108. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

588. After consultation with the President,2 Dept has decided continuation of officially approved exchanges with USSR inappropriate in light of Sov behavior in Hungary and has therefore ordered immediate suspension. In accordance with President’s wishes, decision is not to be publicized since publicity may jeopardize President’s channel to Bulganin and may also scare off satellites, particularly Poland, with whom Dept hopes be able step up exchanges.

Dept plans following lines of action in implementing decision. On exchanges while continuing internal preparation for technical exchanges scheduled next year, Dept will make no approaches to Sovs while suspension in effect and will rebuff any Sovs initiatives. [Page 254] On conference attendance, with exceptions conferences scheduled immediate future, Dept will advise sponsors of suspension of official exchanges and leave decision as to Sov participation to sponsors. Impresarios will be left decision on invitations to Sov cultural figures. On queries re private travel to USSR, Dept will refrain from counsel and simply advise no ban on such travel. Dept has taken following specific action:

Suspended visit US mass feeding delegation to USSR scheduled Nov 15–30 and plan so inform SovEmb.
Informed SovEmb Dept unable arrange for attendance Sov specialists Automation Exhibition NYC Nov 26 (Embtel 1126 Nov 83). Emb should return passports to FonOff with this explanation.

Only other conference scheduled for near future to which Sovs invited is ASME Conference NYC Nov 25–30. To be consistent with action on Automation Conf, Dept will advise sponsors of current attitude toward reciprocal exchanges with Sovs and urge they withdraw invitations. Other sponsors who may seek Dept’s advice on Sov attendance at future conferences will be simply informed of Dept’s policy on exchanges but will be told decision to invite is theirs.

FYI, Dept felt obliged authorize visas for Sov observers Seattle Fisheries Conference (Deptel 560 Nov 84) because of international nature conference and previous commitment to SovEmb to permit attendance.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 511.60/11–1356. Confidential. Drafted by Toon; cleared with Freers, Blake, and Murphy; and approved for transmission by Lacy, who initialed it for Hoover. Repeated to London, Paris, Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, and Bucharest.
  2. In the wake of the Soviet Union’s armed intervention in Hungary on November 5, President Eisenhower, in a meeting with Vice President Nixon and Under Secretary of State Hoover later that day declared that the United States should suspend the East-West exchange program and U.S. attendance at trade fairs and that U.S. officials should not attend the November 7 celebration in Moscow of the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries)
  3. Telegram 1126 transmitted the Foreign Ministry’s urgent request for visas to be issued to the Soviet specialists. (Department of State, Central Files, 511.60/11–856)
  4. Telegram 560 briefly discussed the kinds of visas to be issued to the Soviet observers to the Fisheries Conference. (Ibid.)