116. Memorandum of Conversation0
- Henry Cabot Lodge
- Mr. Khrushchev
- Mr. Gromyko
- Mr. Troyanovski
- Mr. Akalovsky
- Trip from Hyde Park
On the way from the museum to Mrs. Roosevelt’s cottage I told Mr. Khrushchev that in accordance with his wishes arrangements had been made for a ride through Harlem upon our return to New York City, to be followed by a ride on the subway. I mentioned that the ride through Harlem would take 20 to 25 minutes.
Ambassador Menshikov then engaged in a conversation with Mr. Khrushchev, whereupon he told me that in view of the short time left before Mr. Khrushchev’s appearance at the UNGA, Mr. Khrushchev wanted to go directly back to the hotel after the visit to the cottage.
I replied that this was all right with me but that the Harlem visit had been scheduled to meet his own request.
Menshikov then said that the time scheduled was inconvenient and that therefore the ride had to be canceled. He implied that the time had been selected on purpose so as to make it difficult to have the ride because I did not want Mr. Khrushchev to see Harlem. I objected to his [Page 421] remark very strongly, saying that it had been he who had requested the ride yesterday and that now that his request had been fulfilled, I did not want him to say to Mr. Khrushchev that I prevented him from seeing things he wanted to see. I said this rather sharply in order to let him know that I was aware of his attempts to misrepresent various situations to Mr. Khrushchev.
He asked me not to raise my voice and I apologized for raising my voice.
On the way back to New York City Mr. Khrushchev and I had conversations on a variety of subjects. Touching upon the subject of missiles Mr. Khrushchev spoke very highly of his scientists and engineers and, without mentioning his name, referred to one young scientist in particular who had perfected a rocket that had hit the bull’s eye on its first flight. The reason for that was that this particular engineer had developed an engine that had performed excellently during its very first test on the platform, while many other types of rocket engines had exploded during their first tests and had to be perfected in the course of subsequent tests. This achievement, Mr. Khrushchev said, had reduced the period required for the development of that particular rocket by two years.
I said that I was aware of the high level of technological skills in the Soviet Union and expressed my hope that both in our country as well as in the Soviet Union, those skills would be devoted to peaceful ends rather than to the production of means of war. I said that I was looking forward to Mr. Khrushchev’s forthcoming speech in the UN where he said he would make new disarmament proposals. I asked him whether the proposals would be something entirely new, rather than based on the Soviet proposals made in the past.
Mr. Khrushchev replied that I should be patient and wait until he made his speech. He indicated, however, that he was going to introduce very broad proposals, which would test the sincerity of the United States’ approach to the question of disarmament.
I assured him that the United States was as anxious to achieve real disarmament as any state in the world, provided it was under effective control, so that all parties would be confident that neither side was gaining a unilateral advantage.
I said then that out of the 500 foreign control post personnel envisaged for control over a discontinuance of nuclear tests only 200 would be American or British and that I could not see how the Soviet Union’s security could be affected by such a small number of foreign personnel. I also pointed out that these people would be stationed at control posts and would not roam around the country.[Page 422]
Mr. Khrushchev said that he had not followed the last stage of negotiations on nuclear tests very closely and that therefore he did not know what the present respective positions were.
I told him that our proposal was for one-third local control post personnel, one-third US-UK and one-third from other countries. He expressed the belief that agreement could be reached on this subject.
I told him that if he and President Eisenhower during their talks would reach agreement on the subject of nuclear tests, this would be a sign of confidence that would be greatly encouraging.
Mr. Khrushchev then said that he was sorry the Soviet Union had accepted the U.S. proposal for nuclear explosions for so-called peaceful purposes. He said that they would be nothing but a continuation of testing because the only thing to be tested was the device’s firing mechanism and that purpose could be achieved through so-called peaceful explosions. In referring to Soviet tests he said that each of the tests they had conducted had brought about a decrease in the cost of production of nuclear weapons by 50%. Therefore Soviet experts on atomic weapons were very anxious to continue testing, but he had given them orders not to do so as long as the other powers did not test. He also stated that the Soviet Union was not interested in the production of so-called tactical nuclear weapons because they were too expensive and also because strategic weapons could be used much more effectively. He observed that the United States was a very rich country and that perhaps for that reason it could waste money on the development of tactical weapons. He also mentioned that the Soviet Union had a number of new atomic devices ready for testing, but repeated again that they would be kept in warehouses and not tested so long as other countries did not test their devices.