90. Memorandum for the Record, March 71

[Facsimile Page 1]


  • Disarmament Meeting with the President, 6 March 1962

In the course of a two-hour discussion, the following points were made and decisions taken:

1. a. With regard to the US position on a test ban, it was noted that we have declared our intention to suggest some modification of the old April treaty. Unhappily it is becoming apparent that there is no feasible way to guard against secret preparations. However, something needs to be done to take into account the President’s statement on this subject.

b. The modifications which will be proposed will include a compression of the time spread, some guard against secret preparations, and a modification of the threshold of the moratorium. The British will be contacted at once to line them up.

2. a. With regard to Foster’s latest paper entitled, “U.S. Position on the Forthcoming 18-Nation Disarmament Conference,” dated March 3, 1962, Alternative B, page 11, was approved as the overall position, upon the recommendation of Defense, JCS and Wiesner. This decision included an across-the-board cut of all weapons and personnel. Foster himself preferred Alternative A, but was overruled. However, in deference to some of Foster’s views, it was decided that, in taking Alternative B, we would support a continuation of arms production for modernization.

b. In the discussion, Secretary Rusk stressed the need to improve the political situation before expecting progress in disarmament. His general approach would be to propose a one-third across-the-board cut, along with some reasonable inspection system. He would apply the cut by categories of weapons and weapons systems.

c. Foster described the proposed inspection system as being a zonal random sampling. He estimated the personnel initially required as perhaps 2,000. Everybody agreed to stay away from numbers at this time.

d. The meeting ended in a debate over a renewal of the offer to ante up a certain amount of fission material for peaceful purposes. Foster wanted us to offer 60,000 kilograms versus 40,000 by the USSR. [Typeset Page 271] Lemnitzer indicated the Chiefs were opposed to any such proposal, although he himself would go along with an equal offer from both sides. The final word was that we would start off with a 50–50 proposal, with perhaps a willingness to fall back to something like 60–40.

  1. Read-out of disarmament meeting with the President. Confidential. 1 p. National Defense University, Taylor Papers, T–37–71.