248. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Nontransfer of nuclear weapons


  • Ambassador Anatoliy F. Dobrynin, USSR
  • The Secretary
  • Ambassador-at-Large Llewellyn E. Thompson

The Secretary informed Ambassador Dobrynin that he was leaving today for the NATO meeting in Paris where he would expect to discuss with his NATO colleagues the problem of the nontransfer of nuclear weapons. In the meantime, he could informally tell the Ambassador his thinking on what the central part of an agreement might be, according to his present thinking. He regretted that he was not in a position to give him an exact text. The Secretary then read the following paragraph:

“The Governments of France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics solemnly declare that they will not transfer any nuclear weapons directly, or indirectly through a military alliance, into the national control of individual states not now possessing such weapons, and that they will not assist such other states in the manufacture of such weapons.”

The Secretary said it was important that there be no misunderstanding as to what was meant by indirect transfer, and he thought that there should be a written minute or record of some sort explaining our understanding of what was meant. He then read to Mr. Dobrynin the four points that might go into such a minute and, at the Ambassador’s request, gave him these four points in writing, on the understanding that this represented his present thinking and was not a definitive text.1

The Secretary went on to explain that with regard to the adherence of potential nuclear states or authorities, he realized it might be necessary to have a conference at which Peiping might be represented. The Secretary made clear that in our view the agreement would not be implemented [Page 621] until both the Soviet Union and the United States were satisfied that all potential nuclear powers had adhered. He thought that we both had a common interest in adherence by Germany and Peiping, but it was probably not important to either of us whether a country like [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] agreed.

  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Thompson and approved in S on December 10.
  2. The written minute has not been found, but a 5-point minute of interpretation, which the Secretary gave the British, French, and German Foreign Ministers in Paris on December 12, is quoted in Document 249. The five points were derived from the Minute attached to the Secretary’s memorandum to the President, Document 247.