188. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State0
711. Re: Berlin. I went to lunch which Sobolev1 gave as SC President today. He greeted me at door and asked me how I was. Conversation paraphrased as follows:
Lodge: I am worried about the news from Moscow which seems to represent a dangerous state of mind. I am afraid of hazardous events taking place. I wonder whether the Soviet Government understands that Americans are both firm and undivided on the subject of Berlin. I am not worried about dangerous incidents if the Soviet Government proceeds on correct information, but I fear they misinterpret the informal and apparently casual character of domestic politics as indicating division.
Sobolev: I have not seen the text of Khrushchev’s statement and could not comment on it, but I am sure that Khrushchev knows very well that there is no division in the United States on the subject of Berlin. I believe Mikoyan brought back to Moscow the thought that America is united on that subject. I agree that the Soviet Union should understand the true state of affairs in the United States. But the United States should understand the true state of affairs in the Soviet Union.[Page 394]
Lodge: I am well aware of the Soviet Union’s fear about Germany. I understand why the Soviet Union, having been devastated in World War I and again in World War II by the German Army should have these feelings.
Sobolev: If you really understand why we feel as we do about Germany, you would understand almost everything we do. I don’t know what you are worrying about. We are not about to shoot.
Lodge: But are you not going to block roads and take steps of that type?
Sobolev: You must understand that we definitely intend to get out of Berlin. If there are no negotiations ahead of time there will be a very serious situation.
Lodge: Why then don’t you have a Foreign Ministers’ meeting to conduct such negotiations?
Sobolev: There should be a meeting at the summit. They can do more than a Foreign Ministers’ meeting can do. In connection with the press report of the Khrushchev statement remember that the press exaggerates everything. There are 100 press people in Moscow who are there for the Macmillan visit. There are few news sources in Moscow and they simply make a lot of things up.
During lunch I talked to SYG about this conversation. He believed that the motivation for Khrushchev’s statement was fact that he was being nagged unmercifully by East Germans. He thought Sobolev’s insistence on summit meeting was due to fact that Khrushchev wanted to come to New York, saying that Khrushchev had childish streak in his nature and was resentful at not being taken seriously everywhere. He thought that after job which New York police did in protecting Mikoyan, there was no significant security risk in bringing Khrushchev here.