452. Telegram From the Department of State to Secretary of State Herter at Geneva0

Tocah 151. Re Cahto 148.1 I discussed reftel with McElroy who first pointed out in friendly fashion that neither he nor anyone in Defense had had any knowledge of position paper which you had discussed with the President.2 He expressed the hope that in future the mechanism [Page 1009] for State-Defense coordination would work more effectively through the normal channel of Irwin or Knight. He then said he had no difference with substantive portions of reftel but would like to point out in connection with Item 3 that in deciding whether to agree to any moratorium, and if so of what duration, we should bear in mind JCS views regarding relative situation at end of moratorium.3

This morning after Cabinet McElroy and I discussed matter briefly with the President and informed him of JCS views regarding situation at end of a possible moratorium. There was full agreement that this JCS view should not be considered overriding and that since other considerations pointed to a moratorium as probably the best that could be gotten at this stage it should be considered an acceptable result.

We have some trouble with your paragraph 3 because time limit on the Russian proposal and the time limit on ours seem to be blended in a manner which could be misleading and in the end justify a Russian pretension that they relate to an agreed time limit on our rights.

All interested elements in Dept otherwise in full agreement with reftel on the understanding that time limit referred to in para 3 refers to our suggestions of moratorium at end of which there would be no dimunition in basic rights rather than to original Soviet proposal regarding a time limit which we consider to be a horse of quite a different color.

Also with respect to second section of paragraph 3, you say that in discussion with our Allies we have made language in this paper conform almost identically with wording our offer June 16. We, of course, are not able to comment on this, as we have not been provided with the changes of text.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 110.11–HE/7–1759. Secret; Niact. Drafted by Dillon and cleared by Murphy, Kohler, Calhoun, and Robert H. Knight, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.
  2. Document 445.
  3. See attachment B, Document 418.
  4. The Joint Chiefs of Staff believed that the strategic situation would be less favorable for the United States in 1961–1962 than in 1959.