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157. Memorandum of Conversation Between Secretary of State Dulles and the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (Strauss)0

Admiral Strauss discussed with me the question of suspension of testing. He indicated that if we thought it politically important it might be possible to announce before the end of the Hardtack series that future testing would only be done under conditions which would assure no fallout. He gave me in this connection the report of his General Advisory Committee, copy attached.1

I reported on Lloyd’s desire to extend the period for the testing of the smaller, e.g., less than one megaton, weapons, and my reply to Lloyd that it might be possible to deal first with detection machinery covering the big explosions with a second phase which would be introduced only later dealing with the smaller tests. Admiral Strauss seemed to think this might be possible.

I spoke of the composition of the experts who might function if this was agreed on with the Soviet Union. He suggested that there should be experts designated as jointly agreed between AEC, Defense, CIA and Dr. Killian. I said I thought we should have a meeting on this subject in the near future and I would try to set it up for next week.

I said we were not clear as to whether the Soviets would accept UK experts or merely wanted U.S. and Soviet experts. Strauss suggested that [Page 609]in the latter case we might keep in touch with the UK and perhaps have the meetings in London.

Admiral Strauss spoke very highly of General Norstad’s testimony before the Joint Congressional Committee and suggested I should thank him. Admiral Strauss thought that the amendments could be put through, particularly if we would accept the formula for disapproving agreements with other governments by a concurrent resolution. I asked how it would be if we accepted it by a two-third’s vote. Admiral Strauss said he thought this might squeeze through and he would talk to Pastore about it if we wished.

I recalled my conversation with the President yesterday, in which the President indicated that there was doubt whether Admiral Strauss would continue to serve beyond his present term. The Admiral expounded on his reasons for this. I said that if he should not continue to serve, I felt that his services should be kept available to the Government and that he might, for example, be a consultant in the State Department with a mention to be a sort of “ambassador-at-large” for atomic peace matters, having in this respect the personal rank of ambassador, if and as he went abroad. Admiral Strauss indicated that something like this would be agreeable to him.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Memoranda of Conversation. Top Secret; Personal and Private. Drafted by Dulles.
  2. The AEC Advisory Committee stated in the report, dated May 7, that the United States was approaching a crisis on continuation of testing because of the widespread uneasiness, often based on exaggerated and unsound arguments, over radioactive fallout. Therefore the Committee recommended a Presidential statement before the end of the Hardtack series that the United States was willing to restrict tests so that fallout would be sharply reduced. For text, see the Supplement.