152. Letter From the President’s Special Assistant (Stassen) to the Secretary of State1

Dear Foster: The following points to cover in our consultations with the French are suggested: [Page 286]

Our intensive re-study of the questions involved in disarmament, control and regulation of armament and related questions, indicates certain salient premises and principles regarding which we wish to have this informal early consultation with France.
In any agreement, the crucial and controlling factor is the system of inspection and communications.
In the absence of agreement, great emphasis needs to be placed upon the scientific advance in measures which would counter and cancel out advances made by the USSR in armaments. We are experiencing considerable success in this respect.
Nevertheless, a sound agreement with an effective inspection and communications system, if it could be reached, would have mutual advantages, and would improve the prospects of a durable peace.
In designing an inspection system, it appears that there is no known method by which all the production of nuclear material which has occurred prior to the installation of an inspection system can be accounted for in full. Thus, other factors, such as the delivery systems and the over-all indication of good faith adherence to an agreement, need be considered in an inspection system.
An inspection system must also be limited by the reciprocal acceptability within the various forms of governments and economies.
Any system must be so designed that if the agreement is violated, the security of the signators is not less than it would have been if no agreement had been made.
Our study is proceeding of the feasibility, in specific terms, of an inspection and communications system which would meet the foregoing requirements, and we will welcome an exchange of views with France as we proceed.2

Sincerely yours,

Harold E. Stassen 3
  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 515. Confidential; Personal. On July 11 Stassen also sent Secretary Dulles a short note stating that it was quite possible the Soviet Union would make a “final pitch” for a five-power conference and suggesting that the United States or the Western powers counter with a proposal for another four-power meeting at the summit which would allow time for bilateral talks between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. (Ibid., Central Files, 396.1/7–1155)
  2. On July 13 Secretary Dulles replied to this letter, approving the points which Stassen had outlined and suggesting that they could be brought up with the French in Paris. (Ibid., Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 515)
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.