9. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State 0
1706. Eyes only Secretary. Following is aide-memoire handed me by Khrushchev today. Request this be closely held pending receipt my explanatory message.
Soviet Government, guided by sincere desire to begin a new phase in relations between Soviet Union and US, has decided to meet wishes of American side in connection with release of two American airmen, members of crew of RB-47 reconnaissance airplane of US Air Force, F. Olmstead and D. McKone.
In considering this question Soviet Government took account above all of statements by President of US J. Kennedy during period of election campaign, which testify to fact that he did not and does not approve of reconnaissance flights of American military aircraft over (V predely) Soviet Union. We proceed from fact that new US Government, which is now led by Mr. Kennedy, will act in practice in spirit of these statements. With this there would be removed a serious obstacle to improvement of Soviet-American relations.
Soviet Government also took into account wishes for freeing of two airmen of RB-47 aircraft expressed lately to Soviet Ambassador in Washington by prominent figures of Democratic Party from closest circles of Mr. J. Kennedy who indicated that such a step of Soviet Government would be regarded by American side as a gesture of good-will and a step toward improvement of Soviet-American relations. Same opinion was expressed by US Ambassador in Moscow, Mr. Thompson.
Soviet Government hopes that this act of good-will will be correctly interpreted and appraised in corresponding fashion by US Government and that in future, actions of the kind leading to sharpening of relations between our countries, which have formerly taken place, will not be permitted.
Soviet Government expects that US Government for its part will also devote efforts to improvement of Soviet-American relations, and hopes that release of American airmen will serve cause of strengthening trust between our countries.
We should like to put an end to past and open a new page in relations between our countries. With these objectives Soviet Government is prepared to go further and not to insist on discussion at second part of 15th [Page 29] Session of UN General Assembly on question “concerning aggressive actions of USA.” The Soviet Government proceeds from view that, given correct understanding of this step by US Government, favorable conditions for improvement of Soviet-American relations will result. Let bad past not interfere with our joint work in name of good future.
Soviet Government would like to hope that US Government for its part will also do everything in order not to burden agenda of forthcoming second part of 15th Session of General Assembly with discussion of questions which will inevitably drag us to times of “cold war.”
It is possible that there will still be found those desirous of going on path of further mutual reproaches in relations between USSR and USA. But we do not consider that this would be a correct and reasonable path. According to our deep conviction there are every grounds for normalizing international situation and clearing away by common efforts all rubbish and all residue (Nanosnogo) which has accumulated during years of “cold war” in Soviet-American relations.
Soviet Government hopes that its effort to find common language and mutual understanding with US Government will meet with positive response from American side and personally from President Kennedy.
Improvement of relations between our countries will doubtless meet with warm approval by peoples both of Soviet Union and US, and also by all other peoples, since cause of strengthening universal peace and international security in much depends on how relations between USSR and USA develop.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 761.5411/1-2161. Confidential; Priority.↩