114. Editorial Note

The meeting at the Secretary’s residence recorded in Document 113 continued after the departure of General Twining and Admiral Burke. A note dated September 21, 1958, from Duty Officer James Carson to Executive Secretariat Director Fisher Howe briefly summarizes the first portion of the meeting and continues as follows:

“After Twining and Burke departed, the Secretary brought out a draft press release he had prepared on Khrushchev’s September 19 letter. It was substantially the same as the second press release issued by the White House in Newport later Saturday afternoon and drew attention to the upside down language of the Communists in applying one standard for their side and another standard to ours.

“Mr. Murphy then suggested that we reject the letter rather than reply to it. The group, with the Secretary participating, then drafted what became the first release from Newport. The Secretary conferred twice with the President and issuance of the statements rejecting Khrushchev’s letter was agreed on.” (Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199)

Secretary Dulles discussed this with the President and other officials in a series of telephone conversations the afternoon of September 20. Notes by Mildred Asbjornson of the Secretary’s staff of a conversation between Dulles and Assistant Secretary Elbrick reads in part as follows: “The Sec. said the President decided on the rejection. He put to him the pros and cons and at first he was inclined to reply. Then he called back [Page 248] and said he thought it better to reject it.” Her notes also record that Dulles had spoken to General Twining, had told him that the President had decided to reject Khrushchev’s note, and “had reported to Twining what the President had said, namely, that we had better stand by for possible trouble.” (Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Telephone Conversations; see Supplement)

A statement issued on September 20 by the White House at Newport reads as follows:

“President Eisenhower received this morning from the United States Embassy in Moscow text of a lengthy communication from Chairman Khrushchev regarding the Far Eastern situation. This communication is replete with false accusations; it is couched in language that is abusive and intemperate; it indulges in personalities; it contains inadmissible threats. All of this renders the communication unacceptable under established international practice. Accordingly, it has been rejected and the United States Chargé d’Affaires in Moscow has been instructed to return the communication to the Soviet Government.”

The text of a second statement that discusses the letter at more length is in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1958, page 1163.

Telegram 462 to Moscow, September 20, instructed the Embassy to return the letter to the Foreign Ministry by messenger. (Department of State, Central Files, 793.00/9–2058) Telegram 646 from Moscow, September 21, reported that it had been returned with a covering note to Kuznetsov stating that it was being returned as unacceptable. (Ibid., 793.00/9–2158)