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January 21, 1959

Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Draft for Transmission to Various Heads of Government Regarding of A. I. Mikoyan's Conversations with Senior US Government Leaders'

SECRET Copy Nº 1


[faded stamp:



22 January 1959

Subject to return to the

CPSU CC General Department]



to Cde. M. A. SUSLOV


In accordance with an instruction the USSR MFA submits a draft of confidential information for transmission to the heads of government of India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Ceylon, Burma, the UAR, Iraq, Afghanistan, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Yugoslavia about the main contents of A. I. Mikoyan's conversations with senior US government leaders.


It is proposed to send this information through our ambassadors in the corresponding countries.


[signed] V. Ku[znetsov]


21 January 1959

Nº 164/GS



[to the] archives

Cde. Kuznetsov has been given

instructions by Cde. M. A. Suslov

[illegible signature]

21 January 1959






Secret Copy Nº 1









Visit Nehru (Sukarno, Bandaranaike, Sihanouk, Ne Win, Nasser, Qasim, Daud, Raab, Erlander, Hansen, Gerhardsen, Sukselainen, and Kardelj respectively) and say that you have been instructed by the Soviet government to provide information confidentially about the substance of the conversations which A. I. Mikoyan held with US government leaders during his official visit to the country in January of this year.


Then add that the goal of Mikoyan's trip to the US was to spend a vacation and that during conversations with US government leaders, which were held at the initiative of the American side, Mikoyan did not hold any negotiations and limited himself to an exchange of opinions on a number of international problems.


Mikoyan had an unofficial exchange of opinions in conversations with President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, Secretary of State Dulles, and some other prominent people. The following issues were touched upon in the course of the exchange.


The German problem and the Berlin question


A large place in the conversations was devoted to the German problem and the Berlin question, which were touched on at the initiative of the American side.


Mikoyan told the US government leaders that the policy of the USSR on the German issue is based on the real facts. These facts are that there is a West German state, there is an East German state, and there is Berlin, occupied by the forces of the former allies in the war. The Soviet Union recognizes all these facts. The US recognizes only part of them. The US refuses to recognize the indisputable fact that the German Democratic Republic exists, that this state is developing economically and is strengthening politically, that a great consolidation of social forces is occurring there, and that the existing GDR system is supported not only by Communists, but also by Christian Democrats and liberals.


The FRG government with the support of the US is demanding the reunification of Germany on those conditions which mean nothing else than annexation, the absorption of the GDR. But such a position of the FRG government leads only to newer and newer obstacles being created in the path of a rapprochement of the two German states. Of course, the GDR would never agree to be absorbed by West Germany. This also cannot be accomplished by force because the Soviet troops located there will be ready to help the GDR as their Warsaw Pact ally.


The FRG government is behaving provocatively not only with respect to the GDR, but also with respect to several other countries. Is it tolerable that the government of a defeated country refuses to accept, refuses to establish diplomatic relations, for example, with Czechoslovakia and Poland, victorious countries.


The situation in Germany and in Europe would be improved and normalized if a peace treaty were finally concluded with Germany. In particular, it would consolidate the existing borders, and then no one would dare raise the question of reexamining them, as the FRG government is doing. The Soviet government is of the opinion that it the solution of this problem cannot be put off any longer. In the opinion of the Soviet government the situation in Germany could be stabilized at the present time by concluding a peace treaty with the two German states.


Of course, it would be desirable that the reunification of Germany be preceded by the conclusion of a peace treaty, but if it is impossible at the present time, then the treaty might be signed by representatives of the two existing German states.


The Soviet government does not think that the conclusion of a peace treaty taking into account the existence of two German states would bring a complete solution to the German problem. But it would undoubtedly be a good beginning which help bring both German states together and help them agree on a way to unite the country in the future.


The USSR attaches very great importance to the issue of the conclusion of a German peace treaty and will not cease efforts in this direction because it is convinced that this serves both the interests of the world as a whole as well as the interests of Germany.


Mikoyan noted that the Soviet Union and the US have many common interests on the issue of a peace treaty with Germany and they could come to a mutual understanding because in this case this is actually a matter of whether there will be a development in Europe in the direction of war or in the assurance of peace. The most realistic way for the reunification of Germany is the formation of a German confederation.


A complete unification of the two German states is not immediately possible because it would invariably raise the issue of how matters are to be with the different sociopolitical systems which have developed in the GDR and FRG. Therefore a mechanical unification would unavoidably cause great social upheavals in Germany. Meanwhile the formation of a confederation would allow the different sociopolitical systems in the two German states to be preserved and at the same time give the confederation some common functions, which would develop gradually.


The Soviet Union is not trying to somehow take revenge on the German people or place them in a subordinate position. On the contrary, the Soviet Union has good relations with the Germans of East Germany and would like to improve their relations with the Germans living in West Germany. The people of West Germany are in favor of peace and understand what a new war would mean for all countries, especially for Germany.


But in West Germany there are also revenge-minded circles who would like to forcibly change the situation which has been created.


West Germany is now already armed with missiles, in spite of the protests which this causes in West Germany itself. Adenauer pushed a decision through the Bundestag in order to arm West Germany with the most modern weapons.


Thus, in spite of the soothing assurances of the American leaders and Adenauer himself, the Soviet people retain great suspicions that the FRG is gathering many more weapons than are needed for purely defensive purposes. The United States of America is helping the Federal Republic of Germany in this.


Explaining the Soviet proposals on the Berlin question, Mikoyan said that the Soviet Union is not seeking to get anything for itself, just like it is not pursuing the goal of undermining the prestige of the Western powers or trying for them to "lose face". The Soviet Union wants West Berlin to remain not at the point of the bayonets of the occupation forces but to become a free city whose position would be guaranteed by the four powers and the two German states, enlisting the United Nations in this.


The Soviet Union is ready to agree to far-reaching measures in order to ensure complete non-interference in the internal affairs of the free city of West Berlin. Besides those proposals which the Soviet government has already offered with this goal it would be ready to come to agreement about the creation of an international commission to oversee the preservation of the status of a free city and assurance of its independence.


There is every possibility for a free city of Berlin to also be a full-fledged organism economically. Here an area presents itself in which the USSR and US could productively cooperate in the interests of a future peace.


It is also fundamentally wrong to assert that the Soviet note on the Berlin question is some sort of ultimatum, some kind of threat. This does not follow from that. The Soviet government is not threatening any military measures. It proposes negotiations on the Berlin question for six months, and this is not a short period. We do not want to fight because of Berlin, declared Mikoyan, and hope that you also don't want this. If someone resorts to threats in connection with the Berlin question, then these are some Western generals calling for the tanks of the Western powers to push through to Berlin. But it is necessary to understand that there are tanks on the border, and not only tanks which can give a rebuff to any violation of the borders of the GDR.


If one thinks calmly then it becomes clear that the Soviet proposals on the Berlin question are a step directed at strengthening peace, a step which will provide a rational basis for a settlement of the current abnormal situation. However, it is surprising that if the Soviet Union advances positive proposals that the US government responds only with a rejection, without offering anything new or progressive on its own behalf. It does not even say that there would be a benefit in a continuation of the occupation of Berlin.


The US position on the German problem and the Berlin question was mainly expressed by Dulles.


Having told Mikoyan that the US government is ready to enter into negotiations about the Germany problem, Dulles said at the same time that he was against the Soviet Union's proposals about concluding a peace treaty with Germany and a settlement of the Berlin question. Favoring holding talks on a broader basis, but not just about the question of Berlin or about the issue of a peace treaty with Germany, Dulles thereby tried to replace the decision of these two very important specific issues with general talks on the problems of the reunification of Germany and European security.


Dulles also declared that he understands the Soviet Union's concern for the future of Germany and a possible resurgence of German militarism. He said that in the area of the reunification of Germany the US wants to provide such conditions under which assurances against a resurgence of German militarism and a German threat would be given. In Dulles' words, the US does not want to get any strategic military or political advantages for itself as a result of the reunification of the country. In the opinion of the US, any system of the reunification of Germany should be surrounded by security measures, agreements, treaties, etc., which would provide for joint actions by the USSR and US against a resurgence of German aggression.


In a conversation with Mikoyan Eisenhower expressed the same views, approving Dulles' statements at the same time.


The exchange of opinions on the Germany problem and the Berlin question showed that the US government continues to hold to its old position and does not exhibit a desire to undertake any steps to find solutions for these issues which would meet the interests of both the German people themselves and the interests of ensuring a lasting peace in the entire world.


The problem of disarmament and a halt to nuclear testing


In conversations with US government leaders Mikoyan touched on the issue of halting the arms race in general terms.


Mikoyan told Eisenhower that the Soviet government would be ready to adopt the most radical steps to reduce military expenditures. But this could only be done on a mutual basis. Some American Cabinet secretaries [ministry] told him, Mikoyan, the Soviet Union could reduce its defense expenditures, that it would accelerate the growth of the Soviet economy. But they were speaking of unilateral expenditures at a time when the US would continue to increase its weaponry. Of course, it is impossible to expect such unilateral disarmament from the Soviet Union. It needs to be said that in the last three years the Soviet military budget has remained unchanged in spite of the monstrous and ever-increasing expenditures for weapons being appropriated in the US. It stands to reason, said Mikoyan, that this is the main and most important problem standing between the USSR and US. Positive steps in this area would have an enormous influence on the overall development of the situation in the world.


Replying to the corresponding arguments of the American side Mikoyan said that if the increased military expenditures in the US are explained by a lack of trust, then the Soviet Union is not responsible. Mikoyan said, not one reasonable person will seriously assert that the USSR can make a sudden attack on any other country.


Replying to Mikoyan, Eisenhower expressed a desire in general terms to seek some progress in the area of disarmament.


However, it is known that these words are not being underpinned by real deeds of the US government.


Mikoyan described to Dulles the Soviet position on the issue of halting nuclear tests. The Soviet government considers it necessary to come to agreement about a permanent halt to these tests everywhere without delay. The achievement of such an agreement would have enormous importance not only in itself but also as a first important step which would facilitate the creation of trust in Soviet-American relations and make the achievement of an agreement on other issues easier. We think that it is possible to come to agreement on this issue if a desire is displayed on the part of the US and Great Britain.


Mikoyan then raised the question with Dulles, does the US government want to sign an agreement halting nuclear weapons tests or does it intend to create new difficulties in this path[?] Mikoyan noted that, although in the negotiations in Geneva the texts of four articles have already been agreed and outwardly it is as if things are not going so badly, there is one proposal from the US side which causes serious doubts about their intentions. This is the US proposal for decisions in the control body to be adopted by majority vote, not by agreement between the sides. The Soviet government understands that the US will have a majority in this body, as it has in the UN. Therefore the USSR will never consent to an agreement which would mean nothing else than an agreement to a US diktat. There are also other substantial differences in the talks in Geneva which have arise by virtue of the obstacles raised by the US. Such obstacles include the US statement about the impossibility of detecting underground tests. As is well-known, a conference of experts which was held last summer reached agreement about the possibility of detecting nuclear tests. But now several months have passed and an official statement is being made in the US about the impossibility of detecting underground tests. It turns out so that no sooner than one obstacle is overcome that another arises.


Replying to a question raised by Mikoyan, Dulles asserted that the US government wants to come to agreement about the issue of halting nuclear tests. Dulles said, the US has no intention of blocking the negotiations in Geneva, but a solution to the issue of halting the tests is a difficult and complex problem. In Dulles' words, it requires long and patient negotiations.


Dulles also assured Mikoyan that the US does not intend to drag out the matter with the resumption of the work of a conference to prevent surprise attacks, but wants to study the whole problem anew.


It ought to be noted that, as before, a desire by the American side not to solve these issues and to pursue a policy of dragging out the negotiations was manifestly clear from Dulles' statements.


The Near and Middle East


In the conversations with Mikoyan Dulles stated that the US views with concern the situation in the Near and Middle East which, in Dulles' opinion, is complex and very involved. He expressed doubt that it was possible to come to a unity of views on all the elements of this situation.


Dulles said that this region has vital importance for Western Europe as a source of oil and as a region though which very important lines of communication pass.


Explaining his point of view about the situation in the Near and Middle East Dulles noted that the development of events in Iraq in which supposedly "national communism has established its control" causes the US concern. He tried to convince Mikoyan that the introduction of American troops in Lebanon supposedly did not pursue the intention of using force to preserve Western influence in the Near and Middle East. He also noted that this region is fraught with serious dangers if there is outside interference in the affairs of this region and stated that it is hard for him to foresee the future course of events.


Mikoyan noted to Dulles that the Soviet Union understands the importance of Arab oil and lines of communication passing through the Middle East for Western European countries, which has been frankly stated in the corresponding statements of the Soviet government. At one time the Soviet government proposed that the great powers discuss the issue of the Middle East and come to agreement about non-interference in the affairs of the Arab countries but this proposal did not find support from the Western powers since back in 1950 the US, Britain, and France declared that they would settle the matters of this region together, without even consulting the Arab countries.


As regards the so-called threat of Communism, Mikoyan noted that there was not a single Soviet person there in Iraq in the summer of 1958 when the well-known events occurred there. We support the government of Qasim as a national government.


The high moral and political authority of the Soviet Union in other countries is explained by the fact that it does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. It thinks that it is necessary to build relations between countries, including with the countries of the Near and Middle East, on the basis of equality. There will be nothing bad for the Western powers if the Arab countries pursue an independent policy, control their own resources, and sell the oil in the same place to West European countries at normal commercial prices.


The Western countries are ruining their position and undermining their positions in the Near and Middle East by supporting colonialism, which came to an end long ago.


Dulles tried to belittle the importance of the negotiations between held between the US, Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan about the conclusion of bilateral military agreements. In his words, this is supposedly only a matter of agreements which stipulate the conditions in which US military aid will be given to these countries.


Mikoyan noted in response to this that the mania for pacts [paktomaniya], which has become a characteristic feature of American foreign policy, a desire to draw as many countries as possible into military alliances directed against the USSR, cannot fail to provoke a corresponding reaction from the Soviet Union. The United States' imposition of a military treaty on Iran caused a worsening of the USSR's relations with Iran. The US policy having the goal of using Turkey in military plans against the Soviet Union is causing the Soviet Union serious concern.


Mikoyan stressed that the military measures being pursued by the US in the countries of the Near and Middle East are leading to a creation of a tense situation in the area of the USSR's southern borders. It is also impossible not to take into account that some countries of this region have poor relations with their neighbors. Mikoyan referred to the speech by the Indian ambassador to the US at the economic club in New York in which the ambassador spoke about the military threat to India from Pakistan. It is also known that Pakistan has already repeatedly made threatening statements with respect to Afghanistan. Mikoyan stressed that in such a situation the existence of military agreements between Pakistan and the US might lead to other countries becoming involved in a military conflict capable of developing into a broader military clash in the event of an outbreak of a conflict in the area of Pakistan.


The Far East


In a conversation with Mikoyan Dulles also touched on the question of the situation in the Far East. Dulles stated that, in the opinion of the US, China is a divided country, like Korea, Vietnam, and Germany, and that the unification of a divided country cannot be done by the use of force, and cannot be accomplished by expulsion [izgnanie] with the use of military units of the US or of other countries which are in the corresponding parts of these countries.


Mikoyan replied to Dulles that the analogy between China, on the one hand, and Korea, Vietnam, and Germany, on the other, has neither legal, nor historic, nor factual bases. In Germany zones were established between the allies as a result of their victory in the last war. In Korea, zones were also created as a result of the victory of the allies in the last war. Of course, Syngman Rhee is a dangerous person and a big opportunist [avantyurist]. He ought to be contained, of course. It is known that North Korea is developing well, and industry there has not only been restored but is twice the level it was before the Korean War. Agriculture is developing well. All this might cause envy in Syngman Rhee. The DPRK does not have aggressive plans with respect to South Korea. Mikoyan said that it would be good for American troops to be withdrawn from Korea and also to influence Syngman Rhee to agree to pursue a policy of developing contacts with North Korea. The DPRK leadership has already made repeated statements about a desire to establish contacts and develop economic ties between the two parts of Korea.


As regards Vietnam, it was divided on the basis of the 1954 Geneva Conventions.


Mikoyan told Dulles that the question of China is completely different. At one time a civil war began there. At one time the US did not intervene in the civil war in China with its armed forces. This was reasonable. But when the remnants of the beaten Nationalists fled to the coastal islands and to Taiwan, the US signed a corresponding treaty with them, that is, it made unilateral actions in their favor. Not one other country did this. Naturally, China does not want to tolerate such acts by the US.


Mikoyan then said that neither China nor the USSR is seeking for the US to leave all the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Leaving Taiwan, age-old Chinese territory, does not mean leaving the Pacific Ocean region. The US would only gain in all respects, including with regard to its own prestige, if it would end its relations with Chiang Kai-shek and establish normal relations with the PRC. The US presence on Taiwan increases the tension in the Far East, and is directed at preserving a breeding ground of war in this region. As regards the Soviet Union, it is ready to facilitate the elimination of breeding grounds of war in any region of the world.


In this connection Dulles repeated previous arguments that the US troops in Taiwan, South Korea, and South Vietnam are supposedly only on the basis of corresponding agreements.


Some other issues


In conversations with government officials and with representatives of business and other circles of the US Mikoyan stressed that the Soviet government was striving to establish relations of friendship and cooperation with all countries, including with the United States.


To achieve this it is necessary to put an end to the "Cold War" and begin to establish trust between the countries step by step. Mikoyan explained to his interlocutors that the Soviet Union is pursuing a policy of absolute non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and builds its relations with other countries on this basis.


For relations between the USSR and US the main thing is for both sides not to rush to war, but to wish for peace and peaceful coexistence, as the Soviet Union wants this. The Soviet people want peace not because they are cowards or weak but because they need peace for the further development of the Soviet economy and a further increase of the standard of living of its people. The successes of the Soviet people in the area of economics are no threat to the US, although some American figures also try to assert the opposite.


Mikoyan noted that personal contacts between Soviet and American representatives at various levels should help remove the preconceptions which exist between them, after which it would be considerably easier to overcome the differences which exist through negotiations.


An exchange of opinions took place on the issue of the development of Soviet-American economic and trade ties in the course of Mikoyan's trip and his conversations with representatives of American business circles. In the process Mikoyan stressed the advisability of the development of trade, for which there are great unused possibilities, directing attention to the need to eliminate discriminatory restrictions in the trade with the USSR and some other countries which have been introduced by the United States.


Although the reaction of US business circles to these statements of Mikoyan was in general positive, the idea of the development of trade ties between the USSR and the US did not meet with support on the part of officials.


In the opinion of the Soviet government the exchange of opinions held between Mikoyan and US government leaders was useful.


Telegraph when this is done.




21 January 1959


Ref. 164/gs

After A.I Mikoyan's trip to the United States and his conversations with senior US government leaders, the USSR MFA submitted a draft of confidential information to be sent to the heads of government of several states. The content of the instructions to be told to the foreign leaders includes discussion of the German problem and Berlin, the problem of disarmament and a halt to nuclear testing, the Near and Middle East, the Far East, and other issues.

Document Information


RGANI, f. 5, op. 30, d. 300. General Department of the Central Committee, 1953-1966, microfilm, reel 73. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Gary Goldberg.


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