Tuesday, 25 April 2017
21. Letter From Chairman Khrushchev to President Kennedy
Moscow, September 29, 1961.
Dear Mr. President, At present I am on the shore of the Black Sea. When they write in the press that Khrushchev is resting on the Black Sea it may be said that this is correct and at the same time incorrect. This is indeed a wonderful place. As a former Naval officer you would surely appreciate the merits of these surroundings, the beauty of the sea and the grandeur of the Caucasian mountains. Under this bright southern sun it is even somehow hard to believe that there still exist problems in the world which, due to lack of solutions, cast a sinister shadow on peaceful life, on the future of millions of people.
But as you will fully understand, I cannot at this time permit myself any relaxation. I am working, and here I work more fruitfully because my attention is not diverted to routine matters of which I have plenty, probably like you yourself do. Here I can concentrate on the main things.
I have given much thought of late to the development of international events since our meeting in Vienna, and I have decided to approach you with this letter. The whole world hopefully expected that our meeting and a frank exchange of views would have a soothing effect, would turn relations between our countries into the correct channel and [Page 26]promote the adoption of decisions which could give the peoples confidence that at last peace on earth will be secured. To my regret—and, I believe, to yours—this did not happen.
I listened with great interest to the account which our journalists Adjubei and Kharlamov gave of the meeting they had with you in Washington. They gave me many interesting details and I questioned them most thoroughly. You prepossessed them by your informality, modesty and frankness which are not to be found very often in men who occupy such a high position.
My thoughts have more than once returned to our meetings in Vienna. I remember you emphasized that you did not want to proceed towards war and favoured living in peace with our country while competing in the peaceful domain. And though subsequent events did not proceed in the way that could be desired, I thought it might be useful in a purely informal and personal way to approach you and share some of my ideas. If you do not agree with me you can consider that this letter did not exist while naturally I, for my part, will not use this correspondence in my public statements. After all only in confidential correspondence can you say what you think without a backward glance at the press, at the journalists.
As you see, I started out by describing the delights of the Black Sea coast, but then I nevertheless turned to politics. But that cannot be helped. They say that you sometimes cast politics out through the door but it climbs back through the window, particularly when the windows are open.
I have given careful thought to what you told our journalists in your personal talk with them and to the difficulties to which you referred. Of course, I fully understand that the questions which have now matured and require solution are not of the kind that easily lend themselves to solution. But they have a vitally important significance for our countries and for all the countries of the world. And therefore we cannot escape them. We cannot shift the burden of solving those questions onto the shoulders of others. And who else but the leaders of the two most influential and mighty States—the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.—can the nations expect to work out solutions which could form the basis for the consolidation of peace. After your meeting with Adjubei and Kharlamov I was about to write you a letter right then and, I admit, even drafted one. However, your television address in July, unfortunately, made it impossible for me to send that letter. After that speech which, putting it bluntly, [Page 27]was belligerent in its nature, my letter would not have been understood by you since it completely differed in spirit, content and tone from what you said. After that we not only made speeches and exchanged statements but, unfortunately, also proceeded to an exchange of actions which will not, and indeed cannot, yield any moral satisfaction either to you as President of the United States or to me as Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the U.S.S.R. Evidently both one side and the other are compelled to undertake their actions under the pressure of the various factors and conditions which exist and which—unless we exert a restraining influence—will propel the development of events in a direction in which you and I, and the more so the peoples of all countries, would not like them to be propelled. It would be most of all unwise from the standpoint of peace to enter into such a vicious circle when some would be responding with counter-measures to the measures of others, and vice versa. The whole world could bog down in such measures and counter-measures.
Lately I have had not a few meetings with eminent statesmen and political leaders of Western countries. I have talked with Mr. Fanfani, the Prime Minister of Italy. I shall not describe that talk of which I suppose he, as a representative of a State allied with you, had informed you. Recently I had a conversation with the former Prime Minister of France Mr. Paul Reynaud. He raised a number of questions to which I frankly replied. After Paul Reynaud I received Mr. Spaak, the Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, who for a number of years was the Secretary General of NATO. I listened to him with attention and tried to reply to his questions as exhaustively as possible, to expound our position and explain how we consider it best to solve those questions. I must say that in my opinion understanding can be reached on those questions which were touched upon in my talk with Mr. Spaak. To this end it is only necessary that both sides should display equal interest in settling the problems at issue on a mutually acceptable basis.
The statesmen of many countries are presently displaying great concern for the destinies of peace, they are seriously troubled by the tense situation that has taken shape and they sincerely fear that some rash actions might bring the world to disaster and to the unleashing of nuclear war. These feelings are dear to me and I understand them because, like many Soviet people, I spent the war years at the front and lived through all the horrors of war. I am against war. The Soviet Government is against war. The peoples of the Soviet Union are against war. I say this to you because I believe that you—a direct participant in the battles of the last war—take the same position.
I should like in this connection to dwell upon some of the basic problems which now preoccupy the whole world since the future of mankind depends on their solution. It can be said that in the disarmament question which is the major question of our time there have now appeared certain gleams. I would like to see those gleams in the fact that we have reached agreement on submitting to the United Nations General Assembly a “Statement of Principles” as a joint proposal of the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. so that in subsequent negotiations a treaty on general and complete disarmament can be elaborated on its basis. Certainly it must not be forgotten that so far this is an agreement in regard to the principles of disarmament. This is as yet far from the achievement of the actual agreement on general and complete disarmament, and the more so this is not the practical start of such disarmament. But it is precisely the conclusion of such an agreement and its implementation within the shortest possible time that all the nations are expecting of us. For them and for all of us that would mean great joy.
It is important to note that even understanding on the principles of disarmament which we have succeeded in reaching after protracted and intense effort and only after you came to the White House, is a good thing too. Naturally such understanding is not an end in itself. It must, so to say, be the harbinger, the first successful step on the road to general and complete disarmament. That is what we would like to hope.
If, Mr. President, you are striving towards that noble goal—and I believe that is the case—if agreement of the United States on the principles of disarmament is not merely a diplomatic or tactical manoeuvre, you will find complete understanding on our part and we shall stint no effort in order to find a common language and reach the required agreement together with you.
The Soviet Union, as you are well aware, has always advocated the prompt implementation of general and complete disarmament. The solution of that question would, in our profound conviction, radically promote the settlement of other major international problems as well. Our position in that respect is still unchanged.
But you will agree with me, Mr. President, that the present international situation and its tension can hardly be assessed as a simple arithmetical sum total of unsolved issues. After all, the series of measures and counter-measures aimed at strengthening the armaments of both sides which have already been put into effect by our Governments in connection with the aggravation of the German question cannot be disregarded. I do not want here to engage in an argument as to who is right or wrong in [Page 29]this matter. Let us leave this aside for the time being. The main thing is that events are unfortunately continuing to develop in the same unfavourable direction. Instead of confidence we are turning to an even greater aggravation. Far from bringing the possibility of agreement between us on disarmament closer, we are, on the contrary, worsening the situation still further. That is another important reason why the Soviet Union is now attaching such exclusive significance to the German question. We cannot escape the fact that there has been a second world war and that the problems we have inherited from the last war—first and foremost the conclusion of a German peace treaty—require their solution.
History will not be reversed and West Berlin will not be moved to the other side of the Elbe. In that war the peoples of our two countries fought shoulder to shoulder. But if we fought together, we should indeed keep the peace together.
If you were to come to the Soviet Union now—and this incidentally is something I am hoping for—you would surely convince yourself that not a single Soviet citizen will ever reconcile himself to the peace, which was won at such great cost, being under constant threat. But that will be the case until the countries that participated in the war recognize and formalize the results of the war in a German peace treaty. Yes, that is what our people are demanding, and they are right. That is demanded by the Poles, that is demanded by the people of Czechoslovakia, that is demanded by other nations as well. They are right too. The position of the Soviet Union is shared by many. The impression is formed that understanding of the need to conclude a German peace treaty is growing in the world. I have already told you, Mr. President, that in striving for the conclusion of a German peace treaty we do not want somehow to prejudice the interests of the United States and their bloc allies. Neither are we interested in exacerbating the situation in connection with the conclusion of a German peace treaty. What need have we of such exacerbation? It is in the Western countries that they create all sorts of fears and allege that the socialist States intend well-nigh to swallow up West Berlin. You may believe my word, the word of the Soviet Government that neither we nor our allies need West Berlin.
I do not doubt that, given good will and desire, the Governments of our countries could find a common language in the question of a German peace treaty too. Naturally in the solution of that question it is necessary to proceed from the obvious fact, which even a blind man cannot fail to see, that there exist two sovereign German States.
I was gratified to familiarize myself with the statement which, according to press reports, was made by your representative in Berlin Mr. Clay on the need to recognize that there now actually exist two Germanies. It is impossible not to appreciate such a reasonable and sober pronouncement.[Page 30]I recall Senator Mansfield made some statements in the same spirit. All this warrants the hope that evidently the process has started of a quest for a solution of the German question on the basis of a realistic appraisal of the obtaining situation, a solution in which the Soviet Union and the United States of America must, above all, play their part. Naturally this solution must be such as not to inflict any harm to the prestige of one side or the other.
If we fail to agree on the conclusion of one peace treaty for both German States we also have at our disposal such a course as the drafting of two treaties which would be similar in content—one for the German Democratic Republic and the other for the Federal Republic of Germany. In that case the States that were parties to the anti-Hitler coalition would have the opportunity of signing one or two peace treaties depending on their choice. Such an approach would allow of circumventing the difficulties that appear owing to the fact that not all the possible participants in a peace settlement are ready to recognize both existing German States legally and establish diplomatic relations with them.
In any event the contracting parties could assume moral obligations to assist in the unification into one entity of both German States if the Germans so desire. It goes without saying that such obligations would find reflection in the peace treaty itself. As for the achievement of agreement on the unification of Germany, that is the concern of the Governments of the two German States. I believe such a solution would be reasonable and understandable for everyone. It would be understood by the German people as well.
In signing a German peace treaty the States that participated in the war will have to unconditionally recognize the presently constituted frontiers of the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. Under the peace treaty those frontiers would be legally formalized, I stress legally, because defacto they already exist and cannot be changed without a war.
We cannot turn our back on the facts and fail to see that until the existing borders of Germany are finally formalized the sluice-gates which release the West German revanchist desires remain open. The followers of Hitler and his policy who, unfortunately, still exist in no small numbers in the Federal Republic of Germany are dreaming of the long-awaited day when, exploiting the lack of a post-war settlement, they will succeed in bringing about a collision between the U.S.S.R., the U.S. and the other former opponents of Hitlerite Germany. Why then should we leave any ground for the activities of those forces which are fraught with the threat of a world conflict? I would think that the legal formalization of the State borders which have taken shape after World War Two equally meets the interests of both the U.S.S.R. and the United States. Thus the [Page 31]borders that have taken shape and presently exist between the two German States would be formalized as well.
There remains the question of West Berlin which must also be solved when a German peace treaty is concluded. From whatever side we approach the matter, we probably will not be able to find a better solution than the transformation of West Berlin into a free city. And we shall proceed towards that goal. If, to our regret, the Western Powers will not wish to participate in a German peace settlement and the Soviet Union, together with the other countries that will be prepared to do so, has to sign a treaty with the German Democratic Republic we shall nonetheless provide a free city status for West Berlin.
Your statements, Mr. President, as well as the statements of other representatives of Western Powers not infrequently show signs of concern as to whether freedom for the population of West Berlin will be preserved, whether it will be able to live under the social and political system of its own choosing, whether West Berlin will be safeguarded against interference and outside pressure. I must say we see no difficulties in creating such conditions, the more so since the assurance of the freedom and complete independence of West Berlin is also our desire, is also our concern. I declare this on behalf of the Soviet Government, and on behalf of the socialist countries allied with us which are interested in the solution of the German question. I wish to emphasize in particular that the German Democratic Republic and the Head of that State Walter Ulbricht are of the same opinion. I say this with full knowledge and in all responsibility.
Voices can also be heard contending that it is not enough to codify in a German peace treaty the guarantees of the freedom and independence of West Berlin since—so it is said—there is no certainty that those guarantees will be honored. The statesmen and political leaders of the Western Powers with whom I have had occasion to meet, sometimes plainly expressed the wish that such guarantees should not only be given under a peace treaty but should also be specially reinforced by the Soviet Union.
Frankly speaking it is hard to understand what such apprehensions are based on. I am convinced that the guarantees established under a peace treaty will be honored and observed by all the States which will have signed the treaty. Furthermore the Soviet Union as a party to the German peace treaty will feel itself responsible for the fulfillment of all the clauses of that treaty, including the guarantees in respect to West Berlin.
But if it is the common desire that responsibility for the observance of the status of West Berlin should be entrusted to the Soviet Union we shall be ready to assume such a responsibility. I and my colleagues in the Government have not infrequently given thought to the way in which the role of the Soviet Union in guarantees for West Berlin could be implemented in practice. If we were simply to make a statement that the Soviet Union will in some special way guarantee the immunity of West Berlin, you will agree that this could prejudice the sovereign rights of the German Democratic Republic and the other countries parties to the peace treaty. In order to prevent that, in order not to prejudice the prestige of any State—whether your ally or ours—I believe the question should be solved in the way we have already proposed, namely that token contingents of troops of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union, the four great Powers which participated in the war against Hitlerite Germany, should be left in West Berlin. In my view that is the sole possibility. Naturally such a system should be introduced not for all time but for a specific period. Evidently an appropriate status for the deployment of the troops of the four Powers in West Berlin would then have to be devised which would be subject to the approval of the other countries signatories of the peace treaty.
Given every desire, we could find no other solution which to any greater degree would strengthen confidence in the reliability of guarantees for West Berlin. If you have any ideas of your own on this score we are ready to consider them.
Of course, such alternatives are also conceivable as the deployment in West Berlin of troops from neutral countries or United Nations troops. I have repeatedly expressed and now reaffirm our agreement to such a solution. We also agree to the establishment of the United Nations Headquarters in West Berlin which would in that case become an international city.
It goes without saying that the occupation regime in West Berlin must be eliminated. Under the allied agreements occupation is a temporary measure and, indeed, never in history has there been a case of occupation becoming a permanent institution. But sixteen years have already elapsed since the surrender of Germany. For how long then is the occupation regime to be preserved?
A more stable status should be created for West Berlin than existed under the occupation. If the occupation regime has lived out its time and has become a source of strife among States it means the time has come to discard it. It has completely exhausted itself, has become a burden in relationships among nations and does not meet the interests of the population of West Berlin itself. The transformation of West Berlin into a free city will create a far more durable basis for its independent existence than the regime of occupation. Furthermore the grounds for collisions among States which are generated by the preservation of the occupation regime will disappear.
Of course, no one can be satisfied with half-measures which superficially would seem to erase from the surface differences among States while in effect they would be preserving them under cover and driving them in deeper. What use would there be if we barely covered up this delayed action landmine with earth and waited for it to explode. Indeed, no, the countries which are interested in consolidating peace must render that landmine completely harmless and tear it out of the heart of Europe.
The representatives of the United States sometimes declare that the American side is not advancing its concrete proposals on the German question because the Soviet Union allegedly is not striving for agreed solutions and wants to do everything by itself regardless of what other States may say. It is hard for me to judge how far such ideas really tell on the actions of the United States Government, but they are based on a profoundly mistaken assessment of the position of the Soviet Union. The United States Government can easily verify that, if it wishes to introduce its own constructive proposals at the negotiations on a peaceful settlement with Germany incorporating the question of West Berlin.
I am closely following the meetings of our Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei A. Gromyko with the Secretary of State of the United States Mr.Dean Rusk. I do not know how you will react to this idea, but it seems to me that it would be useful to broaden contacts between our Governments on the German question. If the United States Government, like the Soviet Government, is searching for understanding and is ready to devise conditions for peace with Germany which would be acceptable for both sides and would not affect the interests or the prestige of any State I believe it could be arranged that you and I would appoint appropriate representatives for private meetings and talks. Those representatives would elaborate for us the contours of an agreement which we could discuss before coming to a peace conference where a decision on the question of a peace treaty with Germany will be taken.
Your wish, Mr. President, that perhaps our Ambassadors in Belgrade should be entrusted with an informal exchange of views, was communicated to me. In fact such meetings have already started. Unfortunately, however, I see from the dispatches of our Ambassador that they are spending too much time in, figuratively speaking, sniffing each other. If this goes on the business will not move forward, whereas it should be tackled with more energy.
I never met Mr. Kennan but, so far as I can judge by the press, he is, to my mind, a man with whom preparatory work could be done, and we would accordingly authorize our Ambassador. But evidently in that case our Ambassadors would have to be given firm instructions to start talks on concrete questions without needless procrastination and not merely [Page 34]indulge in tea-drinking, not walk round and about mooing at each other when they should talk on the substance.
The following alternative is also possible. You, let us say, could send someone in your confidence to Moscow under some plausible pretext and the necessary contacts could be established there. This method might possibly even expedite the solution of the questions. However, let the final choice be up to you. You might perhaps prefer to charge Mr. Thompson, your Ambassador in Moscow, with that mission. Personally I have had a number of conversations with him and he gives the impression of being a man who can represent you in dealing with the problems that face us. But naturally it is not for me to give you advise in such matters. Please excuse me for intruding in the sphere of questions which are entirely within your own personal competence.
The non-aligned countries addressed messages to you, Mr. President, and to myself. They suggested that we meet to discuss outstanding problems. You gave a positive reply to that appeal. We too reacted favourably to the initiative of the neutrals.
I believe a meeting between us could be useful and, given the desire of both sides, could culminate in the adoption of positive decisions. Naturally such a meeting would have to be well prepared through diplomatic or other confidential channels. And when preliminary understanding is reached, you and I could meet at any place in order to develop and formalize the results of such an understanding. This would undoubtedly be met with great satisfaction by all nations. They would see in that step an important contribution to the settlement of existing differences, to the consolidation of peace. The positive results of such a meeting would generate confidence that all issues can be solved peacefully by negotiation.
We are proposing that a German peace treaty be signed not only to eliminate the vestiges of World War Two, but also to clear the way for the elimination of the state of “cold war” which can at any moment bring our countries to the brink of a military collision. We want to clear the way for the strengthening of friendly relations with you and with all the countries of the world which espouse peaceful coexistence.
You, yourself, understand that we are a rich country, our expanse is boundless, our economy is on the upgrade, our culture and science are in their efflorescence. Acquaint yourself with the Program of our Party which determines our economic development for twenty years to come. This is indeed a grand and thrilling Program. What need have we of war? What need have we of acquisitions? And yet it is said that we want to seize West Berlin! It is ridiculous even to think of that. What would that give us? What would that change in the ratio of forces in the world arena? It gives nothing to anyone.
I often think how necessary it is for men who are vested with trust and great power to be inspired with the understanding of what seems to be an obvious truism, which is that we live on one planet and it is not in man’s power—at least in the foreseeable future—to change that. In a certain sense there is an analogy here—I like this comparison—with Noah’s Ark where both the “clean” and the “unclean” found sanctuary. But regardless of who lists himself with the “clean” and who is considered to be “unclean,” they are all equally interested in one thing and that is that the Ark should successfully continue its cruise. And we have no other alternative: either we should live in peace and cooperation so that the Ark maintains its buoyancy, or else it sinks. Therefore we must display concern for all of mankind, not to mention our own advantages, and find every possibility leading to peaceful solutions of problems.
When I was already closing this letter I was given the text of your address before the United Nations General Assembly. It has long since become my habit, when reading statements by responsible statesmen, in the first instance to search for and find—even a grain at a time—ideas and propositions which could be useful for the building up of peaceful cooperation among States. Almost involuntarily you sift away all the accretions, all that has been said in a fit of temper, under the influence of unduly inflamed passions. If everything is replied to in the same vein such battles of words would have to be entered into that the voice of reason would be drowned out and the shoots of all that is good and hope-giving in relations among States would be nipped in the bud.
Of course, if one were to attune himself to an aggravation of relations between our countries, your speech before the Assembly could easily be evaluated as a challenge to an embittered dispute in the “cold war” spirit and no one could reproach us as being partial. That speech contains no few points in which homage is plainly felt to those who oppose the normalization of the international situation and seek to whip up a military psychosis by spreading all sorts of fables about the intentions of the Soviet Government and ascribing to it what does not even exist. Hence, evidently, the crude sallies tinted with ideological intolerance which are made against the social and public foundations of socialist society and which look to me, if the consolidation of peace is seriously contemplated, like a square peg in a round hole.
If you are fighting for the preservation of capitalism and consider it to be a more just society, we have our own opinion on that score. You [Page 36]speak of communism with disrespect, but I could reply in kind with regard to capitalism. But can we change each other’s mind in questions affecting our outlooks? No, to carry ideological differences into relations among States is tantamount to an out-of-hand renunciation of hopes of living in peace and friendship with each other and we should certainly not take that road.
We can argue, we can disagree with one another but weapons must not be brought into play. I recall our conversation in Vienna about peaceful coexistence. I trust you will remember it and agree now, as you agreed then, that the question of the choice of a social system is for the people of each country to decide. Each one of us submits to his own principles, his own system but this should not lead to a collision between our countries. Let us allow history to judge the advantages of this or that social system.
A few words on Laos.
In your statement at the United Nations, Mr. President, you devoted attention to the situation in Laos and voiced certain alarm. I believe that in Vienna you and I worked out a fair basis for the solution of that question. The Soviet Government is doing all that depends on it in order to put into effect the understanding reached to the effect that Laos should become a truly neutral independent State. In your speech at the United Nations, speaking of Laos, you referred to the example of Cambodia and Burma. As we have repeatedly stated, we agree that Laos should take the same road.
As I understand it, you, like ourselves, the Soviet Union and our allies, agree that Prince Souvanna Phouma should become the Prime Minister of the Government of Laos. But obviously there are some difficulties in the question of the composition of the Government. As is known, it was proposed to the Laotians that they include in the Government eight followers of Souvanna Phouma, four representatives of Pathet-Lao and four representatives of Boun Oum. I was informed that the United States did not object to that. Now, however, information is coming in that the American Government seems to insist that of the eight posts given to the Souvanna Phouma group, three or four should be filled by the representatives of Vientiane.
In this connection I should like to make several remarks, and I am asking you to understand me correctly. You and I are being pushed towards engaging in the selection of the personal membership of the Laotian Government. This cannot fail to cause surprise. We would simply confuse the matter if we were to attempt to suggest to the Laotians the names of those persons who should be brought into the Government on behalf of these or those political groups. The Soviet Government is not properly familiar with Laotian public figures and, what is most important, it does not deem it possible to interfere in questions which are exclusively [Page 37]within the competence of the Laotians themselves. Let the three princes decide the question.
Souvanna Phouma has won a certain position in the country as a man of liberal leanings who advocates a policy of neutrality for Laos. His desire to form a stable and viable Government is natural and fully justified. Souvanna Phouma will be justified in fearing the strengthening of both the Pathet-Lao and the Boun Oum groups if they start claiming seats on the Government for their representatives at the cost of the seats provided for the group he himself leads. In our opinion, understanding should be displayed towards the desire of Souvanna Phouma to have a reliable support in the Government in order to effectively govern the country and pursue the policy of neutrality.
If we could reach an understanding with you on this question on the basis of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of Laos Souvanna Phouma could, without doubt, quickly form a Government. Naturally, in that case you and I could, by using our influence on the corresponding quarters in Laos, give Souvanna Phouma the necessary assistance.
I note with gratification that you and I are of the same opinion as to the need for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the territory of Laos. This is an essential condition in order to provide Laos with the possibility of consolidating itself as an independent State pursuing a policy of neutrality.
The Soviet representatives in Geneva have been given instructions in the spirit of the ideas described above. I hope your representatives will have the same kind of instructions. This would promote the prompt conclusion of the work of the Geneva Conference and the normalization of the situation in Laos.
I am now working on the preparation of two reports which I shall deliver at the Congress of our Communist Party: a progress report and a report on the Program of the Party. Naturally, in those reports I cannot pass over such questions as disarmament and the German question. These are the major questions of the day because on their solution depends the course which relations between our countries take in their development, and consequently the course world events take: that is whether they will develop towards the consolidation of peace and cooperation among States or whether they will proceed in a different direction, a dangerous one for mankind. We want to find the solutions of both these questions, we want to clear the road for an improvement of relations between our countries, for the assurance of peaceful coexistence and peace on earth.
Please convey my best wishes to your wife. I wish you and your entire family good health.
I should like to believe that by joint effort we shall succeed in surmounting the existing difficulties and in making our contribution to the solution of the international problems which preoccupy the nations. And then together with you we shall be able to celebrate the successes achieved in the strengthening of peace, and this is something that the peoples of our countries, as well as all men on earth, are awaiting impatiently.
Accept my respects,
Wednesday, 23 March 2016
"Who exactly is in the stupid-shit caucus?
Who is pro–stupid shit?"
"The truth is, actually, Putin, in all of our meetings, is scrupulously polite, very frank. Our meetings are very businesslike. He never keeps me waiting two hours like he does a bunch of these other folks...
He’s constantly interested in being seen as our peer and as working with us, because he’s not completely stupid. He understands that Russia’s overall position in the world is significantly diminished."
Obama’s theory here is simple :
Ukraine is a core Russian interest but not an American one, so Russia will always be able to maintain escalatory dominance there.
Over the past year, John Kerry has visited the White House regularly to ask Obama to violate Syria’s sovereignty. On several occasions, Kerry has asked Obama to launch missiles at specific regime targets, under cover of night, to “send a message” to the regime. The goal, Kerry has said, is not to overthrow Assad but to encourage him, and Iran and Russia, to negotiate peace….Obama has steadfastly resisted Kerry’s requests, and seems to have grown impatient with his lobbying. In recent National Security Council meetings, Obama’s strategy was occasionally referred to as the “Tom Sawyer approach.” Obama’s view was that if Putin wanted to expend his regime’s resources by painting the fence in Syria, the U.S. should let him. By late winter, though, when it appeared that Russia was making advances in its campaign to solidify Assad’s rule, the White House began discussing ways to deepen support for the rebels, though the president’s ambivalence about more-extensive engagement remained.
Obama would say privately that the first task of an American president in the post-Bush international arena was “Don’t do stupid shit.” Obama’s reticence frustrated [Samantha] Power and others on his national-security team who had a preference for action. Hillary Clinton, when she was Obama’s secretary of state, argued for an early and assertive response to Assad’s violence. In 2014, after she left office, Clinton told me that “the failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad … left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.” When The Atlantic published this statement, and also published Clinton’s assessment that “great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” Obama became “rip-shit angry,” according to one of his senior advisers. The president did not understand how “Don’t do stupid shit” could be considered a controversial slogan. Ben Rhodes recalls that “the questions we were asking in the White House were ‘Who exactly is in the stupid-shit caucus? Who is pro–stupid shit?’?” The Iraq invasion, Obama believed, should have taught Democratic interventionists like Clinton, who had voted for its authorization, the dangers of doing stupid shit. (Clinton quickly apologized to Obama for her comments, and a Clinton spokesman announced that the two would “hug it out” on Martha’s Vineyard when they crossed paths there later.).
‘Friday, August 30, 2013[:] ….While the Pentagon and the White House’s national-security apparatuses were still moving toward war (John Kerry told me he was expecting a strike the day after his speech), the president had come to believe that he was walking into a trap—one laid both by allies and by adversaries, and by conventional expectations of what an American president is supposed to do. In Situation Room meetings that followed the attack on Ghouta, only the White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough, cautioned explicitly about the perils of intervention. John Kerry argued vociferously for action.”
[Samantha] Power sometimes argued with Obama in front of other National Security Council officials, to the point where he could no longer conceal his frustration. “Samantha, enough, I’ve already read your book,” he once snapped. …Biden, who ordinarily shared Obama’s worries about American overreach, argued passionately that “big nations don’t bluff.”
[Cameron of the UK and Saudi Ambassador Jubeir demanded an attack. But Germany’s Merkel was opposed and refused to take part. When the British House of Commons also refused to go along, Obama paused.]
Obama also shared with McDonough a long-standing resentment: He was tired of watching Washington unthinkingly drift toward war in Muslim countries. Four years earlier, the president believed, the Pentagon had “jammed” him on a troop surge for Afghanistan. Now, on Syria, he was beginning to feel jammed again.
The prime minister of France, Manuel Valls, told me that his government was already worried about the consequences of earlier inaction in Syria when word came of the stand-down. “By not intervening early, we have created a monster,” Valls told me. “We were absolutely certain that the U.S. administration would say yes. Working with the Americans, we had already seen the targets. It was a great surprise. If we had bombed as was planned, I think things would be different today.” The crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who was already upset with Obama for “abandoning” Hosni Mubarak, the former president of Egypt, fumed to American visitors that the U.S. was led by an “untrustworthy” president. The king of Jordan, Abdullah II—already dismayed by what he saw as Obama’s illogical desire to distance the U.S. from its traditional Sunni Arab allies and create a new alliance with Iran, Assad’s Shia sponsor—complained privately, “I think I believe in American power more than Obama does.” The Saudis, too, were infuriated. They had never trusted Obama—he had, long before he became president, referred to them as a “so-called ally” of the U.S. “Iran is the new great power of the Middle East, and the U.S. is the old,” Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador in Washington, told his superiors in Riyadh.
Amid the confusion, a deus ex machina appeared in the form of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. At the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, which was held the week after the Syria reversal, Obama pulled Putin aside, he recalled to me, and told the Russian president “that if he forced Assad to get rid of the chemical weapons, that that would eliminate the need for us taking a military strike.” Within weeks, Kerry, working with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, would engineer the removal of most of Syria’s chemical-weapons arsenal—a program whose existence Assad until then had refused to even acknowledge.
This was the moment the president believes he finally broke with what he calls, derisively, the “Washington playbook.” I have come to believe that, in Obama’s mind, August 30, 2013, was his liberation day, the day he defied not only the foreign-policy establishment and its cruise-missile playbook, but also the demands of America’s frustrating, high-maintenance allies in the Middle East—countries, he complains privately to friends and advisers, that seek to exploit American “muscle” for their own narrow and sectarian ends. By 2013, Obama’s resentments were well developed. He resented military leaders who believed they could fix any problem if the commander in chief would simply give them what they wanted, and he resented the foreign-policy think-tank complex. A widely held sentiment inside the White House is that many of the most prominent foreign-policy think tanks in Washington are doing the bidding of their Arab and pro-Israel funders. I’ve heard one administration official refer to Massachusetts Avenue, the home of many of these think tanks, as “Arab-occupied territory.” [Leon Panetta was another hawk.]
He described a relationship with Putin that doesn’t quite conform to common perceptions. I had been under the impression that Obama viewed Putin as nasty, brutish, and short. But, Obama told me, Putin is not particularly nasty. “The truth is, actually, Putin, in all of our meetings, is scrupulously polite, very frank. Our meetings are very businesslike. He never keeps me waiting two hours like he does a bunch of these other folks.” Obama said that Putin believes his relationship with the U.S. is more important than Americans tend to think. “He’s constantly interested in being seen as our peer and as working with us, because he’s not completely stupid. He understands that Russia’s overall position in the world is significantly diminished.
Obama’s theory here is simple: Ukraine is a core Russian interest but not an American one, so Russia will always be able to maintain escalatory dominance there.
Right after Obama’s reversal, Hillary Clinton said privately, “If you say you’re going to strike, you have to strike. There’s no choice.”
Here is Prince Turki’s attempted defense of the Kingdom:
‘A top Saudi Arabian intelligence chief said on Monday that President Barack Obama failed to appreciate all that the kingdom has done to stabilize the Middle East, fight terrorism and support American priorities, hitting back after the president called Middle Eastern governments “free riders” on US initiatives. “You accuse us of fomenting sectarian strife in Syria, Yemen and Iraq,” Turki al-Faisal, a Saudi prince and former ambassador to the United States and Britain, wrote in an open letter published Monday in the English-language Arab News. “You add insult to injury by telling us to share our world with Iran, a country that you describe as a supporter of terrorism.” Al-Faisal’s letter was a response to comments Obama made in a much-discussed interview with The Atlantic magazine in which Obama referred to the Saudis and other allies as “free riders” who push the United States to act but contribute little themselves. Obama has long been cooler toward the Saudis and other Arab allies than his predecessor, but his willingness to forcefully criticize them stunned many in Washington’s foreign policy establishment.’
Friday, 27 September 2013
“...at a meeting of the Soviet leadership [Kruschev] made this unprecedented statement:
"We have to help Kennedy."
"What kind of peace do I mean, and what kind of peace do we seek?"
This is potentially World Peace - this is MONUMENTAL.
MS-NBC immediately spins it away to childish trivia that has nothing to do with him anyway.
"Liberal Media", my arse.
Sergei Khrushchev (1935–), son of Nikita Khrushchev, writes in his book Nikita Khrushchev: Creation of a Super- power,
“When Father argued at a meeting of the Soviet leadership in favor of withdrawing the missiles, he made this unprecedented statement:
’We have to help Kennedy withstand pressure from the hawks [supporters of war]. They are demanding an immediate military invasion.’”
The Soviet Premier knew an invasion would lead to nuclear war.
Khrushchev agreed to a U.S. president’s “promise” not to invade Cuba again. According to Sergei Khrushchev, this would have been “inconceivable” only a few years earlier.
Excerpt from “Communiqué to President Kennedy Accepting an End to the Missile Crisis, October 28, 1962”
"Esteemed Mr. President:
I have received your message of October 27, 1962. I express my satisfaction and gratitude for the sense of proportion and understanding of the responsibility borne by you at present for the preservation of peace throughout the world which you have shown. I very well understand your anxiety and the anxi- ety of the United States people in connection with the fact that the weapons which you describe as “offensive” are, in fact, grim weapons. Both you and I understand what kind of weapon they are.
In order to complete with greater speed the liquidation of the conflict dangerous to the cause of peace, to give confidence to all peo- ple longing for peace, and to calm the American people, who, I am certain, want peace as much as the people of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Government, in addition to previously issued instructions on the cessation of further work at building sites for the weapons, has is- sued a new order on the dismantling of the weapons which you de- scribe as “offensive,” and their crating and return to the Soviet Union.
Mr. President, I would like to repeat once more what I had al- ready written to you in my preceding letters—that the Soviet Gov- ernment has placed at the disposal of the Cuban Government eco- nomic aid, as well as arms, inasmuch as Cuba and the Cuban people have constantly been under the continuous danger of an in- vasion [from the United States]....
We stationed them there in order that no attack should be made against Cuba and that no rash action should be permitted to take place.
I regard with respect and trust your statement in your message of October 27, 1962, that no attack will be made on Cuba—that no invasion will take place—not only by the United States, but also by other countries of the Western Hemisphere, as your message pointed out. Then the motives which promoted us to give aid of this nature to Cuba cease. They are no longer applicable, hence we have instructed our officers—and these means, as I have already stated, are in the hands of Soviet officers—to take necessary mea- sures for stopping the building of the said projects and their dis- mantling and return to the Soviet Union....
I note with satisfaction that you have responded to my wish that the said dangerous situation should be liquidated and also that conditions should be created for a more thoughtful appraisal of the international situation which is fraught with great dangers in our age of thermonuclear weapons, rocket technology ... global rockets, and other lethal weapons. All people are interested in insuring peace. Therefore, we who are invested with trust and great respon- sibility must not permit an exacerbation of the situation and must liquidate the breeding grounds where a dangerous situation has been created fraught with serious consequences for the cause of peace. If we succeed along with you and with the aid of other peo- ple of good will in liquidating this tense situation, we must also con- cern ourselves to see that other dangerous conflicts do not arise which might lead to a world thermonuclear catastrophe....
Mr. President, I trust your statement. However, on the other hand, there are responsible people who would like to carry out an invasion of Cuba at this time, and in such a way to spark off a war. If we take practical steps and announce the dismantling and evacua- tion of the appropriate means from Cuba, then, doing that, we wish to establish at the same time the confidence of the Cuban people that we are with them and are not divesting ourselves of the re- sponsibility of granting help to them.
We are convinced that the people of all countries, like yourself, Mr. President, will understand me correctly. We do not issue threats. We desire only peace. Our country is now on the upsurge. Our people are enjoying the fruits of their peaceful labor....
We value peace, perhaps even more than other people, because we experienced the terrible war against Hitler. However, our people will not flinch in the face of any ordeal. Our people trust their government, and we assure our people and the world public that the Soviet government will not allow itself to be provoked.
Should the provocateurs unleash a war, they would not escape the grave consequences of such a war. However, we are confident that reason will triumph. War will not be unleashed and the peace and security of people will be insured....
With respect for you,
October 28, 1962.
The primary consequence of the Cuban Missile Crisis was that the American public now believed that the Soviet Union’s nuclear capabilities equalled those of the United States. Citizens would not listen to numbers that showed the United States with far more missiles. As far as Americans were concerned, each country could totally annihilate the other— or, for that matter, all life on earth. It was the last of the Cold War “missile bluff” diplomacies.
Both sides had so frightened the other during the Cuban Missile Crisis that the first serious negotiations in con- trolling nuclear weaponry began in August 1963. The United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain—which also had nuclear capabilities—signed the Limited Test-Ban Treaty to ban nu- clear testing underwater, in the atmosphere, and in outer space.
"I often think how necessary it is for men who are vested with trust and great power to be inspired with the understanding of what seems to be an obvious truism, which is that we live on one planet and it is not in man’s power—at least in the foreseeable future—to change that. In a certain sense there is an analogy here—I like this comparison—with Noah’s Ark where both the “clean” and the “unclean” found sanctuary. But regardless of who lists himself with the “clean” and who is considered to be “unclean,” they are all equally interested in one thing and that is that the Ark should successfully continue its cruise. And we have no other alternative: either we should live in peace and cooperation so that the Ark maintains its buoyancy, or else it sinks. Therefore we must display concern for all of mankind, not to mention our own advantages, and find every possibility leading to peaceful solutions of problems."
"In November 1958, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev issued an ultimatum giving the Western powers six months to agree to withdraw from Berlin and make it a free, demilitarized city.
At the end of that period, Khrushchev declared, the Soviet Union would turn over to East Germany complete control of all lines of communication with West Berlin; the western powers then would have access to West Berlin only by permission of the East German government.
The United States, United Kingdom, and France replied to this ultimatum by firmly asserting their determination to remain in West Berlin and to maintain their legal right of free access to that city.
In May 1959 the Soviet Union withdrew its deadline and instead met with the Western powers in a Big Four foreign ministers' conference.
Although the three-month-long sessions failed to reach any important agreements, they did open the door to further negotiations and led to Premier Khrushchev's visit to the United States in September 1959.
At the end of this visit, Khrushchev and President Dwight Eisenhower stated jointly that the most important issue in the world was general disarmament and that the problem of Berlin and
"all outstanding international questions should be settled, not by the application of force, but by peaceful means through negotiations."
Khrushchev and Eisenhower had a few days together at Camp David, the presidential retreat.
There the leaders of the two superpowers talked frankly with each other.
Khrushchev and Eisenhower had a few days together at Camp David, the presidential retreat.
There the leaders of the two superpowers talked frankly with each other.
"There was nothing more inadvisable in this situation," said Eisenhower, "than to talk about ultimatums, since both sides knew very well what would happen if an ultimatum were to be implemented."
Eisenhower admitted that the situation in Berlin was "abnormal" and that "human affairs got very badly tangled at times."
Khrushchev responded that he did not understand how a peace treaty could be regarded by the American people as a "threat to peace."
Eisenhower admitted that the situation in Berlin was "abnormal" and that "human affairs got very badly tangled at times."
Khrushchev came away with the impression that a deal was possible over Berlin, and they agreed to continue the dialogue at a summit in Paris in May 1960.
However, the Paris Summit that was to resolve the Berlin question was cancelled in the fallout from Gary Powers's failed U-2 spy flight on 1 May 1960."
Richard Bissell worked for the Ford Foundation for a while but Frank Wisner, persuaded him to join the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Its role was to evaluate intelligence reports and coordinate the intelligence activities of the various government departments in the interest of national security.
In 1954 he was placed in charge of developing and operating the U-2 spy plane. The U-2 was designed by Kelly Johnson, who had previously been responsible for the P-38 and the F-104 fighter planes. It was essentially a glider with a jet engine. It was so light it could fly at an altitude of 70,000 feet and travel over 4,000 miles. It took two years and $19m to develop. President Dwight Eisenhower gave permission for the U-2 to fly over Moscow and Leningrad for the first time on 4th July, 1956.
The U-2 spy plane was a great success and within two years Bissell was able to say that 90% of all hard intelligence about the Soviet Union coming into the CIA was "funneled through the lens of the U-2's aerial cameras". This information convinced Eisenhower that Nikita Khrushchev was lying about the number of bombers and missiles being built by the Soviet Union. Eisenhower now knew that United States enjoyed a major advantage over the Soviet Union and allowed him to control defence spending.
In December, 1956, Frank Wisner, head of the Directorate for Plans, an organization instructed to conduct covert anti-Communist operations around the world, suffered a mental breakdown and was diagnosed as suffering from manic depression. During his absence Wisner's job was covered by Richard Helms. The CIA sent Wisner to the Sheppard-Pratt Institute, a psychiatric hospital near Baltimore.
He was prescribed psychoanalysis and shock therapy (electroconvulsive treatment). It was not successful and still suffering from depression, he was released from hospital in 1958.
Wisner was too ill to return to his post as head of the Directorate for Plans (DPP). Allen W. Dulles therefore sent him to London to be CIA chief of station in England. Dulles decided that Bissell rather than Richard Helms should become the new head of the DPP. Helms became Bissell's deputy.
The Directorate for Plans was responsible for what became known as the CIA's Black Operations. This involved a policy that was later to become known as Executive Action (a plan to remove unfriendly foreign leaders from power). This including a coup d'état that overthrew the Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 after he introduced land reforms and nationalized the United Fruit Company.
Other political leaders deposed by Executive Action included Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, the Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo, General Abd al-Karim Kassem of Iraq and Ngo Dinh Diem, the leader of South Vietnam. However, his main target was Fidel Castro who had established a socialist government in Cuba.
As the end of his presidency approached, Dwight Eisenhower, decided to take a decisive step towards ending the Cold War by arranging a summit meeting with Nikita Khrushchev. The two sides agreed to meet in Paris on 16th May, 1960.
On 1st May, 1960, a high-altitude American photographic reconnaissance aircraft, a Lockheed U-2, was shot down over the Soviet Union and the pilot, Gary Powers, was taken prisoner. Six days later Khrushchev announced to the world what had happened and demanded a full apology from the United States government. President Eisenhower replied by admitting that the Central Intelligence Agency had carried out these spying missions without his authority. However, he argued that the United States government had the right to protect its security by collecting the maximum of information about Soviet military strength.
On 15th May Nikita Khrushchev made another appeal to Dwight Eisenhower to apologize for carrying out aerial spying on the Soviet Union. When he refused, the Soviet delegation left Paris and the summit meeting never took place. Some suspected that some hardliners had purposely undermined Eisenhower's attempts to bring an end to the Cold War.
"This is an interesting story because so much of what we have heard and read has been contrived to cover actual events. For example: once the Paris Summit Conference of May 1, 1960 had been scheduled the CIA was ordered to ground all "Over" flights of Communist territory - worldwide". The U-2's were grounded. I was responsible for supporting a large number of "over" flights" primarily in Asia to support the Tibetans who were being invaded by the Chinese, and to support major lower-level reconnaissance programs operating out of Taiwan, Thailand, and a few other places. Despite the fact that many of our flights were solely humanitarian, especially for the Khambas in Eastern Tibet, my special request, to the National Security Council, for permission to continue those flights was denied until after the Paris meetings.
This was a strict and blanket order to us all. With that in mind, who was it then with the authority to "order the Powers U-2 flight"? It had to have been ordered from a very high echelon of the true power structure above the customary military or civilian elements of the government.
a) Who (used here in the plural: WHO?) ordered that crashed U-2 in Japan to be repaired and to be refitted?
b) Who knew so much about the U-2 that they knew that the U-2 was equipped with the finest, and most valuable high-altitude camera, the "Lundahl"?
c) Who had the authority to order that precious camera to be saved in favor of a standard U.S.Air Force model that was used on May 1, 1960?
d) Who knew enough about the CIA-operated U-2s to know that they functioned at extreme altitude on a mix of regular jet fuel and pure hydrogen?
e) Who ordered the hydrogen bottle (like a fire extinguisher) to be half-filled, or half-empty?
f) Who was familiar enough with U-2 operations to know that all U-2 pilots before take-off had been stripped to the bone, and dressed in a specially made flight suit with no pockets, etc.?
g) Who was able to have someone else assemble Powers personal "pocket" belongings and other selected items such as gold rings, identification, etc. and pack them between the seat of Powers' chute and its folded fabric below?
h) who had the authority to set this whole train of events that involved so many other skilled people, in motion early that morning from Peshawar, Pakistan? "
In this ominous byplay, we see the shadow of hands behind the scenes. If Eisenhower did not order the flight, who did? If Dulles didn't know whether the men whom he said authorized the flight had that authority, who knew? If someone had the inside knowledge to get away with launching an unauthorized flight, who was it? And if those people knew that the cameras must be protected, who were they? By the time you answer those questions, even by the time you ask them, you can draw the strings tightly around that very small group who actually did operate the U-2's in 1960. There were only three or four men able to do those things, and their names are in the Pentagon telephone book of 1960. I will not name names as it is not my intention to jeopardize these men's lives.
Later in the hearings the Senators wanted to find out if any orders had gone out suspending overflights because of the summit conference schedule. Dulles waffled that question, so they asked about prior events and learned that flights had been cancelled when Khrushchev met with Eisenhower at Camp David.
Later on Gore said: "One of the big questions before the country in millions of peoples' minds is why this flight was undertaken so near the summit."
In reply to another question Dulles said: "I think the question could be raised, if it was done without the President's knowledge, as to who was directing the ship of state." [author's emphasis]
Now, there it is! This was a most crucial line. Allen Dulles was beginning to have some grave doubts himself about the series of events. His answer supports the notion that he too did not know what really had taken place. Following is a first-hand experience that will prove to even the greatest skeptic that the Director of the CIA does not always know of clandestine activities undertaken by his own organization.
I was with Dulles and Bissell the evening they found out that a plane was missing over the Soviet Union. They knew nothing about it, and they had told the Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, and the President that not a single U.S. aircraft -- military, Government, or commercial -- was missing, as the Soviets claimed. Dulles called me to his house to meet with him and Bissell to see if I could locate a missing plane. I went to the Pentagon Command Center where I was later able to discover and confirm that a plane carrying nine U.S. Air Force men on a CIA mission was shot down over the USSR. It turned out to be Allen Dulles' own CIA VIP airplane!
He did not know about that, just as he did not know about the Powers U-2.
During the first six months of 1960, I was the focal-point officer assigned by the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force to provide special Air Force support to certain clandestine CIA overflight operations. In April 1960, a member of the Chief's Pentagon office staff was in Thailand overseeing a major series of long-range overflights into Tibet and far northwestern China. Later that spring, orders came down to stop those overflights. The given reason was that the President wanted nothing to interfere with the success of his forthcoming Paris summit conference. Orders were sent from my office to ground the overflights.
These same orders applied to the U-2 program. We all took our orders from the same authorities. The U-2's were supposed to have been grounded along with the Tibetan overflights. So, when Allen Dulles himself wonders who was directing the ship of state, it becomes apparent that he did not know who was running the country!
The U-2 is nearly forgotten today, and there will perhaps never be any further investigation of this crucial event. Eisenhower and Khrushchev, both old warriors, might have pulled off a real peace agreement. We shall never know. But we do know some things. Many of the top-echelon men who were in the Pentagon during those fateful days of spring 1960 are back there now in the Carter Administration. Others are in top positions throughout Washington. It may be that they know how easy it was to pull the rug out from under Eisenhower, and they know how they could do the same thing again today.
"After the CIA in 1954 had overthrown President Arbenz in Guatemala, its first "solo flight" as a policy-maker *, President Eisenhower recognized that the Agency was dangerously out of control. He established a "President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities."
Its conclusion was that the CIA's clandestine services were "operating for the most part on an autonomous and free-wheeling basis in highly critical areas," in direct conflict with State Department policy; its recommendation was that Eisenhower fire Allen Dulles, or at the very least force him to accept an administrative deputy.
Eisenhower's reward was that the clandestine services, then run by Richard Bissell, former assistant of Frank Wisner, sabotaged the May 1, 1960 foray of the U-2 flown by Francis Gary Powers. The U-2 fleet had been dubbed "RBAF," which stood for "Richard Bissell's Air Force," one more indication of CIA arrogance.
The Agency lied directly to Eisenhower, insisting that should the plane be shot down, neither the aircraft nor the pilot would survive.
So Bissell would lie to John F. Kennedy and insist that "failure was almost impossible" at the Bay of Pigs.
Despite Eisenhower's reluctance, the CIA insisted upon a flight close to the time of Eisenhower's scheduled May 16th summit with Khrushchev, de Gaulle and Macmillan, arguing, with no discernible evidence, that this last flight was urgent. Years later, the CIA would admit in hearings before the Senate that this flight wasn't particularly necessary at all. The issue of CIA malfeasance in the failure of Powers' mission was not even raised.
Eisenhower, reluctantly, had declared that the cut-off date for U-2 flights was May 1st, assuming that meant the CIA would organize the flight during the last two weeks of April. But it was on May 1 that Francis Gary Powers was sent aloft. In insisting on that one additional overflight, Bissell succeeded in making policy, which meant destroying detente and with it Eisenhower's desire to cut the country's defense budget. Rapprochement with the Soviet Union meant for Eisenhower a subsequent redirecting of the country's resources to its domestic needs.
This was not to be.
Powers' mission seems to have been doomed. Both the circumstantial and the direct evidence that Powers' flight was interfered with by those in charge are overwhelming. "Powers came down because his aircraft was fixed to fail," stated retired Air Force Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, who was in charge of providing military support for the clandestine services, and whose data should not be disregarded because of his speculations about a "secret team." Powers' flight was made to fail by a shortage of the proper fuel, Prouty concluded. Prouty was also alarmed that the flight violated standard procedure.
Powers was laden with identification, not least a Department of Defense identification card. The U-2 itself bore identifying marks, violating a National Security Council edict. Whereas Powers should have been bearing no identity, he was possessed of enough for the Soviets promptly to announce that he was a "spy" from the United States.
"That is why Powers survived and why they landed in good shape," Prouty reasoned. "They' equals Powers and the U-2."
Other evidence suggests that the CIA deliberately routed Powers into the path of nests of Soviet missiles it knew could shoot him down if he was flying too low. That Powers' top secret camera had been removed suggested that someone knew this plane was not coming home.
It was a catastrophe timed to thwart the May 16th summit with Premier Khrushchev that Eisenhower hoped would cap his presidency.
Seizing the high road, Khrushchev immediately demanded that Eisenhower admit he had no knowledge of the flight and fire Dulles and Bissell. The CIA had forced Eisenhower's hand, realizing that he "could not honestly say that he didn't know what was going on," Prouty writes in The Secret Team. "At the same time he had to announce to the world that he had known about the flight."
"The White House and the other agencies did not so much approve the flights as hold a veto power over them," David Wise and Thomas B. Ross write in their very cautious little book, The U-2 Affair.
When Eisenhower in his much-quoted farewell address warned of the dangers of the military-industrial complex, Prouty speculates, he had in mind his own Political sabotage at the hands of the CIA in the U-2 fiasco. During the summit that failed, a trigger-happy Pentagon man even put the U.o military on alert for ten hours, fanning the flames of Cold War belligerence Eisenhower had intended the summit to defuse"
[* NB., although Operation AJAX, the 1953 Iranian Coup to overthrow Muhammad Mosedeq was CIA funded for anti-Communist purposes, the idea and the oil interest in the country was British - Winston Churchill personally requested regional expert and adventurer Kermit Roosevelt (T.R.'s Grandson) to lead the effort, having successfully sold the scheme to Eisenhower by painting Mosedeq red and warning of the dangers of Soviet expansion into the Persian Gulf, affording them the use of a warm water port and access to the Indian Ocean.
PB-SUCCESS, the United Fruit Guatemalan Coup was indeed the Agency's first attempt at working without a net in the field of clandestine gunboat diplomacy - and the first field assignment of Mr. E. Howard Hunt.]
In his autobiography Nikita Khrushchev describes his first meeting with John F. Kennedy after he had beaten Richard Nixon to became president of the United States.
"I was impressed with Kennedy. I remember liking his face, which was sometimes stern but which often broke into a good-natured smile.
As for Nixon... he was an unprincipled puppet, which is the most dangerous kind. I was very glad Kennedy won the election...
I joked with him that we had cast the deciding ballot in his election to the Presidency over that son-of-a-bitch Richard Nixon.
When he asked me what I meant, I explained that by waiting to release the U-2 pilot Gary Powers until after the American election, we kept Nixon from being able to claim that he could deal with the Russians; our ploy made a difference of at least half a million votes, which gave Kennedy the edge he needed."
"In his book “Eisenhower in War and Peace,” biographer Jean Edward Smith wrote, “Two days later (on May 7) Khrushchev sprang the trap. Speaking once again to the Supreme Soviet, the chairman announced that they not only had the wreckage of the plane, but the pilot and the film. 'The pilot's name is Francis Gary Powers. He is 30 years old and works for the CIA.' Khrushchev then displayed some of the photos showing Soviet air bases with fighters lined up on the runway. 'The whole world knows that Allen Dulles is no weatherman,' said Khrushchev.”
Eisenhower now had no alternative but to admit the truth. He soon notified the press that indeed U-2 reconnaissance flights had been going on for four years, under his authority. “We will now just have to endure the storm,” Eisenhower said.
Smith writes, “Eisenhower's decision to accept personal responsibility for the U-2 flights may have been the finest hour of his presidency. Rather than force Dulles and (CIA official) Richard Bissell to walk the plank for reasons of state, Eisenhower acknowledged his own culpability.”
Eisenhower's belated confession would cost him dear.
Only a few days later Khrushchev, Eisenhower, Charles de Gaulle of France, and Harold Macmillan of Great Britain met in Paris for a long-planned four-power summit. The recent crisis and Eisenhower's handling of it meant the summit was bound to fail. Khrushchev demanded an apology.
When none was forthcoming the Soviet premier stormed out of the conference. An offer to have Eisenhower visit the USSR was also rescinded.
“How can I invite as a dear guest the leader of a country which has committed an aggressive act against us?”
"A special division of the KGB was busy fabricating disinformation on the production in the United States of chemical and bacteriological weapons and the development of new means of mass destruction. Faked documents, innuendo, and gossip were used to undercut U.S. positions and influence among delegations of Afro-Asian and Latin American countries in the United Nations and "to promote disorganization of the American voting machine in the structures of the UN."
One name on the hit list was that of Allen W. Dulles, experienced in the espionage trade since the late 1930s and since 1953 presiding over the Central Intelligence Agency.
In 1960-1961, at the insistence of Khrushchev, Dulles became the chief target of the KGB's vendetta against the CIA. Khrushchev, in his typical manner, once engaged personally in a semi-public feud with Allen Dulles boasting that he read his briefing papers prepared for President Eisenhower and found them "boring."
In his opinion the U.S. president, though he accepted responsibility for the intelligence flights of the U-2, merely shielded the real culprit: Allen Dulles.
So Khrushchev, his considerable venom concentrated on the debonair socialite spy-master, evidently asked Alexander Shelepin, the KGBs chairman, to prepare a plan to discredit the CIA chief.
Three weeks after Khrushchev's return from Paris, Shelepin's plan was formally approved by the Secretariat of the Central Committee. The plan included hundreds of minute disinformation campaigns ranging from the forgery of letters from deceased diplomats regarding the authoritarian leadership of Dulles to a fake secret agent within Russia being captured and put on trial. It also plotted
"to arrange through a 'double' channel, known to the adversary, a transmittal from Washington of a real classified instruction signed by Dulles and obtained by the KGB."
However, after the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, of which the Soviets had warned and supplied Cuba to defend against, Dulles retired on his own *.
One of the more imaginative strands in the web of Soviet strategic deception concerned the number and even existence of new types of arms and missiles..."
[* N.B. - I, and history, would beg to differ - we all know that this was retirement in name only...]
"Debonair socialite spy-master"....
Dulles practically originated the concept of plausible deniability, along with practically every other aspect of modern spycraft. And he was ideally and perfectly suited to the practice. And he practiced it everywhere.
The avuncular, doddery old college professor with two club feet who shuffled around his office in Langley with carpet slippers to match his pebble glasses, and collegiate grey moustache, puffing away on his pipe whilst examining an antique globe in his study, quietly plotting world domination.
But as early as 1956, Dulles astutely surmised the geostrategic benefit to be gained by favouring the establishment of fundamentalist political Islam as a bulwark to encircle and contain Soviet expansion on their Southern, Caspian flank, a natural and absolutely unyielding ally in the common struggle against the forces of Global Atheist Communism.
Dulles was an espionage genius and preternaturally skilful in ensuring that he never came to know anything that might incriminate him in anything - his denials were not only plausible, they were authentic - Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, who knew Dulles and worked side-by-side for him for almost a decade, and considered him at the time to be a friend, had absolutely no hesitation as the most devastatingly effective DCI in the history of the National Security State hands down, just by virtue of sheer raw ability alone.
He had a talent almost beyond comprehension for conveying totally incisive intent to his subordinate, without ever actually at any time entering into a state of awareness of ever knowing anything that could place him in the position of having to disavow an action that were the intelligence apparatus he headed was correctly functioning, he would surely have had to have known;
Dulles was out of the country for the weekend of D-Day of the Bay of Pigs, leaving Cabell in charge and enabling himself to appropriately sit on the investigating committee of enquiry into the disaster performing the official post-mortem free from any direct conflict of interest - why hadn't anyone told him what was going on, for goodness sake...?
Five decades later, DCI Gen. David Petraeus intrigued to be at the movies with his allegedly cuckholed spouse during the hours of crisis on distant Barbary shores as the Benghazi station house burned;
Two decades earlier, the Secretary of the Navy could not be located inside the beltway for duration of the assault on Pearl, and so likewise, the Shadow Government ajusted the schedules of Secretary Powell on that September day to guarantee he remained stranded down in Bogota for the duration, ensuring that General would see and hear nothing that day that might upset him.
As noted above, Prouty was with Dulles when he heard of the downing of the Powers flight over the Soviet Union - if Prouty is right, and it's never yet been known for him to have overstated or misjudge his case on a patchwork of evidence, Dulles' reaction to the news was that "he was as surprised as anyone".
We are told that when confronting Eisenhower with the smoking gun of his subordinates' treasonous own goal provocation, Khrushchev demanded only an apology and the firing of Dulles, Cabell and Bissell (some say Helms as well) as existential threads to the cause of peace in order to proceed with the summit meeting - he was dismayed when Ike took his cue from his immediate predecessor and took responsibility instead himself for Bissell's folly.
The above revisionist commentator does rhetorical summersaults on backflips to convince you that Khrushchev connived to create a world-class scene at the summit meeting, staging a public confrontation in the presence of the great world leaders, acquiescing to the grand conference only to wreck it wholesale with but a flick of his wrist. Why, though? Especially in light of the reality that Khruschev's boasts of thermonuclear superiority were just that, pure bluff and macho posturing to keep the wolf from the door.
So what, then, is the unspeakable truth again, here?
In this excerpt from his testimony to the Senate on Foreign Relations regarding Gary Powers U2 flight. Allen Dulles confirms what Col. Prouty has known for years that the flight was sabotaged and CIA would be forced to take the blame.
Although he gave this statement May 31st 1960, the press has continued ignore that Powers plane was not shot down.
The Missiles of October
JFK and the Unspeakable author, Jim Douglass:
The White House tapes show Kennedy questioning and resisting the mounting pressure to bomb Cuba coming from both the Joint Chiefs and the Executive Committee of the National Security Council. At the same time, John Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, the two men most responsible for the Cuban Missile Crisis, seemed locked in a hopeless ideological conflict. The U.S. and Soviet leaders had been following Cold War policies that now seemed to be moving inexorably toward a war of extermination.
Yet, as we have since learned, Kennedy and Khrushchev had been engaged in a secret correspondence for over a year that gave signs of hope. Even as they moved publicly step by step toward a Cold War climax that would almost take the world over the edge with them, they were at the same time smuggling confidential letters back and forth that recognized each other’s humanity and hope for a solution. They were public enemies who, in the midst of deepening turmoil, were secretly learning something approaching trust in each other.
I re-read several of these letters yesterday. A man was asking me to read them to him over the radio. I was struck especially by the first things that Khrushchev says in his first letter to JFK when he is sitting by the Black Sea in his home.
He’s looking our over the water and it’s a very beautiful letter, beginning of the letter especially. He looks out over the water and he reflects on what he’s seeing and how what a contrast this is to what they’re trying to address.
He says I want to suggest to you Mr. President a symbol of our problem. This is Khrushchev, the communist:
‘It’s Noah’s Ark. Let’s not try to distinguish who are the clean and the unclean on this Ark Mr. President. We’re in a sea of nuclear weapons. Let’s just keep the Ark afloat.’
Kennedy, who after this letter was smuggled to him in a newspaper to his press secretary, wondered,
‘Why do I want a newspaper given to me by a KGB agent?’
He found out there was a 26-page letter to the President inside it from Nikita Khrushchev.
When Kennedy responded to this he was sitting by the Atlantic Ocean in Hyannis Port. He talks about the beauty there and says, ‘Yes, Mr. Chairman, Noah’ Ark – that’s our symbol. We have to keep the Ark afloat.’
So even in the midst of the missile crises these two men had begun to, through their secret communications, they had begun, almost beyond their intentions, to develop a bit of trust in each other.
On what seemed the darkest day in the crisis, when a Soviet missile had shot down a U2 spy plane over Cuba, intensifying the already overwhelming pressures on Kennedy to bomb Cuba, the president sent his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, secretly to Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. RFK told Dobrynin, as Dobrynin reported to Khrushchev, that the president
“didn’t know how to resolve the situation. The military is putting great pressure on him . . . Even if he doesn’t want or desire a war, something irreversible could occur against his will. That is why the President is asking for help to solve this problem.”
In his memoirs, Khrushchev recalled a further, chilling sentence from Robert Kennedy’s appeal to Dobrynin:
“If the situation continues much longer, the President is not sure that the military will not overthrow him and seize power.”
The editor to Khrushchev’s memoirs felt he had to stick a endnote in there and say, There’s no evidence of this. There’s no evidence of this. [Laughter] Well, apparently, the president thought there was some.
Sergei Khrushchev, Nikita’s son (who as you probably know is now in this country and is a citizen), has [recounted] the thoughts his father described to him when he read Dobrynin’s wired report relaying John Kennedy’s plea:
“The president was calling for help: that was how father interpreted Robert Kennedy’s talk with our ambassador.”
So at a moment when the world was falling into darkness, Kennedy did what from his generals’ standpoint was intolerable and unforgivable. JFK not only rejected [his] generals’ pressures for war. Even worse, the president then reached out to their enemy, asking for help. That was treason.
When Nikita Khrushchev had received Kennedy’s plea for help in Moscow, he turned to his Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko and said,
“We have to let Kennedy know that we want to help him.”
Khrushchev stunned himself by what he had just said: Did he really want to help his enemy, Kennedy? Yes, he did. He repeated the word to his foreign minister:
“Yes, help. We now have a common cause, to save the world from those pushing us toward war.”
How do we understand that moment? The two most heavily armed leaders in history, on the verge of total nuclear war, joined hands against those on both sides pressuring them to attack. Khrushchev ordered the immediate withdrawal of his missiles, in return for Kennedy’s public pledge never to invade Cuba and his secret promise to withdraw U.S. missiles from Turkey – as he would in fact do.
By the way, I was in Rome, Italy at this time. I didn’t know, of course, the secret pledge that Kennedy had given to Khrushchev or that he would in fact withdraw his missiles from Turkey. So I wrote an article for Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker newspaper – the most radical Catholic paper in the country if not in existence – and proposed what I thought was outrageous (and Dorothy published it right away), that what we should do is in exchange for Khrushchev withdrawing the missiles from Cuba, Kennedy should have had the guts to withdraw his missiles from Turkey.
This was outrageous for this to even be suggested in the most radical publication I could find in my particular community. Kennedy did it. Kennedy did it. I remember that history. I remember what was unthinkable for him to do such a thing.
The two Cold War enemies – both of them – had turned, so that each now had more in common with his opponent than either had with his own generals. As a result of that turn toward peace, one leader would be assassinated thirteen months later. The other, left without his peacemaking partner, would be overthrown the following year. Yet because of their turn away from nuclear war, today we are still living and struggling for peace on this earth. Hope is alive. We still have a chance.
What can we call that transforming moment when Kennedy asked his enemy for help and Khrushchev gave it?
From a Buddhist standpoint, it was enlightenment of a cosmic kind. Others might call it – from their perspective – a divine miracle. Readers of the Christian Gospels could say that Kennedy and Khrushchev were only doing what Jesus said: “Love your enemies.” That would be “love” as Gandhi understood it. Love as the other side of truth; a respect and understanding of our opponents that goes far enough to integrate their truth into our own. In the last few months of Kennedy’s life, he and Khrushchev were walking that extra mile where each was beginning to see the other’s truth.
Neither John Kennedy nor Nikita Khrushchev was a saint. Each was deeply complicit in policies that brought humankind to the brink of nuclear war. Yet, when they encountered the void – that Merton, for example, was talking about – then by turning to each other for help, they turned humanity toward the hope of a peaceful planet.
John Kennedy’s next “Bay of Pigs,” his next critical conflict with his national security state, was his American University Address. Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins summed up the significance of that remarkable speech: “At American University on June 10, 1963, President Kennedy proposed an end to the Cold War.”
I believe it is almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of President Kennedy’s American University address.
It was a decisive signal to both Nikita Khrushchev, on the one hand, and JFK’s national security advisers, on the other, that he was serious about making peace with the Communists. After he told the graduating class at American University that the subject of his speech was “the most important topic on earth: world peace,” he asked:
“What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek?” He answered, “Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.”
Kennedy’s rejection of “a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war” was an act of resistance to the military-industrial complex. The military-industrial complex was totally dependent on “a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.” That Pax Americana, policed by the Pentagon, was considered the system’s indispensable, hugely profitable means of containing and defeating Communism. At his own risk Kennedy was rejecting the very foundation of the Cold War system.
In its place, as a foundation for peace, the president put [forward] a compassionate description of the suffering of the enemy, the Russian people. They had been our allies during World War Two and had suffered mightily. Yet even their World War Two devastation he said, would be small compared to the effects of a nuclear war on both their country and ours.
In his speech, Kennedy turned around the question – I heard this question all the time in the 1960s, every time in the peace movement we tried to suggest alternatives – that question that was always asked when it came to prospects for peace was, “What about the Russians?” It was assumed the Russians would take advantage of any move we might make toward peace.
Kennedy asked instead, “What about us?” He said, “[O]ur attitude [toward peace] is as essential as theirs.” What about our attitude toward war and the nuclear arms race?
Within the overarching theology [of our country] – the Cold War was a big theology – a theology of total good versus total evil (and you know who the total good is, it’s us), Kennedy was asking a heretical question, coming especially from the president of the United States.
Kennedy said he wanted to negotiate then, a nuclear test ban treaty. Where did he want to do it? With the Soviet Union in Moscow. He wants to go to Moscow. He doesn’t trust, trying to negotiate a nuclear test ban treaty in Washington. He says I want to go to Moscow, in their capitol, not ours, as soon as possible.
So to clear the way for such a treaty what does he do? He said he was suspending U.S. atmospheric tests unilaterally. He is doing unilateral renunciation of his testing before anything with Khrushchev.
John Kennedy’s strategy of peace penetrated the Soviet government’s defenses far more effectively than any missile could ever have done. The Soviet press, which was accustomed to censoring U.S. government statements, published the entire speech all across the country. Soviet radio stations broadcast and rebroadcast the speech to the Soviet people. In response to Kennedy’s turn toward peace, the Soviet government even stopped jamming all Western broadcasts into their country.
Nikita Khrushchev was deeply moved by the American University Address. He said Kennedy had given “the greatest speech by any American President since Roosevelt.”
JFK’s speech was received less favorably – where? – in his own country. The New York Times reported his government’s skepticism: “Generally there was not much optimism in official Washington that the President’s conciliation address at American University would produce agreement on a test ban treaty or anything else.”
In contrast to the Soviet media that were electrified by the speech, the U.S. media ignored or downplayed it (as they’re done to the present). For the first time, Americans had less opportunity to read and hear their president’s words than did the Russian people. A turn-around was occurring in the world on different levels. Whereas nuclear disarmament had suddenly become feasible, Kennedy’s position in his own government had become precarious.
President Kennedy’s next critical conflict with his national security state, propelling him toward the coup d’etat he saw as possible (this was number 4), was the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that he signed with Nikita Khrushchev on July 25, 1963, just six weeks (if you can imagine that – six weeks to negotiate that treaty) after the American University Address.
The way he did it was he sent Averell Harriman as his representative to Moscow. Every time Averell Harriman had a question from the Soviet negotiators, he said, ‘Excuse me please.’ He ran to a telephone and he ran back with the answer. The telephone was directly to Kennedy. Kennedy negotiated that treaty point by point, personally, right straight through. That’s why it happened in six weeks.
The president did a total end run around his military advisers [the Joint Chiefs of Staff] who were opposed to it. He didn’t even consult them on it.
He was fiercely determined but he was not optimistic that the Test Ban Treaty [would] be ratified by the defense-conscious Senate. In early August, he told his advisers that getting Senate ratification of the agreement would be “almost in the nature of a miracle.” And we can understand, given what is happening in Congress today, what he faced in terms of at the height of the Cold War, getting a nuclear test ban treaty through the Senate. He said if a Senate vote were held right then, on August 7, it would fall far short of the necessary two-thirds.
What did he do? He initiated a whirlwind public education campaign on the treaty, coordinated by Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins, who directed a committee of – whom? – people like us – peace activists. He also got business leaders, he got labor leaders, he got editors of women’s magazines, he got everybody he could together with Norman Cousins doing all the coordinating. They went out and they did a job, a furious round of public education.
In September public opinion polls showed a turnaround – 80 percent of the American people were now in favor of the Test Ban Treaty. On September 24, 1963, the Senate approved the treaty by a vote of 80 to 19 – 14 more than the required two-thirds. No other single accomplishment in the White House gave Kennedy greater satisfaction.
On September 20, when Kennedy spoke at the United Nations, he suggested that its members see the Test Ban Treaty as a beginning and engage together in an experiment in peace:
“It makes you wonder what Nixon might have achieved had his presidency not been curtailed by Watergate,” said Luke Nichter of Texas A&M University-Central Texas in Killeen, who runs a website cataloguing Nixon’s secret recordings, “these tapes contain some really startling exchanges.”
Among these is Nixon’s meeting with Brezhnev in the Oval Office in June 1973, which Nixon library officials say is the only Russian-American summit meeting ever recorded on a presidential taping system.
Professor Nichter said the exchanges between Nixon and Brezhnev showed surprising warmth and intimacy between the two leaders who both spoke about their family members, and joked about how Mr Brezhnev would get through the official dinner given his jet lag.
“You see, I have a cigarette box there. It has a special timing mechanism and I can’t – I won’t be able to open it for an hour,” says Brezhnev
“Oh, how’s it open?,” replies Nixon.
“See, the mechanism, the timing mechanism is now working and I won’t be able to open that for another hour. In one hour it will unlock itself.”
“That’s a way to discipline yourself,” says Nixon, laughing.
"As early as 1961, they knew Kennedy was not going to war in Southeast Asia. Like Caesar, he is surrounded by enemies and something's underway... but it has no face. Yet everybody in the loop knows..."
|June 20, 1999 - President Clinton, Secretary Albright and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger meet with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and members of his delegation at Cologne’s Renaissance Hotel|
On 12th June 1999, Russian and NATO forces stood poised closer to the brink of war than at any point since the Able Archer exercise of 1983 and closer to a shooting war between the forces of East and West than at any point since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Following the relentless 11 week air war over Serbia, chiefly directed towards the peaceful civilian infrastructure of Yugoslav-Serbian society to force a withdrawl from the Serbian province of Kosovo (an action akin to a multilateral coalition carpet-bombing London in order to compel unilateral British military withdrawl and civic disengagement from Northern Ireland), NATO sent the troops in to Kosovo to "enforce the peace".
When the 30,000 KFOR personnel advanced into the province, however, they arrived to discover 200 Russian Army Special Forces occupying the airport at Pristina, having advanced forward from the East (with Serbian acquiescence) to secure the supply channels in and out during the occupation.
This plucky act of insurgency did not impress NATO commanders on the ground.
Not the American ones, at least.
Translated from the Serbian:
"Shortly after the 200 Russians from Ugljevik (without the knowledge of the Yeltsin Kremlin!) Occupied Pristina airport in 1999, a British unit led thirty thousand NATO troops received an order from the U.S. General Wesley Clark to take the airport, and if you disarm the Russians to open fire on them. "
The room at the G8 Conference in Frankfurt was as tense as it was possible to be - one week earlier, the forced within and behind Bill Clinton's administration, plotting his doom had brought the world to the brink of a Third World War, a shooting war between NATO and 200 Russian Troops acting either unilaterally or on their own recognisance to seize Pristina Airport and cease the Western assault on Belgrade and the Serbs.
Yeltsin has no idea and was rapidly loosing what grip he still retained on his country and his faculties.
Both men had lost control of their respective governments.
The Russian Delegation to Frankfurt arrived a day late.
Immediately, both Presidential national security teams went directly into closed door bilateral session with one another - in spite of Clinton's smiles, the scene could not have been more tense.
Thirty seconds after the above offial photo was taken, the door was closed, and the room sealed.
You could have cut the air with a knife.
Suddenly, Yeltsin reached below his desk and produced a yellowing loose leaf file of papers.
"A gift, for my old friend, Bill...!"
The file contained the original, unredacted KGB File on both Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy Assassination, along with full transcript and English translations - Yeltsin have strip-mined the KGB archive on ascent to the Russian presidency, offering out tidbits like the Soviet record of the Katyn Forest Massacre and the shoot down of KAL-007 in 1983.... But this was his ace in the hole.
Clinton's eyes widened like saucers - his only reply, was reportedly to exclaim, "Oh, I can use this...!"
Two weeks later, John F Kennedy Jr.'s plane went down off the tip of Martha's Vineyard.