Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 370

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

top secret

Memorandum of Conversations with Sir Winston Churchill London—September 27, 28, and 30

In the course of my three talks with Sir Winston Churchill (my first call on him and then the dinner and luncheon), he repeatedly emphasized the indispensability of capacity for massive retaliation. He said that the Soviets were in a position where, by a sudden sneak attack, they could kill perhaps ten million of our people. However, the Soviets should know that if within four hours they could kill ten million of us, we could kill in the next four hours, twenty million of them. He felt that as long as they knew this that it would probably deter attack, and he did not see any other way. He emphasized that our capacity for retaliation must have many bases, some real, some decoys, so that they could not strike in a sudden way which would knock out all of our capacity to retaliate. Sir Winston felt that much more could be [Page 1369] done than had been done in the way of developing decoy targets which would attract an initial atomic attack and thus divert it from really vital targets.

John Foster Dulles