181. Actions Taken at Committee of Principals Meeting, April 171

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1. Explosions for Peaceful Uses

The Committee decided that Annex II (Explosions for Peaceful Uses) of the draft nuclear test ban treaty of March 23, 1963, should be [Typeset Page 499] re-examined to determine whether any means could be found to avoid disclosure of the designs of nuclear devices used in the Plowshare Program. ACDA is undertaking this review in consultation with AEC and other interested agencies.

2. General discussion of the adequacy of the text and the timing of the tabling of the test ban treaty at Geneva

The consensus of the meeting was that the text was adequate and that a test ban treaty was still in the national interest of the United States. General Taylor entered a reservation concerning the absence of a seismic threshold in the test ban treaty. It was the consensus that there was no immediate need to table the draft treaty in Geneva in view of the current negotiating situation.

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1. It was agreed that a principal counselor from each of the agencies would meet to discuss the problems concerning presentation of the Administration’s position on a test ban before Congressional committees.

2. It was agreed that the treaty would be examined to see whether treaty language could be drafted which would exclude states not now possessing nuclear weapons from detonating nuclear weapons under the guise of a Plowshare program.

3. Secretary Rusk expressed the hope that the United States was not being held back in its planning and preparations for future nuclear weapons tests by the fact that negotiations for a nuclear test ban treaty were underway.

4. Secretary McNamara and Chairman Seaborg agreed that weapons effects tests required emphasis in planning for future nuclear test explosions; Chairman Seaborg thought there might be some value in establishing a weapons effects laboratory. Chairman Seaborg and Secretary McNamara agreed that it would be helpful to establish a budget and a date for a future atmospheric nuclear test series.

5. Chairman Seaborg stated that AEC felt that Christmas Island was vastly superior to Johnston Island as a site for nuclear test operations in the Pacific.

6. In response to Mr. Foster’s question about keeping weapons laboratories active during a test ban, Chairman Seaborg thought that a great deal could be done and referred to a memorandum which he had written on this subject.

  1. Decisions made on explosions for peaceful uses and on tabling the draft treaty at Geneva. Secret. 2 pp. Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Departments and Agencies Series, ACDA, Disarmament, Committee of Principals, 3/61–11/63.