DECEMBER 6, 1958
NEW YORK—Even from what little we know up till now, it seems that Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota had a real talk with Premier Nikita Khrushchev during the Senator's recent visit to the Kremlin.
I was glad to read that Senator Humphrey expresses doubt as to whether or not the Soviet Union is willing to risk "a showdown" over the Berlin issue. Showdowns, it seems to me, are not wise points to reach at present in our world difficulties.
I am also pleased that the Senator made clear to us that the peace we seek with the Soviet Union is not easy to find.
Senator Humphrey's impression that Mr. Khrushchev is running the present Geneva talks on the part of his representatives there is probably correct. I doubt if anything happens without Mr. Khrushchev running whatever it may be.
I have never found that any Soviet officials acted on their own. In fact, years ago I was told by one of the representatives in the Human Rights Commission that we could not meet before 11 o'clock in the morning because his dispatches did not come in from Moscow in time for him to read them before the meeting. Therefore, even in this area he was unable to function until his "directions" had reached him.
I hope that the eight-hour-long Hunphrey-Khrushchev talk may have some good results for the future. Mr. Khrushchev would not have kept the Senator so many hours and invited other government officials to come in and dine with them if he had not felt there would be value in the interview.
So, I am encouraged to hope that at least some greater basic understanding between the men in our government on the legislative side and the Soviet government may come about which would be helpful in producing a little of the confidence that is essential to profitable talks.
While speaking of Russia I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Secretary of the American Veterans of the Elbe River Link-up has sent out an announcement that "in April, 1959, the U.S. and Soviet World War II veterans, meeting together, plan to take the first steps to establish annual Elbe awards for citizens of the U.S. and the Soviet Union."
The Elbe River is where these soldiers met in World War II and shook hands together in gratitude for their victory, even though they were surrounded with the evidence of war and destruction both of civilians and of soldiers. They took an oath to do everything they could in future years to honor and strengthen the goodwill, hope and dedication which prevailed at that moment among them and among the people of their own countries as well.
These awards are designed to help carry out this oath.