66. Editorial Note

In February 1964 the Soviet Union accepted a long-standing U.S. proposal for discussion of a global communications satellite system. The United States had first proposed an exploratory exchange of views with the Soviet Union in February 1963. In a March 30 memorandum for Secretary Rusk, Abram Chayes speculated that Soviet interest was related to the ongoing U.S. discussions with the Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) and the European Conference on Satellite Communication. He recommended that the talks take place in June. “By that time, our negotiations with the Europeans and others should have advanced sufficiently so that the risks of Soviet participation would be minimal.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, TEL 6)

The Soviet Union’s interest in the U.S.-European negotiations was strong. In April a Soviet Embassy official asked Joseph Charyk, President of COMSAT, about the progress of the talks. “Mr. Karpov then indicated that it was his understanding that we were having a difficult time negotiating with the European countries and that as a matter of fact this had been described as a ‘telephone war.’ Charyk assured him that there was great interest on the part of the Europeans.” (Airgram CA–10238, April 6; ibid.)