G/PM Files, Lot 68 D 349

Memorandum by the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State (Arneson)

top secret

Memorandum for the Secretary

Subject: Second Soviet Atomic Explosion in Current Test Series

In discussing with the President how we should play the second recent Soviet explosion you will want to have the following points in mind:

Extraordinary steps are being taken to try to keep this event from leaking.
We do not wish to say anything unless we are forced to.
In the event that the “leak” comes from the Kremlin we should be prepared to acknowledge that we have been aware of the second shot.
If our hand is forced, the story should be played down both in terms of what is said and who says it. The attached draft to be used, if necessary, by the AEC is designed to accomplish this.

The foregoing points are concurred in by Messrs. Matthews, Nitze,1 Bonbright,2 and Armstrong.3

R. Gordon Arneson

Draft Statement Prepared by the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State (Arneson)

top secret

A second atomic explosion in the current Soviet test series has recently occurred. Further tests may be expected as a normal adjunct to the Soviet atomic weapons program.

  1. Paul H. Nitze, Director of the Policy Planning Staff.
  2. James C. H. Bonbright, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs.
  3. W. Park Armstrong, Jr., Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Intelligence.