187. Editorial Note

In a letter to President Kennedy on April 29, Chairman Khrushchev reviewed the state of U.S.-Soviet relations. In a paragraph near the end of the letter he wrote:

“I agree with you that we have before us also other questions and problems aside from those mentioned in your message. In the first instance I would mention the conclusion of a German peace treaty and normalization of the situation in West Berlin on that basis. The solution of this problem, and given mutual desire that is not now such a difficult matter, would undoubtedly bear the greatest returns both from the standpoint of the interest of consolidating peace and for a serious improvement in Soviet-American relations. As long as the remnants of the Second World War, which constantly make themselves known, continue to exist, then both you and we will be forced to devote ever greater funds to armaments, that is to increasing our ability to destroy each other. And understandably in such a situation it is difficult to count on agreement on disarmament, which requires above all faith and still more faith for its attainment. Therefore, if one realistically evaluates the situation, one cannot but come to the conclusion that the conclusion of a German peace treaty would create better conditions also for the resolution of the question of questions of the modern day—universal and complete disarmament.” (Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 77 D 163)

The full text of this letter is printed in volume VI.