93. Message From the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Soviet Ambassador to the United States (Dobrynin)0

You should meet with R. Kennedy and, referring to your last conversations with him on [date left blank],1 give voice to the following considerations:

  • “First. In past conversations we have spoken in a fairly detailed manner about the situation around Cuba. As we understand from statements coming from Washington, President Kennedy is convinced that implementation of the agreement reached during resolution of the Caribbean crisis is the course to be followed. We accord statements such as this an appropriate degree of respect, especially when they express the opinion of the President. For my part, I can confirm that N.S. Khrushchev is also convinced that this course is correct.

    It would of course be good if we could bring our discussions on the Cuban question to an end by means of an exchange of mutual assurances. But it seems that the time for that has not yet arrived—neither of us can say that everything here has turned out well. I would like to add, so to speak in hot pursuit of this theme, a few words about recent incidents along the Cuban coast—attacks on Cuban ports by armed vessels of emigrant Cuban riff-raff and gunfire from these vessels aimed at the Soviet merchant ships L’gov and Baku.

    The Soviet Government has already expressed in diplomatic notes its views on these piratic attacks. It is nevertheless appropriate to dwell on this question in our present discussion, for, as we both know, contacts through confidential channels played a significant role in the resolution of certain aspects of the Caribbean crisis.

    First of all, one cannot fail to note that the continuing armed attacks on the Cuban coast could not have taken place, and this is clear to everyone, unless they had been encouraged in the USA.

    It is true that it can be said that the Government of the United States does not approve of such actions and that they take place almost without its knowledge. I thus expect that you will now refer to statements by the [Page 251] Department of State in this regard. We are of course already aware of them. But what is the primary idea behind these statements? Apparently that the USA is against ‘brief attacks on Cuba’ because they are said to be ‘ineffective.’ Those who have read these documents could interpret them to mean that if the attacks on Cuba were more solidly prepared and more ‘effective,’ that would not be at all bad.

    We also cannot fail to point out that all statements and explanations made by representatives of the Government of the United States after the attacks on our ships and on the Cuban ports contain efforts to deny U.S. responsibility for these criminal attacks.

    Allow me to say to you, however, that the U.S. cannot evade this responsibility. The whole world knows that the bases of the Cuban emigrant counter-revolutionaries are in Florida and Puerto Rico, and that, as before, the Central Intelligence Agency provides sustenance and all their needs to these renegades. The political ground for these bandit-like strikes is prepared by calls similar to those that rang out, in particular, during a parade by traitors to the Cuban people last December in Miami. The attacks on the Soviet vessels L’gov and Baku have revealed, more than anything else in the recent past, the grave danger these policies pose for world peace.

    As one who is embroiled on a daily basis with the political life of the American capital, I cannot overlook an obvious fact. When the State Department issued its statement on March 19,2 the leaders of the Cuban counter-revolutionaries held a press conference, here in Washington, in which they boasted about having carried out armed raids on the Cuban coast and their objective as having been the killing of Soviet military personnel. As far as we are aware, you, as Attorney General, have responsibility for the investigation of the circumstances surrounding this matter. It is to be hoped that as a result those guilty will receive due punishment in order to discourage others who might plot new and dangerous adventures.

    It is perhaps not superfluous to remind you that even during the most difficult moments of the crisis around Cuba there were no shots fired on Soviet vessels, for everyone understood well where that could take the world. One should think that that understanding is not lost on today as well.

    Of course, the Soviet Government and N. S. Khrushchev personally have taken note of the joint statement by the Departments of State and Justice on March 30 concerning several measures in regard to Cuban emigrants.3 If these measures are in fact aimed at putting an end to the bandit-like provocations of these dangerous adventurists, then that will [Page 252] deserve a positive evaluation. The future will show if that is the case and if these measures are those that should be carried out to prevent new tensions in the Caribbean.

    In our previous discussions you touched on several aspects of the Cuban question which you said complicated the President’s situation in light of the approaching election campaign. You know that we take into account, to the degree we can, the President’s situation, and in a number of instances we have accommodated his wishes. The Soviet Government not only faithfully and strictly is carrying out the agreement on the Caribbean crisis, but has undertaken steps which go even further than required by the responsibilities it has assumed. You yourself noted that the Government of the U.S. understands that the Soviet Government is acting in a spirit of good will in matters which have been agreed with the U.S. or about which the U.S. has been informed.

    But it is necessary to emphasize that pressure and threats are not appropriate means with which to achieve any result; they produce only a counterreaction. Take only the following question: we are removing our military personnel from Cuba, in considerable numbers, but we are doing that not because the U.S. is exerting pressure on us but rather because we consider for our troops to remain in Cuba would not be to put them to effective use. We have removed several times more people than the figures bandied about in the U.S. press. We have not given you a specific number, for if we had done so, you would have immediately presented that as our giving you an accounting. You would have blared out through all channels that you had forced us to do so. We respond adversely to such methods, which you have tried to use in similar circumstances. We reject them.

    To be frank, as we are as a matter of principle in these confidential contacts, it seems somewhat one-sided when the problems and difficulties the President encounters in carrying out his policy toward Cuba are blamed on the Soviet Union or on the Republic of Cuba. But in fact the roots of these problems, as we have repeatedly emphasized, lie elsewhere—in a policy which announces that its objective is to remove, by any means necessary, overt or covert, the new social structure which has established itself in Cuba, although the right to establish order in one’s own home belongs only to the people of that nation and to no one else.

    On the one hand, we hear assurances that the President of the U.S. intends to uphold the agreement reached during resolution of the crisis in the Caribbean, and that despite pressures on him to do so he will not allow himself to be pushed onto the dangerous road of possible military confrontation with the Soviet Union. On the other, in addition to the continuing attacks on the Cuban coast I already mentioned, measures are being taken to suffocate the economy of Cuba, break off its commercial [Page 253] trade, and erect some sort of police line around Cuba that would fence Cuba off from the other countries of the western hemisphere.

    I will try to explain our understanding of why the President is experiencing the difficulties you mentioned by use of the following example. When we shot down the U-2 piloted by the airman Powers, then-President Eisenhower experienced substantial difficulties both domestically and in the international arena. And what was the primary cause of Eisenhower’s ‘difficulties’? If he had not dispatched American aircraft on spy flights over the territory of a sovereign nation—in this instance the Soviet Union—he would have been spared the ‘difficulties’ of that time.

    If I speak now of these quite sensitive issues, I do so only because you yourself introduced them. Of course, I will not debate with you, by dint of your position the top lawyer in the U.S., matters of flexibility or precision in statements of this nature. What I wish to do is to emphasize a fairly simple idea, that the truest path to ensuring that no ‘complications’ arise in connection with Cuba is strict and conscientious implementation of the United Nations Charter; that is, carrying out a policy of non-interference in the affairs of other states and respect for their sovereignty and independence.

    It is indeed in strict implementation by our Governments of the Charter of the U.N. as well as of the additional obligations we assumed during resolution of the crisis in the Caribbean that lies a good opportunity, in our view, to create conditions, day by day and step by step, for a strengthening of trust and mutual understanding between the Soviet Government and the Government of the U.S., and personally between N.S. Khrushchev and President J. Kennedy, the necessity of which you, as a person close to the President, have often discussed in our meetings.

  • Second. In our previous discussions we did not avoid, as you will remember, the issue of a ban on nuclear weapon tests. This problem, it is true, occupies the minds not only of government officials but also that of the common man; for even if the latter is far from the making of policy, he is nevertheless concerned about the air he breathes and that his children and grandchildren will have to breathe.

    Your comments that the President sincerely wants an agreement banning nuclear tests, and that he has children whom he loves, were transmitted, as you asked, to N.S. Khrushchev. I can say in reply that N.S. Khrushchev fully understands motives of a purely personal nature, which, naturally, should strengthen the resolve of every government official to do everything possible to end test explosions of atom and hydrogen bombs. As you of course know, N.S. Khrushchev has children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren, and personal motives are no less close to his heart.

    You have said that President Kennedy considers, in principle, that a treaty banning nuclear tests is a very important step toward normalization [Page 254] of the international situation and bettering relations between the Soviet Union and the U.S. You know that the Soviet Government and personally N.S. Khrushchev share this view. It followed from what you have said that the President is ready to use all his authority in the country to achieve ratification of such a treaty, and that it would be more convenient for the President were the treaty considered by the present session of Congress.

    Such an effort would of course meet a most positive response from us. We in fact propose such an approach, which would make it possible to bring negotiations on a cessation of nuclear tests to a rapid conclusion.

    You must understand us and our position. We understand your position well.N.S. Khrushchev asked me to tell you that. Throughout the world, many people, and especially those who are professionally involved in nuclear weapons and their testing, know that national means are adequate to confirm that any nuclear explosion has taken place. And that has been proven in practice; whenever explosions have taken place in the Soviet Union you registered that fact and immediately made it public. We ascertain when you or other countries carry out explosions. One therefore asks, why is it not possible to come to an agreement banning all nuclear tests and to sign a corresponding treaty?

    You explain this as caused by the internal conditions and specific problems existing in your country. We increasingly have to listen to you say that a treaty banning nuclear tests is facing an almost impassable barrier in the U.S. Senate if we do not make further concessions to the United States. You essentially put the problem that way in your statements. But is it not too much to expect from the Soviet Union that it agree to adjust its positions in the nuclear test ban negotiations in April to suit the bad mood of a Senator from Connecticut and in May that of a Senator from Arizona? We have in that way already conceded a great deal to the U.S. on verification of a test ban, taking into account the President’s comments that were passed to us confidentially. But you must understand that in international negotiations it is states that participate, not individuals whose views for some reason may differ from the point of view of the participating governments. If governments are not able to raise themselves above narrow group interests expressed by unreasonable politicians within their own country, then they have totally deprived themselves of any chance of concluding international agreements, the usefulness of which they seem to recognize.

    An analysis of the specific problems you mention shows that they are nothing more than two parties competing for the White House who are arguing whether to poison the air by nuclear explosions or not to poison it. And you want us to help one of the contesting sides, and to do so by making concessions. But why should we reward you for signing a test ban which, it would seem, should be in the interests of both sides equally, [Page 255] by allowing you, at the expense of Soviet interests, to engage in espionage on Soviet territory?

    How are we to understand this, Mr.Kennedy? What kind of partnership is that? You want us to help you in this matter. Well, what if we do not do so, what harm will come to the Soviet Union if we reach no agreement? No more than to the U.S. If we conceded this to you we would in reality gain nothing, only lose. You would gain that which we lost, in addition to the opportunity to carry out espionage on the territory of the USSR, and plus the moral satisfaction of knowing that you pressured us from a position of strength and forced us to make further concessions.

    Understand us, we cannot do that. We have already agreed to a minimum, and that in fact is not a minimum but rather a substantial maximum—2-3 inspections. And that, of course, we could not agree to interpret in such a manner that under the guise of these 2-3 inspections intelligence information-gathering could be carried out all over the territory of the Soviet Union, above ground and underground, in and on water, and by aerial observation to boot. These activities are not at all made necessary by the requirements for inspections. No, these demands are dictated by completely different intentions—the same ones that governed President Kennedy’s predecessor, Eisenhower, when he demanded the right to flights around the borders of the Soviet Union and to send U-2 spy planes into our air space.

    What kind of policy is that? The Soviet Union, after all, is no weaker than you, and U.S. Government officials have more than once in their statements recognized that we are equally powerful. But if you consider the Soviet Union an equal, then why carry out such a policy, why make such demands on us? Such demands can only be made by the strong from the weak, based not on right, but on force.

    And the time has also passed when colonial powers could, using force, seize colonies. The colonial powers are still more powerful than the countries over whom they once held sway, but, as a result of changing conditions in the world—and they themselves would have to admit this—they have had to leave them while in one piece, because if they had not they would have left them not in the best of health.

    Examples of this were demonstrated in Vietnam, and in Algeria. Now the struggle is being joined in other countries, particularly in the Indonesian region. One can point out many such examples which have shown that the departure of the colonial powers was not voluntary, but rather was made to avoid a kick in a certain area.

    And you wish to talk to us in this manner and pressure us to make concessions that do not correspond to the balance of forces between us, to the present times nor to the position we occupy in the world. How is it possible to expect that we would agree to your demands? We cannot agree to them.

    [Page 256]

    You said that your brother does not want to go down in history as a second Wilson if the Senate does not ratify a treaty banning nuclear tests, basing its action on the number of inspections the Soviet Union has offered. Neither do we wish for J. Kennedy to become a second Wilson, and we are exercising maximum good will in the matter of a test ban. We sincerely wish that your brother enter history as the President of the United States of America who was able to place above all else the need for statesmanlike wisdom, and as the government official who, together with N.S. Khrushchev, wrote his name in the great book of peace.

    If the President in fact wants to do something useful and establish a claim for his presidency to be noted by history, he will have to work against aggressive circles within the country, against all who urge irrational and aggressive policies. We are convinced that all people of sound mind in America want to live, to raise their children, and want good for themselves and their children, just as you contend do you and the President. Why then do you think that the American people will not support such healthy undertakings against that Rockefeller? The people can only gain from this, for that bunch of shameless people, or as you call them, crazies, is a small group, and in their overwhelming majority Americans are a healthy people that want to live, and can live for their children in the world together with other peoples. Why does the President not want to take advantage of this opportunity?

    You in fact are moving the opposite way, trying to get from us even more significant concessions. You want us with our own concessions to satisfy Rockefeller and the other crazies who carry out a frantic and aggressive propaganda campaign against the Soviet Union. Understand us, we cannot do that, and N.S. Khrushchev asks that you pass that message to the President.

    Can you, are you ready to move on a sound, equitable basis toward conclusion of a treaty, taking into account the concessions we have already made, though they were not required and had as their sole objective making it easier for the President to move the treaty through Congress? That was a sacrifice by our side, and we cannot, I repeat, do more.

    The test ban treaty may or may not be signed. Whether or not really is of no significance to limitation of the arms race, for enough test explosions have already been carried out to perfect nuclear weapons. And as far as the future is concerned, new tests will add nothing, or almost nothing. But you should be clear on what will happen if there is no test ban agreement. You are now carrying out nuclear weapons tests at your test ranges in Nevada even after we have finished our series of nuclear explosions. And now the roar of a nuclear explosion has been heard in the Sahara. It is true, as they say, that in recent times dissimilarities in the architectural styles of the Elysee Palace and the White House have become more noticeable, but fact remains fact; France is your ally, and [Page 257] she is exploding her own nuclear devices. So, if there is no agreement and NATO countries continue testing, and if under these circumstances our scientists and military find it necessary to put the question of carrying out new tests in the Soviet Union before the Soviet Government, they of course will have to be allowed to do so.

    It is clear that any new nuclear tests harm the people living on this earth. But what can we do? It is not our fault. Responsibility for that rests on your government. The fate of the agreement banning nuclear weapon tests rests today in the hands of the U.S. Government. What turn further negotiations now take depends on it, and on no one else: will they be swept away by a new wave of nuclear test explosions or crowned by the conclusion of a treaty the people have long waited for.

  • Third. I would like to touch on a question at this point that has already been the subject of a confidential exchange of opinion between N.S. Khrushchev and the President, and which in light of latest events is worthy of further attention. I refer to various plans for creating nuclear forces within the NATO framework which would include also states that at present do not have nuclear weapons.

    We remember the explanations which were passed to us unofficially in the name of the President after his meeting in Nassau with Prime Minister Macmillan. The President assured us that his main concern in deciding the Polaris transfer was to prevent, or at least delay, the development of national nuclear forces. It was also emphasized that practical implementation of this plan lay far in the future, and that it was necessary to win time for further efforts in the disarmament area.

    We immediately gave our views on the Nassau agreement. As you know, President Kennedy was informed that N.S. Khrushchev considered this agreement as yet another effort in the implementation of plans for nuclear weapons—weapons, mind you, when peoples expect from their governments and statesmen efforts in quite the opposite direction—to destroy national military machines and all means of killing people.

    Events since Nassau have not only not lessened the accuracy of this evaluation but on the contrary have brought new confirmation of the danger these plans pose to peace. Whatever label is pasted on these planned nuclear forces of NATO—‘multilateral’ or ‘multinational’, or both at the same time—the fact of the matter does not change. Whether the USA wants that to be the case or not, that is the nature of any plans that allow the ‘unconsecrated’ to get their hands on nuclear weapons; their implementation prepares the ground for other NATO members, and especially West German revanchists, to break their way into the nuclear club. That is not only our opinion. Many people in other countries share that view. Even, apparently, some statesmen in NATO states themselves are not spared these concerns.

    [Page 258]

    If only one country strays from the path along which the nuclear powers have traveled, and in one manner or another provides nuclear weapons to any one of its allies, then the nuclear arms race will embrace new countries and regions in a powerful surge, and it will be difficult to say where it will stop.

    The West is now doing its calculations on how many additional fingers can be on nuclear weapon launch buttons, and at the same time is trying to prove that the risk of outbreak of a nuclear war will not increase. But arithmetic here can deceive. The danger of unleashing a thermonuclear war will steadily rise, and it will rise not just in proportion to the additional fingers on the launch triggers; it will be multiplied many times over by a thirst for revenge and perhaps by irresponsibility on the part of someone.

    We would like to trust the statements of U.S. Government leaders that proliferation of nuclear weapons is not in U.S. interests. But they are difficult to reconcile with the fact that emissaries of the U.S. Government are now traveling from one NATO capital to another strongly promoting plans to create a NATO nuclear force.

    You have said that the U.S. Government is fulfilling its promise to withdraw missiles from Turkey and Italy and that that would be completed during the first half of April. We of course greet liquidation of these bases. But put yourself in our place, and you will understand that from the standpoint of the security of the Soviet Union this is not liquidation of missile bases, but rather exchanging old weapons for more advanced. In place of having missiles aimed at us from land we will now have missiles of the latest model aimed at us from the seas that wash the shores of that land. That is how it will be if the Mediterranean, as is now being planned, is filled with nuclear submarines and surface vessels, armed with ‘Polaris’ missiles and cruising along the coasts of Italy and Turkey.

  • Fourth.N.S. Khrushchev asked that the President be informed that he is now becoming skeptical that any reasonable agreement can be reached with the United States. During resolution of the crisis in the Caribbean, N.S. Khrushchev in an exchange with President Kennedy, expressed the view—and the President shared his hope—that after the crisis was over efforts would be continued to resolve issues that are key to a liquidation of tension in the world and normalization of relations between our governments. But as soon as that crisis was over the President apparently forgot what he wanted, and now the United States, in the person of the President, is beginning, judging by all evidence, to test our resistance and to put pressure on us. We indignantly reject such policies. For this reason, we do not want to hear discussions about our having troops where it would be better if we did not have them, and we reject, with considerable displeasure, any claims of that sort. Our opportunities in the world should be equal to yours.

    [Page 259]

    Why are your troops scattered throughout the world and you regard that as your right and obligation? Why do you consider that locating one country’s military instructors in another country is a violation of international norms? On what right does that understanding turn? In any case not on the UN Charter, and not on international law.

    If you want really good relations—and we want that very much—then let us proceed from the assumption, as N.S. Khrushchev told the President in Vienna, that our states are equally powerful and that we should have the same opportunities.

    We long ago proposed and continue to propose that all troops be withdrawn from foreign territories to within their own borders. We propose that we conclude an agreement on that basis. We would greet such an agreement, and then we would have no troops or instructors beyond our own borders. Now, when we sell or transfer armaments, we also send troops to give instruction on how to handle these weapons. But we are ready to agree even not to do that if you take upon yourself a similar obligation.

    In a word, do not try to pressure us or urge us to do anything that you yourselves do not do, because that insults us. We are very sensitive about such matters.

    We have frequently heard judgments that we should not leave surface-to-air missiles in Cuba, for the Cubans may shoot down an American intelligence-gathering aircraft and then something untoward will happen. Tell the President that if that occurs, then the improbable will have occurred. You want us to understand your pressuring us to allow you to penetrate Cuban air space with your intelligence-gathering aircraft, but we react to this with indignation, for you are violating elementary norms of international relations and the UN Charter. You want us to recognize your right to violate that Charter and international norms, but we cannot do that. We can only confirm to you that we are carrying out the obligations and assurances we undertook before, and gave to, the Cuban Government that in the case of an attack on Cuba we would support her with the means at our disposal. It can be no other way. You yourselves are forcing us to make that statement, and we would rather not make it, because it will not make normalization of our relations easier. We would like to improve them, make them good. But that depends on you.

    Do not try to force us to accept your policies, for that will produce a counterreaction—that is, you will receive the same in reply.

    The most reasonable thing for the President to do—and N.S. Khrushchev would like the President to consider this if he really wants to benefit mankind—is to stop flights over Cuban territory before the Cubans shoot down an aircraft, for if they continue they will surely do so. If the President wants a crisis, and has in mind using the downing of an American intelligence aircraft as an excuse for an attack on Cuba, then [Page 260] that course of events is apparently unavoidable, for the present situation regarding the flights cannot continue.

    N.S. Khrushchev does not believe it is in the interests of the United States to carry out a policy that may return us to a crisis we have already once survived. But if a new crisis is unleashed it may be impossible this time to reach the reasonable resolution that we found then, for the basis on which the agreement was reached last year has been shaken. All this has to be taken into account.

    And we are not even addressing the question, a minor one for us from the material standpoint but one of great significance as a matter of principle in international relations, of pressure by the United States on its allies in regard to trade with the Soviet Union. Your representative in NATO insists that sale of steel pipe to the Soviet Union be halted. Is that important for the Soviet Union? Not at all. And what did you get for your efforts? Only West Germany obeyed you, and that only because you support their position in the German question, particularly in regard to West Berlin. But for that reason only. Not selling us pipe is not in their interest. It is no accident that even your own allies did not support you. You pressured them to ignore their own interests, knowing that it was advantageous for them to trade with us.

    Even your allies do not understand your policies. Where is good will, where are good relations or any indication of a reasonable approach to righting relations between our states? We do not see them.

    If you really want to improve relations, we are ready. Let us sign a treaty banning nuclear weapon tests on the basis of findings approved and confirmed by scientists free from outside pressure.

    Let us at long last finally liquidate the remains of World War II, resolve the issue of a German peace treaty, and on that basis normalize the situation in West Berlin. We do not expect any acquisitions as a result, and no harm will come to you. The situation in West Berlin should be normalized by recognizing existing circumstances—and nothing more. We do not even demand withdrawal of foreign troops, but want only that their presence be on another basis, that the troops be of a different composition and that they be under the UN flag.

    However, you do not want to do this, even though you lose nothing and we gain nothing. But if we could conclude such an agreement it would have a big payoff—the whole world would gain, and better conditions would be created for disarmament negotiations. After all, without resolution of the German question—you know this yourself, and I ask you to pass this to the President from N.S. Khrushchev—no reasonable resolution to the problem of disarmament will be found. As long as remnants of World War II are preserved that constantly remind us of their presence, we and you will have to pay for our military forces and increase our ability to destroy each other. How, under such circumstances, [Page 261] can we reach an agreement on disarmament? An agreement on disarmament must be based above all on trust.

    And what kind of trust can there be when McNamara and Malinovsky take turns speaking, each time annihilating each other? Why do that?Malinovsky has no choice, because McNamara speaks, and not only McNamara. You have now alot of these orators, the so-called specialists in military affairs. We have to reply, but who stands to gain? The militarists and monopolists making millions on the production of armaments. Only they stand to gain.

    But if you do not now understand that all of this must be brought to an end, well, then we will continue to live this way. Of course, no good agreement will be reached in such a situation. One side cannot produce that which depends on two.

    In Vienna we were told that the President had just come into the White House. A year has passed, two—and now you say that the election campaign has begun. So, the first two years, the President was a newcomer in the White House, learning the ropes, and the next two years are devoted to preparation for new elections. So it turns out that in the first two years the President cannot decide key, vitally important questions and in the following two years he cannot decide them because he might otherwise, we are told, lose the election campaign.

    This is a tragedy, but it is the essence of capitalism, of a classical capitalist contradiction. And it is America that appears to us as the glaring example, in our Marxist understanding of things. We do not force this understanding on you; we simply express it.

    But we take into account the times in which we live, and understand what the situation now is. One will have to live in this manner until better times come, and we are certain that better times will come, and then we will have mutual understanding.

  • Fifth. In a recent conversation you touched on the possibility of a meeting between Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSRN.S. Khrushchev and President Kennedy. Our point of view regarding the significance of summit meetings is well known. The Soviet Government is a convinced advocate of those methods of carrying out foreign policy that promise the best results in resolving current problems. And reason demands that these problems, some of which you mentioned last time, be resolved at the negotiating table.

As before, we proceed from the assumption that such meetings can be useful if both sides are equally interested in a positive result. We do not believe that one can somehow separate the interest of the two sides in such a meeting, suggesting that, for example, the U.S. is less interested in it than the Soviet Union, or vice versa. And therefore it would seem inappropriate for either side to put forward any considerations which could be construed as preconditions for such a meeting. Interest in such a meeting [Page 262] can only be shared and inseparable, of course, if both sides actually strive to unite their forces in the interest of strengthening peace.

We for quite some time now have not given answers to questions which have remained open during the course of our discussions, and have ourselves not taken initiative in our confidential messages to the President, because American actions are already causing us to lose confidence in the usefulness of this channel. We wanted you to know that. If, nevertheless, we again decide to turn to this opportunity for confidential transmission of our ideas to the President, we will do so in the hope that it will result in better understanding by the President of the position of the Soviet Union and its leader, N.S. Khrushchev.”

Decide for yourself, taking into account the actual situation in which your discussion with R. Kennedy is to take place, how best to carry out this conversation: whether to make the statement all at once or do it part by part. In either case you should leave a copy of the text with R. Kennedy.

Confirm delivery by telegram.

  1. Source: Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of History and Records. Secret. The Department of History and Records made the Russian text available to the Department of State in September 1995; the text was translated by Senior Foreign Service Officer Michael Joyce. There are no copies of the message in Department of State or White House Files. On April 3, 1963, Ambassador Dobrynin handed an English translation of this message to Robert Kennedy, who read it, returned it to Dobrynin, and summarized its contents and his reasons for returning it in an April 3 memorandum to President Kennedy (Document 94). Although the message was directed to Robert Kennedy, it was clearly intended that he pass it along to President Kennedy.
  2. Brackets in the source text.
  3. For text of this statement, see Department of State Bulletin, April 8, 1963, pp. 520-521.
  4. For text of the joint statement, see ibid., April 22, 1963, pp. 600-601.
  5. The initials on the source text appear to be “A.B.”, but cannot be further identified.