3. Paper Prepared in the Department of State0


1. Soviet Attitude

During the course of the negotiations leading to the January 27 Agreement with the Soviets, the American delegation could obtain Soviet agreement for no more than 30 students for 1959–1960, which, nevertheless, was triple the number originally proposed by them. That the Soviets consider student exchange to be on an experimental basis is also indicated by their decision to reduce from 40 to 20 the number to come to the United States this year under our proposal to exchange students during the summer holiday. It seems highly unlikely that a new offer to exchange many more students than provided for in the Agreement of January 27 would be acceptable to the Soviets under conditions of current tensions or that the Soviets could physically house as many as 5,000–10,000 American students in their universities. A proposal for increased exchanges would probably be considered by the Soviets as propaganda.

2. Internal Security and the Role of the Attorney General

In order for visas to be issued to Soviet students for entry into the United States, the Attorney General would need to act favorably on requests from the Secretary of State to waive inadmissibility in the case of those students—presumably the overwhelming majority—who were members of a Communist youth organization.
The Attorney General has not been willing, to date, to accept internal security responsibility for Soviet-bloc visitors under the East-West exchange program.
The Attorney General has also taken the position that Soviet visitors under the exchange program must have “sponsorship” (an internal security function) arranged for them by the Department of State. The [Page 8] universities have consistently been reluctant or have refused to assume any security responsibilities for Soviet-bloc students in the belief that this is a governmental function.
Many universities are located in areas which are closed to travel by Soviet nationals. This would probably mean that we would need to lift our present travel regulations, since exceptions are difficult to make.

3. Placement in Universities

In view of the fact that our universities are already extremely crowded and that American applicants are being turned away, it may be that there would be public criticism for allotting places in American universities to Communist students in the event that the universities could be persuaded to admit them. Large numbers of Soviet students could be expected to have language difficulties, and the universities might be reluctant to accept students for whom they would have to make special provisions on account of language.

4. Financial Problem

The financial burden of increased exchanges would probably have to be met largely from public funds. The foundations have not yet felt free to underwrite exchanges with the U.S.S.R. It is estimated that it would cost roughly $4,000 annually per student to send United States students to the U.S.S.R. This would cover travel, tuition, and living expenses. It is similarly estimated that it would cost roughly $2,000 per student to bring Soviet students to this country. This would cover travel and tuition but not living expenses. In addition, there would be administrative costs for the Government in carrying out the program. If the United States were to pay the expenses in an exchange of a thousand students each way, an appropriation of eight or nine million dollars by Congress might be required.

5. Effect in Third Countries

A proposal for a large-scale increase of student exchanges might further erode resistance in underdeveloped countries to Soviet-sponsored student grants or exchanges. With reference to third countries in general, there is also the problem that the United States has no funds with which to make similar offers and is obliged, in fact, to turn down the bulk of applicants for grants from those countries. Even when grants are made, they often cover only part of the expense involved. So far as Eastern Europe is concerned, Poland and Yugoslavia have already expressed concern that we may be going further in the exchange field with the Soviet Union than we are prepared to go with them. It is United States policy to encourage exchanges with the satellites in order to encourage greater independence from the Soviet Union.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 511.613/3–2058. Confidential. The authorship of the paper is unclear. The source text was an enclosure to a brief memorandum of March 20 from Secretary Dulles to President Eisenhower, in which Dulles noted that he had asked “the Department to get up a memorandum of points that should be taken into account in connection with a possible large-scale exchange of students with the U.S.S.R.”

    In a February 25 memorandum to the Executive Secretariat, Joseph N. Greene, Jr., referred to the President’s comments to Secretary Dulles on January 17 about increasing student exchanges with the Soviet Union (see the source note, Document 1) and said that the President had in mind an exchange of “upwards of ten thousand students.” Greene noted that Dulles wanted the Department’s recommendations on such a proposal. (Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199) universities have consistently been reluctant or have refused to assume any security responsibilities for Soviet-bloc students in the belief that this is a governmental function.