296. Tabs A–E to Memorandum From Farley to John Foster Dulles (Print Document 142)1

Tab A

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Nuclear tests to be suspended for a period of three years, beginning January 1, 1959, or as soon thereafter as agreement is reached on the nature and location of control posts to monitor the agreement. The agreement would be automatically extended for an indefinite period at the end of the three years if agreement has been reached on the installation of a control system to ensure that no further fissionable material is produced for weapons purposes.

If such agreement has not been reached, all states would be free to resume testing. The United States would, at the outset, declare its intention to resume nuclear weapons testing in these circumstances, but that all such testing would be conducted underground in order that no further radioactive material be put in the atmosphere.


August 29 proposals—A 24-month suspension of testing which would become indefinite when the cut-off is in effect is provided for. However, this measure is conditional upon signing of a treaty covering all other elements of the proposals.

Proposed position

Although a test suspension after the next Pacific series would appear to be in our interests, since it would establish inspection posts behind the Iron Curtain, since it would tend to preserve the further lead in weapons technology we expect to achieve at HARDTACK, and since it would inhibit development of Nth power nuclear weapons capabilities, this proposal should be cast in the terms set forth in the President’s 1958 State of the Union Message: “that we will always go the extra mile with anyone on earth if it will bring us nearer a genuine peace.”

This proposal would prevent our being faced, in one or two years, with a UN resolution recommending cessation of tests supported by a majority of the membership, an eventuality which seems almost [Typeset Page 1242] inevitable if we continue on the present course. It would also deprive the Soviets of an issue which has been skillfully used by them as a diversionary one in disarmament negotiations, serving, in effect, as a “put up or shut up” proposition.

We do not believe, however, that we should completely abandon the linkage between test suspension and other disarmament measures. Accordingly, we propose making continuation of the test ban beyond three years conditional upon agreement on the cut-off. The advantage of retaining this linkage is that it would put additional pressure on the USSR to accept further [Facsimile Page 2] disarmament measures, since we anticipate that our position, which would be in line with those expressed by Japan and by Yugoslavia, would gain worldwide support.

The statement that testing, if it is resumed, would take place only underground would help us meet the health hazard argument against testing, since underground testing (which has been proved technically feasible) would not put any further radioactive material into the atmosphere.

Probable reaction of our allies

UK—could be persuaded to support and will view with relief any moves which will make the cut-off less imminent. The U.K. has recently reminded us of our Bermuda agreement to consult with them on any proposed changes in testing policy.

France—would probably oppose privately, but may be persuaded to support rather than be the only testing power. Also possible, in view of the fact that suspension would not take effect until January 1, 1959, that France may have completed its first test by then.

Canada—would support strongly.

Provision should be made in any agreement on testing for continued experimentation with nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes under international auspices.

Tab B

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A. Suspension of production of fissionable materials for use in nuclear weapons as soon as an effective inspection system is agreed and installed.

B. Agreement on schedule for transfer of materials from weapons to peaceful uses to go into effect simultaneously with A.

C. Immediate convening of a technical working group to design an inspection system capable of accomplishing this cut-off.


August 29 Proposals—Cessation of production of fissionable material for weapons purposes is a key element of this proposal, but implementation was conditional upon acceptance of all other elements.

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Proposed position

We believe that suspension of fissionable materials production for weapons purposes would be in our interest as an independent measure. We recognize that there is little likelihood, however, of Soviet acceptance of this proposal in these terms. Accordingly, in Tab E, we set forth the conventional measures we would be willing to undertake if this proposal were accepted.

This proposal should be advanced in two alternative forms (or a combination thereof):

Fissionable materials production plants would continue to operate, subject to international inspection to insure that the material produced was used only for peaceful purposes; or
Plants now producing fissionable materials would be shut down, thereby drastically simplifying the inspection problem. In the latter case, peaceful uses requirements would be supplied from existing stocks or by dismantling weapons.

Transfers of fissionable materials from previous production to non-weapons purposes would be made in agreed equitable ratios.

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Probable reaction of our allies

All except the U.K. would strongly support, and the latter would probably tie acceptance of this proposal to amendment of the Atomic Energy Act and agreement to exchange of weapons information and materials between the U.S.–U.K.

Tab C

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The following measures might be undertaken simultaneously or separately:

The broad U.S.-Canada-USSR zone set forth in the August 29 proposals would be reaffirmed.
A European zone extending from 50–35° east, with the smaller central European zone proposed by General Norstadt (but expressed in terms of geographic coordinates) as a fallback position, with or without an arctic zone similar to that proposed on August 29.
Ground control posts (a la Bulganin) be established on a reciprocal basis at agreed installations (both within the U.S. and USSR and at their foreign bases—e.g., naval and air) with or without the zones described above.


August 29 proposals—Provide for the wider aerial inspection zone and a European zone only if the wider or Arctic zones are accepted. Elements were inseparable part of the entire proposal.

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Proposed position—We believe that establishment of surprise attack zones apart from any other arms control measures would be in our interest. However, in view of the past Soviet insistence that surprise attack zones be linked to such other measures, we have, in TAB E, indicated what conventional reductions we would be prepared to undertake should the Soviet Union be prepared to accept any of the three inspection proposals described above. If the European NATO members should be unwilling to have a European zone standing by itself, we should propose that it be conditional on Soviet acceptance of either of the other surprise attack inspection measures proposed above.

Probable reaction of our allies—Would probably support.

Tab D

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The following measures may be undertaken simultaneously or separately:

Immediate initiation of an international working group to plan an inspection system to insure that the sending of objects through outer space is for peaceful purposes only.
Joint cooperation in selected outer space projects, such as the development of an outer space platform, an interplanetary rocket and reconnaissance satellites, looking forward to centralization of all outer space activity in an international organization when the program envisioned in (a) goes in to effect.
Advance notification and, if possible, inspection of all vehicles, military or otherwise, entering outer space (or, as a fall-back, all objects to be launched into orbit).


August 29 Proposals—Provided only for a technical committee to study the design of an inspection system which would make it possible to assure that the sending of objects through outer space will be exclusively for peaceful and scientific purposes.

Proposed position

The proposal under (a) is a reaffirmation of our suggestion that outer space be used for peaceful purposes only. The decision whether a cessation of missiles production could be implemented separately or whether it should be tied to other elements of disarmament should be left for the future.

We cannot take a final position on a proposal either to ban the production, testing and deployment of intercontinental and intermediate [Typeset Page 1245] range missiles or to ban testing of missiles alone, until further technical study of the problem has been made within the U.S. Government. This study should be designed to answer the major question:

Is it possible to devise an effective inspection system to police an agreement banning production and/or deployment of strategic missiles, taking into account present and prospective U.S. and USSR progress in developing and testing operational missiles traversing outer space?

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We believe that conclusions as to the military effect of a cut-off of testing could, if our studies are pressed with sufficient vigour, be completed in time to include proposals on the subject in this package before it is discussed with the Soviet Union or our allies. A ban on testing may well prove to be the only feasible and inspectable method of preventing development of operational ICBM capabilities. It may also be found that the problem of missiles must be treated as a whole and that the valid distinction among missiles systems must be based upon range and not upon whether a particular missile is “air-breathing” or ballistic and capable of travelling outside the earth’s atmosphere.

Probable reaction of our allies

U.K.—reluctant to accept principle that missiles would be controlled apart from other disarmament measures, but could be persuaded to support proposal cast in above terms which does not prejudge separability pending completion of study. France, Canada and other allies would probably support.

Tab E

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Provided any two of the three surprise attack measures proposed in Tab C are accepted;
Reduction of U.S. and Soviet armed forces to the level of 2.2 million men, and to corresponding levels for the U.K. and France;
Placement of designated quantities and types of modern conventional arms capable of serving as nuclear delivery systems (submarines, missiles, aircraft, etc.) in international arms depots.
If the nuclear cut-off and wider inspection zone (U.S.–USSR-Canada-Europe) are accepted:
Reduction to 1.8 million men for the U.S. and USSR, and comparable levels for other states (with a listing of the overseas bases which the U.S. would give up as a consequence of such a reduction).
Placement of such amounts of important conventional armaments in international arms depots that the armaments retained will have a general agreed relationship to the armed forces remaining.
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August 29 proposal—Present policy provides for a first stage reduction to 2.5 million men, and sets a lower limit of 1.5 on force levels (1.7 in August 29 proposals) ceilings, but makes them conditional on prior political settlements.

Proposed position—The figure of 2.2 million in the first recommendation was selected because it represented the same relation to existing force levels (2.5 million men) that 2.5 million represented at the time it was agreed, i.e., a reduction of 300,000 men. This reduction would probably be accomplished by the United States within the next few years in any event. Current Soviet force levels are estimated as being somewhere around 3.8 million. The establishment of ground control posts in the U.S. and USSR and at their foreign bases plus the mobile ground and aerial inspection of central Europe should ensure that these Soviet forces were substantially reduced, with some concomitant decline in the Soviet capability for limited aggression.

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With regard to the second recommendation: the nuclear cut-off would justify us in accepting the more extensive conventional reductions, while the reductions—which would be of sufficient size to affect our overseas posture—might induce the USSR to accept the cut-off. We could not accept the conventional reductions without the nuclear cut-off or either one without adequate inspection, which would involve aerial and mobile ground inspection of the countries concerned.

This proposal no longer attaches political conditions to a more substantial reduction in conventional forces. It is believed that the advantages for the U.S. of a nuclear cut-off and unlimited inspection of the U.S. and USSR against surprise attack warrant agreement to such a reduction, which could have significant advantages in itself.

This proposal would make clear to the USSR under precisely what conditions the U.S. would accept lower force levels and more far-reaching conventional arms cuts in a way that would receive full support by world public opinion.

Probable reaction of our allies

U.K., France and Canada—would probably support.

Germany—may consider the second part of the proposal too drastic without reunification as a pre-condition, but probably could be persuaded to accept, in view of fact that reunification would no doubt be pre-condition to any reductions below 1.8 million and in view of fact that Soviets would probably reject the second proposal.

  1. Source: Nuclear test suspension; cut-off of fissionable material production; establishment of surprise attack zones; preliminary measures relating to missile controls and outer space; reduction of manpower and conventional armaments. Secret. 9 pp. NARA, RG 59, Central Files, 700.5611/3–1858.