Document 5: Extract from the record of the Kennedy-Khrushchev meeting at Vienna, June 4, 1961
Source: NLK-86-138, released following an appeal in September 1990 by the Kennedy Library; the full version was published in FRUS 1961-63, vol. 14, p. 95, in 1993.
The passage blacked out below was one of only two brief passages deleted from the version of this document released in 1990. This passage reads as follows: "If we accepted such a proposition we would lose our ties in West Europe and would lose all our friends there. We do not wish to act in a way that would deprive the Soviet Union of its ties in Eastern Europe." Kennedy was speaking the language of power politics: the United States had a vital interest in maintaining its position in western Europe, just as the Soviet Union had a basic interest in maintaining its position in eastern Europe, and each side should respect the most fundamental interests of the other side. The passage was deleted because the censors want to play down the degree to which the American government thinks in such terms, and in particular the degree to which it was ready to recognize eastern Europe as a Soviet sphere of influence. When the FRUS volume was published, however, the fact that this passage had been deleted served to underscore how important it in fact was.