10. Memorandum of Discussion at the 408th Meeting of the National Security Council0

[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and discussion of unrelated subjects.]

At this point the President actually left the meeting. Subsequently and after the conclusion of the discussion on South Asia, Mr. Gray brought before the members of the Council the suggestion by the President and the Vice President, made at last week’s Council meeting,1 with respect to the wisdom of inviting some thousands of Russian students and a selected number of members of the Russian “managerial class” to visit the U.S. in the course of a year. Mr. Gray indicated that he had [Page 29] planned to propose the creation of a committee of Council members headed by the Vice President to advise the President on the wisdom of this proposal. Mr. Gray reminded the members of the Council that the President has specifically insisted that he did not want an elaborate staff operation to decide this question but instead wanted the opinions of his principal advisers. Moreover, continued Mr. Gray, he had specifically asked the President whether the President had been correct in stating at last week’s Council meeting that Mr. J. Edgar Hoover had supported the President’s suggestion for bringing over the Russian students when the President had made this suggestion a couple of years ago. The President had replied that Mr. Hoover had indeed supported this proposal. Mr. George Allen corroborated this fact as a result of a question which he had himself put to Mr. Hoover.

Mr. Gray then said that he felt that the members of the Council had an obligation to provide an expression of their own opinions to the President. Accordingly, he invited the members of the Council to think this matter over as individuals and to report their views to the President at a later meeting of the National Security Council.

Mr. Stans suggested that each member of the National Security Council should provide Mr. Gray with his views on this matter which Mr. Gray could then transmit to the President. Mr. Gray said he thought well of Mr. Stans’ suggestion.

Mr. Allen Dulles wondered whether consideration could be given to this problem at a luncheon meeting of the Operations Coordinating Board. Secretary Dillon said that the State Department was already hard at work on determining their view of this problem. Secretary Dillon also noted that the President might feel the need to be able to make a dramatic move at a Summit Conference if such a conference were to follow the present meeting of the Foreign Ministers. Secretary Dillon felt reasonably sure that the President was thinking about his suggestion for inviting the Russian students in the context of a possible announcement at a Summit Conference.

Secretary McElroy suggested the desirability that the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare would have useful views on the practicality of the President’s suggestion. Mr. Gray replied that he agreed that Secretary Hemming would have to be brought into the act but again warned that the President did not wish anyone to undertake a big staff study of his proposal and therefore had invited each member of the Council to think the matter over, consult privately, and give him their views. [Here follows discussion of unrelated subjects.]

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by Gleason on May 28.
  2. See Document 9.