20. Summary Record of National Security Council Meeting No. 5251


  • U.S. Policy Toward Brazil and Other General Topics
  • CIA Director McCone gave a briefing from prepared notes on the following items:
Soviet Space Activities—Another Soviet effort to reach Venus is now in flight. He expressed grave concern about a New York Times story by John Finney revealing that two previous Soviet efforts to reach Venus had been failures.2 He said the USIB, which was now meeting, would probably recommend to the President that the Board be authorized to conduct an investigation to determine how this information reached the press. The Times story was similar to one which appeared in the Washington Post lending support to the thesis that the newsmen were briefed rather than having written their stories by astute reconstruction of information already in the public domain. (At the end of the meeting, and apparently in response to a written note which Secretary Rusk gave him, the President directed Mr. McCone to initiate an investigation of this matter.)
New Soviet Missile—There is recent evidence of a new Soviet Intercontinental Ballistic Missile which will be watched with great care. The development of this missile is conclusive proof that the Soviet ICBM program is not a static program.
The Sino-Soviet Split—[1 line of source text not declassified] make it clear that the differences between the USSR and Communist China are even greater than those which have been made public. Even the person of Khrushchev is now attacked by the Chinese Communists.

[Here follows discussion of South Vietnam and Brazil.]

The President turned to Secretary Rusk and asked if he had any matters which he wished to raise. Secretary Rusk made the following points:

[Here follows discussion of Cambodia.]

b. USSRKhrushchev’s current visit to Hungary is being very closely watched.3 The Premier’s speech stressing the importance of goulash as contrasted to the support of revolution may be an indication that Khrushchev is giving priority to the unfinished business in the USSR. If he now chooses to put first emphasis on improving economic conditions in the Soviet Union, it may mean that he will adopt a moderate attitude toward international problems.

Secretary Rusk agreed with the great importance which Director McCone attached to the split between the Russian and the Chinese Communists. He said there would be a revolutionary change in world affairs if these two powers split completely. If the security tie between the two countries is cut, the Chinese would not be able to count on Soviet support if they attacked Southeast Asia.4

[Here follows discussion of Egypt, Panama, and Cuba.]

Bromley Smith 5
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Meetings File. Secret. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Johnson went to the Cabinet Room for the NSC meeting at 12:10 p.m., and the meeting adjourned at 12:35. (Ibid.)
  2. Finney’s article, “2 Venus Probes by Soviet Failed,” which appeared in The New York Times on April 1, stated that the launch failures had not been made public by either the Soviet Union or the United States but “were detected by the electronic network maintained by this country to monitor Soviet space activities.”
  3. Khrushchev visited Hungary March 31–April 10.
  4. In his April 2 memorandum for the record, McCone summarized Rusk’s statement on the Sino-Soviet split as follows: “Rusk stated that it was his and the Department’s opinion that CIA was in no way overstating the depth of the Sino-Soviet split, indicating that the Department was studying carefully any evidence of actions by one party of the controversy against the other. He said no physical actions were discernible as yet but Rusk raised the question of the possibility of the abrogation of the Soviet-ChiCom Mutual Defense Treaty.” (Central Intelligence Agency, O/DDI Files: Job 80S–00003A, National Security Council 1964–Part I)
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.