85. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State1

324. Eyes only for the Secretary from McCloy. Embassy telegram 323.2 Both Khrushchev’s and my statements abbreviated reftel though I made full use of arguments contained in our note and other material in my hands. In summary, Khrushchev was cordial on Wednesday but firm in reiterating his Vienna position. Really mad on Thursday after digesting President’s speech. Used rough war-like language returning to cordiality after the storm had passed. Frequent repetition this formula: will sign peace treaty no matter what; occupation rights thereupon cease, access cut off, and necessary then to make a deal with GDR; if you attempt force way through we will oppose by force; war bound to be thermonuclear and though you and we may survive all your European allies will be completely destroyed. Gathered from Ambassadors here that Soviets were making this argument to our allies hinting that they would not follow US in any war moves. All this followed by offers to negotiate peace terms, guarantee access and settle German problem as the only serious one between us.

My estimate is situation probably not yet ripe for any negotiation proffers by US but too dangerous to permit it drift into a condition where cramped time could well lead to unfortunate action.

Intend to proceed Paris to brief NAC as soon as I close here.3 Would appreciate instructions how far I may go in briefing them on Khrushchev’s comments on Berlin. Thompson and I sense Soviets will be pressing allies with threats of destruction to weaken their determination to go along with us.

Thompson believes it wise to emphasize this in Paris, stressing vital necessity for their firmness at this point. Assume no question propriety my briefing them on disarmament. Lyon hints de Gaulle may wish see me Paris. Assume I can talk freely with him re Khrushchev’s comments if interview should take place.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/7-2961. Secret; Priority; Limited Distribution. The source text bears the note “DR saw Sat,” i.e., July 29.
  2. Document 84.
  3. At 4:51 p.m. on July 29 the Department of State cabled the Embassy in Moscow that the President wanted McCloy to return directly to Washington. (Telegram 303; Department of State, Central Files, 600.0012/7-2961)