160. Memorandum of Discussion at the 370th Meeting of the National Security Council0

[Here follows a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting.]

1. Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security

The Director of Central Intelligence announced that the Soviets had yesterday stated that they would not send their technical experts to Geneva to discuss means of detecting tests of nuclear weapons unless the United States agreed that the goal of the Geneva talks should be the [Page 614] immediate cessation of such tests.1 Otherwise, said the Soviets, they would be “deceiving” the peoples of the world. This constituted an extraordinary overnight change since the Soviet note of June 24.2

This change of tactics constituted, in Mr. Dulles’ view, one more manifestation of the increasingly hard policies which the Soviet was following in the field of international relations. We could expect more of the same. Nevertheless, it was difficult to explain this precise change. It was hard to believe that the Soviet note of June 24 on the subject had been written on Gromyko’s sole authority. Perhaps, after sending his note, Gromyko had touched base with Khrushchev, who encountered opposition in the Presidium to the acceptance note of June 24 and had therefore proceeded to make the change announced in the note of June 25.

Secretary Dulles thought he had a possible explanation of the change in tactics. He pointed out that after our Government received the note of June 24 agreeing to the Geneva meeting, we had, at the request of Gromyko, provided the Soviets with the general headings of the topics we wished to have discussed at the Geneva meeting. It had been suggested that provision of these headings may have induced the Soviets to make their final swing away from the Geneva meeting, because the headings would show that the United States intended to be very thorough in its investigation of the means of detecting tests of nuclear weapons. Such thoroughness could have alarmed the Soviets and given them second thoughts about the matter of opening up the Soviet Union to inspection. Thus, if the conference were to have failed because the Soviets had refused to accept an adequate inspection system, this would ruin all the Soviet propaganda in favor of banning atomic tests.

The President still thought it was hard to explain the sudden change from acceptance to rejection. Mr. Allen Dulles thought the change in the Soviet point of view reflected factors more fundamental than those just stated by Secretary Dulles. They were obviously taking a much harder line toward Poland, Yugoslavia, etc. Mr. Allen Dulles said he tended to believe that differences of view existed in the councils of the Kremlin, although we don’t yet know what these differences are. Certainly the recent meeting of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party did something more than agree to a change in the delivery of grain to the state. Poland was clearly not toeing the line with the USSR in the matter of the Hungarian executions. It may be a Soviet objective to force conformity onto the Poles. In any case, Mr. Dulles said he felt that he must warn that the United States faced heavy sledding ahead in its dealings with the USSR.

[Page 615]

The President looked mildly astonished, and asked Mr. Allen Dulles to be more specific as to what was going to happen. Was he trying to scare the President with some prospect of imminent war? Mr. Dulles replied that this was not his intention, but that he was warning, for example, that the Soviets may force the resignation of the Gomulka regime in Poland.

[Here follow the remainder of Allen Dulles’ briefing on Lebanon, Indonesia, Burma, and the Vietnamese-Cambodian border and Agenda Items 2. “Capabilities of Forces for Limited Military Operations” (see Document 27) and 3. “Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria.”]

4. Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy (NSC 5725/1; Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated June 19, 19583)

The National Security Council:

Noted the Semiannual Report by the Atomic Energy Commission and the Department of State on the Implementation of NSC 5725/1, transmitted by the reference memorandum of June 19, 1958; as summarized at the meeting by the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission.

5. Atomic Energy Program, 1953–1958

(The text of Admiral Strauss’ reports on Items 4 and 5 is filed in the minutes of the meeting. Also note that Admiral Strauss asked for and received permission to make public the unclassified portions of his report.)

[Here follows Agenda Item 6. “Comparative Evaluations Group.”]

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Gleason on June 27.
  2. For text of the June 25 Soviet aide-mémoire announcing this decision, see Documents on Disarmament, 1945–1959, pp. 1080–1082.
  3. The text of the June 24 Soviet aide-mémoire naming the participants for the conference from Czechoslovakia and Poland is ibid., pp. 1078–1079.
  4. Neither printed. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 273, Records of the National Security Council, Official Meeting Minutes File, 370th Meeting, Tabs)