94. Memorandum of Conversation0
- Vice President’s conversation with Mr. Voroshilov
- United States—Vice President Nixon, Ambassador Thompson, Dr. Milton Eisenhower, Mr. Alexander Akalovsky (interpreting)
- USSR—Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Klimenti Voroshilov
- Mr. M.P. Georgadze, Secretary of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
- Mr. V.V. Kuznetsov, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
- Mr. S.R. Striganov, Deputy Chief of the American Countries Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
- Mr. Lepanov (interpreting)
The conversation took place in the Kremlin, Moscow, USSR.
Mr. Voroshilov opened the conversation by saying that he wanted to greet the Vice President as a dear guest of the Soviet Union and to wish him health and success on his trip, which would be an extensive and interesting one. He said that the Vice President would not only open the American Exhibit in Moscow but also tour the USSR, and expressed the hope that the Vice President would like the country although, of course, people have different tastes.
Mr. Voroshilov also said that he wanted to greet Dr. Eisenhower.
The Vice President expressed his appreciation for the invitation to visit the Soviet Union and for the honor of being received by Chairman Voroshilov. He said that, although it was not his habit to get up very early, this morning he had got up around 6 a.m., because of the change in time between Washington and Moscow, and had visited a farmers’ market.1 That visit had touched him because of the friendly attitude of the farmers selling their products as well as of the customers. Referring to Chairman Voroshilov’s remark regarding the fact that tastes differ, the Vice President said that some farmers had given him an apple and a pear to taste; the fruit tasted very good and it appeared that apples and pears had the same taste all over the world.
Mr. Voroshilov, using a Biblical term, replied that the Soviet people are a “man-loving people”, and they particularly respect high foreign officials such as Mr. Nixon, because any visit by such an official should bring about a rapprochement and better understanding between nations. In this instance, rapprochement would be particularly welcome because it would occur between two nations with different social systems. In turn, any rapprochement consolidates peace throughout the world.
The Vice President agreed with Chairman Voroshilov’s remarks and said that several workers and farmers he had met this morning had said to him that peace was their primary interest; he had assured the people there that the United States is for peace throughout the world. The Vice President also noted that he had been particularly interested in meeting several World War II veterans and that they also expressed their dedication to peace. This was only natural, because anyone who had gone through a war hates war. This is also characteristic of our President, whom Dr. Eisenhower knows, of course, much better, but [Page 335] whom the Vice President has observed at conferences and meetings similar to this one over six and a half years. The President, who knows war better than anybody else in the world is wholeheartedly dedicated to peace.
Chairman Voroshilov observed that there are many war veterans in the USSR who lost their limbs in past wars and that all of them are dedicated to the cause of peace. The trouble with both the United States and the USSR is that they cannot come to agreement that there should be no new war. If only the United States and the USSR, as well as other countries, such as France and the United Kingdom, could get together and decide that there should be no new war, any disagreements could be resolved at a conference table. (At this point, Mr. Kuznetsov interjected that Adenauer would also have to join in such a decision.) Such discussions, Chairman Voroshilov remarked in jest, would not necessarily have to take place with champagne but they would be better with it. The main prerequisite for them is the will on the part of all parties concerned to bring about agreement. He asserted that it was mostly up to the United States and the USSR to bring about a better atmosphere in the world because if these two countries established friendship between them other countries would join them. If the USSR and the United States decided that there should be no war, then there would be no more wars.
The Vice President again referred to President Voroshilov’s remark concerning the fact that tastes may differ and stated that he believed that we must realize that it has always been this way in the world: peoples have also had different systems of government and different approaches to problems. In the past, this resulted in war, and although war is always a terrible thing, past wars did not bring about complete disaster as a war would do today. However, we must realize that there are differences and that there will be vigorous presentation of different points of view. What is important is that we must not allow these differences to bring us to the point where one side would have to fight or surrender. In other words, today, as opposed to the situation prevailing even thirty years ago, the policy of ultimatum is completely outdated.
Chairman Voroshilov recalled the fact that the United States and the USSR were friends during the war and stated that there is no reason for them to fight, particularly in view of the fact that, in historical perspective, only seconds have passed since the time of great friendship between the two countries.
The Vice President emphasized that in order to bring about a situation where such things would not occur, it is important that neither side push the other. We must realize that it is possible to be friends and argue at the same time, but arguing must be done with words rather than fists.[Page 336]
At this point Chairman Voroshilov said that he realized that the Vice President was to go to another meeting and therefore he did not want to detain him. Before leaving, the Vice President delivered to Chairman Voroshilov a personal letter from the President.2 After an exchange of customary pleasantries, the meeting ended at 10:00 a.m.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.1100–NI/7–2459. Secret. Drafted by Akalovsky and approved by Kohler on August 31.↩
- For Nixon’s account of this visit, see Six Crises, pp. 267–269.↩
- Regarding Eisenhower’s July 20 letter to Voroshilov, see Document 92.↩