67. Memorandum of Discussion at the 394th Meeting of the National Security Council0

[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda item 1.]

2. Visit of Deputy Prime Minister Mikoyan to the United States

Secretary Dulles stated his doubt whether it was worthwhile to take up much of the Council’s time with an account of Mikoyan’s visit to this country. If the members of the Council had read the newspapers carefully they would know as much about the Mikoyan visit as anyone else.

There was, however, continued Secretary Dulles, one curious and difficult matter to explain about the visit. That is what happened on [Page 257] Mikoyan’s last day in Washington and what occurred particularly in his conversation with Under Secretary of State Dillon.1 On this latter occasion Mikoyan had violently denounced Dillon’s proposals for a gradual improvement in trade relations between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Indeed, he went on to make of Mr. Dillon far-reaching demands which he must have known would have to be refused. These included the granting of U.S. credits to the U.S.S.R., treatment of the U.S.S.R. in the context of the Most Favored Nation, and removal of all obstacles to trade in strategic materials. Thereafter, when he left this country Mikoyan accused us of carrying on the Cold War. These maneuvers all seemed to have been contrived and they were extremely difficult to reconcile with Mikoyan’s earlier efforts to appear to be conciliatory. On Friday, a day on which Secretary Dulles said he had spent most of his time with Mikoyan, the question of U.S. credits to the U.S.S.R. for trade purposes was not even mentioned, although apparently Mikoyan mentioned this matter briefly to the President.2 Accordingly, it seemed to Secretary Dulles that these maneuvers were deliberately contrived for a purpose.

With respect to the world situation in general, Mikoyan had contented himself with putting on a very spirited defense of all the existing U.S.S.R.positions. One could detect no change or weakening in any respect except perhaps that Mikoyan had asked for talks on Germany which would be limited to two subjects: namely, Berlin and a German Peace Treaty. To this proposal we had replied that in any talks on Germany it would be impossible to isolate these two issues and that such matters as German unification and European security could not be excluded from these conversations. Also we underlined our refusal to meet with the Soviet Union under the latter’s dictation as to the agenda topics. The fact that Mikoyan did not reject out of hand this response of ours may perhaps portend some slight concession. Otherwise, there was no weakening whatsoever in the well-known general Soviet position. In fact, said Secretary Dulles, he did not anticipate any significant change in the Soviet position until we had come closer to the end of the six months period at which point the Soviets had threatened to turn over their responsibilities in Berlin to the East German regime.

Mr. Allen Dulles expressed the thought that Mikoyan’s ploy on his last day in the U.S. might have been motivated by a desire to provide himself with a thesis for the report which he would make to the Party Congress in Moscow next week. The events of the last day could provide Mikoyan with material for a blast against the U.S. on grounds of our refusal to increase our trade with the Soviet Union. Khrushchev [Page 258] may well be worried about the possibility of too great a relaxation of tensions and Mikoyan could help meet his anxiety with such a blast against the U.S.

The National Security Council:3

Noted and discussed the policy implications of the subject visit in the light of an oral report by the Secretary of State.

[Here follow the remaining agenda items.]

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Prepared by Gleason on January 22.
  2. See Document 65.
  3. See Document 64.
  4. The paragraph that follows constitutes NSC Action No. 2038, approved by the President on January 23. (Department of State, S/S-NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)