Department of State Atomic Energy Files

Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Secretary of State

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Senator McMahon telephoned me to say that he had had a conference with Senator Vandenberg who was considerably exercised over the [Page 485]Thursday night meeting at the White House.1 Senator Vandenberg told McMahon that Senators Knowland2 and Millikin3 had presented their resignations from the Joint Atomic Energy Committee. Senator McMahon has seen the one from Senator Millikin which was based on the ground that he did not wish to remain a member of a Committee when he could not agree with certain policies of the Committee. Senator McMahon said that he pointed out that it seemed to him juvenile for a Senator to resign from a Committee because he did not approve of certain proposed policies; that he would think the Senator could accomplish his purpose better by staying on the Committee and arguing against policies he did not approve. Senator McMahon said that he was under the impression the letters were in the nature of a stageshow.

Senator McMahon said also that he was shown a resolution directed to him as Chairman of the Commission calling upon him to get in touch with the Secretary of State to say that the Committee was of the opinion that nothing should be done looking towards discussions with the British until the Joint Committee had been fully informed. Senator McMahon said this resolution was to have been presented at a 9:30 meeting this morning, which meeting the Senator had called off. I said that, of course, as he knew and as had been mentioned at the Thursday night meeting, there was no intention of proceeding until the Joint Committee had been informed.

We then discussed the question of a meeting date with the Joint Committee. I said I had been engaged in negotiations with Under Secretary of Defense Early4 to find a convenient date at which both Secretary Johnson and General Eisenhower could be present. Mr. Early had just confirmed the fact that Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 or 3 o’clock would be satisfactory to these gentlemen. I had asked Mr. Arneson to get in touch with Senator McMahon to see whether this would suit the Committee.

Senator McMahon then said that he was quite willing to put this meeting off until after the vote on the Atlantic Pact. He mentioned that Senator Vandenberg was quite vehement in his talk with him this morning. Senator Vandenberg said that his attitude was that we had done so much for the English it was now up to them to do something [Page 486]for us. Senator Vandenberg was very much distressed by the Tris Coffin article in the Times-Herald.5 I said to Senator McMahon that, if there was any possibility that the Pact might become tied in with the atomic energy matter in this way, it was most important to straighten it out as soon as possible and that it would be advisable to do so before rather than after the vote on the Pact. Senator McMahon agreed and we left it that the meeting of the Joint Committee would be held on Wednesday afternoon at an hour between 2:30 and 4:00 according to the Committee’s convenience.

Dean Acheson
  1. Reference is to the Blair House meeting of July 14, the record of which is printed on p. 476.
  2. Senator William F. Knowland of California.
  3. Senator Eugene D. Millikin of Colorado.
  4. Stephen T. Early.
  5. Reference was to a recent article in the Washington Times-Herald which alleged that the Secretary of State advocated storing atomic weapons in England, while the Secretary of Defense firmly opposed such a policy.