87. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Presidential Visit to the Soviet Union


  • Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin, USSR
  • Llewellyn E. Thompson, Ambassador-at-Large, Department of State

Dobrynin came in at his own request and referred to conversations he had had with McGeorge Bundy and separately with me after the President’s State of the Union Message. In my conversation with him at that time, he had asked about the possibility of the President visiting the Soviet Union. I said I could only give him a personal guess which was that the President would probably wish to make one or more visits to our principal European Allies before making a visit to the Soviet Union if such a visit should be desired. When he pressed further on the question of timing of a visit either way, I said again, emphasizing that I was speaking personally, that I assumed that his people would be preoccupied with the meeting of the Communist Parties, set for March first.

In his statement to me today, Dobrynin said that he wished to tell me that he was sure that his Government would consider that a visit by the President to the Soviet Union would be in the interests of peace and of good relations between our two countries and that if I could tell him that the President would be interested in making such a visit, he would inform his Government and he felt certain that the response would be positive. When I pointed out that his remarks made no reference to a Soviet visit to this country, he said that he assumed that there would be an exchange of visits.

Dobrynin said that he thought the remarks he had made to me today were not in response to the message from the President I had delivered to him on January fourteenth2 and he assumed that this message would be studied and a reply made in due course.

I said I would of course report his remarks and would probably be in touch with him at a later date.

[Page 215]

Comment: My impression was that the Soviets were simply putting themselves in the same position that we are as a result of the President’s State of the Union reference to a Soviet visit here.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 77 D 163. Top Secret; Sensitive. Drafted and initialed by Thompson and approved in S/AL on January 16. The conversation took place in Thompson’s office.
  2. Document 85.