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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 Khrushchev to President Eisenhower, on the question of a summit meeting, June 11, 1958,   pp. 281-290 PDF (4.6 MB)

Page 282

negotiations through diplomatic channels, the Soviet Government
expressed serious doubts as to whether such procedure would facilitate
the convening of a summit conference. We did not conceal our appre-
hension that by initiating such negotiations we might find ourselves
on a slippery path which would result in delaying the whole matter
and postponing the meeting of the heads of government. Neverthe-
ls4Jthie Soviet Government consented to these negotiations, since the
Western Powers insisted on such a method of preparing the con-
Unfortunately, our apprehension regarding preliminary negotia-
tions are beginning to be borne out. In the matter of preparing the
conference we are, as before, marking time, and as a matter of fact,
on a number of questions we are even moving backwards. In such
a situation many people, and not only in the Soviet Union, are begin-
ning to ask the question whether the proposal itself for conducting
preliminary negotiations of this kind was not calculated to put addi-
tional difficulties in the way of convening a summit conference. When
the Soviet Government addressed the Government of the USA and
the governments of other countries six months ago with an appeal to
convene a broad international conference of top government officials,
we were guided by the desire to find, through joint efforts, a way
toward a radical change in the situation that has developed in inter-
national relations. We believed and still believe that at this confer-
ence agreement should be reached to ease relations between states, to
liquidate the "cold war," to ensure conditions of peaceful coexistence
of states, and not to resort to war as a means of resolving outstanding
issues. One should not be reconciled to the dangerous direction which
the development of relations between states has now taken, especially
between the great powers. At the present time, when the destructive
power of the weapons that states have at their disposal knows no lim-
its, inaction would be a crime. The time has come for energetic joint
intervention on the part of responsible government officials for the
purpose of averting a terrible danger, of liberating humanity from
the oppressive threat of atomic war, and giving people what they need
most of all-lasting peace and confidence in a tomorrow.
In January of this year you, Mr. President, responded to the pro-
posal to call a summit conference and communicated that you were
prepared to meet with the leaders of the Soviet Union and other states.
The Government of the United Kingdom and France likewise re-
sponded to this proposal. All of this strengthened our hopes for an
early convening of such a conference and was well received by other
governments and the peoples of all countries.
Under such conditions it was natural to expect that in the course of
preliminary negotiations the parties would strive to submit for con-
sideration at the conference those pressing international problems
with regard to which, with the goodwill of the participants in the
negotiations, it would actually be possible to achieve positive results
eVein now and put the international situation on a healthier footing.
We still adhere to these views, particularly in connection with pre-
paring the agenda for a summit conference.
I take the liberty of again listing problems which in the opinion
of the Soviet Government, should be considered at this conference.
These problems are the following:

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