156. Memorandum by the Secretary of State’s Staff Assistant (Boster)0

The following is a summary of a conversation between the Secretary and Dr. Killian on Wednesday evening May 14, regarding the suggested reply to the Khrushchev note of May 9.1

Mr. Killian suggested that an additional phrase, reading “and a final report not later than 60 days”, be added on the last line after “30 days after convening”.2

Mr. Killian stressed the importance of getting our own plans and team definitely decided upon as a matter of urgency since quite a lot of preparation would need to be done. The Secretary suggested that there should perhaps be a meeting with Killian, Strauss and McElroy or perhaps others to decide how to proceed.

Mr. Killian said he was prepared to urge that we try to choose three distinguished American scientists, setting the level very high in order to force the Soviets to do the same, and to provide them with a competent staff. Mr. Killian said that these scientists would need to be pried loose from their present positions but was sure that this could be done. The Secretary noted the possibility that we would not know the views of these scientists in advance. Mr. Killian said he thought their views would be known but that there would be a problem of avoiding individuals who had so committed themselves as to indicate that there is no chance to negotiate or be flexible to a particular end.

The Secretary said that he had talked with Selwyn Lloyd in Cophenhagen3 about this problem and that Lloyd had indicated that they would like very much to be able to continue testing the smaller [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] weapons for a while longer and wondered whether we could not work out the inspection problem in two phases. The first to be a simple form of inspection sufficient to detect the large explosions and debar those; and in the second phase to install a more elaborate inspection system for the smaller weapons. Mr. Killian said [Page 608] that this might be feasible but there would be the problem of underground tests and he would have to look at the question with care.

D. E. Boster4
  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199. Secret.
  2. For text of the exchange of letters, May 9 and May 24, between Khrushchev and Eisenhower, see Documents on Disarmament, 1945–1959, pp. 1036–1041 and 1043–1044. The draft reply has not been identified.
  3. Killian’s suggestion was incorporated into the May 24 letter.
  4. On May 6, as reported in memorandum of conversation of that date. (Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Meetings with the President)
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.