147. Letter From President Eisenhower to Marshal Zhukov1

Dear Marshal ZHUKOV: I have received your letter about Valery Lysikov.2 By the time I received it, however, Lysikov had already indicated his desire to return to his parents. The American authorities concerned were, of course, preparing at that time to carry out his wishes.

Lysikov’s request to return home was granted in response to a strong principle followed by the United States Government that each person must be allowed to determine his own fate. We have traditionally granted asylum to persons who have sought the protection of the United States Government. We have also insisted upon the right of those persons to leave when they so desired.

I recognize the feelings which Lysikov’s parents must have had about their son and can well appreciate your remarks about the importance of looking at such cases from the humane point of view. In the same spirit, I hope you will understand my feelings in a problem which has been causing great concern to the American people. I have in mind the anguish felt by the families and friends of the Americans being held against their will in the Chinese People’s Republic.

I welcome the chance your letter gave me to send my cordial personal greetings to you and to Madame Zhukov and your two daughters.

Sincerely yours.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 761.00/4–955. Secret; Niact. Transmitted in telegram 806 to Moscow, April 9, to be delivered to the Foreign Ministry. Telegram 806 is the source text. The letter was delivered on April 10.
  2. Document 145.
  3. Telegram 806 does not bear President Eisenhower’s signature.