Hopes for the Big Two
Premier Khrushchev's sensational and sensationalized visit to the United States is ended, and the usual second guesses on whether he should have been invited and whether he was handled properly will no doubt be aired for a considerable time. It appears now that Khrushchev's trip resulted in neither a fiasco nor an unqualified triumph for either party. The Premier's tour was of course bungled, ever so slightly, as it was bound to be; Khrushchev, on the other hand, did not exactly induce any false sense of security with his occasional beligerence and his obvious intransigence on many basic issues.
Khrushchev was welcomed courteously, at times even cordially. In general, however, the tone of the visit made it clear that Americans have no love either for the Premier or for the system he represents, but that co-existence is, at least for this side, a perfectly feasible and desirable prospect. The incidents in Los Angeles that kept overwraught State Department officials in a state of near-panic for a while last week were regrettable, but at the same time were exaggerated by Khrushchev's apparent hyper-sensitivity.
The most significant aspect of this exchange of visits is the emergence of two-power personal diplomacy, not as a panacea, but as a reasonable method of exchanging views and "reducing tensions," to use a favorite Khrushchev phrase. The concept of the Big Two sitting at a table deciding the fate of smaller nations may not sit well in anti-monopolistic American stomachs, but it is more than reasonable to assume that any Eisenhower-Khrushchev agreement would exert a rather compelling influence on other, lesser powers.
Berlin remains unsolved, as does almost everything else of any importance. But the two leaders have sat together for twenty-one hours, and even if no solutions have emerged, no one can deny that such talks are a good thing. Conference will continue on most of the major questions, and, if both sides can discard some of their ingrained suspicions, some agreements may be miraculously produced. It may not be unduly optimistic to think that the Khrushchev visit and Eisenhower's springtime trip to Russia will make the important world issues not insoluble, but merely unsolved.