135. Memorandum of NSC Meeting, July 271

[Facsimile Page 1]


  • The President, Vice President, SecState, Foster, Murrow, Bundy, Wiesner, Etc., etc.

1. Rusk reviewed the comprehensive and atmospheric treaty indicating fewer number of stations required in Soviet Union and only 12 on-site examinations. However, Soviets still say no on on-site inspections, therefore number not negotiable and if we put forward a number the neutrals will attempt to reduce it by negotiation. Rusk referred to Congressional problems and other difficulties of a comprehensive treaty. In this connection the Soviet stations would be manned by nationals but with an international observer.

2. Rusk therefore turned to alternate proposal of atmospheric ban with no on-site inspections as a starting point with an understanding that we and the Soviets would work towards the comprehensive agreement when we reached an understanding on the inspection posts on Soviet territory and the on-site inspection problem.

3. The President raised the question of justifying 12 on-site inspections and also expressed concern over an atmospheric ban which the Soviets might accept effective January 1, 1963, and leave us in a difficult position if they demonstrated very important technological advances in their forthcoming tests.

4. There was an extended discussion of the proposed 25 world-wide station lay-out with five posts in the Soviet territory as contrasted with the original Geneva program of 180 stations with 19 in the Soviet Union. Wiesner stated the new system was not as good as the old Geneva system, based on old technology.

5. The President emphasized, and all agreed, that we must have on-site inspection even though the number might be reduced. He then asked what would be a satisfactory treaty. Wiesner responded that he thought something in the order of six to nine on-site inspections would be satisfactory.

6. McNamara spoke of the high threshold, indicating possibility of Soviet clandestine testing under 14 kilotons. Seaborg answered the [Typeset Page 367] President’s questions on this subject in the same way as he did in yesterday’s Principals Meeting.

[Facsimile Page 2]

7. McCone stated that the Rusk proposal for atmospheric ban and the reasons for it were almost identical to President Eisenhower’s proposal to Khrushchev by letter on April 13, 1959, which McCone read. McCone further stated that in his opinion continuing underground testing by one or more nations would not foreclose proliferation of weapons among other nations, indicating West Germany, India, Japan, Israel, and others could proceed with their developments using the underground techniques.

8. McNamara spoke of the comparative risks to our security versus loss of security and safety if other nations acquire nuclear weapons. President ordered a study made of these relative risks.

9. The President seems to favor stopping all testing because of the danger of proliferation and spoke of the technological advances as being infinitesimal.

10. There was an extended discussion of negotiating technique and it was decided to bring Arthur Dean back this week end for conferences Monday and Tuesday.

11. Rusk repeated United States position that we must have on-site inspection and if the Soviets continued to refuse, there was no possibility of reaching agreement on a comprehensive test ban.

John A. McCone
  1. Discussion of Soviet refusal to allow on-site inspections and Geneva negotiating strategy. Secret. 2 pp. CIA Files, Job 01676R, DCI Files, ER Subject Files, NSC etc, 7/1/62–7/31/62.