36. Memorandum from Komer to Bundy, August 171

[Facsimile Page 1]


  • Disarmament Issues

1. Test Ban Issues. Dean will either pass out or circulate at meeting a draft telegram explaining his new proposals. USDA has been in touch with Defense on these, so they will not come as a surprise.

You should probably also discuss British proposal that test ban talks be continued through UNGA discussion so as to avoid technical issues being shifted to less satisfactory forum. British position makes much sense here.

I think less of other UK proposal that at last minute US/UK might suggest a comprehensive treaty (in lieu of threshold plus moratorium) if Soviets will accept our treaty draft. Note Geneva delegation’s objections on last page of SUPNU 1722 attached. Dean’s idea of promising not to test again if the scientists come up with something in three years is a better gambit.

2. Disarmament Package Issues. Real question here is whether we want to make a big disarmament splash at the UN—and whether USDA program is a suitable vehicle. If one looks at it as a political document, not a draft treaty, I would argue that it has sufficient new features (e.g. [Typeset Page 126] acceptance of GCD, elaboration of peace-keeping machinery, substantial though vague first stage reductions in nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles, etc.) to serve this purpose. Whatever its weaknesses, it is far more solid than the Soviet GCD plan with which Khrushchev has made so much mileage over past two years.

3. “Linkage”. If USDA program is being put out primarily for political impact, it would be weakened by explicit “linkage” of conventional and nuclear delivery vehicle reductions. DOD’s case may be sound in principle but we seem adequately protected by the fine print at the beginning of the program which calls for disarmament to proceed by balanced phases which at no point adversely affect the security of any state. To omit explicit mention of “linkage” does not prevent us from raising it later in the wholly [Facsimile Page 2] unlikely event of serious negotiations. Can’t President simply rule that if we ever get into such negotiations he will then hear argument, and that omission of linkage language at this point will be without prejudice to DOD case.

4. Timing. The fact that we have only four weeks before UNGA lends urgency to getting program approved pronto. Allies need it for final review. We have also promised NATO Council at least two weeks to study and comment on it. On this score, McCloy apparently does not want to go to Paris to present paper to NATO, but many of us think he should.

We also need enough time to develop and get moving big propaganda effort, if we decide to publicize new disarmament initiative as a major peace move. Attached is latest version of guidelines prepared by Public Affairs Working Group—note that key item is Presidential speech introducing program at UNGA (see Page 3). Rusk and Ed Murrow need a push on this too—no point in expending Presidential capital if we don’t have adequate follow-up.

5. Foster Panel Report. I gather Panel draft will be ready by beginning of next week. From preliminary look it is more imaginative and far more concrete than vague USDA “Heads of Discussion” program. However, let me underline again the great difficulty we would have in getting adequate DOD and other agency review, much less clearance from allies, for a radically new program of this type before UNGA opens. Moreover, it is essentially a bilateral US-USSR program, which will not sit well with our allies. Third, I do not believe it possible to get USSR to agree to divide its territory into zones and then permit us to decide at random in which zone to make inspections. In other words, I suspect plan is not, in fact, negotiable with the Soviets. While it nonetheless might be surfaced now, much depends on whether it could be fitted in as an elaboration of the existing USDA program. Even if not used now it could still be of major value as the sort of thing we might propose once both sides get GCD out of their systems. At this [Typeset Page 127] point, however, isn’t best line for us to appeal to the multitude by outbidding Soviets on GCD plus “peaceful world”?

6. Stevenson’s Comments. Haven’t seen yet, but gather only substantive proposal is to reduce in first stage to 1.9 million men instead of 2.1 million. [Facsimile Page 3] This would be more dramatic, but it is awfully late in the day to get DOD all in a lather again. Moreover, since USSR has stopped its force cuts at around 3 million, and US itself is going up, even a cut to 2.1 million looks good now.

  1. Discussion paper on disarmament issues. Secret. 3 pp. Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Departments and Agencies Series, ACDA, Disarmament, General, 8/61.