NOVEMBER 14, 1958
EN ROUTE TO NEW YORK—Premier Nikita Khrushchev seems to be at it again. His most recent idea, or suggestion, followed his meetings with the leader of the Polish Communists, Wladyslaw Gomulka.
Mr. Khrushchev said that the four-power occupation of Berlin should be terminated and that he would be ready to turn over to the East German Communist government all his occupation responsibilities in Berlin. Then the Western powers would deal with the East German Communist government, according to his latest proposal. He said that the Western powers had violated every provision of the 1945 Potsdam agreement except for the four-power occupation of Berlin, and he thought it was time all of them did away with the remnants of this agreement.
This ever-flowing stream of new proposals, which jump from subject to subject and place to place, seems to me to be designed primarily to confuse the public. The effort is to make it appear that the Soviet Union is constantly suggesting ways to bring about peaceful settlement of problems and that we and the other Western powers are constantly refusing to do so.
It is an interesting game to try to figure out why the Soviet government, as represented by Mr. Khrushchev, does the things it does from day to day and what they are likely to do in the course of the next few weeks.
A series of articles written by Mr. Walter Lippmann, following his recent visit to the Soviet Union, is extremely interesting, but I do not find from reading them that Mr. Khrushchev is saying anything very new.
The Soviet leader talked to me about the hatred that the United States had for communism and the fear in the U.S. of the Communist type of economy, because, he claimed, communism could give the people so much more than capitalism could give. This has, of course, still to be proved. And Mr. Lippmann's quote from Mr. Khrushchev that the U.S. was "living the last years of its greatness" is, I am afraid, more wishful thinking than reality.
Jordan's young King Hussein did not get very far on his recent attempt to fly off to a European vacation. After being intercepted by two Syrian MiGs, his plane returned to Amman. The Syrians say they did not wish to attack the Jordanian plane, but that King Hussein and his pilot had not asked for permission to fly over their territory so they "escorted" it back to Jordan.
This incident certainly does not improve the good feeling between Jordan and the United Arab Republic, and there should certainly be some attempt made in the future to prevent such "little misunderstandings" from occurring.
Trouble seems to be brewing again in Iraq. These Middle Eastern nations seem unable to bear having any difference of opinion. It seems everyone must agree to think in the same way and to act in the same way, because nobody is secure enough to keep the government going against any opposition and so the liquidation of all one's opposition becomes a necessity.
This is a sign of insecurity and inability to govern, and it is a sad thing for these countries.