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Letter to Nikolai Bulganin, Chairman, Council of Ministers, U. S. S. R.

October 21, 1956

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I have the letter which your Embassy handed me through Secretary Dulles on October nineteenth. I regret to find that this letter departs from accepted international practice in a number of respects.

First, the sending of your note in the midst of a national election campaign of which you take cognizance, expressing your support of the opinions of "certain prominent public figures in the United States" constitutes an interference by a foreign nation in our internal affairs of a kind which, if indulged in by an Ambassador, would lead to his being declared persona non grata in accordance with long-established custom.

Second, having delivered a lengthy communication in the Russian language, you have published it before it could be carefully translated and delivered to me. Because of this, and of the necessity of placing the facts accurately before the public, I am compelled to release this reply immediately.

Third, your statement with respect to the Secretary of State is not only unwarranted, but is personally offensive to me.

Fourth, you seem to impugn my own sincerity.

However, I am not instructing the Department of State to return your letter to your Embassy. This is not because I am tolerant of these departures from accepted international practice, but because I still entertain the hope that direct communications between us may serve the cause of peace.

You and I have exchanged a number of letters since our meeting in Geneva on the reduction of armaments and related matters in our effort to make progress toward the goal of peace. I hope that that practice may be resumed in accordance with accepted standards.

The United States has for a long time been intensively examining, evaluating and planning dependable means of stopping the arms race and reducing and controlling armaments. These explorations include the constant examination and evaluation of nuclear tests. To be effective, and not simply a mirage, all these plans require systems of inspection and control, both of which your Government has steadfastly refused to accept. Even my "Open Skies" proposal of mutual aerial inspection, suggested as a first step, you rejected.

However, though disappointed, we are not discouraged. We will continue unrelenting in our efforts to attain these goals. We will close no doors which might open a secure way to serve humanity.

We shall entertain and seriously evaluate all proposals from any source which seem to have merit, and we shall constantly seek for ourselves formulations which might dependably remove the atomic menace.



Note: The text of Mr. Bulganin's letter, dated October 17, 1956, is published in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 35, P. 662).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to Nikolai Bulganin, Chairman, Council of Ministers, U. S. S. R. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233677

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