37. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and European Regional Organizations0

Topol 1669. Khrushchev’s speech of November 10 launching idea of Western evacuation Berlin was clearly made in the face of full knowledge of basic agreements relating to status of Berlin and of clear tripartite commitment to defend Berlin. It was thus in itself a menace of aggression against a known position. When it provoked the reaction in Western capitals which had to be forthcoming Khrushchev in his second speech of November 141 followed the Soviet tactic of developing the position that Western resistance to change in Berlin would be “aggressive.” This parallels current Soviet revolutionary theory expressed by Suslov2 at 20th Congress CPSU as follows:

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3 Communists and the working class naturally prefer more painless forms of transition from one social system to another. The form of transition however, as has been shown here by Comrade Khrushchev, depends on concrete historical circumstances. Moreover, the question of whether the methods are more peaceful or more violent depends not so much on the working class as on the degree of resistance offered by the exploiting classes in the process of being overthrown, unwilling voluntarily to part with big property, political power, and other privileges in their hands.”

In other words, if sheep resist being eaten by wolves this constitutes aggression by sheep. It may be useful to make this point in NAC discussion November 17.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/11–1558. Confidential. Drafted and approved by Kohler.
  2. For text of Khrushchev’s speech on November 14, in which he stated that the Soviet Government would prepare an appropriate document on the status of Berlin, see Pravda, November 15, 1958, pp. 1–2.
  3. Mikhail Andreevich Suslov, member of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
  4. Ellipsis in the source text.