26. Editorial Note

At the luncheon meeting of the Operations Coordinating Board on March 30, the Board’s Chairman, Gordon Gray, raised the subject of the July 1959 Captive Nations Resolution and asked that the executive departments “be alert to use their initiative and offer advice when such matters are before Congress.” Under Secretary of State Livingston Merchant said that he had little sympathy with the 1959 resolution, calling it “inaccurate and undignified,” although he acknowledged “some of the inherent difficulties faced by the Executive in this type of operation.” (Excerpt from the preliminary and informal notes on the meeting, as quoted in a memorandum from O’Connor to Macomber, October 30; Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385, USSR & Satellites—General—1959–60)

The discussion apparently was sparked by a number of similar resolutions that had been introduced in the Congress. On August 5, 1959, Congressman Alvin Bentley had introduced H. Res. 337, which urged that no summit conference be held until the Soviet Union and the Communist governments in Central and Eastern Europe had taken some visible steps toward the holding of free elections. While this resolution was still pending before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the spring of 1960, Senator Paul Douglas introduced S. Con. Res. 95 on March 21, which was the same as one introduced that day in the House of Representatives by Congressman Michael Feighan. It listed the “puppet Communist regimes” imposed on the peoples of Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Estonia, White Ruthenia, Romania, East Germany, Bulgaria, mainland China, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, North Korea, Albania, Idel-Ural, Tibet, Cossackia, Turkestan, North Vietnam, and others, and, among other things, urged the President “to pursue energetically and as a matter of first priority at the forthcoming Summit Conference the inalienable right of all people to self-government, individual liberty, and the basic human freedoms, and, in particular, the restoration of these God-given rights to the people of the captive nations.” Douglas also introduced S. Res. 102, which was the same as H. Res. 633 introduced by Congressman Clement Zablocki. These two resolutions were limited to the “captive nations of eastern and central Europe.”

At the Operations Coordinating Board meeting on April 6, these several resolutions were discussed by Merchant, who said that the timing of the resolutions was not good, although he recognized that “a certain irresistibility attached to them.” He said that the Department of State was completely opposed to the resolutions giving a long enumeration of nations, but the type confining itself to the nations in Eastern and Central Europe was “less undesirable.” The Board members were in [Page 109] agreement with Merchant’s views, but did not reach any conclusions as to what action to take. (Excerpt from the preliminary and informal notes of the April 6 OCB meeting, as quoted in a memorandum from O’Connor to Macomber and Kohler, April 6; ibid.)