141. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State0
1903. Eyes only Secretary. During sleighride yesterday Khrushchev asked what I thought of his Supreme SOV speech.1 I replied I thought it was sensible step to demobilize over million men who were not engaged in productive work and not needed for defense. Khrushchev said he had been obliged to use all of his authority to persuade SOV military but that they now agreed with him. He said many soldiers would be withdrawn from East Germany and Hungary where local forces were adequate and he added that they might even withdraw all SOV forces. In this connection he mentioned great expense of keeping SOV troops outside SOV Union. Khrushchev indicated that reduction would also affect Navy and Air Force. He said Stalin had made mistake in attempting build up Sevastopol as strongpoint and said SOV Union intended remove virtually all naval vessels from Black Sea. He said he doubted if they would even keep a single submarine there since rockets and other land-based weapons could deal with any hostile incursions in this area. [Page 500] He said they would probably make Sevastopol an open city. He said military were very slow to adjust to modern developments and even now would like to build cruisers which had very short range of fire. He had told his naval officers that no enemy was going to be foolish enough to approach within such range as it was unnecessary to do so.
I raised question of Kirichenko’s assignment2 and Khrushchev said Rostov was important area which they wanted to strengthen. It had suffered from drought in past year and was important industrial center. He said present party rep there was not a bad fellow but Kirichenko was particularly able at dealing with such problems. He said Belayev would be replaced in Kazakhstan by Kunayev who is presently Chairman of Kazakh Council of Ministers.3 He thought Belayev might be sent to Stavropol where party chief is being retired.
At luncheon Khrushchev asked Mikoyan to preside as toastmaster and it is clear that their relationship continued to be close. He referred to Mikoyan several times as his First Deputy and submitted with good grace when Mikoyan exercised his prerogative as toastmaster several times to prevent Khrushchev from interrupting. Khrushchev also privately expressed to me his admiration for Kozlov’s ability. Adzhubei is clearly young man on the make but he seemed to be very much afraid of his father-in-law and I gained impression Khrushchev somewhat lacking in respect for him.
Toasts were mostly of non-political nature and Khrushchev several times called Mikoyan to order when he started introduce political note. At one point however Mikoyan said to one of young men present that if West did not follow Khrushchev’s example in disarmament then he would have to do his military duty.
Khrushchev proposed toast to President and expressed his great admiration and friendship for him. He said SOV Union had not been asked to express its opinion on our forthcoming election but if given opportunity they would vote for Eisenhower. I proposed toast to Khrushchev and made reference to his work to improve relations between our countries. I recalled that when in US he had pointed out that consolidation of peace would require much patience and I expressed hope that both sides would patiently continue their efforts despite reverses and obstacles that were certain to arise.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 761.551/1–1860. Secret. A notation by Goodpaster on another copy of this telegram indicates that the President saw it. (Eisenhower Library, Staff Secretary Records, International Series)↩
- See Document 140.↩
- See Document 140.↩
- Nikolay Ilich Belayev, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Kazakhstan, was appointed First Secretary of the Communist Party in Stavropol in January 1960. Dinmukhamed Akhmedovich Kunayev, Chairman of the Kazakh Council of Ministers, was appointed First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Kazakhstan sometime in 1960.↩