Nikita Khrushchev’s Memoirs: Fallout?

Today’s post is written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park. 

Three previous posts discussed the publication of the two volumes of memoirs by Nikita Khrushchev, the second volume appearing in mid-1974. The journalist Strobe Talbott served as editor/translator for both books. It appears that Soviet officials may have viewed his participation in that publication negatively.

In October 1974, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger set off on a 2-week trip that took him to Moscow, New Delhi, Dhaka, Rawalpindi, Kabul, Tehran, Bucharest, Belgrade, Rome, Cairo, Riyadh, Amman, Damascus, Jerusalem, and Tunis. A group of journalists designated by various media outlets travelled with the Secretary. The group included Nicholas Daniloff (UPI), Bernard Gwertzman (New York Times), Marvin Kalb (CBS), Ted Koppel (ABC), Murray Marder (Washington Post), Strobe Talbott (Time), and Richard Valeriani (NBC), among others.

In the following urgent telegram, the Department of State informed the U.S. embassy in Moscow, the first stop on the trip, that the Soviet embassy in Washington had refused a visa for Strobe Talbott and asked the embassy to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Although the records provide no definitive answer, coming so soon after the publication of the second volume of Khrushchev’s memoirs, the connection seems almost certain – the move against Talbott was fallout from his involvement with that project.

1974STATE231906.1

1974STATE231906.2
Department of State to Embassy Moscow, Telegram 231906, October 22, 1974, 1974STATE231906, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973-79/Electronic Telegrams, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.

The embassy reported its actions and the results in the following four telegrams:

1974MOSCOW15976
Embassy Moscow to Department of State, Telegram 15976, October 22, 1974, 1974MOSCOW15976, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973-79/Electronic Telegrams, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.
1974MOSCOW16040
Embassy Moscow to Department of State, Telegram 16040, October 22, 1974, 1974MOSCOW16040, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973-79/Electronic Telegrams, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.
1974MOSCOW16055
Embassy Moscow to Department of State, Telegram 16055, October 23, 1974, 1974MOSCOW16055, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973-79/Electronic Telegrams, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.  This telegram was repeated to Kissinger en route as 1974STATE233049.
1974MOSCOW16060
Embassy Moscow to Department of State, Telegram 16060, October 23, 1974, 1974MOSCOW16060, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973-79/Electronic Telegrams, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.  This telegram was repeated to Kissinger en route as 1974STATE233048.

As a result of the Soviet decision, Talbott left the travelling party in Copenhagen and flew to New Delhi, Kissinger’s first stop after leaving the USSR, where he rejoined the group.[1]

The press travelling with Secretary Kissinger released a protest statement on arrival in Moscow. The embassy reported on that in the following telegram:

1974MOSCOW16125.1

1974MOSCOW16125.2
Embassy Moscow to Department of State, Telegram 16125, October 22, 1974, 1974MOSCOW16125, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973-79/Electronic Telegrams, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.

Kissinger’s made both on the record and background statements about the matter which the embassy in Moscow reported. Neither subsequent telegrams nor the reports of his meetings in Moscow, however, document Kissinger raising the Talbott matter in his discussions with Soviet officials.[2]

1974MOSCOW16119
Embassy Moscow to Department of State, Telegram 16119, October 23, 1974, 1974MOSCOW16119, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973-79/Electronic Telegrams, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.

 

[1] See Embassy Moscow to Embassy New Delhi, Telegram 16114, October 23, 1974, 1974MOSCOW16114 and Embassy Moscow to Embassy London, Telegram 16115, October 23, 1974, 1974MOSCOW16115, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973-79/Electronic Telegrams, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State, U.S. National Archives.

[2] See various telegrams reporting on and commenting on the Moscow visit in the Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973-79/Electronic Telegrams, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.  For the Moscow meetings, see FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, 1969-1976: VOLUME XVI, SOVIET UNION, AUGUST 1974-DECEMBER 1976 (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 2012).

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