90. Report Prepared in the Office of Soviet Union Affairs0


  • Kozlov Visit: Evaluation

1. Kozlov’s Impact in US

On the whole Kozlov probably made a favorable personal impression on most Americans he met during his fortnight’s visit. his appearance, for one thing, was disarmingly non-revolutionary. Conservatively dressed in Western-style dark serge, white shirt and a banker’s tie, flashing a ready smile, and speaking in moderate rather than declaratory tones, he displayed qualities of persuasion that caused San Francisco clothing store magnate Cyril Magnin to exclaim (albeit fatuously) “I’d like to have him working for me as a salesman”.

Whether Kozlov’s message, or the variations of it he delivered on various occasions, made an impression of comparable plausibility seemed open to question. The principal catechism—peace, friendship, coexistence—was already familiar, if not trite; and Kozlov added no specifics to the formula which would have added verisimilitude. his central point was that if good relations between the two major powers can be secured, world peace would become a certainty. He was at pains to make clear to Americans that, given the existence of opposing social systems, a certain amount of friction and disagreement was inevitable and should not occasion undue anxiety. At the same time, he urged, efforts should be made to hold these irritations to a controllable minimum, without aggravating them by the indiscriminate use of pejorative terms like Communist and Imperialist. Above all, renunciation of force and dedication to the solution of disputes through negotiations is paramount. For its part, Kozlov argued, the USSR was a dependable partner whose word, contrary to some assertions, could be trusted; it had honored the wartime alliance and the armistice agreements in Korea and Viet-Nam. In any event, the US side was not free from the onus of breaking agreements, he charged, referring specifically to Germany.

Kozlov was obviously concerned to reduce suspicion of Soviet intentions; the program to catch up with and surpass the US in per capita output should not be taken as a threat, but as testimony that the US is considered the most worthy rival in an enterprise of raising living standards to which no American should in fairness take exception.

[Page 321]

Finally, instead of looking backward, the two countries should look forward. In resources, technological achievements, and national character the two countries, he stressed, had much in common. Expanded cultural relations had already proved their value; trade was next on the agenda, although in this respect Kozlov rather defensively added that the USSR was not in the position of a supplicant, since it had demonstrated its ability to survive economic blockade. Further, he maintained, the USSR had, in superabundance, all of the resources required to meet the goals of its economic plans. Trade, therefore, is a desirable thing rather than an economic necessity. And the main obstacle to trade was not US businessmen who had in concrete terms indicated their readiness to do business (e.g., the recent proposed sale of an entire chemical plant to the USSR),1 but the US Government and in particular the State Department.

We estimate that a characteristic reaction to all these fair words was one of polite attention and approval in principle, strongly tempered by skepticism as to how Soviet verbal reasonableness would be translated into action. Kozlov made no serious effort to defend the Berlin proposals in public, and similarly he avoided discussing the East European situation. Rather he became involved in discussion of thorny problems only when prodded fairly strongly by his American interlocutors. his very silence on immediate and specific issues diluted the effectiveness of his sales campaign.

2. Impact of Trip on Kozlov

Kozlov’s stated estimate of the trip was unequivocally positive: to Harriman he said that the visit had been “very useful” and that he was leaving the country with the warmest feelings in his heart.2 Before his departure he told both State Department representatives3 who had accompanied him that he was completely satisfied with all the arrangements that had been made, was grateful for all the help given him, and had no adverse comments of any kind. He also told Harriman that he had been deeply touched by the spontaneous applause given the Soviet singing and dancing ensemble in Madison Square Garden. He regarded this warm reception as further testimony of the basically friendly feelings between the two peoples. There seems to be no ground for doubting that these comments were accurate reflections of Kozlov’s response to the cordial attention and sincere welcome given him in this country.

As a Party careerist who had never been outside of the Sino-Soviet bloc (bloc for Finland), Kozlov could have been expected to come to [Page 322] this country with many deeply rooted prejudices; and he undoubtedly departed with the fundamental tenets of ultimate Communist victory unshaken. He remarked to his concluding press conference that he agreed with Khrushchev that our grandchildren will live in a “socialist” America, although he of course disclaimed any Soviet intention of interfering in US domestic affairs.4 Moreover, as a Presidium member, Kozlov presumably has access to considerable information about this country; and either for that reason or because he is an experienced and self-composed official, he betrayed no astonishment at finding no visible evidence of unemployment and, on the contrary, high morale among the many workers with whom he talked on factory visits.

Kozlov deliberately avoided acquainting himself with certain aspects of American life, notably labor unions and working class housing. He declined an invitation to meet with James Carey on the grounds that he was a labor bureaucrat (reflecting Kozlov’s often expressed contempt for bureaucrats as well as constituting a useful pretext to avoid a sharp cross questioning such as administered to Mikoyan).5 Nor did Kozlov seem displeased when visits to housing redevelopment areas had to be cancelled because of schedule changes caused by his earlier return to Moscow. He did not take advantage of a Levittown, L.I., worker’s invitation to visit his home on the Sunday before his departure.

Given Kozlov’s indoctrination, character, and caution lest he be impaled a la Mikoyan, there are limits on the impact any such brief visit could have made on him. It would, therefore, be extremely difficult to draw any conclusions as to the estimate he may have made of political and social conditions in the US.

Nevertheless, Kozlov is intelligent, observant, practical-minded, and experienced in dealing with men and affairs. Given these qualities, and considering his comments and questions during the trip, we believe he was particularly impressed by technological advances, the abundance and variety of goods and services, the excellence of transportation facilities, the lack of disproportions in the nation’s economic development, and, on the intangible side, by the unmistakable sincerity and integrity of his American hosts and acquaintances. At the same time, Kozlov’s pride in Soviet technological and scientific achievements was doubtless reaffirmed by his probable estimate that in certain phases of economic development (e.g., the harnessing of nuclear power, steel rolling mill equipment) we were either not significantly ahead of the Soviet Union or were even in some respects behind her.

[Page 323]

The bogey of the American businessman profiteering on armaments, if it ever was a real bogey to Kozlov, must have been largely dissipated, although he would not admit this when Harriman attempted to needle him on this score. Kozlov may also have gained a more balanced insight into the relationship between public opinion and the press, for notwithstanding sharply worded editorials in Detroit, for example, his reception by individual Detroit businessmen was entirely courteous. (Kozlov had his staff make full reports to him on all press comments throughout the trip.)

Representing the new apparatchik in the USSR, Kozlov will be heard with particular respect by his Presidium colleagues. his views, while they probably correspond in most respects with those of Mikoyan, may in the end count for more with Khrushchev and the Central Committee.

At least one of Kozlov’s misconceptions was known to be demolished—the tale that during the 1921–23 famine the USSR had to take gold from the churches in order to pay the US for food. When faced down by the Vice President and the Secretary of State over this, and presented with the personal recollections of Mr. Hoover, Kozlov had to admit he was mistaken.6

3. Conclusions

On the one hand, therefore, Kozlov in our opinion did not exert any impact of consequence upon the unity of national purpose over current international questions, or stir up appreciable new pressures for trade. On the other hand, we believe that Kozlov was not insensible to the massive evidence of capitalist vigor and individual enterprise to which he was exposed. The net result of the Kozlov trip, therefore, appears to be a clear gain for US interests, particularly in that it carried forward the process of extending a realistic knowledge of this country to the younger policy-making group within the Soviet hierarchy.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.6111/7–1359. Confidential. Drafted and initialed by McSweeney and Isham on July 16. The source text is incorrectly dated July 13.
  2. Not further identified.
  3. See Document 86.
  4. McSweeney and Isham.
  5. Kozlov’s press conference on July 12 was summarized in The New York Times, July 13, 1959.
  6. Regarding Mikoyan’s meeting with James Carey, see footnote 8, Document 61.
  7. Regarding Kozlov’s assertion, see Document 79. No record of Vice President Nixon’s or Secretary Herter’s statements to Kozlov nor former President Hoover’s personal recollections on this issue have been found.