118. Memorandum of Conversation0
- Mr. Khrushchev
- Henry Cabot Lodge
- Ambassador Menshikov
- Mr. Sukhodrev
- Mr. Akalovsky
- Car Trip from Twentieth-Century Fox to Hotel
During the ride through Los Angeles from Twentieth-Century Fox studio to the hotel Mr. Khrushchev, after some casual talk, was asked by Mr. Carter, Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles, who was accompanying us, what had impressed him most in the United States so far. Mr. Khrushchev replied that he had seen nothing that had impressed him particularly because he had been familiar with the United States and the conditions prevailing here even before coming to this country. Everything he had seen so far only confirmed what he had learned about the United States previously by watching movies, reading books, and studying reports about the United States. The situation in this respect was the same as with the United States Senators he had met during his meeting in the Capitol1—he had known all of them before through reading their speeches, and the only difference now was that he had met them personally.
He then went on to say that he was extremely well informed about the United States and about the internal developments in this country [Page 427] through his intelligence service. The Soviet Union had even got money from the United States for its intelligence work, he remarked jokingly, because some of the agents who had been sent by the United States to the Soviet Union had been caught and the Soviet intelligence service had kept sending reports to Mr. Allen Dulles in their name with occasional requests for additional funds. Those funds had been received and thus the United States had paid the Soviet Union for its own intelligence operations. There had also been agents who defected to the Soviet Union who had been sent back to the United States as Soviet double agents. He continued to boast about the extreme efficiency of his intelligence service and said that they knew everything. For instance he said, they knew about a highly confidential message from the President to Mr. Nehru, which the President had written in connection with the Chinese-Indian border disputes.2 This message had not been published in the United States and, Mr. Khrushchev continued, I probably didn’t know about it but if I wished he could supply me with a copy.
I replied that I certainly didn’t know anything about it and said that I doubted that he would send me a copy. He remarked that he would show me that he was telling the truth by sending me a copy—which he has not done. He then went on to say that the Soviet Union had known everything about the Turk preparation for military action against Syria about a year ago. The Soviet Union had found out not only the exact disposition of Turkish troops, but also the designations and plans for operation. This information had been published by the Soviet Government and the Turkish General Staff had been completely reshuffled because of that.
Mr. Khrushchev said that he also knew of a confidential letter from the Shah of Iran which had been sent to the President before Mr. Khrushchev’s arrival in the United States.3 In that letter the Shah requested the President to exert some influence on Mr. Khrushchev so as to make him relieve the Soviet pressure on Iran. He then said that the Soviet Union had had complete information as to the preparations for the American exhibition in Moscow and the arguments within the United States Government on this subject about a year ago. He said that those arguments had undermined the success of the American exhibition in Moscow, which in effect was a failure. He claimed that the Soviet people didn’t like the American exhibit at all and that after the Czech glassware exhibit had opened in Moscow the Soviet people holding tickets for the American exhibit had been trading two tickets to the American exhibit for one ticket to the Czech exhibit. He concluded this conversation by [Page 428] saying that he reads a lot of American intelligence reports and circulars sent out by Mr. Allen Dulles, although he would much rather read good novels. Nevertheless, as a Premier he had to be well versed in what was going on.
- Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1474. Confidential. Drafted by Akalovsky.↩
- Regarding Khrushchev’s September 16 meeting with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, see Document 108.↩
- Presumably Eisenhower’s September 2 letter to Nehru, printed in vol. XV, pp. 513–514.↩
- Presumably the Shah’s August 16 letter to Eisenhower; see vol. XII, Document 274.↩