13. Editorial Note

From July 18 to 23, President Eisenhower, British Prime Minister Eden, French Premier Faure, and Soviet Premier Bulganin met in Geneva to discuss disarmament, the German question, and the expansion of East-West contacts. Documentation on the meeting is in volume V, page 361.

A memorandum of a conversation between Vice President Nixon and Secretary Dulles on July 30, records Dulles as making the following remarks about a possible followup to the Geneva Summit Conference:

“I expressed the opinion that it would be of doubtful wisdom for the Vice President to seek to make a trip to the Soviet Union at this time. In any event, I felt that high level exchange should await the outcome of the second round at Geneva. I mentioned the activities of the Soviets in insisting upon the retention in Vienna of two of the major front organizations of international Communism and said this action was a striking contrast to what Bulganin and Khrushchev had told the President and me at Geneva. I thought we [Page 34]ought to be a bit cautious about the Geneva outcome until there had been further testing and not seem to be going overboard as Eden was.” (Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Vice President Nixon)

In a memorandum of August 8 to the Secretary of State Rockefeller discussed the factors bearing on a possible visit of Soviet leaders to the United States as follows:

  • “1. If the top Soviet leaders were to be invited to this country, it would seem that perhaps the best time for such a visit would be during November or December of this year for the following reasons:
    • “a. Because if the Soviet leaders were here while Congress was in session, the question of appearing before a joint session of Congress might arise, and this could lead to some rather delicate situations.
    • “b. If they were here during the 1956 elections, their visit might become involved in the domestic political situation.
    • “c. A visit prior to the Big Four Ministers meeting in October would obviously be inadvisable; however, the possibility of an invitation to come following the meeting might have definite advantages in its effect on their delegation at the conference.
  • “2. One objection to the visit has been that the President might be embarrassed by a reciprocal invitation. This could be satisfactorily taken care of should Vice President Nixon represent the President. This possibility has already been suggested by a number of Senators.” (Department of State, Central Files, 033.6111/8–955)

In a memorandum to Rockefeller, August 18, Deputy Under Secretary of State Murphy replied that an invitation by the President to Soviet leaders to visit the United States would be “premature.” He explained that “we are in the midst of a probing operation designed to throw light on the actual intentions of the Soviet leadership vis-à-vis the United States” and that it would be better to wait until after the meeting of the Four Foreign Ministers in Geneva in October and November to consider the question of a possible visit. (Ibid.)