The publication Foreign Relations of the United States constitutes the official record of the foreign policy of the United States. The volumes in the series include, subject to necessary security considerations, all documents needed to give a comprehensive record of the major foreign policy decisions of the United States together with appropriate materials concerning the facts that contributed to the formulation of policies. Documents in the files of the Department of State are supplemented by papers from other government agencies involved in the formulation of foreign policy.

The basic documentary diplomatic record printed in the volumes of the series is edited by the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, Department of State. The editing is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and in accordance with the following official guidance first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925:

There may be no alteration of the text, no deletions without indicating the place in the text where the deletion is made, and no omission of facts which were of major importance in reaching a decision. Nothing may be omitted for the purpose of concealing or glossing over what might be regarded by some as a defect of policy. However, certain omissions of documents are permissible for the following reasons:

To avoid publication of matters that would tend to impede current diplomatic negotiations or other business.
To condense the record and avoid repetition of needless details.
To preserve the confidence reposed in the Department by individuals and by foreign governments.
To avoid giving needless offense to other nationalities or individuals.
To eliminate personal opinions presented in despatches and not acted upon by the Department. To this consideration there is one qualification: in connection with major decisions it is desirable, where possible, to show the alternative presented to the Department before the decision was made.

Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, Volume XXV

In preparing this volume, the editors have focused upon the principal expressions of major U.S. political and economic policy toward the Communist governments of Eastern Europe and the few significant [Page IV] bilateral diplomatic exchanges with those governments during the 1955–1957 period. The Government of Finland maintained its democracy and independence but in the shadow of the close Soviet presence. The documentation presented here exemplifies the kinds of information and insights available to U.S. policymakers in Washington and the conclusions and analyses that were drawn regarding the scope and significance of the Communist control of the populations of Eastern Europe. U.S. policymakers viewed Eastern Europe as part of the “Soviet bloc” and formulated their evaluations and options toward the “satellite” governments on a regional basis. The largest portion of the documents presented in this volume reflect that contemporary regional frame of reference.

Major turning points in the long postwar period of Communist domination of Eastern Europe were the uprisings in Poznań in Poland in 1956 and the Hungarian rebellion of 1956. The editors have highlighted these historic occurrences and presented as separate chapters the documentation on U.S. understanding and perception of these events and official policies adopted toward them. The editors made a special effort to document the U.S. information policy toward the Hungarian rebellion and the development of policies regarding the broadcasts of the Voice of America during the crisis.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, usually working through Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and the National Security Council apparatus, exercised the decisive role in the definition of U.S. policy toward Eastern Europe. The editors had the fullest possible access to the Presidential and National Security Council materials for these years at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas and in the Department of State. While the Presidential and NSC documents represent only a small portion (one-sixth) of the record printed here, they define the main line of American policy. They are presented here in relatively complete form although there have been significant deletions in some documents to protect national security information.

The files of the Department of State were the primary source of records for this volume. Three-quarters of the documents printed here are from those files. The editors have emphasized diplomatic reporting and the evolution of U.S. official perceptions of the Eastern European regimes. It was not practical to document the details of the difficult and seriously circumscribed status of U.S. diplomatic missions in these countries. The activities of military, information, cultural, and economic representatives and officials in Eastern Europe at this time were even more constrained than those of the diplomatic missions. The editors chose, by and large, not to try to include official documentation regarding these minor activities in this volume.

U.S. intelligence assessments of Soviet military, political, and economic intentions and of developments in the Eastern European nations were important factors in the formulation of U.S. official attitudes and actions during the period covered by this volume. The [Page V] editors have been able to include some of the most significant high-level intelligence evaluations regarding Eastern Europe at this time, including National Intelligence Estimates and intelligence briefings to the National Security Council by the Director of Central Intelligence. The editors were not able and did not seek to document intelligence operational activities in Eastern Europe from the records available in the Department of State or those of any other government agency.

The official record presented in this volume has been supplemented by information from some of the principal memoirs of government officials who served during the period. A complete list of documentary sources and printed volumes cited in the volume is printed on pages IX–XV.

Editorial Methodology

The documents printed in the volume are presented chronologically, but during the Hungarian uprising and its suppression telegrams and other documents originating in Eastern Europe are presented according to local time. Memoranda of conversations are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the Editor in Chief and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in footnotes. Obvious typographical errors are corrected, but other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an omission in roman type. Brackets are also used to indicate text that has been omitted by the compiler because it deals with an unrelated subject. Ellipses are inserted to replace material that remained classified after the declassification review process. Ellipses of three or four periods identify excisions of less than a paragraph; ellipses of seven periods spread across the page identify excisions of an entire paragraph or more. All ellipses and brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.

The first footnote to each document indicates the document’s source, original classification, distribution, drafting information, and, in the case of telegrams, the time of receipt in the Department of State. The source footnote also provides, whenever possible, background information and an indication of who read the document. Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in this volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents.

[Page VI]

Declassification Review Procedures

Declassification review of the documents selected for publication is conducted by the Division of Historical Documents Review, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Department of State. The review is made in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, and the criteria established in Executive Order 12356 regarding:

military plans, weapons, or operations;
the vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, projects, or plans relating to the national security;
foreign government information;
intelligence activities (including special activities), or intelligence sources or methods;
foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States;
scientific, technological, or economic matters relating to national security;
U.S. Government programs for safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities;
cryptology; and
a confidential source.

Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State and of other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and communication with foreign governments regarding documents or information of those governments. The principle of declassification review is to release as much information as is consistent with contemporary requirements of national security and sound foreign relations; some documents originally selected and portions of documents presented have been withheld.

Edward C. Keefer and Stanley Shaloff edited the documents on U.S. policy toward Eastern Europe, while Ronald D. Landa edited the sections on the Balkan Pact, Chiefs of Mission conference, and Finland. The volume was compiled under the supervision of Editor in Chief John P. Glennon. Ornella S. Cavallo of the Historian’s Office prepared the lists of sources, names, and abbreviations. Rita M. Baker, Chief of the Editing Division of the Historian’s Office, performed the technical editing. Barbara A. Bacon of the Publishing Services Division (Paul M. Washington, Chief) oversaw production of the volume. Do Mi Stauber prepared the index.

William Z. Slany

The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs