21. Memorandum From the Acting Director of the Operations Coordinating Board (Washburn) to the Members of the Board 0


  • Timing of “Captive Nations Week” Observance

“Captive Nations Week” has haunted the Vice President on every day of his stay in the U.S.S.R. Issued on the eve of his departure for [Page 100] Moscow, and in the very week of the opening of the American Exhibition—the timing could not have been more inept.1

The coordination of this exercise appears to have fallen between the stools. Congress had originally wanted the week of July 4; the resolution did not even come to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. No one at a high level in State or USIA apparently considered the matter of timing and coordination. The White House did not get into it beyond the routine signing of the proclamation by the President. The OCB did not consider the matter.

Query: Was this one that the OCB should have gotten into? Could a call from Sect State to Senator Fulbright have deferred the observance until after the VP’s trip and after the close of our Exhibition? Should procedures be set up by the OCB to head off this kind of bad timing in the future?2

  1. Source: Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385, USSR & Satellites—General—1959–60. No classification marking. An excerpt from Walter Lippmann’s July 27 column was attached but is not printed.
  2. Vice President Nixon arrived in Moscow on July 23, where he opened the American National Exhibit at Sokolniki Park the following day and engaged in the “kitchen” debate with Chairman Khrushchev. See Documents 92107.
  3. A memorandum from O’Connor to Kohler, dated July 29, in which O’Connor quoted from his preliminary and informal notes at the OCB meeting that day, indicates that Washburn raised the issue of whether the OCB had lived up to its responsibilities regarding the timing of the Captives Nations Proclamation. Robert Murphy and Allen Dulles expressed disappointment with the state of affairs. Murphy called the matter another instance of “Legislative diplomacy,” but he felt that Soviet criticism had been directed more to the Congressional action than to the Presidential proclamation. (Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385, USSR & Satellites—General—1959–60)