464. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union0

2274. Eyes only Ambassador and Harriman. Following are Governor Harriman’s1 instructions:

As soon as you have received word that you will be received by Khrushchev, you should proceed to Moscow to consult with Foreign Minister Gromyko and the Chairman on the situation in Laos. You should recall to the Chairman the mutual commitments exchanged in Vienna and express the President’s firm belief that unless these commitments and the subsequent Accords reached at Geneva can be effectively implemented, it is difficult for the President to see how any other agreement can be successfully reached and carried out. Re Deptel 55432 you should explore with the Soviet authorities specific measures for reestablishing the situation in Laos to permit fulfillment of the Geneva Agreements and should engage in such conversations as will enable you to make a judgment whether the Soviets are still willing and able to carry out the Vienna commitments. You should make clear that the [Page 998] United States is determined to give full support to Souvanna Phouma and the Geneva Agreements and that any attempt by the Pathet Lao, with or without outside help, to dominate Laos by force would be unacceptable. Our purpose is, and we believe the Soviet purpose should be, to ensure the independent and neutral Laos that was agreed upon. These instructions may be modified in the light of any developments that take place before your appointment with Khrushchev.

To the extent that Chairman Khrushchev or other Soviet officials may raise other matters, you should encourage a discussion, but confine yourself to stimulating an expression of their views with the exception of the problem of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Cuba, upon which, if necessary, you might take the initiative. It is believed that from the oral briefings you have had you will be in a position to develop Soviet views on the various questions that may be raised, but the following guidelines may be helpful.

[Here follow instructions in the event that Khrushchev might raise the issues of Cuba, nuclear testing and nonproliferation, Berlin, and Germany.]

While it is not expected that you get into details of matters other than Laos, the President wishes that you leave with Mr. Khrushchev the clear impression that he sincerely desires a resolution of our problems with the Soviet Union, but, at the same time, avoid letting him think that we have such concern that he might adopt the policy advocated by Communist China that he can push us around on current issues.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/Harriman. Secret; Operational Immediate. Drafted by Thompson, cleared in draft by Rusk and the White House, and approved by Thompson. Repeated operational immediate to London.
  2. While in London, Harriman conferred on the situation in Laos with British officials including Lord Home, the Foreign Secretary. (Telegram 4145 from London, April 23; ibid.)
  3. In telegram 5543, April 22, the Department suggested talking points for Harriman’s meeting with Khrushchev. Harriman should stress that the situation was the most serious challenge yet to the 1962 Geneva Accords and the stability of Southeast Asia. Harriman was to press Khrushchev to exert influence on the Pathet Lao and North Vietnam to stop attacks on neutralists, to help the ICC establish a permanent cease-fire in the Plaine des Jarres, and to take steps to demonstrate Soviet support for the Souvanna government. (Ibid.)