186. Editorial Note

At the 384th meeting of the National Security Council on October 30, 1958, Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles briefed the Council on Soviet nuclear testing during his report on “Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security.” According to the memorandum of discussion of the meeting by Gleason, October 31, the report and discussion were as follows:

“Mr. Allen Dulles pointed out that the Soviets had conducted eight nuclear tests since he had last briefed the National Security Council on this subject [see Document 183]. Indeed, they had conducted 16 tests since September 30. Two of these tests involved nuclear weapons of eight and ten megatons, roughly twice the size of any previous Soviet nuclear explosion. All of these tests had taken place in the northern proving grounds. The Soviets had gone into this test series with terrific speed and in what appeared to be rather haphazard fashion.

“The Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Mr. McCone, said that the AEC shared Mr. Dulles’ opinion just expressed. The AEC could not believe that the Soviets had learned very much with the kind of instrumentation they had been using in this recent series of tests.

“Secretary Dulles asked about the wind direction in the northern proving grounds. Mr. Allen Dulles replied that the winds went generally to the east, and that the Japanese had picked up the bulk of the debris from these explosions.

“Mr. Allen Dulles went on to state his belief that the Soviets may be on the point of stopping nuclear testing, at least in this northern area, [Page 676]though the public and secret evidence on this point differed. Secretary Dulles directly queried Mr. Allen Dulles as to whether the Soviets would stop nuclear testing by the October 31 date. Mr. Allen Dulles replied that CIA people thought this quite possible.” (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)