The Foreign Service Journal, March 2020

42 MARCH 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL FOCUS ON DEALING WITH RUSSIA & UKRAINE Soviet Union, Russia and Ukraine From the FSJ Archive We Recognize the Soviet Union Ambassador Bullitt then presented his cre- dentials to President Kalinin on December 13 [1933]. Mr. Bullitt was accompanied by Mr. Joseph Flack, First Secretary at Berlin, and Mr. George F. Kennan, Third Secretary at Riga. Mr. Bullitt said in part: “That mission, Mr. President, is to create not merely normal but genuinely friendly relations between our two great peoples, who for so many years were bound to each other by traditions of friendship. The firm establishment of world peace is a deep desire of both of our peoples, and the close collaboration of our governments in the task of preserving peace will draw our peoples together.” —Walter A. Foote, January 1934 Contacts with the Soviets It is diplomacy by culture—but a cultural diplomacy subject to a central plan, in which even the arts and sciences serve the Party line first and foremost. … There is already in the last year an observ- able decline in the ignorance and prejudice with which the Soviet and non-Soviet worlds regard each other, and there is a tendency to meet exaggerated propaganda with a certain degree of disbelief. The forty-year freeze in cultural relations between the two countries could well be melting. If so, the Soviet citizen may gradually have more opportunities to test his beliefs against direct observation, thus breaking out from the intellectual isolation in which he has found himself. For isolation is dangerous to any country in a world Community where the free communication of ideas means progress if not salvation. —Frederick T. Merrill, March 1959 Russia and the West If the West is successfully to thwart the communist dream of uni- versal empire, it is less important for us to know why the Soviet leaders wish to “bury” us than to know how they propose to do it. It is very clear that they do not intend to leave the process to the mystical force of history, however “inevitable” its outcome. They are going to help the process along with all of their resources and it is the task of Western statesmen to estimate what those resources are, the way in which they have been used in the past, and how they are likely to be used in the future. It is all the more essential, under these circumstances, that we develop widening channels of commu- nication, of cultural and educational exchange, between the two societies. … It is at least possible that the cumulative impact of the real world of experience on the imaginary world of Marxian dogma will gradually bring about profound changes in the latter. —J.W. Fulbright, October 1963 Eastern Europe: The Unstable Element in the Soviet Empire Soviet control of most of Eastern Europe has given it forward military bases and posses- sion of the traditional invasion routes into Europe. The Soviet position constitutes a kind of pistol at the head of the West. The peoples and resources of the area increase Soviet economic and military power. Soviet control over Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, and Poland appears tighter and firmer than ever before. … Our economic and military strength is so vast that we do not understand its significance, while our power when added to that of our allies almost staggers the imagination. However, our great- est strength is almost invisible, because it is the social vitality, the effervescent intellectual vigor, and the freedom and openness in which we live and face our serious problems. The central position in our foreign policy should remain the peaceful reconstruction of Europe. This should be accomplished without alarming the Soviet Union but providing the states and peoples of Eastern Europe with the independence and right to self-determination which they deserve and seek. —Robert F. Byrnes, July 1971