192. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Hilsman) to Secretary of State Rusk0


  • Consideration of (1) Restriction on Travel of American Citizens; and (2) Recognition of Mongolia

Two memoranda, both addressed to you through Governor Harriman, accompany this memorandum.1 The first is entitled “Revision of Travel Regulations Governing American Citizens”, with an annex providing talking points detailing our reasons for believing that a change in the travel rules is desirable. The second is entitled “Diplomatic Recognition of Mongolian People’s Republic”; it also is annexed with talking points.

These two subjects seem unconnected. However, there are real advantages for taking action on both issues more or less simultaneously: the combined effect would be that we are trying to keep ourselves as well informed as possible on Communist Asia, siding neither with Moscow nor Peiping.

Recognition of Mongolia is a tactical decision, and we believe the national interest justifies it. A more basic issue is involved in the travel question: If we are interested in freedom, we have an interest in holding restriction on travel to a minimum. We believe that only in the case of Cuba are the foreign policy considerations so clear as to require that we continue to forbid travel by Americans. To other areas wherein we have no representation, we will discourage travel but not forbid it.

Our principal problem with recognition of Mongolia will be the GRC’s reaction. The principal problem with the change of the travel rules will be domestic charges that “the Administration is going soft on Communism”. Answers to these and other criticisms will be found in the annexed talking papers.

Both actions should be done before the 1964 election campaign reaches full crescendo. The proposal on travel is consistent with the policies which have been stated by this Administration, and the net effect on the electorate may well be favorable, but the announcement should be made in a relatively calm atmosphere, sufficiently well in advance of the [Page 404] 1964 elections to permit a sober consensus to have developed as to the advantages of the action.

If the recommendation to go ahead with the change in travel rules is accepted, there would appear to be no requirement for extra-Departmental clearances (since Justice has already cleared the original proposal), though we might check with Defense and CIA as a courtesy. CIA would probably be delighted over the change. Once it had been decided by the Administration to move on the travel question, there would be advance consultations with key Congressional leaders. Preparation should be made to notify interested governments shortly before the travel changes go into effect. The line for responding to press inquiries will need to be considered. A background briefing for selected members of the press might help to launch the new regulations properly.

  1. Source: Department of State, FE Files: Lot 65 D 6, POL 16, Independence, Recognition. Secret. Drafted by Grant. The memorandum was routed through Harriman, who did not initial it and it was thus apparently not sent to Rusk. Neither the memorandum nor its attachments bear any indication of the reason why they were not sent forward.
  2. Neither printed.