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Moscow, May 9, 1960, 7 p.m.
2772. In reply to Czech Ambassador's toast at reception this afternoon Khrushchev with obvious realism dwelt at length on overflight incident.(1) He raised question as to who could have sent this plane and said what could they think of a govt in which such operation could be undertaken without permission. At this point he repeated in public his remarks exonerating me personally.(2) He did, however, make derogatory remarks about Allen Dulles. He later remarked he suspected government did know about it secretly. He referred to countries who had let their territories be used for such operations and said not only would any further intruder be shot down but in this event Soviet Union would also consider taking other appropriate measures which he made clear could involve action against bases that were used for this purpose.
He led into German question and said with great force that if they were obliged to conclude separate treaty and Western powers attempted on basis of situation which had resulted from German surrender to use force this would be met with force.
He said he did not wish to add fuel to flames and what was important was to reach agreements including disarmament. He said bombers could not fly over 12,000 to 17,000 meters altitude whereas fighters could go to 28,000 but had difficulty finding target and that rockets were the thing. He said American plane had not been armed for simple reason that there was nothing to shoot at at that altitude and it needed weight for other purposes.
After toast he sought out Norwegian Ambassador and Pakistan charge and needled them at length, surrounded by considerable crowd, about use of their territory. Norwegian Ambassador said he knew nothing about incident except what Khrushchev had said but could not understand how such small plane could have attempted fly all way to Norway. He said he was sure his govt knew nothing about it. I did not overhear entire conversation but Khrushchev did not accept this statement.
Whole performance shocked those of my colleagues who have not seen him put on this act before.
Source: Department of State, Central Files, 761.5411/5 - 960. Confidential; Niact.