181. Memorandum of Conversation Between Secretary of State Dulles and President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Gray)0

He talked about the organization of the work on nuclear test suspension and surprise attack, pointing out that on the basis of the record there was a committee of Dulles, McElroy and Anderson on nuclear test suspension, and one of Dulles, McElroy and Killian on surprise attack. He doubted whether Anderson, particularly in view of his present absence, was necessary on either committee, and suggested that the two committees be combined as Dulles, McElroy and Killian. I said this was agreeable to me. He indicated that on nuclear test suspension there was considerable difference of opinion within the Administration on the question of permitting tests below the threshold of detection, permitting peaceful uses, and whether our agreement was contingent upon progress in other disarmament matters. I said I thought all these matters had been settled by the Presidential statement which had been earlier approved. Mr. Gray said this might be so, but many people in the Government did not take it that way and he thought the issue should be resolved.

We spoke of the complications of detection of surprise attack zones as the result of the missile situation. I said I doubted we would really be prepared by the first of November but that probably ways could be found for postponement without a bad public relations reaction. I pointed out that our own position was not yet entirely firm, and much less had we reached agreement with the British and French, and perhaps others who might compose the Western delegation.

[Here follows discussion of the functioning of the NSC.]

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Memoranda of Conversation. Secret; Personal and Private. Drafted by Dulles.