The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The series documents the facts and events that contributed to the formulation of policies and includes evidence of supporting and alternative views to the policy positions ultimately adopted.

The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. This documentary editing proceeds in full accord with the generally accepted standards of historical scholarship. Official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

A new statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Public Law 102-138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102-138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government, including facts that contributed to the formulation of policies and records that provided supporting and alternative views to the policy positions ultimately adopted.

The statute confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not [Page IV] more than 30 years after the events recorded. Although this volume records policies and events of more than 30 years ago, the statute of October 28, 1991, allows the Department until 1996 to reach the 30-year line in the publication of the series.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the 3 years (1961-1963) of the administration of John F. Kennedy. (See the list on page XIII.) The subseries presents in 25 print volumes and 5 microfiche supplements a documentary record of major foreign policy decisions and actions of President Kennedy’s administration. In planning and preparing the 1961-1963 triennium, the editors chose to present the official record of U.S. foreign affairs with respect to Europe, Canada, and the Soviet Union in six print volumes and one microfiche supplement.

Volume V, Soviet Union, includes documentation on the general aspects of U.S.-Soviet relations. Volume VI, Kennedy-Khrushchev Exchanges (presented here), includes the comprehensive record of correspondence between President Kennedy and Soviet Chairman Khrushchev. Volume XIII, Western Europe and Canada, documents U.S. policy regarding European economic and political integration, U.S. participation in NATO, and U.S. bilateral relations with Canada, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Volume XIV, Berlin Crisis, 1961-1962, and Volume XV, Berlin Crisis, 1962-1963, document U.S. involvement in the continuing Four-Power negotiations over divided Germany and the status of the Western-occupied sectors of Berlin. Volume XVI, Eastern Europe, presents the basic record of U.S. relations with Austria, Finland, Poland, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Turkey, as well as documentation on general U.S. policy toward the Eastern European region and U.S. efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem. Volumes XIII, XIV, XV, and XVI were all published in 1994.

A microfiche supplement to volumes XIII, XIV, and XV, released in 1995, presents additional documentation on meetings of the North Atlantic Council and the Berlin crisis.

Other major issues in U.S.-Soviet relations, in addition to Berlin and Germany, are covered in separate volumes of the Foreign Relations series for the 1961-1963 triennium. A separate Introduction (pages IX-XII) sets forth in more detail the scope of coverage in the Foreign Relations series of the U.S.-Soviet relationship.

Sources for the Foreign Relations Series

The Foreign Relations statute requires that the published record in the Foreign Relations series include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation on major foreign policy decisions and actions of the U.S. Government. It further requires that government agencies, departments, and other entities of the U.S. Government cooperate with the [Page V] Department of State Historian by providing full and complete access to records pertinent to foreign policy decisions and actions and by providing copies of selected records. The editors believe that in terms of access this volume was prepared in accordance with the standards and mandates of this statute.

The editors had complete access to all the records and papers of the Department of State they deemed necessary to prepare this volume: the central files of the Department; the special decentralized files (“lot files”) of the Department at the bureau, office, and division levels; the files of the Department’s Executive Secretariat, which contain the records of international conferences and high-level official visits, correspondence with foreign leaders by the President and Secretary of State, and memoranda of conversations between the President and Secretary of State and foreign officials; and the files of overseas diplomatic posts.

The editors of the Foreign Relations series also had full access to the papers of President Kennedy and other White House foreign policy records. Presidential papers maintained and preserved at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library include some of the most significant foreign affairs-related documentation from other federal agencies including the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

All of this documentation has been made available for use in the Foreign Relations series thanks to the consent of these agencies, the assistance of their staffs, and especially the cooperation and support of the National Archives and Records Administration. The List of Sources, pages XVII-XVIII, lists the particular files and collections consulted and cited in this volume.

Principles of Document Selection for This Volume

The editors have sought to present in this volume all the correspondence between President Kennedy and Chairman Khrushchev. They have included the written messages exchanged directly between the two leaders through the Soviet Embassy in Washington or the American Embassy in Moscow. Also included are those oral messages the editors have identified that were conveyed to the President from the Chairman through an intermediary and reduced to a written record as well as the earliest exchanges between President-elect Kennedy and Chairman Khrushchev and Mrs.Kennedy’s personal message to the Chairman after the assassination of the President.

All of Chairman Khrushchev’s Russian-language messages are presented in the original contemporary English translations, except for the April 1, 1963, message, which was obtained from the Russian Foreign Ministry in 1995 and translated at that time. The editors have provided annotation about the translations, the mode of delivery of the messages [Page VI] (when information was available), and alternative translations of the Russian-language messages.

Special problems and considerations arising with the selection of documents for this volume are discussed in the Introduction (pages IX-XII)

Editorial Methodology

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents in the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the source text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the source text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume. All brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.

An unnumbered source note to each document indicates the document’s source, original classification, distribution, and drafting information.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. Although the Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of individual volumes in the series, it does monitor the overall process and makes recommendations on particular problems that come to its attention.

Declassification Review

The final declassification review of this volume, which was completed in 1995, resulted in no excisions. The documentation was cleared in full.

The Division of Historical Documents Review of the Office of Freedom of Information, Privacy, and Classification Review, Bureau of [Page VII] Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12356 on National Security Information, which was superseded by Executive Order 19528 on April 20, 1995, and applicable laws.

Under Executive Order 12356, information that concerns one or more of the following categories, and the disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause damage to the national security, requires classification:

military plans, weapons, or operations;
the vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, projects, or plans relating to the national security;
foreign government information;
intelligence activities (including special activities), or intelligence sources or methods;
foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States;
scientific, technological, or economic matters relating to national security;
U.S. Government programs for safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities;
cryptology; or
a confidential source.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments.


The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the John F. Kennedy Library of the National Archives and Records Administration, in particular Suzanne Forbes, who assisted in the collection of documents for this volume. The editors are also grateful to Igor V. Lebedev, Director of the Department of History and Records, Russian Foreign Ministry, for verifying the completeness of the collection of exchanges and providing additional documentation.

Charles S. Sampson originally collected, selected, and edited the material presented in this volume, and Vicki E. Futscher drafted additional annotation and performed the editorial review. Jeffrey A. Soukup conducted research in Department of State files and at the Kennedy Library to ensure the completeness of the compilation. David C. Humphrey also contributed to the selection and substantive editing of the material and made a final review of the manuscript. J. Michael Joyce, a senior Foreign Senior officer and Russian linguist, reviewed the manuscript [Page VIII] and provided expert advice on the translation of the texts and the context of the documentation. Former General Editor Glenn W. LaFantasie supervised the early editorial and publication process. Max Franke prepared the index.

William Z. Slany
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs

July 1996