16. Memorandum of Conversation0
- Joint Communiqué
- The President
- The Secretary
- Amb. Lodge
- Mr. Kohler
- Mr. Irwin
- Amb. Thompson
- Mr. Merchant
- Gen. Goodpaster
- Mr. Akalovsky
- Chairman Khrushchev
- Mr. Gromyko
- Amb. Menshikov
- Mr. Soldatov
- Mr. Troyanovsky
[Following the morning meeting beginning at 11:45 a.m.,1 and lasting for some 20 minutes, on September 27, between the President and Chairman Khrushchev, the U.S. side prepared a draft communiqué, enclosed as U.S. Draft (Tab 1). After this had been approved by the President, Secretary Herter and aides went over the text with Foreign Minister Gromyko and aides. Following their discussions, which began about 12:40 and ended shortly after 1:00, a new draft was prepared which represented the results of the minister-level discussions, including bracketed language representing points not yet agreed; this is attached as Joint Draft (Tab 2). The Joint Draft was presented to the President and Chairman Khrushchev at 1:45 p.m. It was reviewed by the principals in the presence of Secretary Herter and Foreign Minister Gromyko and other aides on both sides.]2
After reading the Joint Draft, Chairman Khrushchev asked for the elimination of the first parenthetical phrase reading “but that there would be no fixed time limit on them”. He confirmed that he had agreed substantively to the language included in this sentence. However, he felt inclusion in the communiqué of the parenthetical phrase would lead to difficult and embarrassing interpretations. In particular it would be claimed as a “great victory for Adenauer”, who had spoken of spinning talks and negotiations out for as much as eight years.[Page 48]
The President said that it might be possible to consider omitting the whole sentence provided he said to his own American people that there was, in fact, to be “no fixed time limit”.
Mr. Khrushchev said that he could confirm such a statement if the President made it.
The Secretary then commented to the President that the omission of this important phrase could be very dangerous.
Gromyko, taking the other tack, said that the inclusion of this language might allow negotiations to go on for as much as fifty years or more.
Mr. Khrushchev then proposed that the entire sentence be omitted. The President would make this statement publicly but separately and Khrushchev would confirm publicly his agreement to the President’s statement.
The President then said the thing that bothered him was that this sentence represented exactly what had been agreed between himself and the Chairman and that he could not understand why the Chairman was not willing to say so in the communiqué.
Mr. Khrushchev said that he did not want the language in the communiqué since this would enable Adenauer to use it for his own purpose.
The President then said that actually without this sentence he saw no use in having a communiqué at all. Except for that sentence the rest of the communiqué was a collection of generalities.
Mr. Khrushchev replied that he thought the communiqué was important for its tone and its mention and highlighting of the important question of disarmament and the like. If there were no communiqué he thought we would run the risk of many false interpretations of what had happened during the talks.
The President then summarized, saying that at first he had thought that there should be no communiqué at all. Later he had agreed that a communiqué should be prepared when Mr. Khrushchev said that he wanted one. However, the sentence in question was the nub of their agreement. He did not see why the inclusion of the statement in the communiqué would be of any special use to Chancellor Adenauer.
Mr. Khrushchev replied that the language might be used to justify the indefinite prolongation of negotiations.
Mr. Gromyko added that moreover a statement by the President of the United States, confirmed by Chairman Khrushchev, was just as strong as the communiqué.
The President commented that he still could not see why he and the Chairman should not make this statement together rather than separately.[Page 49]
Mr. Khrushchev said that if a statement were to be included in the communiqué, he would have to introduce a number of minor amendments and thus prolong the discussion. The parenthetical phrase stating that there would be no fixed time limit was firm and specific, whereas the beginning of the sentence, to the effect that “negotiations should not be prolonged indefinitely” was much less clear and firm.
The President pointed out that this language to him was directly connected with a question of a summit meeting, as he had told Mr. Khrushchev earlier that day. He did not know what he would be able to say to his allies on this subject.
Mr. Khrushchev repeated that the President could make this statement and that he would not deny it.
The President then continued that he would have to make a statement giving his own interpretation of the meaning of the communiqué in this respect.
Mr. Khrushchev said that each party would then have to give its own interpretation. He said the Soviets wanted a summit meeting but felt that such a meeting would not be useful unless there were a mutual desire for it.
The President then said he would agree to the dropping of the sentence from the communiqué but would use the language in a press conference. He repeated, however, that he did not understand Mr. Khrushchev’s unwillingness to include the sentence in the communiqué.
Mr. Gromyko then brought up the question of the final parenthetical sentence saying it would not represent accurately his proposal. He offered two alternative insertions: either that the language should say “all questions arising between the two countries should be settled” etc., or that “all outstanding international questions”.
The Secretary indicated that we preferred the latter formulation and the President indicated his assent to this language. (At this point, Mr. Akalovsky overheard Mr. Gromyko explaining to his own group that the interpretation which the Soviets would give to “international questions” would not include matters which the Soviet Union regarded as internal in nature, i.e. presumably Taiwan, etc.)
Amended versions of the communiqué as finally agreed were then given to Messrs. Hagerty and Berding for issuance in Gettysburg. The meeting terminated shortly after 2:00 p.m. and the President and Chairman Khrushchev and party departed by motorcade for Washington. The draft of the final communiqué, as issued, is attached as Tab 3.3[Page 50] [Page 51]
- Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1463. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Kohler and approved by the White House on October 12.↩
- See Document 14.↩
- Brackets in the source text.↩
- Not printed but see footnotes 6–8 below.↩
- With the exception of the changes mentioned in footnotes 7 and 8 below, the text of this draft is the same as that of the agreed final communiqué.↩
- Last clause objected to by Mr. Gromyko. [Footnote in the source text. The last sentence including the parenthetical clause was not included in the final communiqué.]↩
Suggested by Mr. Gromyko. [Footnote in the source text. In the final communiqué this paragraph reads:
[“The Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and the President of the United States agreed that all outstanding international questions should be settled not by the application of force but by peaceful means through negotiation.”]↩