152. Memorandum for the Record0

My checking back indicates the following:

On Thursday, May 12th, just as the Cabinet Meeting came to an end,1 the President and Mr. Gates stood for a moment behind their chairs in the Cabinet Room and the President told Mr. Gates that he was issuing instructions to call off all activities that might be taken by [Page 522] the Soviets as provocative. This included instructions regarding cessation of the U–2 project. With respect to Defense, he wished Mr. Gates to take action to assure that such things were called off.

The President then went into his office with Secretary Herter, with me also present.2 He told Mr. Herter the same thing concerning calling off all activities of a provocative nature, and asked me so to inform Mr. Allen Dulles, both generally and with specific regard to the U–2. (I did so by telephone following this meeting.)3

The following day, after a presentation given to the President by General Twining and a group from the Joint Staff in the Cabinet Room,4 General Twining told the President he had just received word that Air Marshal Vershinin’s visit to the United States was being postponed. After some discussion, the President told General Twining of the instructions he had issued and asked that General Twining assure, with respect to Defense activities, that any of a provocative nature be called off. General Twining said he would do so.

Brigadier General, USA
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Project Clean Up. Secret. Prepared by Goodpaster.
  2. According to minutes of the Cabinet meeting on May 12, there was no discussion of the U–2 incident. (Ibid., Whitman File, Cabinet Series)
  3. According to a memorandum of a conference between the President and Herter following the Cabinet meeting on May 12, which Goodpaster prepared on May 16: “The President told Mr. Herter he would like to have a recess or a restriction imposed on all intelligence operations of a ‘provocative’ nature. Mr. Herter said he would pass the word along these lines, and stated that he had already told the Air Force to cut down on ‘ferret’ operations.” (Ibid., DDE Diaries)
  4. No further record of this telephone conversation has been found.
  5. In a memorandum for the record, prepared on May 17, Gordon Gray noted that on May 13 at 9:45 a.m., General Twining, with the assistance of four military staff officers, presented to the President a study he had requested evaluating the wartime situation following a nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the President said he was satisfied with the study. (Eisenhower Library, Project Clean Up, Meetings with the President)