86. Letter From Secretary of State Dulles to the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (McCone)0

Dear John: The French Government has been advised of the results of the U.S. security review of the Atomic Energy Commissariat (CEA) and of the possibilities which remain for nuclear submarine cooperation.1 After considering these possibilities, the French have advised us that they wish to proceed immediately with negotiation of an agreement for provision of enriched uranium for a prototype nuclear propulsion reactor to be constructed by the CEA. They wish also to initiate discussions of a broader agreement, with the French Navy as the responsible agency on the French side, embracing transfer of a reactor and pertinent classified information as well as additional fuel. In this connection, I am enclosing a copy of an agreed minute of the conversation of Ambassador Alphand with Assistant Secretary Merchant and Mr. Farley of the State Department.2 When Ambassador Alphand advised us of [Page 160] his Government’s present proposals, his attention was called to the necessity for a further security review of any program calling for responsibility for the French nuclear submarine program to be assigned to the French Navy, particularly if scientists from the CEA were to be used on an individually-screened basis by the French Navy.

The Department of State considers that it is in the U.S. national interest to cooperate with France in the nuclear submarine field to the extent permitted by our own security requirements and the Atomic Energy Act. I understand that the Atomic Energy Commission is prepared to negotiate an agreement for transfer of fuel for a nuclear submarine reactor, and to explore other measures which might be taken to make further cooperation possible. I hope that you can suggest an early date for receiving the proposed French mission.

Sincerely yours,

John Foster Dulles3
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751.5621/1–859. Secret. Drafted by Farley.
  2. See Document 84.
  3. A copy of the January 5 memorandum of Alphand’s conversation with Merchant and Farley on December 30, 1958, is in Department of State, Central Files, 611.519/1–559. The agreed minute has not been found.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this stamped signature.