26. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • U.S.-U.S.S.R. Exchange Talks


  • Mr. Georgi Zhukov, Chairman, State Committee for Cultural Relations
  • Mr. Yuri Volsky, Counselor, Soviet Embassy
  • Mr. Georgi Bolshakov, Assistant Information Secretary, Soviet Embassy
  • S/EWC—Ambassador William S. B. Lacy
  • CU/EWC—W. Paul O’Neill, Jr.
  • SOV—N. Davis
  • LS—Alexander Logofet

Eisenhower–Khrushchev Visits.

Mr. Zhukov presented Mr. Lacy with a copy of Face to Face with America about Mr. Khrushchev’s trip to the United States for which Zhukov and the other co-authors received a Lenin prize. Mr. Zhukov hoped that a similar book would be written about President Eisenhower’s trip to the U.S.S.R.1 Mr. Zhukov said that the Soviets hoped the President’s visit would be a new way of bringing our two countries closer. We in the Soviet Union realize, he continued, that elections are close but we look upon the President not as a member of a Party but as a representative of the American people. We will do our best to make his trip comfortable and useful. We think his trip over Siberia will be useful. [Page 60] The President will spend the night at Lake Baikal which will be the great tourist center of the future. We want the world to see the real Siberia.

Later in the conversation Mr. Lacy thanked Mr. Zhukov for his remarks about the President, observed that the President was looking forward to the visit with great anticipation and said that he knew the Soviets would do everything to see that it was a great success as was Mr. Khrushchev’s visit here. Mr. Zhukov replied that the President’s visit would be even more successful. Mr. Lacy said that through these exchanges come our best hope for greater understanding and lasting peace.

Problems of Scientific Exchanges.

Mr. Zhukov referred to his discussion this morning with Mr. Siscoe2 during which he drew the latter’s attention to “some difficulties” in the Exchange program. He said that this doesn’t mean that we don’t approve of exchanges for on the whole we believe it is a good program. The most important thing now is to arrange direct contacts between our scientists. Noting that he had promised Mr. Siscoe some facts regarding Soviet complaints about scientific exchanges, Mr. Zhukov handed two documents to Mr. Lacy,3 asking that they not be considered as official since they were only his personal notes. Mr. Zhukov requested that these problems regarding scientific exchanges and visits be discussed with the Soviet Embassy after the papers had been read. The substance of the Soviet position, Mr. Zhukov said, is that the Soviets receive many American scientists as tourists, open many doors and show them whatever they want, but Soviet scientists have not had the same opportunities since the U.S. side considers them as officials under the Exchange Agreement.

Mr. Lacy observed that part of the trouble on the U.S. side was that we have no tourist mechanism similar to the Soviets and that we have had to appeal to private groups such as American Express.

Mr. Zhukov then said he had promised Mr. Siscoe a list of the institutions which have been shown to American scientists. Mr. Lacy replied that this would be very helpful. Zhukov added that the Soviets want to normalize relations between scientists of the two countries.

Summit Meeting.

Noting that an exchange agreement had recently been signed with France, Mr. Zhukov said that perhaps at the Summit Meeting4 we can [Page 61] move even further. He recalled that President Eisenhower had suggested an International Health Year and thought it would be a good idea if the Department took the initiative in having this concept put forward at the Summit talks. The Soviets thought the time had come when the efforts of all the world’s scientists should be brought together to solve the world’s problems. While it was unrealistic to have joint efforts to build rockets, there were many other fields. For instance the Soviets considered the IGY and the Antarctica agreements as very successful. The exchange field is much easier to work in than the political area, Zhukov continued, and the Soviets would like to discuss further cultural cooperation at the Summit Meeting. Beforehand both sides should think over what can be done. Zhukov then suggested that Ambassador Thompson visit him before the Paris talks so that proposals can be talked over. Mr. Zhukov went on to expand his belief that a great deal can be accomplished through cultural relations. He paid tribute to the work of Ambassador Lacy and former Ambassador Zarubin as having made possible the road to Camp David and now the Paris meetings. He thought both sides should consider how to use the cultural fields to build greater trust. Already the fear each side had before the exchange agreements were signed that it would be attacked by the other one had disappeared.

Mr. Zhukov digressed to say what a great success My Fair Lady, which he had seen before his departure, was having in Moscow. Then he again urged the U.S. side to submit proposals for increased exchanges.

Mr. Lacy said that he shared Mr. Zhukov’s desire to increase exchanges; that there are problems in the scientific field but that he thought we were about to overcome them. Mr. Lacy said he was particularly anxious to increase exchanges in the medical field and that the President was interested in this area. The United States side, did, however, have some difficulty in finding suitable people for these exchanges. A short time ago there had been a meeting at the White House5 to discuss the problems hindering a speed-up of this kind of exchange, Mr. Lacy said, and he believed the results would soon be seen.

Mr. Lacy said he was particularly interested in the Radio-TV exchanges which Mr. Zhukov and Mr. Allen had discussed on April 236 since these exchanges were the original proposals made by him to Ambassador Zarubin.

Mr. Zhukov subsequently returned to the subject of the Summit Meeting asking if the U.S. would have any proposals to put forward in [Page 62] the cultural field. Mr. Lacy replied that he knew of none and promised to let Ambassador Thompson know so that Zhukov could be informed. The latter said that the Soviet side would await U.S. initiative with interest. Mr. Zhukov also asked if Mr. Lacy had a list of persons in the cultural field who would accompany the President to the Soviet Union. Mr. Lacy replied in the negative saying he would cable the American Embassy in Moscow when he knew.


Mr. Zhukov stated that the better our two people live the more they can help others. If results can be achieved in the disarmament field the French idea of allocating a certain percentage of our budgets to helping under-developed countries can be considered. It is now a realistic prospect. We are gradually approaching the day when this will be possible because the heads of four great governments have established personal contacts. How to do it is the problem. In principle, agreement already exists.

Mr. Zhukov observed that 1960 will bring the second American summer in the U.S.S.R. with the President’s visit, visiting artists, showing of U.S. films and a large number of tourists. He said that new auto tours and camping trips had been arranged for for tourists and that the Soviets are now building motels. The Soviets would try to send more tourists to the U.S. but the main problem was money, the cost for a 12-day trip being 6500 rubles. Mr. Zhukov claimed that the Soviets have no administrative restrictions on their tourists going abroad and that when an agreement is signed for direct air flights it may be easier for these tourists to come to the U.S. He then returned to the idea (which he had put forth during the exchange negotiations in Moscow in November, 1959) that a more advantageous rate of exchange for Soviet tourists could be arranged, perhaps by some of the U.S. tourist agencies establishing special rates. Mr. Lacy thought that in any case American tourist agencies would be able to reduce the costs. He then informed Mr. Zhukov of our message to Moscow7 stating that we were ready to begin negotiations on direct air flights in the near future.

As he left, Mr. Zhukov said he hoped he would meet Mr. Lacy at the Summit Meeting or in Moscow with President Eisenhower.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 511.61/4–2560. Official Use Only. Drafted by O’Neill and cleared by Davis in draft.
  2. President Eisenhower was intending to visit the Soviet Union in June.
  3. A memorandum of this conversation is in Department of State, Central Files, 511.61/4–2560.
  4. Not found in Department of State files.
  5. The meeting of the Heads of Government of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union was scheduled to begin in Paris in May 16.
  6. This meeting has not been further identified.
  7. A memorandum of this conversation is in Department of state, Central Files, 511.61/4–2360.
  8. Not further identified.