281. Memorandum of a Conference, White House, Washington, August 9, 19571

Morning Conference on August 9, 1957.2


  • The President, John Eisenhower,3J.F. Dulles, Gerard Smith, and Robert Cutler
The draft report (dated July 26, 1957) by the Special Committee, composed of the Secretary of State (Chairman), the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission recommending a test for a large clean bomb4 was discussed.
It was understood that if this test were to be made, it would be included in the 1958 Pacific test series.5
The President was very much in doubt whether it was desirable to test larger bombs and whether there was a need for a large clean bomb. He indicated that our statecraft was becoming too much a prisoner of our scientists. He had publicly stated that we were not going to test any more large bombs and that we were trying to clean up small bombs.
The President then read the paragraphs containing the recommendations which limit clearly the project to a test. He stated that he thought the recommendation was satisfactorily limited.
As Mr. Dulles is leaving at 2:00 p.m., he will sign the report and leave it in escrow with Gerard Smith to be turned over later to the President when desired. I think the President has tentatively approved this recommendation but wishes to talk with Admiral Strauss first about it.
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Afternoon Conference on August 9, 1957.


  • The President, John Eisenhower, J.F. Dulles, Admiral Lewis L. Strauss, Gerard Smith, and Robert Cutler

1. The President approved the recommendation of the Special Committee and directed that the signed copy in the possession of Gerard Smith be appropriately released from escrow and delivered… .

Robert Cutler
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Sp. Asst. for Nat. Sec. Affairs Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Cutler. Copies were given to Major Eisenhower and Gerard Smith.
  2. For the discussion on disarmament at this morning conference, see infra.
  3. Major John S.D. Eisenhower, the President’s son, was serving temporarily as Acting Staff Secretary.
  4. Undated, the report is attached to a July 26 memorandum from Lay to Dulles, Wilson, and Strauss. (Eisenhower Library, Special Assistant for National Security Affairs Records) The wording of this draft report is identical to that of the report printed as Document 285.
  5. In a separate memorandum, attached to the source text but not printed, Cutler summarized discussion at this August 9 morning meeting on the AEC proposal for the 1958 Pacific test series. He noted:

    “The President indicated strongly that he would like to curtail the length of the testing period and the number of test shots, and directed that Admiral Strauss, Mr. Smith, and I come back at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon for a discussion of this matter.”