20. Memorandum of a Conversation, White House, Washington, January 25, 1956, 11:30 a.m.1


  • The President
  • Soviet Ambassador Zaroubin
  • Secretary of State Dulles
  • Mr. Logofet (interpreter)

After the Soviet Ambassador had made a statement from an aide-mémoire (attached),2 the President spoke as follows:

His remarks were necessarily of a very preliminary character,
He was absolutely and most completely sincere in his conviction of the need for better relations between our countries.
He had been concerned with the deterioration in those relations since the meeting of last July.
He shared the view that the peoples of the Soviet Union and the United States wanted peace.
He would give serious study to the proposal now made by Chairman Bulganin and in due course make a written reply.

The President then asked whether it was the view of the Soviet Government that the proposal should be kept confidential, at least for the time being. The President expressed the view that the matter could be developed more productively if it were treated as confidential, but that we would of course acquiesce in whatever the views of the Soviet Government were in this respect.

The Soviet Ambassador stated that he had no instructions from his Government on this point, but would immediately communicate with his Government, and in the meantime would not disclose the nature of the communication. He expressed his personal agreement with the point of view on this matter expressed by President Eisenhower.

I then indicated that perhaps the Soviet Ambassador had better follow the usual practice, which is that after talking with the President, visitors make no statement of their own, but leave it to the White House to make such statement as it deemed appropriate. The Ambassador said he would follow this practice.

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Thereupon the President and I sought to formulate the statement which the White House would issue and it was agreed that Mr. Hagerty would put out a statement which would say in substance that there had been a friendly communication from Chairman Bulganin to the President which was another one of the communications which they had exchanged since becoming acquainted at the Summit Conference.

The Soviet Ambassador expressed his accord with a statement of this general character. Thereupon the Soviet Ambassador and the interpreter retired.

The President and I then discussed the situation briefly. I said that I felt it probable that this was essentially a propaganda move, but that, of course, we should not jump to that conclusion. I said I saw significance in the fact that this proposal was made as a bilateral proposal to the United States, apparently without corresponding the proposal to the UK and France, although this might come later.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Meetings with the President. Confidential; Personal and Private. Drafted by Dulles. A summary record of the meeting prepared by Alexander Logofet is in Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199.
  2. Not printed. Zaroubin also presented to the President a letter from Bulganin dated January 23, which proposed a treaty of friendship and cooperation between the Soviet Union and the United States, to which was attached a draft of such a treaty. Both Bulganin’s letter and the Soviet draft treaty are printed in Department of State Bulletin, February 6, 1956, pp. 193–195.