197. Memorandum of Conversation0



July 19-26, 1962


  • United States
    • The Secretary
    • Mr. Kohler
  • United Kingdom
    • Lord Home
    • Sir Evelyn Shuckburgh
    • Sir Michael Wright
    • Mr. Price, Ministry of Defense1


  • Nuclear Tests

Lord Home brought in Sir Michael and Mr. Price for this phase of the discussion with the Secretary. He opened with the question as to when the US expected to have new proposals in the nuclear testing field. The Secretary replied that he hoped we would be able to develop our conclusions by next week. He would comment as regards the Vela tests that they had produced entirely new data which needed a considerable amount of further analysis. As Lord Home knew, the President was prepared to go as far as was technically possible. However another factor was that considerable education would be necessary for key Congressional leaders, especially in the Senate. From what he had learned to date, though he had not been fully briefed, the Secretary thought that the Vela results would certainly not do away entirely with the need for on-site inspections and would probably not entirely obviate the need for some control posts in the Soviet Union.

Mr. Price gave a brief review of the consultations with the President’s Science Adviser, Jerome Wiesner, in London2 and commented that these had come to considerably more optimistic conclusions than those voiced by the Secretary.

Sir Michael commented that if the Vela results enabled us to have satisfactory assurances on the basis of 25 posts mainly around the [Page 493] periphery of the Soviet Union rather than inside, we could be in business within six months. This contrasted with the present plan under which it would take six years to build the control posts called for, and since there would not be enough to be effective at all for at least two years, we would in fact be faced with a two-year moratorium for the Soviets.

This part of the conversation terminated with the Secretary saying that we would push ahead on this matter and that he would give it his personal attention after his return to Washington.

  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330. Secret. Drafted by Kohler. The meeting was held during luncheon at the British Mission. Secretary Rusk was in Geneva July 19 for sessions of the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee, which reconvened on July 16, and for the signing of the Laos Accords on July 23.
  2. Benjamin Terence Price, Chief Scientific Officer, British Ministry of Defense.
  3. Regarding these London meetings, see footnote 3, Document 193.