313. Telegram From the Delegation to the Foreign Ministers Meeting to the Department of State0

Secto 81. From the Secretary. Department pass Defense. I met May 19 with Lloyd and Gromyko again to seek Soviet agreement for technical discussions on capabilities detection and identification seismic events and technical criteria for inspections. Pointed out if scientists are to meet prior to June 8 resumption Nuclear Test Talks, decision needed as soon as possible. Gromyko was completely intransigent, denied any area of agreement in our discussion of May 141 except high altitude.

Gromyko stated he wanted position of Soviet Union made clear, that there is no relationship between the number of “suspicious events” and the number of inspections. He stated number of inspections is a political matter. He repeated this point several times and posed a direct question to both Lloyd and me as to whether we agree there is no connection between “suspicious events” and the number of inspections.

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Lloyd and I both took the position that Soviet Union can use any basis it wishes for determining number of inspections. I stated that while ultimately a decision on the number of inspections would be made by appropriate policy officials in the U.S. Government and that although the Soviet Union can use any basis it wishes to determine the number of inspections, the U.S. decision on numbers of inspections will be made after considering all factors, particularly the findings and advice of our scientists.

We emphasized to Gromyko that no agreement on the cessation of nuclear testing can possibly be reached until there is agreement on the criteria to be applied to inspection of unidentified events. We spent greater part of meeting trying to explain this point to Gromyko, who expressed view we were only trying to justify more inspections.

Gromyko recited usual Soviet line expressing concern that our proposal for technical talks represents a step backward from agreement already reached and that Soviet Union would oppose any attempt to disavow findings technical experts last summer. We pointed out to Gromyko that we were not trying to disavow findings of experts but to improve the scientific basis upon which an agreement on nuclear test cessation can be reached.

Lloyd suggested that Gromyko give us his views on this matter in writing, particularly after Gromyko seemed to imply that if we accept the Soviet position that there is no relationship between “suspicious events” and the number of inspections we might find some basis for technical talks. Gromyko at first agreed to submit his views to us in writing, then seemed to back away from this approach as not being particularly productive since he felt that our views on this subject were so far apart.

If Gromyko presents us an unacceptable paper on this subject, it is my intention to inform him that I see no point in further discussions and after registering disappointment at the Russian attitude on this subject, will inform him that we will have to see what progress is made after the testing negotiations resume on June 8. I shall also point out to Gromyko that if his attitude is an indication of the way the Soviet Union will cooperate in an agreement on the suspension of nuclear testing, the situation does not look promising.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1311. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to London and Moscow.
  2. See Document 302 and footnote 1 thereto.
  3. Lloyd and Gromyko discussed this question further after dinner on May 19. The Soviet Foreign Minister outlined his position on what the experts would do, but Lloyd replied that it would be difficult for him to go into details in the absence of Secretary Herter. (Memorandum of conversation, undated; Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1352)