112. Letter from Amb. Ormsby Gore to Bundy, March 241
The Prime Minister has had a talk today with the Foreign Secretary about the latest position on nuclear tests, and he has asked me to let the President know of the following.
He quite agrees that no statement should be issued for the moment. He has, however, asked me to let you see the attached draft of his idea of the sort of statement which will have to be made at some point, preferably jointly but, if necessary, separately.
The Prime Minister is, however, concerned about the proposed timing of the warning to mariners. He accepts that the warning itself is not an order to test, but it is of course generally assumed that the warning will not be issued unless tests will definitely take place. If a further postponement of this warning is impossible, the Prime Minister would certainly have to make a statement in the House of Commons. There is therefore a strong diplomatic argument for postponing the warnings until the last possible date, which I think everyone agrees to be two weeks before tests take place. There is also a very strong practical argument against giving more than the minimum warning. Our experience has been that the longer the warning the more chance that individual pacifists and neighbouring governments (Japan and New Zealand, for example) will organise demonstrations, send protests and generally create a most awkward local situation. Both the Prime Minister and the Foreign [Facsimile Page 2] Secretary feel strongly that the warning to mariners ought not to be issued more than the minimum two weeks before tests are resumed and certainly not in the course of next week.[Typeset Page 302]
I need hardly say that the Prime Minister realises that the text of the enclosed draft would almost certainly have to be modified to take account of developments.
- Macmillan’s thoughts on a proposed statement outlining Soviet non-acceptance of verification and his concerns on timing of warning to mariners. Attached is a suggested draft statement. Top Secret. 5 pp. Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, Macmillan–Kennedy.↩