100. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State 0

320. For the President from the Vice President. Geneva eyes only for Secretary of State. I met for eight hours with Khrushchev today in what can only be described as an extraordinary experience. Mikoyan and Kozlov were present with all three wives, plus Acting FonOff Kuznetsov, Chief of Cultural Relations Zhukov, Acting Chief American Section FonOff Striganov, Soviet interpreters Troyanovsky and Lepanov. I had Pat, Milton, Ambassador Thompson, Kohler and Akalovsky.

The first two and one-half hours were spent cruising the Moscow River in motor boats, stopping eight times to gather bathers along shore for series of eight “political rallies”. Despite Khrushchev needling me (several times publicly) to effect “here are your captive peoples,” crowds were strikingly friendly and consensus my party applause for Pat, Milton and me even more vigorous than for Khrushchev himself.

Excursion was followed by lunch lasting from 3:30 to 9:00 pm with serious discussion throughout after first half hour.1 On whole, Khrushchev stuck by substantive positions, especially on Berlin and Germany, but tone was not hostile. Presence of ladies throughout, as well as my refusal be drawn into details on negotiating position, induced some restraint and kept conversation general in nature. Point I repeatedly emphasized was that element of crisis, for which he was responsible, must be removed from picture by Geneva if there were to be fruitful further negotiations. He seemed to back away some from previously stated positions. Especially strictly bilateral postscript to long luncheon conversations, in which your recent correspondence brought up, he referred to Murphy conversation with Ambassador Menshikov which he said he considered as reflecting your instructions. In this connection, he said rather cryptically, “instructions sent to Gromyko” at Geneva. In view this, Ambassador Thompson and entire party agree with me in strong recommendation we probe Gromyko at Geneva for a further period before you send reply to Khrushchev on possible bilateral meeting.

At dinner last night Embassy here, Khrushchev was obviously very tired. By this noon he had recovered but his ebullience faded during long afternoon and he was clearly tired again as we parted. He indicated he is leaving soon for vacation and rest.

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Yesterday, in addition Ambassador Thompson dinner for Khrushchev attended by same party as today plus other Ministers, I had long talks with Mikoyan and Kozlov 2 and visited Soviet Exhibition, hosted by Agriculture Minister Matskevitch. Nothing momentous. Tomorrow morning proceed Leningrad. Pressure of schedule has been such paper work is behind. For this reason, I am leaving Kohler and Akalovsky in Moscow to prepare telegrams for you giving full summaries of meetings, especially discussion with Khrushchev today, pending return and submission full report and evaluation.

As you will have learned, full text my speech at Exhibit opening published Pravda yesterday, which old hands here consider phenomenal and of major importance as respects long-term struggle. Exhibit itself is one of which we may be proud. McClellan was elated to receive your letter.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.1100–NI/7–2659. Secret; Limit Distribution; Presidential Handling. Repeated to Geneva.
  2. See Document 99.
  3. See Documents 97 and 98.
  4. Eisenhower’s letter to Harold C. McClellan, general manager of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, July 21, which Nixon handcarried to Moscow, congratulated McClellan for his central role “in transforming this Exhibition from an idea to a reality.” (Eisenhower Library, White House Central Files)

    On July 27, Eisenhower replied to Nixon’s message as follows:

    “Dear Dick: From all the reports I have received about your journey to the USSR, it is clear that you have so conducted yourself as to gain the respect and admiration of almost all Americans. I recognize many of the difficulties which you have to meet and I am grateful to you for the manner in which you are doing it.

    “It is my understanding that the State Department has been providing you with current information and so I have no additional suggestions to make.

    “Please give my warm greetings to Pat, Milton and to the rest of the party, and, of course, all the best to yourself.

    “As ever, DE.” (Transmitted in telegram 321 to Moscow, July 27; Department of State, Central Files, 033.1100–NI/7–2759)