93. Memorandum of Discussion at the 242d Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, March 24, 19551

[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and item 1.]

[Page 195]

2. Admission to the U.S. of Certain European Non-Official Temporary Visitors Excludable Under Existing Law (NSC 5427; NSC 5508; Memo for NSC from Acting Executive Secretary, same subject, dated February 16, 1955; NSC Action No. 1366; Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated March 22, 1955)2

Mr. Cutler summarized earlier developments with respect to the subject, noting that at the Council meeting of February 17, 1955, the NSC considered recommendations by the Planning Board to admit a limited increase in the number of non-official temporary visitors otherwise excludable under the McCarran Act for the purpose of countering foreign talk that it is the United States, rather than the USSR, that is maintaining an “iron curtain”. He noted that at its February 17 meeting the Council was favorably disposed toward paragraphs 10 and 11 of NSC 5508, but that it found the provisions of paragraphs 12, 13 and 14 of that report unacceptable. Accordingly, the Council referred NSC 5508 to the Secretary of State and the Attorney General for further consideration in the light of the Council discussion on February 17, and for subsequent report to the Council.

Mr. Cutler stated that on March 22 the Attorney General submitted memoranda3 summarizing the considerations and action taken pursuant to the Council’s discussion at its meeting of February 17. He mentioned that the memoranda reflected that harmony had prevailed between the Departments of State and Justice since this subject was last considered, and commented that the Planning Board, by its consideration of NSC 5508, served in the capacity of midwife to the Departments of State and Justice in helping to resolve the problem.

Mr. Cutler indicated that the March 22 memoranda before the Council for consideration today included a paragraph, agreed to by the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, to be substituted in NSC 5508 for paragraphs 12, 13 and 14.

To refresh the Council’s recollection, Mr. Cutler summarized paragraphs 10 and 11 of the “Policy Guidance” statement contained in NSC 5508. He then read the paragraph which the Departments of [Page 196] State and Justice recommended for insertion in the “Policy Guidance” statement in lieu of paragraphs 12, 13 and 14.

Mr. Cutler indicated that the Departments of State and Justice had been proceeding along the lines indicated in the proposed paragraph; that they had followed these recommended procedures in the case of the proposed admission of the Soviet student and youth newspaper editors, and in the case of the Soviet “agriculturists” who had been recommended for admission to the United States. He mentioned, with respect to the former group, that some of the “youths” designated for admission were forty years of age or more.

Mr. Cutler next directed attention to the third paragraph of the Attorney General’s summary report dated March 22, which indicated that as a result of consultation between the Departments of State and Justice, it had been agreed that the plan outlined in the substitute paragraph mentioned above would be followed “as to all future applications for admission of visitors from Russia.” He said that it was his understanding that the Policy Guidance contained in NSC 5508 was not intended to be limited in its application to Russian nationals, but that it was also to be applied to certain nationals of other European countries, both Soviet bloc and non-Soviet bloc, who were excludable under applicable sections of the McCarran Act. The Attorney General confirmed Mr. Cutler’s understanding that the substitute paragraph was not intended to be limited to Russian nationals. Mr. Cutler suggested, accordingly, that a phrase be included in the proposed substitute paragraph to indicate that it applied to those categories of persons falling within paragraphs 10 or 11 of NSC 5508. The Attorney General concurred in Mr. Cutler’s proposal.

Mr. Cutler then raised a question as to whether the word “religious” should be included in paragraphs 10–d and 11–c of NSC 5508, in view of Secretary Dulles’ comments with respect to this aspect of the subject at the February 17 meeting of the Council. The Secretary of State indicated that he would like to see the word “religious” added in both instances.

Secretary Wilson raised a question as to the application of the term “scientific” in paragraphs 10 and 11 of NSC 5508, wherein those paragraphs refer to the admission of otherwise excludable aliens for participation in scientific, cultural, educational, or other types of meetings. He thought that we should be sure how far we intended to go with respect to the admission of such individuals for scientific purposes. He referred to a recent instance in Japan where Soviet technologists were granted entry and it later turned out that their real purpose in entering Japan was to examine Japanese plants engaged in manufacturing munitions for the United States. Secretary Wilson thought it would be a good idea to insert the word “religious” [Page 197] in paragraphs 10 and 11, and to drop the word “scientific” from those paragraphs.

Secretary Humphrey inquired whether the granting of admission permitted these aliens to go anywhere they liked in the United States. The Attorney General responded in the negative, stating that their travels were to be very carefully supervised and controlled.

The Attorney General stated that the Department of Justice was receiving very “bitter” mail critical of the United States for permitting these people to enter the country. In response to the President’s inquiry as to the source of these criticisms, the Attorney General said the mail emanated from patriotic organizations and individuals.

The Attorney General then asked Mr. Allen Dulles if he was going to make a report on what those people who had been permitted entry previous to this time actually said and did when they returned to their home lands. Mr. Dulles replied in the affirmative, and Mr. Cutler thereupon read the highlights of a report4 which he had received from the Director of Central Intelligence, outlining highly critical and false propaganda charges which some of these visitors had made. Mr. Cutler noted that among other things some of the representatives from iron curtain countries who attended the recent Evanston Assembly of the World Council of Churches made the following accusations or complaints when they went back behind the iron curtain: (a) They were put under surveillance by U.S. secret police; (b) they—and even the Archbishop of Canterbury—were fingerprinted in the same manner as Chicago gangsters; (ç) there was a crime wave in Chicago; (d) Bishop Peter5 referred to an Evanston memorial to World War II dead which bears the inscription “December 7, 1941—blank”, and charged that the failure of local officials to insert the second date was proof that the war had not ended so far as the United States was concerned. Mr. Allen Dulles pointed out in this connection that in some instances the governments of these people probably compelled them to make such charges when they returned home.

In reference to the foregoing, Mr. Cutler made a comment about the happiness expressed by the Secretary of State at the February 17 meeting over the fact that these religious people were permitted entry to this country. The Secretary said that he wanted to correct any misunderstanding on that score. He said he was happy that such a great organization as the World Council of Churches wasn’t driven away, for he thought it would have been scandalous if the World Council had been forced by our policies to hold its meeting outside the United States.

[Page 198]

The Attorney General indicated that the only reason these people were being let in was to help the national interests of the United States. He thought, accordingly, that the Director of Central Intelligence should continue to keep a close check on what such people did and said when they returned to their respective homelands, for the purpose of determining whether we were achieving the desired results in granting them entry to the United States.

Mr. Rockefeller thought that the Director of Central Intelligence should report on the general psychological attitude being evinced around the world regarding the restrictive policies of our immigration laws, and Mr. Cutler replied that this subject was already covered in the basic paper.

Secretary Dulles, speaking of other psychological aspects of the cold war, mentioned that he had seen an item on TV from New York last night describing the interview which was held with one of the two Americans who had been thoroughly brain-washed by the Chinese Communists and who had returned to the United States by air yesterday. He thought the manner in which this individual “carried on” before the press and cameras was shocking; that he was vitriolic in his criticism of the United States to the point that it would make one’s blood run cold to witness such a demonstration on the part of any American.

Secretary Wilson said that in the case of the American prisoners of war who were captured by the Chinese Communists and brainwashed, the military tried to take care of that situation by keeping them in camps for a while after they were brought back to the United States.

Secretary Humphrey said that while he had not seen the TV broadcast referred to by Secretary Dulles, he had heard about it, and that the general impression of those who reported it to him was along the lines that a terrible thing had been done to the returnee by the Chinese Communists in that he had obviously become deranged mentally.

Mr. Allen Dulles thought that it might be a good idea to put such individuals on slow boats rather than fly them back to the United States immediately after their release by the Chinese Communists.

The President commented that some of the newspaper people, by their ballyhooing of a situation of this sort, were only trying to stir up controversy, and he cited, as an example, the effort on the part of the people at his press conference yesterday to try and point [Page 199] up differences between the Secretary of State and Senator George on certain foreign policy questions.6

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

Secretary Wilson, referring to the fact that Soviet “agriculturists” would be coming in in the near future, said that it was in one respect a good thing, in that it indicated to him, from a military point of view, that the food situation in the Soviet Union was bad. On the other hand, he said he didn’t want to help that particular situation by enabling their agricultural experts, through visits to the United States, to learn ways and means of bettering the agricultural situation in the Soviet Union. To this the President said that he did not believe that permitting a few Soviet farmers to visit this country would improve the situation one-half of one per cent. The President pointed out that the Russians got all of our literature and pamphlets on subjects. Furthermore, the President said, when U.S. farmers visited the Soviet Union they would be in a position to talk about how superior their agricultural attainments were to those of the USSR. In addition, the President said that this program was designed to help individuals as well as governments to get together. Considering these and related psychological factors, the President said, he did not feel too concerned about the point raised by Secretary Wilson.

Mr. Cutler indicated that NSC 5508 would be revised in line with the proposal contained in the Attorney General’s memorandum of March 22 and in the light of the discussion at today’s Council meeting.

The National Security Council:7

Noted and discussed the memorandum on the subject by the Attorney General, transmitted by the reference memorandum of March 22, and concurred in by the Secretary of State.
Adopted the statement of policy contained in the reference report (NSC 5508) subject to the following changes:
Paragraph 10–d: Insert “religious,” after “educational,” in line 2.
Paragraph 11–c: Insert “religious,” after “educational,” in line 2.
Paragraphs 12, 13 and 14: Delete, and substitute in the following therefor, renumbering the final paragraph accordingly: [Page 200]

“12. The Secretary of State will informally advise the Attorney General or the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service of any individual or group falling within paragraphs 10 or 11 above, that desires to come to the United States. The Immigration and Naturalization Service will then develop, in consultation with the Department of State, the necessary plans and controls which should be put into effect, including the selection of a non-Governmental organization to make arrangements for and to monitor the visitor or visitors while in the United States in cases where such action is appropriate. When such plans are complete, the Secretary of State will be advised, at which time the necessary formal actions will be taken to authorize admission.

Note: NSC 5508, as amended and adopted, approved by the President; circulated as NSC 5508/1;8 and referred to the Secretary of State and the Attorney General for the policy guidance contained in paragraphs 10 and 11 thereof and for appropriate action pursuant to paragraphs 12 and 13 thereof.

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Item 2 was prepared by Coyne; the remaining items were prepared by Gleason, on March 25.
  2. Regarding NSC 5427, “Restricting Diplomatic and Official Representatives of Soviet Bloc Countries in the United States in Connection With Strategic Intelligence,” July 19, 1954, see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. VIII, footnote 9, p. 1246. NSC 5508 is not printed, but see NSC 5508/1, infra. Gleason’s memorandum of February 16 to the Council was a covering memorandum transmitting a memorandum from Radford to the Secretary of Defense, dated February 15, giving the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on NSC 5508. (Department of State, S/P-NSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, Admission to the U.S. of European Soviet Bloc Nationals) Regarding NSC Action No. 1366 and Lay’s memorandum to the Council of March 22, see footnote 1, Supra.
  3. See Supra.
  4. Not further identified.
  5. Bishop Janos Peter of the Reformed Church of Hungary.
  6. For the transcript of the President’s press conference on March 23, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1955, pp. 350–365.
  7. Paragraphs a–b and subparagraphs constitute NSC Action No. 1357. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95)
  8. Infra.