The President’s News Conference
From The American Presidency Project (1959)
By Roscoe Drummond from Washington
Transcribed And Typed By Charlotte Iserbyt
Invitation To Soviet ‘Governors’ Reprinted in The Times Herald 8-7-59
San Juan, PR — The nine-member executive committee of the US. governors, who have just reported to President Eisenhower on their own tour of Russia, re arranging to invite the Prime Ministers of the 16 Soviet republics to attend and take part in the 1960 Governors’ Conference.
It is evident that the governors strongly endorse the imminent exchange of visits between Premier Khrushchev and President Eisenhower, that they believe this burgeoning east-West exchange needs to include officials from all levels of government.
The plan now is to send invitations from the American governors to Soviet “governors” who are the chief executive officers of the Soviet Republics and with all of whom Gov Leroy Collins of Florida., Gov. Robert Meyner of New Jersey, Gov. Luther Hodges of North Carolina, and their colleagues, conferred at length last month.
The formal action to extend these invitations will either be taken by the governors at their session here or left to the executive committee to work out.
The governors are discussing this project with representatives of the State Department and the White House as they did before they undertook their own trip this summer. In the wake of the Krushhcev-Eisenhower exchange, there is no doubt that Washington will approve.
The intention is that attendance at the next Governors’ Conference shall be only a part of the hospitality to be arranged for the top officials of the Soviet Republics many of whom will be the poliical leaders of the Soviet Union in years to come. What the inviting governors have in mind is:
A visit by the prime ministers, either as a group or separately, to as many states as possible and at least to all sections of the country.
A full day’s participation at the Governors’ Conference during which there would be a joint discussion of common problems–housing health, old age care, etc
An invitation to attend as observers both the Democratic and Republican nominating conventions so they may see how a democracy picks its presidential candidates.
This plan reflects the intention of the governors’ executive committee to implement their own appeal to the President that “a greatly expanded program of exchange visits, particularly at the middle and local levels of government, would be highly desirable.”
In his address as chairman, Gov. Collins told the conference that “what the Soviets do and what we do toward relieving the anxieties (of the cold war) and assisting aspirations around the world will determine whether the world community successfully meets the challenges or survival. The states must be partners and co-workers in this common undertaking if we are to succeed.”
The reports which the governors made to their colleagues on what they found in Russia were realistic. while they noted the gap between the friendly sentiment of the Soviet people and the policies of the Kremlin, they were impressed by the “reservoir of goodwill” they found on every hand.
They believe that an early visit to the U,S. of their Soviet counterparts would carry forward whatever gains might be made as a result of the Kolov-Nixon and Khrushchev-Eisenhower visit this year.
Copyright 1959 New York Herald Tribune Inc.