237. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Discussion of Udall visit toUSSR


  • Stewart L. Udall, Ambassador Anatoli Dobrynin, Mrs. Dobrynin, Curtis Kamman

Ambassador and Mrs. Dobrynin invited today Secretary and Mrs. Udall to lunch at the Embassy to share the Secretaryʼs impressions of his trip to the Soviet Union. Mrs. Udall was unable to attend; the Secretary therefore asked that the reporting officer accompany him. Current international political issues were not discussed.

Ambassador Dobrynin showed the Secretary a copy of Pravda containing new verses by Robert Frost.1 Both expressed the opinion that the Frost visit had been an outstanding success. Dobrynin mentioned that no American literary figure of Frostʼs standing had ever visited the Soviet Union before. The Secretary stated that he appreciated the opportunity of visiting with Khrushchev2 and was especially grateful that Khrushchev had received Frost. He stated that he would do his utmost to provide an opportunity for Soviet poet Tvardovsky to see the President when Tvardovsky pays a reciprocal visit in October.

The gift of Georgian wine sent by Khrushchev to the President was mentioned by Dobrynin. The Secretary told of the circumstances which [Page 500] gave rise to the gift—wine tasting and toasting the health of the President at Khrushchevʼs Black Sea villa.

Dobrynin had not yet received a record of the Udall-Khrushchev conversation. He inquired whether Vinogradov had taken notes, and upon learning that he had, asked whether the Secretary had felt the conversation to be significant. The Secretary replied that the conversation had indeed been significant, and at Dobryninʼs request outlined in two or three sentences Khrushchevʼs comments on the U-2 incident in the Far East and on the Berlin question.

The Secretary told Dobrynin of his conviction that exchanges at the very highest level, up to and including chief of state, were an important contribution to better understanding between USSR and USA. Dobrynin stated that an exchange of visits between President Kennedy and Khrushchev would mark the high point of his term as Ambassador in Washington, and that he hoped such an exchange would come to pass when the proper time arrived. He was equally receptive, in a general way, to the suggestion that Vice-President Johnson and Frol Kozlov each pay extensive visits to USSR and USA, respectively.

The Secretary mentioned to Dobrynin that the recent primary elections seemed to indicate that responsible men were gaining support at the expense of men with outmoded political views, and that he would soon be traveling throughout the nation campaigning for congressional candidates who favor President Kennedyʼs policies.

Other conversation revolved around places visited in the Soviet Union, personalities encountered along the way, and opinions on both Russian and American literature.

Dobrynin mentioned that he planned to attend the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly. He gave no indication who might be coming from Moscow.

Dobrynin also expressed the hope that Secretary of Agriculture Freeman would be able to visit the Soviet Union within the next year or so. He had talked with Secretary Freeman in connection with the visit of Soviet Minister of Agriculture Pysin.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.1100-UD/9-1362. Confidential. Drafted by Kamman.
  2. Robert Frost visited the Soviet Union August 29-September 9. For an account of his trip, including an extensive summary of his conversation with Khrushchev on September 7, see Reeve, Robert Frost in Russia.
  3. See Document 236.
  4. See footnotes 1 and 3, Document 219.