. Anderson then invited the Council’s attention to the problems raised for the implementation of the proposed new policy on East-West exchanges by existing statutes, and most notably by the requirement that foreign nationals visiting the United States unofficially must be fingerprinted. He invited the comments of the Attorney General on these impediments.
The Attorney General first inquired whether the implementation mechanism just agreed to by the Council was designed to cover exchanges under all the seventeen points listed in the annex to the proposed new policy. He said he wished to be sure that this was the [Page 234]case, and Secretary Dulles replied in the affirmative. The Attorney General then went on to emphasize the two special concerns of the Department of Justice with respect to the proposed new policy— first, the problem of internal security posed by the admission of more Soviet and satellite citizens; and secondly, the requirement in the Immigration and Nationality Act for the fingerprinting of nonimmigrants applying for visas to enter the United States temporarily. These two conditions, said the Attorney General, would pose problems in carrying out an expanded program of East-West contacts. The fingerprinting problem would be particularly difficult, and the Congress was unlikely to change the law requiring fingerprinting, even though this move had been recommended by the President.6 Accordingly, the Attorney General said that we would presently find ourselves back in the familiar position of requiring the fingerprinting of all non-official visitors to the United States.
Secretary Dulles explained that he had long been sympathetic with the suggestion that the fingerprinting requirement be dropped from existing law. His position, he said, did not derive from Soviet criticism of the fingerprinting requirement, but from the complaints of nations friendly to the United States. He also agreed that it was extremely difficult to draw any real line between official and non-official Soviet visitors. For the time being, our only recourse was to try to persuade the Soviets to accept the fingerprinting requirement.
As for the internal security problem, which would be increased under the proposed new policy, the Attorney General said the most difficult aspect was the provision of effective monitoring of the Soviet visitors under an exchange program. Obviously the Soviet Government did use these delegations for its own particular purposes—espionage and the like. Therefore it was essential that we keep track of these people. The previous practice of selecting monitors from outside the Government had not been successful. Many of the monitors provided by private U.S. agencies failed on the job. In the future, therefore, monitors of a given exchange must be chosen from within the ranks of the Government. This was one reason why the Department of Justice would have to have a hand in carrying out the proposed new policy.
The Vice President then inquired whether the expansion of East-West exchanges, as proposed in this policy statement, would require additional funds for the Department of Justice to carry out its responsibilities. The Attorney General said that additional funds [Page 235]would be required if there were any notable increase in Soviet and satellite visitors to the United States.
Mr. Anderson inquired whether Mr. J. Edgar Hoover wished to add anything to the statement just made by the Attorney General. Mr. Hoover said that he agreed with and, indeed, would like to emphasize what the Attorney General had said, and particularly his expression of concern about the internal security aspects of adopting this proposed new policy. He proceeded to cite a number of instances in which Soviet visitors to the United States had engaged in espionage activities in the course of the last six months. Mr. Hoover also stressed his belief that each proposed exchange should be scrutinized and judged on its merits. On the other hand, he agreed with the foreign policy objectives set forth by the Secretary of State as underlying the proposed new policy.
Referring to the Vice President’s question about the need for additional funds for the Department of Justice, Director Brundage inquired of the Secretary of State how large a number of Soviet and satellite visitors could be expected when the proposed new policy began to be implemented. Would the increase in numbers be so large as to involve budgetary implications? Secretary Dulles replied that he doubted whether the number would be so large as to have severe budgetary implications. He certainly neither expected the United States to be flooded with Russian visitors nor the USSR with American visitors.
Mr. Anderson then asked Mr. J. Walter Yeagley, Chairman of the Interdepartmental Committee on Internal Security, whether he wished to add anything. Mr. Yeagley expressed agreement with the views set forth previously by the Attorney General and the Chairman of the Interdepartmental Intelligence Conference. He informed the Council that the internal security committees were now engaged in working out criteria for the successful implementation of the proposed new policy from the point of view of internal security. He did not believe that these new criteria would impair the effectiveness of the new policy.
Mr. Anderson then explained the editorial changes in the draft statement of policy unanimously recommended by the NSC Planning Board in the memorandum of June 19, 1956, to the National Security Council. The Council promptly agreed to accept these clarifications.
Mr. Anderson went on to deal with recommendations proposed by individual members of the Planning Board dealing with more substantive matters. He first described a proposal by the ODM member of the Planning Board, concurred in by the Justice observer, for the insertion of a new sentence at the end of paragraph 9, reading as follows: [Page 236]
“Administration of each proposed exchange program must therefore take into account the advantages sought against the acknowledged political dangers (abroad and at home) so as to secure a total net advantage to the United States from such contacts.”
Mr. Anderson suggested that this language represented a somewhat more restricted approach to East-West exchanges, and that the ODM member strongly believed that each proposed exchange should be judged on its individual merit. Secretary Dulles wondered if this language was really necessary, in view of similar language in paragraph 16 of the present paper. The Attorney General also thought the proposed new language too restricted, even though his representative on the Planning Board had concurred in it. Mr. Cooley, representing the Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization, stated his willingness to drop the proposed amendment and to go along with the views of the Secretary of State.
Mr. Anderson then pointed out the next proposed amendment, proposed by the ODM member of the Planning Board as a new paragraph 11. The objective of this amendment was to call attention to the importance of a clear understanding of the new policy by the American public as well as by the peoples of third countries. There was included a warning against overzealous friendliness by U.S. citizens to visitors who might in many cases be hostile agents. Mr. Cooley explained that the ODM member of the Planning Board had in mind the need for guidance to U.S. hosts to Soviet visitors, especially visitors to important U.S. industrial plants.
The Vice President said he perfectly well understood the need to indoctrinate the American people as to the elements of danger in these exchanges, but he did not believe that it was necessary to include this matter in the statement of policy. Secretary Dulles said he also agreed strongly with the thought behind this proposed new paragraph, but concurred in the view of the Vice President that it was unnecessary to put such a warning in a policy paper. In general, it had not been the practice of the National Security Council to include implementation tactics in a policy statement. Accordingly, the proposal for a new paragraph 11 was rejected.
Mr. Anderson then invited the Council’s attention to the important proposal by the Defense member of the Planning Board— concurred in by the ODM member and the JCS adviser—for a new version of the existing paragraph, designed to emphasize the dangers inherent in the new policy with respect to third countries and with respect to the military, political and economic cooperation of the countries of the free world. The proposed Defense paragraph 10 read as follows:
“10. One aspect of this matter which requires particular consideration is the impact of what we do upon third countries as well as [Page 237]upon military, political and economic cooperation among the countries of the free world. In many cases, the United States can tolerate a type of exchange which to other countries would be poisonous. Also, it is recognized that our embarking upon this policy may have a serious impact upon our capacity to maintain present military alliances and trade controls and involves taking a calculated risk of enhancing the spread of neutralism. To mitigate these effects as much as possible, we must exert constant and strenuous effort to convince third countries that our program is not to be construed as evidence that we believe that Soviet purposes have now become benign by:
- “(1) Explaining, on a confidential basis, the scope and purpose of our program and the precautions we would take. This should be done, for example, as regards the American Republics at a meeting of the Ambassadors, such as we have had with increasing frequency in recent months. It also should be particularly emphasized with the countries aligned with us in military alliances. There should be similar expositions made to friendly countries of Africa and Asia, and
- “(2) Constant public reiteration by top-level government spokesmen of the extent and nature of the substantive divisions that remain between the respective aims and objectives of ourselves and the Soviet Union and of the need for retaining maximum collective safeguards.
“It must be made clear that what we do is a part of our policy designed to weaken International Communism, and that it is not either an acquiescence in Soviet policy or a recognition that Soviet motives have so changed that they are no longer to be feared.”
After Mr. Anderson had read in its entirety the proposed substitute paragraph 10, Secretary Humphrey said that it sounded to him as though we were sending out a salesman and telling him every single word that he was to say to his prospective customers. If we cannot trust our salesman, we had better not send him out at all.
Secretary Dulles insisted that all that was really essential in the proposed new paragraph had been included in the original paragraph 10. He could see no need to include in this statement all the anxieties which we might have in adopting this new policy; nor was there any need to set forth in a policy paper an analysis of all the motives which underlay the new policy. If one was going to repeat, as the Department of Defense proposed, all the reasons against adopting a new policy, then it made equally good sense to set forth all the reasons in favor of adopting a new policy, the more so since it seemed to the Secretary of State that the National Security Council had virtually decided to adopt the proposed new policy.
Secretary Robertson pointed out that while the proposed new paragraph 10 seemed quite long when it had been read, actually there were only one or two sentences in addition to what had been stated in the original paragraph 10. Nevertheless, Secretary Robertson [Page 238]thought these additional sentences were of very great significance. It might be true that the Secretary of State and other members of the Council would heed the warnings of the dangers in this new policy, but at the working levels at which the policy would actually be carried out, it was necessary to avoid a tendency to “soften up”. The inclusion of the stronger warning language proposed by the Department of Defense would serve to check any softening-up process. Accordingly, Secretary Robertson stated his belief that the substitute paragraph 10 proposed by the Defense Department was a distinct improvement over the original paragraph 10.
Admiral Radford supported the views of Secretary Robertson, and again emphasized his conviction of the need for a clear public explanation of our objectives in adopting this new policy, as opposed to mere private conversations designed to explain our objectives to third countries.
Secretary Humphrey said that it seemed to him that in this matter the Council was trying to ride two horses. We all know that there is a risk in the adoption of this proposed program for increasing exchanges and contacts between the U.S. and the USSR. We had known this at least since the time of the Geneva Summit Conference. Accordingly, we have simply got to weigh the advantages of the new proposal as against its disadvantages, and make a clear choice. He personally favored taking the risks which were inherent in the new proposal. Admiral Radford invited Secretary Humphrey to remember that the groups of people which the USSR would be sending to the United States under the new policy, would be in every sense controlled by the Soviet Government. Secretary Humphrey said he was quite aware of that, but that nevertheless we were still obliged to run the risk. There was certainly a chance that these increased exchanges would have a real effect on the people of the Soviet Union, and might play a real part in convincing the Soviets of the errors of their system.
Admiral Radford said that all the same, adoption of this new policy constituted a very great gamble for the United States. He then went on to point out that if the U.S. Government restricted itself to explaining to governments of third countries, on a strictly confidential basis, the true objectives of the United States in adopting a policy of increased exchanges with the Soviet Union, the governments of these third countries would be unable to explain to their citizens the true motives of the United States. As a result, there [Page 239]would be a clamor in these third countries to admit Soviet visitors, with citations of the example set by the United States itself.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Secretary Dulles pointed out to Admiral Radford that confidential conversations with other governments was not the only possible avenue by which we could explain the objectives of this increased exchange program to the governments of third countries. … the State Department would make public statements explaining the new policy wherever it appropriately could.
Secretary Robertson stated that the objective of the Department of Defense in its substitute paragraph 10 was simply to state publicly that despite the increased contacts between the U.S. and the USSR, there remained major unresolved issues between the United States and the USSR. This was a useful warning to the free world and to our own people.
The Vice President commented that Defense and ODM, in supporting the new paragraph 10, were in effect simply seeking some public indoctrination as to the objectives of the new policy. As of the present time, we might all agree with the type of indoctrination proposed in paragraph 10. On the other hand, what we may wish to say publicly about these objectives would certainly be susceptible to change from time to time in the future. Moreover, continued the Vice President, those who are likely to make public statements about the objectives of this policy are, of course, the people who are gathered around the Council table this morning. If a clear understanding exists among these top spokesmen as to the risks and dangers of increased U.S.-USSR contacts, this was about all that we needed or could ask for. Secretary Dulles had certainly stressed these dangers in his speech at the Kiwanis convention.7 It would be extremely difficult to set forth in this policy paper the precise line of indoctrination for the people of the United States and the free world.
Mr. William Jackson commented that if, in proposing its new paragraph 10, the Department of Defense was not really trying to change the proposed new policy but merely calling for a heightened public understanding of the policy, he could see no reason for not putting in a reference to educating the people of the United States into the present paragraph 17.[Page 240]
Admiral Radford professed himself still greatly worried about the probable inability of the governments of third countries effectively to explain to their people why the United States was showing a marked increase in its willingness to receive Soviet visitors and to send U.S. citizens to the Soviet Union. With some asperity, the Secretary of State informed Admiral Radford that the problem to which he had just referred was part and parcel of the daily routine of the Department of State. The problem of explanation of policy to the other governments was the responsibility each day of State Department officials. The State Department did not make a practice of telling the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the Defense Department what kind of bombers, missiles or submarines to make. Accordingly, Secretary Dulles said he would appreciate it if the Department of Defense would trust the Department of State to exercise appropriately its functions and duties.
Secretary Humphrey expressed his agreement with the view just stated by Secretary Dulles, and again pointed out that we cannot avoid a certain risk if we adopt this policy. If the Council was not willing to take the risk, it should simply not adopt the new statement of policy.
Admiral Radford went on to express further concern as to the effect of adopting the proposed new policy, this time because of its possibly serious effect on our military alliances. Speaking with firmness, Admiral Radford expressed the opinion that the recent adoption by the National Security Council of a more liberal point of view with respect to the problem of East-West trade8 had been a mistake. Sir Anthony Eden had gone back to England and was playing fast and loose with the understanding he had reached with us in the matter of British trade with the Soviet bloc.
Secretary Dulles replied heatedly that if the National Security Council had made a mistake in its recent decisions in the matter of East-West trade, it was a mistake made not only by the Council but by the President of the United States. Secretary Dulles did not believe that it was appropriate to criticize the President.
At this point Mr. William Jackson again undertook briefly to summarize the basic philosophy upon which the proposed new policy rested. Secretary Humphrey pointed out that in effect the proposed new program of increased East-West exchanges marked a point of departure for a quite new U.S. policy vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. The real question was whether we were going to go to war with the Soviet Union or whether we were going to live with them. Up to now we have been trying to do a little of both at one and the [Page 241]same time. We can no longer do so, and are now called upon to make our choice. We cannot have our cake and eat it too.
Secretary Robertson pointed out that the Defense Department was in agreement that we must take the risks inherent in the adoption of this new policy. Nevertheless he stressed again that we should not leave out the necessity for a clear public statement or statements as to our objectives. He then asked whether the Council would be willing at least to accept the first three sentences of the Department of Defense version of paragraph 10 as designed to stress the nature of the risk we were taking.
The Vice President inquired whether there was objection to Secretary Robertson’s request. Secretary Dulles commented that if embarking upon this new policy involved the risks which Defense wished to emphasize, it was equally true that refusal by the U.S. to embark on this policy might have very serious repercussions in the realm of foreign policy. The Vice President remarked that Secretary Robertson, so it seemed to him, merely wanted to add a caveat against going overboard with the new policy. He could at any rate see no objection to the inclusion of the first sentence of the Defense Department version of paragraph 10. Secretary Dulles said that he had no objection to the inclusion of this first sentence.
The Vice President observed that he shared personally much of the concern shown by the Department of Defense over the impact of this policy on our alliances and on political and economic cooperation among the countries of the free world. In fact, however, the Council was really beyond the point of arguing. The President had already indicated strongly his views in favor of taking the risk. Discussion by the Council this morning had been of value in informing those whose task it would be in the future to implement the new policy. It furthermore seemed to the Vice President that the inclusion of the first sentence of the Defense Department version of paragraph 10, combined with the Council discussion, provided adequate guidance to the Secretary of State in carrying out this policy.
The Secretary of State again said he had no objection to the inclusion of this sentence, and the Vice President asked Secretary Robertson if this satisfied the Defense Department. The Vice President went on to say that he sensed a basic disagreement between the Department of State and the Department of Defense. This disagreement had been thoroughly aired and discussed, and the Vice President believed that the Council could go no further. If it did, the paper would have to go to the President with a split view, and the President would almost certainly accept the language for paragraph 10 as set forth in the original version.
Secretary Robertson made one more effort to explain the Defense position. Secretary Humphrey likewise again pointed out that [Page 242]the fact of the matter was that this Government was directly and significantly changing its policies toward the Soviet bloc, and that we should frankly recognize this important fact.
Secretary Dulles agreed with Secretary Humphrey, and said that the actual change in our policy had been made at Geneva in accordance with the President’s own decision. Under the Constitution of the United States we therefore had no other choice than to follow the President’s decision. If in point of fact the new policy on exchanges works badly, there will be ample opportunity to change it. We have by no means frozen our course. If the Department of Defense or the Joint Chiefs of Staff thought at some future time that the new policy operated to our disadvantage, they should come and tell us so frankly, and we can work it out. There was always a forum for an appeal, and nothing catastrophic was going to happen as a result of the adoption of this new policy.
The National Security Council:9
- Discussed the draft statement of policy on the subject, submitted as the Department of State position and transmitted by the reference memorandum of June 6; the recommendations thereon by the NSC Planning Board, transmitted by the reference memorandum of June 19; and the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as reported by the Chairman, JCS, at the meeting.
- Adopted the draft statement of policy contained in the
enclosure to the reference memorandum of June 6, subject to the
- Paragraph 8, 2nd sentence: Insert the word “individual” between the words “greater” and “freedom”.
- Paragraph 10, 1st sentence: Revise to read as follows: “One aspect of this matter which requires particular consideration is the impact of what we do upon third countries as well as upon military, political and economic cooperation among the countries of the free world.”
- Paragraph 10, beginning of 3rd sentence: Delete the words “It is suggested that”.
- Paragraphs 11, 12 and 13: Insert the words “and satellite” after the word “Soviet” wherever the latter appears in these paragraphs.
- Paragraph 16: Revise to read as
“16. The United States should take the initiative in East-West exchanges as a positive instrument of U.S. foreign policy, employing as a general guide the 17-point proposal (attached) as submitted at the Geneva Foreign Ministers meeting. Each proposal should be judged on its merits as contributing to the agreed objectives.”
- Recommended that the President approve the draft statement of
policy as amended by b above, and:
- Refer it to the Secretary of State for implementation in consultation with the Department of Justice and other departments, agencies and boards as appropriate; keeping the Departments of Defense and Commerce and, as appropriate, other interested departments, agencies and boards informed in advance of proposed East-West exchanges.
- Direct the Secretary of State and the Attorney General to continue to cooperate in developing and applying appropriate internal security safeguards with respect to the admission of Soviet and satellite nationals to the United States.
Note: The above-mentioned statement of policy, as amended and adopted and subsequently approved by the President, circulated as NSC 5607 for implementation in accordance with c above.
[Here follow items 3, “United States Civil Aviation Policy Toward the USSR and Its Satellites” and 4, “United States Objectives and Policies With Respect to the Near East.”]
- Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by Gleason on June 29.↩
- Lay’s memorandum of June 22 has
not been found. Regarding the other documents under reference, see
supraand footnote 2 thereto.↩
- The views of the Joint Chiefs were contained in a memorandum of June 26 from Radford to the Secretary of Defense, in which the revisions made by the NSC Planning Board as noted in Lay’s memorandum of June 19 to the Council were accepted, with the further revision proposed that the phrase, “Department of Defense” be inserted after the word “Justice” on page 2, subparagraph 1–b, fifth line of Lay’s memorandum. A copy of Radford’s memorandum was distributed to the members of the Council as an enclosure to Lay’s covering memorandum of June 28. (Department of State, S/P–NSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, East-West Exchanges)↩
- See footnote 1, Document 101.↩
- See subparagraph 3–c, Document 102.↩
- This was one of several proposals Eisenhower made in his annual message to Congress, January 5; see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1956, pp. 1–27.↩
- For text of Dulles’ address before the 41st annual convention of Kiwanis International in San Francisco on June 21, see Department of State Bulletin, July 2, 1956, pp. 3–7.↩
- Reference is to a decision taken at the 282d meeting of the National Security Council on April 26.↩
- Paragraphs a–c constitute NSC Action No. 1577, as approved by the President on June 29. (Department of State, S/S–NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95)↩