INT: We go back in time to Stalin's death in March 1953, was it a big shock and what was the reaction of the administration.

RB: Well it was a surprise certainly nobody, this was, this was within about six weeks after Eisenhower had taken over and I don't think anybody particularly contemplated or expected Stalin's death until it actually occurred, and he didn't have much of a lingering illness he just had two, three or four days apparently and they didn't announce it right away, so yes it was a surprise, and as I say the immediate question was will the new regime, the new leaders the people who were left from Stalin's time, first will they feud among themselves will they, will they gage in cut throat efforts to determine who was to be in charge and second how soon will they be able to review policy if they choose to do so and perhaps make modifications of policy. The first question of they, they settled at, almost at the funeral of that they named people for the slots and with Malenkov nomilly, nominally in charge, Khrushchev was merely one of the secretaries in a, of a party well it was pretty clear however the situation wasn't all that fixed because by June they had arrested Beria claiming that he was pursuing independent effort to do something that they didn't think was wise, some question of whether he had a different view about what Germany, about Germany what, but whatever the reason, there, all the others (unintelligible) in arresting him and then ultimately some months later executing him. Second Malenkov was not a strong figure, he didn't seem strong he looked like somebody who was weak, and, but the, but the group really was identifiable as Malenkov and first, and Beria until he was eliminated Molotov and Khrushchev and Bulganin and they were all people who had been around Stalin and trusted lieutenants, and so there was not any reason to think that in the early stage they would be in a position to make changes if they wanted because of the possible effects on the leadership competition. But second there was no evidence at, at the beginning whether they're gonna make any major changes. Now they did conduct a very intensive sort of peace program of cleaning up certain small things which didn't really greatly matter like letting wives out and so on and they were certainly trying to create an atmosphere in which there was much less sense of tension with the West, but they did nothing of any real consequence and so the feeling was that they were engaged essentially in a propaganda effort, to play, to placate or to, to reduce the level of tensions, because they needed the time in which to get sort out their own leadership and also sort out their policy. And it also became clear I think pretty quickly that there were gonna be internal changes they were, Malenkov made a speech and, I believe it was in August that they were gonna focus much more on consumer goods, they were gonna they were gonna sort of avoid the kind of bruta, brutal suppression that there had been done under, regular thing under Stalin. In other words they were trying to woo the electorate the citizens in to feeling that there's going to be a better time ahead. But externally they did not do anything and when Eisenhower made his chance for speech, his chance for peace speech, he got very little response he got a, the unusual thing of publishing the whole text of it which was remarkable, and they also had a reply but the reply was largely a justification of the past policy and not and saying, we was, surprised at some of the things that Eisenhower said about who was it for and so on, it was all low key it was so, not, not any more contentious than they had to be but nevertheless there's no sign of give, and so there was this, as I said, this tension between or friction between Churchill and Eisenhower or Churchill and the administration, Churchill pushing constantly for having a meeting at, at the summit with, with virtually no agenda just a talk and sort of get aquainted and so on, and as I said both Eisenhower and Dulles didn't want to do that, Du



INTERVIEWER: I want to take you to the time when there was a so called solarium symposium, a discussion with any Eisenhower administration as to how to tackle and deal with these complex issues of relations with the Soviets and relations with the East European satellites, what exactly was solarium and what took place there.

ROBERT BOWIE: Well this was rather unique effort, to have thorough presentation of three alternative approaches to the Soviet Union. It originated because of a conversation that was held in what, in, in the, sun room of the Whitehouse which was called the solarium and it was particularly involved Dulles and the President and several others, and Dulles expressed the view that he was worried that time was on the side of the Soviets and that we were not pursuing a policy that was gonna work and fearful that the alliance would not hold together and so on, and he said you could have various possible alternatives as potential, this was just a sort of general discussion, a very private individual, intimate and finally Eisenhower said well why don't we have an exercise in which we put together teams of qualified people and give them each one particular point of view to present to the best of their ability after extensive preparations. So they did decide to do that and they then selected a group of about six or seven members for each of the teams, highly qualified people basically from within the government but not exclusively so, Canon at that point was no longer in the government but he was drafted to head one of the groups. And they were essentially given one of three topics, the Canon group for example was supposed to pursue essentially a policy of containment with such modifications as they saw fit. The second group was supposed to do something called draw the line, which was essentially to say, we'll contain the Soviet Union by telling them that if they step over in any way, the line which we draw around their perimeter, they will face general war, nuclear war. And the third was essentially a form of rollback essentially using covert and other means for the purpose of trying to inflict actually forced withdrawals from particular areas in their expectation that ultimately this would have a, effect of disintegrating the empire. So these groups were each given something like four or five weeks in which to develop their, their presentations and each of them presented a book of a report about inch, inch and a half thick which explore, which laid out what they would like to try to do and how would they expected to achieve by it. And then they each of the groups had an offer, then President, then the President got together a large group of people involved in the policy process all the cabinet people who were in national security affairs, the, military people, planning staff of the planning board members of the NSC which were this, people who were supposed to prepare materials for the cabinet members of the NSC and a number of others, there must have been fifty, sixty people. And each of the teams had a, the, well the whole day was devoted to this exercise, and each of the teams had an opportunity to make an extensive press, presentation of it's point of view and a, what could be expected from a, and then they had questions, and then the President made some remarks as, Kennan who is not exactly an old man, said that later that day he thought that the President had shown that he had no peer in the room with respect to his remarks which apparently went on for, as I recall it something like forty-five minutes. The President pretty much indicated Andy Goodpaster thinks he was later a very close assistant of Eisenhower Andy Goodpaster thinks that the President made quite clear that rollback was out, and that one of the purposes of having this exercise was to get rid of the idea of rollback and make that clear that was buried, and that essentially some variant on containment would be the policy. Now it was just, not exactly as presented by Kennan and his team, because they had followed an idea of Kennan's, with respect to Germany, in which more (unintelligible) variants with the analysis and purposes of the administration or of the Truman administration, and that was not at all adopted, but the general notion that