11. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of State and His Special Assistant for Intelligence (Armstrong), Washington, May 19, 1955, 2:50 p.m.1


The Sec asked what is the present status of the Cominform. A. said it has never officially been liquidated but it has been pretty dormant for 3–4 years. It puts out a periodical from he believes [Page 32]Budapest and has carried on a propaganda function, but there have been no meetings for its members. The Sec. asked what is it that runs the Communist Parties all over the world. The mechanism, said A., by which direction gets out is varied—sometimes the line is given by Pravda or Izvestia—sometimes in the journal or by courier and word of mouth. A. said the question of whether the Soviets might now close it out is one they have been speculating on as a gesture they could make without any cost to themselves. The Sec. asked what can they do with cost in relation to International Communism. A. said not very much because they maintain connections clandestinely. The Sec. asked re our never getting proof from Guatemala of any contact. A. said nothing conclusive. The Cominform was not used as a channel of guidance though it may have been partially. A. said he could bring someone up to talk about it, but the Sec. said he hadn’t the time now. The Sec. said we have to put our heads together with CIA and figure what it is we want to ask for. The Litvinof Agreement2 applies to us and is full of holes. It is hard to think of something that is not full of holes. To merely ask for the dissolution of the Cominform would be worse than nothing because it would not cost anything. A. will try to get something up.3

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Telephone Conversations. Prepared by Phyllis D. Bernau.
  2. Regarding the conditions in the notes exchanged on November 16, 1933, between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim M. Litvinov, by which the two countries agreed to enter into diplomatic relations, see @@Foreign Relations, The Soviet Union, 1933–1939, pp. 28–37.
  3. No communication on this subject from Armstrong to Dulles has been found, but see document 42.