9. Editorial Note

According to the memorandum of discussion at the 239th meeting of the National Security Council on March 3, the following discussion took place during the briefing by the Director of Central Intelligence on significant world developments affecting United States national security:

“Mr. Dulles then turned to the internal situation in the Soviet Union. There had been so many changes in the government in recent days that it was proving very difficult to appraise the significance of the changes beyond stating that they indicated a picture of dissatisfaction with the status quo, especially in the realm of agriculture. When Mr. Dulles noted that Zhukov was not among those who had recently been promoted, Secretary Hoover commented that he thought this significant, and the President said with a smile that perhaps the failure to promote Zhukov was the result of our saying too many nice things about him here in the United States.

“Noting that the Soviet Military Attachés in the European satellite states had been called home to Moscow for consultation, Mr. Dulles suggested that this might be the precursor of a Soviet effort to create in Eastern Europe military defense arrangements similar to those of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.” (Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower Papers, Whitman File)

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A report by the Office of Intelligence Research on the leadership changes announced February 28, entitled “Some Soviet Leadership Questions Clarified” (Intelligence Brief No. 1750), concluded that the changes, including those raising to First Deputy Chairmen of the Council of Ministers Mikoyan, M.G. Pervukhin, and M.Z. Saburov, indicated a further reduction in Malenkov’s position in both the party and the government. (Department of State, SOV Files: Lot 66 D 70, USSR) Bohlen’s appraisal of the leadership changes and how they affected Malenkov’s position were transmitted in telegram 1464 from Moscow, March 5. (Ibid., Central Files, 761.00/3–555)

Apropos of Dulles’ remarks about the possible establishment of an Eastern European defense arrangement similar to NATO, the Soviet Union and seven Eastern European countries signed a treaty of “friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance” at Warsaw on May 14, 1955.