123. Memorandum of Conference With President Eisenhower0


  • Secretary Dillon, Mr. Farley, Mr. Allen Dulles, Secretary Gates, Admiral Burke, Mr. McCone, Dr. Kistiakowsky, Mr. Gordon Gray, General Persons, General Goodpaster

[Here follows discussion of nuclear testing and atomic cooperation, scheduled for publication in volume III.]

Finally, Mr. Dillon said he wanted to mention the matter of the proposal for exchange of atomic reactor information with the Soviets. The President asked whether this type of exchange is not what the IAEA was created for. Mr. McCone said there was need for guidance for himself and others participating in the discussions, both as to the exchange of information and as to exchange of visits. Yemel’yanov has asked Mr. McCone to visit the Soviet Union, and Yemel’yanov would then want to return the visit, inspecting our peaceful use” reactors and our fusion experiments.1 Mr. McCone agreed that the exchanges should be under the aegis of the IAEA and said that he thought Mr. Yemel’yanov shared this view. Mr. Yemel’yanov has stressed how expensive the Soviets are finding the use of atomic energy for power, and has also stated that neither country can afford wasteful duplication of the other’s efforts in this field. Mr. Yemel’yanov also apparently proposed to Dr. Teller the building of a joint scientific facility—probably a nuclear laboratory-in Vienna.2 With regard to thermonuclear fusion experiments, Yemel’yanov’s suggestion was that the Russians put twenty to thirty scientists in our laboratories and we put twenty to thirty in theirs. The whole area of high energy physics is a promising one for such joint inquiry.

The President asked if we had this kind of cooperation with the British. Mr. McCone said we have a complete exchange of information with them in these fields. The President suggested that our participants in these discussions should chiefly do a lot of listening. Mr. Dillon asked that the discussions be kept within the framework of the IAEA or the [Page 441] Lacy-Zarubin agreement.3 The President said he saw no reason why this cannot be done through the IAEA. At the same time he thought we should take a close look at what information we make available. The Russian scientist wants to see our plants, and have us see his. The President wondered whether the Russians could hold out their more advanced activities. Mr. McCone said that they could, in contrast to us, since our program is public knowledge. He had no doubt they would hold out anything that we have not achieved. Mr. McCone stated that we of course would give them only unclassified information, although they would see some advances in materials which they have not yet achieved.

The President asked whether the people in the AEC think this type of exchange is a good thing. Mr. McCone said that they did, more so in fact than he did. Mr. Dillon commented that whatever we see is a gain.

Mr. Allen Dulles said that the Soviets have shown some embarrassment over their program, since it has been cut back so drastically from their earlier, unrealistic goals. Admiral Burke4 commented that we should not fraternize too closely with them. Our allies will think we are weakening with regard to the Communist threat.

Summing up, the President said he saw no objection to our talking with the Russians and getting a clearer idea of just what they have in mind. He was not sure Khrushchev would want to talk about this question at Camp David. The President said he is afraid that Khrushchev will occupy the time at Camp David in unproductive haranguing. He is more likely to do so in a large group. The President would like to limit the group to Khrushchev and Gromyko in addition to Herter and himself, but supposed this would not be possible. He would like to exclude Menshikov, who seems to be bad news” and is untrustworthy. He thought we must bring out that the Russian itinerary, and schedule of events, were worked up strictly by the Russians, and they have the responsibility for what was on or not on the schedule during his travels around the country.

Brigadier General, USA
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DDE Diaries. Top Secret. Drafted by Goodpaster on September 24.
  2. See Document 110.
  3. No further record of Yemelyanov’s conversation with nuclear physicist Edward Teller has been found.
  4. Reference is to the agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union on exchanges in the cultural, technical, and educational fields, which Zaroubin, then Soviet Ambassador to the United States, and Lacy negotiated on January 27, 1958. For text of this agreement, see Department of State Bulletin, February 17, 1958, pp. 243–247.
  5. Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, Chief of Naval Operations.