While Khrushchev accepted planned U.S. reconnaissance flights over Eastern Europe, he refused to allow such flights over the Soviet Union because they would expose Soviet weaknesses and provide the United States with verification of Soviet targets. Khrushchev's refusal to accept the proposal gave Eisenhower an advantage in the propaganda war, as it belied his contention that the Soviet Union wanted peace.
Historians are divided over the sincerity of the Open Skies Proposal. Some, citing various administration studies such as Operation candor, the Killian Report, and the report of the Nelson Rockefeller working group (which called for, respectively, explaining the danger of nuclear weapons, a nuclear test ban, and the exchange of atomic information between the two blocs as a means to prevent accidental nuclear war), consider the proposal sincere. Others argue that because the United States enjoyed a clear technological advantage, Eisenhower knew that his proposal would never be accepted. They argue that the proposal represented an easy way for Eisenhower to claim moral superiority over the Soviet Union without committing to any concrete measures.
Gaddis, John Lewis. The Long Peace: Inquiries into the History of the Cold War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.; Rostow, Walt W. Open Skies: Eisenhower's Proposal of July 21, 1955. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982.