91. Letter From Chairman Khrushchev to President Eisenhower0

Dear Mr. President: I have received your letter and the confidential verbal message transmitted by Mr. Robert Murphy through my First Deputy, F.R. Kozlov.2

I have studied your considerations with great attention and deem it necessary to inform you of the following:

As you know, in the past I have more than once spoken of the desirability of your visiting our country and of the possibility of my visiting the USA. This subject was also touched upon in my recent conversation with the Governors from the USA,3 to which you are referring. For this reason, I have learned with pleasure from your message that you are expressing the desire to visit the Soviet Union at the end of this year, approximately in October. I can assure you, Mr. President, that you will be a welcome guest of ours and that you will be received in the Soviet Union with all the hospitality which is inherent in our people.

You have also communicated that you would like to have us agree with regard to an informal meeting between us in the USA as early as this summer. I agree with you on the usefulness of a friendly exchange of opinion between us on questions of mutual interest and I readily accept your suggestion for such a meeting.

People who know say that the weather in America is very hot in August and that for a man who is not used to your climate this time of the year is not suitable for a visit. They believe that September would be a more favorable time for my visit. Therefore, I could come to your country in September, but I should like to know what your opinion is. If this time is agreeable to you we could agree on a specific date.

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I attach no particularly great significance to the form of an exchange of opinion between us, i.e. whether it will be in the form of negotiations or an informal discussion. It appears that at this stage it is better to have a discussion on an informal basis, as you have proposed. But the main thing, of course, is to find a common language and common understanding of the problems we are to resolve.

I also accept with great pleasure your kind suggestion that I make a tour of your country, and I could allocate for that purpose from 10 to 15 days. I shall instruct our Ambassador to deliberate a program for my stay in the USA and I should like to ask you, Mr. President, to instruct, at your discretion, someone to give us recommendations as to how this period of time can be spent more productively and with greater benefit, so as to learn better about life in America and the activities of the American people.

It appears that we should agree as to the basis on which your visit to the Soviet Union and my visit to the USA would take place.

In your message, you, Mr. President, make the convening of a meeting at the highest level contingent upon positive results of the Conference of Foreign Ministers at Geneva. Our views on this subject are apparently known to you. Just as you do, we wish to hope that progress will be made at the negotiations at Geneva, and we are doing everything in our power to achieve this goal, although efforts by our country alone are not sufficient for success.

However, we believe that a meeting at the highest level is necessary irrespective of whether our Ministers of Foreign Affairs will be able to move forward at Geneva or not. Moreover, it is our opinion that a meeting of heads of state and heads of government will be particularly necessary if no progress is made at the Geneva negotiations. We believe that our Governments must not halt when confronted with difficulties—they must do everything possible to normalize the situation, to lessen international tension, and to ensure solid and lasting peace.

As to your considerations with regard to the holding in the near future, of a meeting at the highest level at Quebec, we have no grounds for objecting to having such a meeting take place at Quebec.

I express the hope that the considerations which I have set forth will meet with favorable attitude on your part.

Sincerely yours,

N. Khrushchev4
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Dulles-Herter Series. Top Secret. A handwritten note by the President at the top of the source text reads: “State is working on draft—it will be cabled first to Herter. DE”

    On July 21 at 6:45 p.m., Ambassador Menshikov called on the President and gave him the Russian text of this letter and an oral translation. Eisenhower expressed his thanks for Khrushchev’s prompt and courteous response and added that the United States had never specified what progress in negotiations should be made before a summit meeting. The important thing was to be able to point to progress as men of good will and to the maintenance of U.S. rights in Berlin. He believed that the visits and informal talks would be helpful to U.S.-Soviet relations. (Memorandum of conversation; Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1459) The source text does not indicate who prepared the translation of the letter printed here.

  2. The source text gives no place of origin; perhaps because Khrushchev was in Poland July 14–23.
  3. See Documents 8789.
  4. See footnote 8, Document 79, and Document 83.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature