42. Memorandum From Secretary of State Dulles to President Eisenhower0


  • Social Contacts of Soviet Ambassador Menshikov with high United States Officials

Following our conversation of March 28, the Department asked Ambassador Thompson for his views on the advisability of informing Soviet Ambassador Menshikov that we did not look with favor upon the issuance or acceptance of invitations to Cabinet officers and other high [Page 160] officials unless and until Ambassador Thompson had similar opportunities to see comparable Soviet officials.1

Ambassador Thompson states that at receptions he meets members of the Party Presidium, the only officials comparable to our Cabinet officers. He does not deem it advisable to pay calls on them or have them to meals, as he thinks the Soviets could exploit some of his NATO colleagues who would follow suit for the purpose of disrupting Western unity.2 I support this view.

Ambassador Thompson has, however, recently entertained members of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers. In view of his apparent access to high Soviet governmental officials, I recommend that we not approach Ambassador Menshikov at this time with regard to his invitations to United States officials.

Nonetheless, in view of the public attacks being made on you and the United States by Khrushchev et al. (e.g., at Minsk and Budapest)3 and the Soviets’ evident desire for acceptance in Latin America, I think that our official attitude toward Ambassador Menshikov should be somewhat reserved. Therefore, I suggest that we advise members of the Cabinet individually to avoid accepting invitations to meals, but to accept, if they wish, occasional invitations to receptions. You may wish to take this matter up in a Cabinet meeting.4

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Dulles-Herter Series. No classification marking.
  2. Dulles’ memorandum of his conversation with the President, March 28, is ibid., Dulles Papers, Meetings with the President. The request for Thompson’s views is in telegram 1109 to Moscow, March 31. (Department of State, Central Files, 601.6111/3–3158) Dulles’ concern about Menshikov’s invitations was part of his disapproval of what he believed to be a Soviet public relations campaign to influence high-level public opinion in the United States. Menshikov also asked to see Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, Senate Majority Leader, and Congressman John W. McCormack, House Majority Leader. Dulles spoke on the telephone with both about Menshikov’s invitations. (Memoranda of telephone conversations; Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Telephone Conversations)
  3. Thompson’s views are in telegram 1680 from Moscow, April 1. (Department of State, Central Files, 601.61/4–158)
  4. Reference is to speeches at Minsk on January 22 and at Budapest on April 3 and April 4. For text of the speech at Minsk, see Current Digest of the Soviet Press, March 5, 1958, pp. 15–22 and 51. A condensed text of the two speeches at Budapest is printed ibid., May 14, 1958, pp. 13–15.
  5. A handwritten notation in the President’s handwriting at the end of the source text reads: “OK/D.E.” According to the minutes of the Cabinet meeting on April 18, the President called attention to this memorandum and urged discretion in accepting social invitations from the Soviet Ambassador. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Cabinet Series)