Soviet Note to the United States, May 10, 1960

The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics considers it necessary to state the following to the Government of the United States of America.

On May 1 of this year at 5 hour 36 minutes, Moscow time, a military aircraft violated the boundary of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and intruded across the borders of the Soviet Union for a distance of more than 2,000 kilometers. The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics naturally could not leave unpunished such a flagrant violation of Soviet state boundaries. When the intentions of the violating aircraft became apparent, it was shot down by Soviet rocket troops in the area of Sverdlovsk.

Upon examination by experts of all data at the disposal of the Soviet side, it was incontrovertibly established that the intruder aircraft belonged to the United States of America, was permanently based in Turkey and was sent through Pakistan into the Soviet Union with hostile purposes.

As Chairman of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers N. S. Khrushchev made public on May 7 at the final session of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet, exact data from the investigation leave no doubts with respect to the purpose of the flight of the American aircraft which violated the U.S.S.R. border on May 1. This aircraft was specially equipped for reconnaissance and diversionary flight over the territory of the Soviet Union. It had on board apparatus for aerial photography for detecting the Soviet radar network and other special radio-technical equipment which form part of U.S.S.R. anti-aircraft defenses. At the disposal of the Soviet expert commission which carried out the investigation, there is indisputable proof of the espionage- reconnaissance mission of the American aircraft: films of Soviet defense and industrial establishments, a tape recording of signals of Soviet radar stations and other data.

Pilot Powers, about whose fate the Embassy of the United States of America inquired in its note of May 6, is alive and, as indicated in the aforementioned speech of Chairman of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers N. S. Khrushchev, will be brought to account under the laws of the Soviet state. The pilot has indicated that he did everything in full accordance with the assignment given him. On the flight map taken from him there was clearly and accurately marked the entire route he was assigned after take-off from the city of Adana (Turkey): Peshwar (Pakistan) - the Ural Sea - Sverdlovsk - Archangel - Murmansk, followed by a landing at the Norwegian airfield at Bude. The pilot also stated that he served in subunit number 10-10 which under cover of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is engaged in high altitude military reconnaissance.

This and other information revealed in speeches of the head of the Soviet Government completely refuted the U.S. State Department's concocted and hurriedly fabricated version, released May 5 in the official announcement for the press, to the effect that the aircraft was allegedly carrying out meteorological observations in the upper strata of the atmosphere along the Turkish-Soviet border.

After the complete absurdity of the aforementioned version had been shown and it had been incontrovertibly proven that the American aircraft intruded across the borders of the Soviet Union for aggressive reconnaissance purposes, a new announcement was made by the U.S. State Department on May 7 which contained the forced admission that the aircraft was sent into the Soviet Union for military reconnaissance and, by the very fact, it was admitted that the flight was pursuing aggressive purposes.

In this way, after two days, the State Department already had to deny the version which obviously had been intended to mislead world public opinion as well as American public opinion itself.

The State Department considered it appropriate to refer in its announcement to the "open skies" proposal made by the Government of the United States of America in 1955 and to the refusal of the Soviet Government to accept this proposal. Yes, the Soviet Government, like the governments of many other states, refused to accept this proposal which was intended to throw open the doors of other nations to American reconnaissance. The activities of American aviation only confirm the correctness of the evaluation given to this proposal at the time by the Soviet Government.

Does this not mean that, with the refusal of a number of states to accept this proposal for "open skies," the United States of America is attempting arbitrarily to take upon itself the right "to open" a foreign sky? It is enough to put the question this way, for the complete groundlessness of the aforementioned reference to the United States of America "open skies" proposal to become clear.

It follows from the aforementioned May 7 announcement of the U.S.A. State Department that the hostile acts of American aviation, which have taken place numerous times in relation to the Soviet Union, are not simply the result of activity of military commands of the United States of America in various areas but are the expression of a calculated U.S.A. policy. That which the Soviet Government has repeatedly declared in its representations to the Government of the United States of America in connection with the violations of U.S.S.R. national boundaries by American airplanes has been confirmed, namely, that these violations are premeditated. All this testifies that the Government of the United States of America, instead of taking measures to stop such actions by American aviation, the danger of which has more than once been pointed out by the Soviet Government, officially announces such action as its national policy.

Thus, the Government of the United States of America, in the first place, testifies to the fact that it answers to representations of the Soviet Government were only for the sake of form, behind which were concealed an effort to avoid the substance of the issue, and that all violations by American aircraft of the national boundaries of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics represented actin conforming to U.S.A. policy.

In the second place, and this is the main point, by sanctioning such actions of American aviation, the Government of the United States of America aggravates the situation even more.

One must ask, how is it possible to reconcile this with declarations on the part of leading figures of the United States of America, that the Government of the United States of America, like the Soviet Government, also strives for improvement of relations between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America, for relaxation of international tension, and strengthening of trust between states. Military intelligence activities of one nation by means of intrusion of its aircraft into the area of another country can hardly be called a method for improving relations and strengthening trust.

It is self-evident that the Soviet Government is compelled, under such circumstances, to give strict orders to its armed forces to take all necessary measures against violation of Soviet boundaries by foreign aviation. The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics regretfully states that, while it undertakes everything possible for normalization and improvement of the international situation, the Government of the United States of America follows a different path. It is impossible to exclude the thought that, apparently the two Governments view differently the necessity for improving relations between our countries and for creation of a favorable ground for the success of the forthcoming summit meeting.

The Soviet Government, as well as all of the Soviet people, considered that the personal meetings and discussions with the President of the United States of America and other American official figures which the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Soviet Socialist Rep7ublics had during his visit to the United States of America, made a good beginning in the cause of normalizing Soviet-American relations and therefore the improvement of the entire international situation as well. However, the latest actions of American authorities apparently seek to return the state of American-Soviet relations to the worst times of the "cold war" and to poison the international situation before the summit meetings.

The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics cannot avoid pointing out that the State Department's statement, which is unprecedented in its cynicism, not only justifies provocative flights of aircraft of the armed forces of the United States of America but also acknowledges that such actions are "a normal phenomenon" and thus in fact states that in the future the United States intends to continue provocative invasions into the confines of the airspace of the Soviet Union for the purpose of intelligence.

Thus the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics concludes that the announcement of the State Department that the flight was carried out without the knowledge and permission of the Government of the United States of America does not correspond to reality, since in the very same announcement the necessity for carrying on intelligence activities against the Soviet Union is justified. This means that espionage activities of American aircraft are carried on with the sanction of the Government of the United States of America.

The Government of the Soviet Union makes an emphatic protest to the Government of the United States of America in connection with aggressive acts of American aviation and warns that, if similar provocations are repeated, it will be obliged to take retaliatory measures, responsibility for the consequences of which will rest on the governments of states committing aggression against other countries.

The Soviet Government would sincerely like to hope that the Government of the United States of America recognizes in the final analysis that the interests of preserving and strengthening peace among peoples including the interests of the American people itself, whose striving for peace was well demonstrated during the visit of the head of the Soviet Government, N. S. Khrushchev, to the United States of America, would be served by cessation of the aforementioned dangerous provocative activities with regard to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, by cessation of the "cold war," and by a search through of joint efforts with the Soviet Union and with other interested states for solution of unsettled international problems, on a mutually acceptable basis, which is awaited by all peoples.


Collected and transcribed by Larry W. Jewell jewell@mace.cc.purdue.edu