19. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Bilateral Issues


  • United States
    • Secretary of State
    • Amb. Thompson
    • Mr. Gates
    • Mr. Merchant
    • Mr. Kohler
  • USSR
    • Mr. Gromyko, Soviet Foreign Minister
    • Mr. Sobolev, Soviet Permanent Delegate to the UN
    • Mr. Soldatov, Head of American Section Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • Mr. Zhukov, Chairman of Soviet State Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries
  • (Subsequently joined by Ambassador Lodge, Ambassador Menshikov, Mr. Lacy and Mr. Allen)

[Here follows discussion of unrelated subjects.]

Mr. Gromyko then asked if it would not be possible to negotiate a cultural convention. The Secretary explained that in the field of cultural [Page 47] relations we had entered into no conventions with any country. This involved ratification by the Senate and otherwise presented difficulties. He said, however, that we were entirely willing to sign an agreement on specific exchanges, as Mr. Gromyko knew.

There was some brief general discussion of the state of the talks between officials in Washington on the matter of exchanges. Mr. Zhukov, Mr. Allen and Mr. Lacy, who then joined the group, entered into this discussion.

Mr. Allen referred in particular to the exchange of reading rooms. He said that we were entirely willing to have the Soviet Government open such a room, staff and run it in New York City, provided we had similar facilities in Moscow. Mr. Zhukov, however, had said that they were not yet ready to take this step but that agreement had been reached on the establishment of a book repository in established libraries in New York and Moscow respectively. It was hoped that the next step would be agreement by the Soviets to permit an American librarian to function in the United States book repository in Moscow who would know the material and be able to answer questions and locate information on specific subjects. The Soviets, he said, had indicated that this might be a possible future development.

Mr. Gromyko then looked at a draft paragraph1 jointly agreed by Messrs. Lacy and Zhukov on the subject of exchanges for possible inclusion in a communiqué. Mr. Gromyko said that he would study it and give the Secretary his reaction later.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated subjects.]

The Secretary then referred to the question of jamming and asked Mr. Allen to report on this. Mr. Allen said he had discussed the matter with Zhukov yesterday.2 He had told Mr. Zhukov that we agree that radio broadcasting stations should identify themselves. The US did not like clandestine stations and was prepared to use its influence, as far as circumstances permitted, to curtail clandestine operation. Mr. Zhukov had said he would refer the question back to his government in the light of Mr. Allen’s remarks. Mr. Gromyko said that jamming was not a separate question. It was part of the overall international picture and of the general question of exchanges. It could not be considered as a separate matter. Mr. Allen said that he had reported that he had asked Mr. Zhukov [Page 48] for any Soviet criticism of the Voice of America broadcasts, stressing that we would welcome their views and find them useful. Mr. Gromyko said that jamming was not a cause of international tensions but a result. He said the Soviet side was not prepared to undertake continuous review of VOA broadcasts. This would result in volumes of comments. The US should rather take the necessary measures to change and improve these broadcasts. He believed that the question had been discussed at length between Mr. Allen and Mr. Zhukov.

Mr. Zhukov said that he had proposed to Mr. Allen that all hostile broadcasts be terminated so that the broadcasts would contribute to better relations. Specifically he had suggested that the hours of broadcasting between the two countries be curtailed reciprocally to three hours per day and that they have a positive and constructive character.

Mr. Allen said that he had not understood Mr. Zhukov to say this yesterday. He had thought Mr. Zhukov was talking about direct exchanges of specific hours of recorded broadcasts.

Mr. Zhukov repeated that in the discussion in Mr. Allen’s office yesterday he had suggested that the VOA limit its broadcasts in Russian in the USSR to three hours per day and that the Soviet Union limit its broadcasts in English to the United States to the same time period.

Mr. Allen commented that this was an interesting proposal which he had not previously understood but which he was willing to consider. He added that perhaps the Russians had noted that in fact the VOA was increasing its broadcasting in English throughout the world and had actually decreased in such languages as Russian, Ukrainian and Uzbeki. Mr. Zhukov commented that it was useless to broadcast in these languages (apparently referring to the two latter). Mr. Allen said that he did not want to leave the impression that we were concerned as to how much the USSR broadcast to the United States in English or any other language. This could be 24 hours a day as far as we were concerned.

Mr. Soldatov, who had been interpreting at points for Mr. Zhukov, said he wanted to clarify that the proposal was that there be only three hours of broadcasting a day and that it be constructive in content. Mr. Zhukov said that we had succeeded in reaching agreement between the two countries with respect to the distribution of our magazines, why could we not reach similar agreement with respect to broadcasting.

Mr. Allen said that the magazine agreement had been good as regards the increase in quantities but that there were other points unsettled. For example, the United States wanted to have a much better follow-up on sales in the USSR, i.e., where, in what places and in what quantities, similar to the follow-up that the USSR is able to have with respect to its magazine sales in the US.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated subjects.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1475. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Merchant and Kohler and approved by Herter on October 6. The meeting was held in the main room of the Aspen Lodge.
  2. No copy of the text of this draft paragraph has been found.
  3. No record of a conversation concerning radio broadcasting between Allen and Zhukov on September 25 has been found. Allen was apparently referring to his conversation with Zhukov earlier on September 26 in which Zhukov inquired whether Allen had a reply to the proposals Zhukov had made on September 15. The language of the memorandum of conversation between Allen and Zhukov on September 26 suggests that there were no other conversations on this subject between September 15 and 26. (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1475)