73. Editorial Note

During a conference on September 16, 1959, the President and McElroy discussed Minuteman as follows:

“The President asked how Mr. McElroy now feels about the Minuteman project. Mr. McElroy said that Defense feels very good about it, expecting to have operational missiles delivered in FY–63. He commented that our scientists are now expecting that both we and the Russians will achieve increased accuracy. As a result, we must give more consideration to dispersion and mobility, perhaps putting the Minute-man on railroad firing platforms. The President thought there would be great savings if we can get out of the hardening of missile sites. Mr. McElroy said Defense is going some distance in that direction already, cutting down its hardening to twenty-five pounds to the square inch over-pressure rather than one-hundred pounds. The President added that the Titan may be becoming unnecessary. Mr. McElroy said it provides a better booster for missiles of very long range. If our scientists do not see away of attaining extremely large thrust with solid fuels, there will remain a need for high-grade liquid rockets—undoubtedly using storable propellants.” (Memorandum by Goodpaster, September 18; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries)

The subjects of missile sites, hardening, and reliability also came up at Kistiakowsky’s briefing of the President on August4. (Memorandum by Goodpaster and briefing paper by Kistiakowsky; both ibid.) All these documents are in the Supplement.