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Documents on Germany, 1944-1959 : background documents on Germany, 1944-1959, and a chronology of political developments affecting Berlin, 1945-1956

Letter from Premier Bulganin to President Eisenhower, regarding a summit meeting, March 3, 1958,   pp. 245-253 PDF (4.1 MB)

Page 246

all, our correspondence has shown that the governments of our two
countries hold the general opinion that a conference of top govern-
ment officials is desirable and that its successful outcome can exert
a favorable influence on the entire international situation. Further-
more, we have had an opportunity to present in a preliminary way
our views with regard to a number-of specific problems, which is
useful in itself, since it facilitates the search for a mutually acceptable
basis of negotiations.
In your message of February 15 you state, Mr. President, that the
Soviet Government insists that only its own proposals be discussed by
the participants in the conference and that it refuses to consider the
questions proposed for discussion by the Government of the United
States. This is, however, an altogether erroneous interpretation of
the position of the Soviet Government. Actually, the presentation of
problems which we propose for discussion at a summit meeting has
by no means been dictated by any special interests of the Soviet Union.
They are international problems which have not arisen just today,
problems the solution of which has been long awaited and demanded
by the peoples.
Are the American people less interested than the people of the Soviet
Union or of other countries, for example, in a renunciation by states of
the use of atomic and hydrogen bombs, in having nuclear weapons tests
terminated at long last or in having the states take coordinated meas-
sures toward preventing a surprise attack? Are the British and
French, the inhabitants of West Germany, or the Belgians less in-
terested than the Russians, Poles, Czechs, or the inhabitants of East
Germany in the conclusion of a nonaggression pact between NATO
member states and the parties to the Warsaw Treaty, or in the initia-
tion by both sides, by mutual agreement, of a reduction in the number
of foreign troops in Germany, or in creating in the center of Europe
a wide zone which would be free of nuclear weapons and excluded
from the sphere of the use of atomic, hydrogen, and rocket weapons?
Can one believe that only the Soviet Union of all the states is interested
in the creation of a healthier international political atmosphere, to
which end it is necessary to stop the war propaganda which is poison-
ing the minds of the people in a number of countries? It is also quite
obvious that it would be in the interest of all states to have a free de-
velopment of international trade based on the principle of mutual ad-
vantage without any artificial barriers, and to stabilize the situation in
the Near and Middle East through a renunciation by the great powers
of any interference in the internal affairs of the countries in that area,
which more than once has already been a hotbed of dangerous conflicts.
We believe it is the duty of all statesmen who are really concerned
over the fate of the world to contribute in every possible way toward
achieving an agreement on these pressing problems. There are no
insurmountable obstacles to the solution of all these problems. Only
one thing is required-a willingness of the participants in the negotia-
tions to display realism and a desire actually to achieve a relaxation of
international tension, which things are so necessary under present
The only factor that motivates the Soviet Government in its pro-
posal for consideration of these problems is the conviction that under
present conditions it would be best to begin a general lessening of in-

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