Address by President Eisenhower before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 21, 1956, Public Papers of the Presidents, 1956, p. 417 and p. 423:


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"The ideas of freedom are at work, even where they are officially rejected. As we know, Lenin and his successors, true to Communist doctrine, based the Soviet State on the denial of these ideas. Yet the new Soviet rulers who took over three years ago have had to reckon with the force of these ideas, both at home and abroad.

"The situation the new regime inherited from the dead Stalin apparently caused it to reappraise many of his mistakes.

"Having lived under his one-man rule, they have espoused the concept of 'collective' dictatorship. But dictatorship it still remains. They have denounced Stalin for some of the more flagrant excesses of his brutal rule. But the individual citizen still lacks the most elementary safeguards of a free society. The desire for a better life is still being sacrificed to the insatiable demands of the state.

"In foreign affairs, the new regime has seemingly moderated the policy of violence and hostility which has caused the free nations to band together to defend their independence and liberties. For the present, at least, it relies more on political and economic means to spread its influence abroad. In the last year, it has embarked upon a campaign of lending and trade agreements directed especially toward the newly-developing countries.

"It is still too early to assess in any final way whether the Soviet regime wishes to provide a real basis for stable and enduring relations."

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"For example, why was there such a sudden change in the Soviet policy? Their basic air is to conquer the world, through world revolution if possible, but in any way. Anyone that has read any of their books knows that their doctrine is lies, deceit, subversion, war if necessary, but in any way: conquer the world. And that has not changed.

"But they changed their policies very markedly. They were depending on force and the threat of force only. And suddenly they have gone into an entirely different attitude. They are going into the economic and political fields and are really wearing smiles around the world instead of some of the bitter faces to which we have become accustomed.

"Now any time a policy is winning and the people are completely satisfied with it, you don't change. You change policies that markedly, you destroy old idols as they have been busy doing, only when you think a great change is necessary. So I think we can take some comfort; at least we can give careful consideration to the very fact they had to change their policies.

"And I think the whole free world is trying to test and determine the sincerity of that plan, in order that the free nations themselves, in pursuing their own policies, will make certain that they are not surprised in any place.

"We look at some of the advances we think they have made, but let us remember: they did not conquer Korea, which they announced they were going to do. They were stopped finally in the northern part of Vietnam; and Diem, the leader of the Southern Vietnamese, is doing splendidly and a much better figure in that field than anyone even dared to hope.

"The Iranian situation which only a few short years ago looked so desperate that each morning we thought we would wake up and read in our newspapers that Mossadegh had let them under the Iron Curtain, has not become satisfactory, but that crisis has passed and it is much better."

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Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Vol. 1 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), p. 609-10


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