149. Telegram From the Department of State to Secretary of State Rusk, in Geneva0

Tosec 2. Eyes only from President for Secretary, Foster, and Dean.

This message summarizes my views on the test ban issue at Geneva and records the decisions we reached yesterday1 as I understand them.
In renewing discussion with the Soviets on the test ban treaty at Geneva we have three objectives to pursue. If we can get the Russians to sign a treaty which is consistent with our security interest, we wish to do so. If they are unwilling to sign a treaty and we are accordingly to test, we wish to show the world that we have gone the last mile with them and that it is their intransigence which has brought about the result. Insofar as possible, we wish to maintain a unified position with the UK on these matters, and certainly to avoid a public split.
In pursuing these aims we have agreed that four kinds of changes in the package which we have previously offered are appropriate.
First, we need to shorten the time spent between signature of the treaty and the beginning of the inspection process. This is a matter, not of treaty language, but of the functioning of the preparatory commission and thus depends on Soviet willingness to accept our goal.
Second, we wish to add to the treaty something on preparations for testing. Our best judgment is that a declaration in behalf of the heads of state that there will be no preparations for testing plus the right to inspect a certain number of times per year an equal number of named sites on each side is the best that we can do in this matter.
We should propose to drop the threshold of test events that the treaty covers from its present level to zero, i.e., a complete test ban, and thus eliminate the need for a moratorium on testing below the threshold. This change provides for a more effective control system than the combination of a moratorium and inability under the treaty to inspect events of less than threshold magnitude.
We should re-propose whatever changes Dean has been authorized to present since April.
As a final ingredient, we should propose to allocate the agreed number of inspections according to zones defined in terms of natural seismic activity.
This combination of changes meets what I had in mind in my speech in talking about modifications of the treaty in the light of experience.2 It seems to me essential that the first extended public presentation of our views in Geneva should make plain not only our willingness to accept the April treaty but our willingness to offer this set of modifications.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 600.0012/3-1062. Secret; Niact. Drafted and approved by Andre J. Navez (S/S). Secretary Rusk was in Geneva March 10-27 to head the U.S. Delegation to the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee.
  2. See Document 148.
  3. See Document 143.