215. Telegram From the Secretary of State to the Department of State 1

Dulte 26. Eyes only Acting Secretary from Secretary. Disarmament will probably be discussed by Heads of Government Thursday afternoon. President plans brief opening statement which will develop our philosophy along lines set out in his opening statement.2 He may, however, speak a second time in which case he would illustrate concretely how certain inspection could be carried out so as to allay fear of surprise attack. In this connection he may refer to aerial photograph as opening vast new possibilities and may state willingness of US to permit Soviet aerial photography of US provided Soviet willing to let us do the same in respect of Soviet territory.

This challenge may be somewhat of a surprise and have spectacular appearance which will perhaps deprive the Soviet Union of their propaganda advantage in slogan “ban the bomb”.

FYI. This type of inspection has been considered by State, Defense and Stassen for some little time and military advisers agree that we would gain more information than would Soviets. Radford is in complete accord and indeed enthusiastic.

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Because we do not want any risk of prior leak, this will be handled on informal and spontaneous basis, suggested without prior coordination with British and French except perhaps the President may suggest the idea to them in the Council Chamber immediately preceding the convening of the conference.

You may in utmost confidence tell two or three congressional leaders whom you feel can be completely trusted that this is a possible development and that if it occurs, the President would be glad if there could be Congressional expression of approval. However, on account of British-French relations and necessity of dealing with this matter on an impromptu and somewhat unpredictable basis, it is of the utmost importance that no one in Washington should feel or intimate that this move if made, was premeditated and prearranged.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–2155. Top Secret; No Distribution. Drafted by Dulles on July 20.
  2. Regarding President Eisenhower’s opening statement, see Document 182.
  3. This message was received at the Department at 6:28 a.m., July 21. At 10:47 a.m. the Department replied that the proposal had been discussed with Senators George, Knowland, and Clements and Representatives Rayburn, Martin, McCormack, and Richards and that no difficulties were expected. (Tedul 32 to Geneva; Department of State, Central Files, 110.11–DU/7–2155)