153. Interim Report of the Working Group on Disarmament Policy0

The working group on U.S. Disarmament Policy, consisting of representatives of the Departments of State and Defense, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (Dr. Killian), was established on April 7, 1958, by the Special Cabinet Committee on Summit Preparations. The group was directed to make an initial report on April 15 assessing the adequacy of existing U.S. disarmament policy and the opportunities for new U.S. initiatives in this field.
The working group reached no agreement in the course of its three meetings (April 9, April 14 and April 16)1 on specific new U.S. initiatives on disarmament, but did conclude that:
present U.S. policy is adequate in scope and objective, and covers the major substantive areas on which the U.S. should seek agreement.
present U.S. policy should be re-examined and modified to increase its effectiveness from the standpoint of U.S. political and military security objectives.
the concept of “inseparability” of the various components in present U.S. policy appeared to be a bar to progress in disarmament negotiations and make the West vulnerable before world public opinion.
the U.S. position should be so formulated and presented as to remove the basis for criticism of its complexity and rigidity without compromising our basic disarmament objectives.
a more specific U.S. position on outer space should be developed.

The group recognized that the immediate key issue was U.S. willingness or unwillingness to modify the present position on nuclear testing and its relationship to other elements of disarmament policy. The representatives of the Department of State, CIA and Dr. Killian’s office favored a revision of policy to provide for a separate inspected suspension of nuclear tests. The representatives of the AEC did not favor such a change but suggested certain alternative revisions involving limitation of nuclear tests (described in paragraph (d), below) if over-riding political considerations required a change in U.S. policy. The Department of Defense representative is of the opinion that the decision regarding suspension [Page 602] of nuclear weapons testing will not be taken pending a further assessment of the military and political factors which bear upon this problem. He felt, therefore, that the working group should address itself to the reformulation of the U.S. position under two separate assumptions: (1) that the U.S. decides it is prepared to agree to an immediate test suspension, and (2) that the U.S. decided it is not prepared to agree to an immediate suspension.

More specifically the proposals of the Departments represented were as follows:

The Department of State representatives presented a proposal for a two-year inspected test suspension, conditioned for its continuance beyond this period on Soviet agreement to a cessation of production of fissionable material for weapons purposes.
The Department of Defense representative informally presented for discussion purposes a less extensive revision of the U.S. position loosing the link between the nuclear provision and other elements of the August 29 proposals. This was intended to illustrate how the U.S. position might be presented in less complex terms.
The CIA representative suggested that the U.S. should announce in the near future a unilateral two-year test suspension to begin September 1, 1958, and the U.S. should simultaneously announce a unilateral suspension of fissionable material production for weapons purposes beginning immediately and invite UN inspection. The suspension would end after one year if the Soviets did not reciprocate.
The AEC representative believed that the U.S. should propose a limitation of testing involving unrestricted testing underground and a limit of 20 tests per nation per year above ground, all of the latter to have a yield of no greater than 100 KT each. However, no limitations should be accepted unless it was linked to Soviet acceptance of some other disarmament measures.

The group recognized that other areas of U.S. disarmament policy were equally important and should be examined and reformulated. The Department of State representatives presented specific suggestions for reformulation of U.S. proposals covering the nuclear cutoff, surprise attack zones, conventional manpower and arms reductions, and outer space control. These have not yet been discussed due to lack of time.
The working group recognizes that the question of separation of the nuclear test issue from other elements of a disarmament agreement must be resolved at a higher level of the U.S. Government. Pending such a decision, the group will continue to review other aspects of the U.S. disarmament position with a view to determining what specific modifications may be recommended.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.0012/4–1758. Secret. Sent under cover of a memorandum from Farley to Reinhardt, April 17. The members of this group from the Department of State were Wadsworth, Farley, Spiers, Baker, Morris, and Owen; from the Department of Defense, General Alonzo Fox and Colonel Fred Rhea; from AEC, Admiral Paul Foster and James Goodby; from CIA, Robert Amory; and from Killian’s staff, Spurgeon Keeny.
  2. Memoranda of conversation, April 9, 14, 16, are ibid.