23. Diary Entry by the President’s Press Secretary (Hagerty)1
I had a rough night last night on this whole matter. The New York Times was first in print with the story that Russia was offering us a bilateral Treaty of Friendship or non-aggression pact and I received quite a few calls starting at 10:30 P.M. and running through until about 3:00 A.M. To all of them I replied I had no further comment other than what I had said the first day on the message, and that was that.
When I called Dulles at nine this morning, I said to him, “Good morning, Mr. Secretary, this is your midnight correspondent.” He laughed and asked if I had many queries last night and I told him I had. He was not attending the Cabinet meeting because he was [Page 53]working with his people on a draft report turning down the Russian proposal. He thought it was particularly important to have a reply by the President included in any publication of the Bulganin message, and I agreed.
I saw the Secretary at 2:25 just before he went in to see the President on the Eden visit, and he said he had been working all day on the reply and that he expected to have a draft over for the President’s study by 3:30. I told him that I had been queried by some of the newspaper people as to whether or not the United States or the Administration would fill in in a bi-partisan way the leadership of Congress before any action was taken on this publicly. He said we probably should do that and that the leaders on both sides should know in advance that we were going to turn it down.
Carl McCardle called me later at three o’clock to tell me that he had an idea where the Times got their story. I believe that the State Department has been playing this one dose to its vest and I personally do not think that the leaks came from there. …
- Source: Eisenhower Library, Hagerty Papers.↩