297. Editorial Note

Glenn Seaborg’s journal entry for June 21, 1963, reads in part as follows:

“From 11:35 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. I attended a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House. Present were: the President, Foster, Rusk, Ball, Harriman, McCone, Wiesner, Thompson, Fisher, Haworth, Bundy, Kaysen, Nitze, Gilpatric, McNamara and I. Rusk opened the meeting, calling on Foster who summarized the contents of his memorandum ACDA-921. The President referred to an article in the Economist and inquired whether the British had changed their mind on the need for onsite inspections. Foster said that the best British scientists agree on the necessity for these. The President asked whether we have an agreed-upon paper with the U.K. on this matter, and McNamara replied that we don’t have an agreed-upon paper in the U.S. on our position, including what can be accomplished by clandestine testing. Bundy said that this problem will be somewhat clarified as the result of Frank Long’s forthcoming meeting with UK scientists. McNamara said that position papers should be available soon.

“The President asked whether Harriman and Hailsham, the British Minister, would be getting together, and Harriman said they would meet a day or two before they leave for Moscow.

“The President said we should have a summary of what the Russians could accomplish in about five to seven years in clandestine underground testing. Bundy said that Penney has written a paper on the subject and concludes that this could not lead to a change in the strategic balance. McNamara said that their position papers will be ready by the middle of next week. Nitze said that the degree of importance of clandestine testing depends upon what you mean by the term ‘strategic balance.’ Harriman made the observation that this whole question is a major political problem for Khrushchev and one of his (Harriman’s) objectives should be to try to identify that problem.

Foster raised the question of whether Harriman shouldn’t introduce the idea of a limit on the number and yield of underground tests. Bundy pointed out that Hosmer favors this and that this has political appeal in the U.S.

“The President asked how we might handle the discussion with respect to the Chinese. Foster indicated that if we could get together with the USSR, the Chinese could be handled [DELETED] Bundy agreed that the Russians may insist to the Chinese that they desist from their nuclear weapons development.

“The President asked whether Frank Long would be available for consultations with him (the President) when he arrives in England, and he was assured that Long would be.

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Foster then went on to talk about non-proliferation of weapons. The President raised the possibility of the US giving up the MLF concept. Bundy felt that this should be kept alive as a bargaining point, and Rusk pointed out that this involves the Allies so deeply that it shouldn’t be considered as a possible position at this time. He, therefore, made some changes in the draft ACDA-921 to reflect this.

“The President inquired as to what the objection to the non-aggression pact sought by the Russians might be, and Rusk replied that we would need the assurance that the Berlin situation remain status quo before we could consider such an approach. I called attention to the very significant and important vote of the Soviets for safeguards for nuclear power reactors at the meeting of the Board of Governors of the IAEA in Vienna yesterday. I said that this reverses the position that they previously had against safeguards, which was a very strong one.” (Seaborg, Journal, Supplement, volume 26, pages 223-225; Seaborg’s record is a sanitized text.)

This meeting was held as preparation for Kennedy’s meeting in the United Kingdom with Macmillan, which took place June 29-30 (see Documents 304306). Kaysen’s handwritten notes of the meeting are in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Kaysen Series, Harriman Instructions. For ACDA-921, see Document 296. Lord Hailsham was British Minister of Science. Representative Craig Hosmer of California was Chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.

The section on China in McCone’s memorandum of this meeting reads as follows:

“The President raised the Chinese Communist question, stating that he felt we could take considerable risk in the treaty with assurance that the Chinese Communists would not proceed with their nuclear weapon development. McCone raised the question as to how the treaty would accomplish this. Others answered that 70 or 80 countries would be party to the treaty and that we would have to work out some arrangement with the French and the Soviets with the Chinese, and Harriman would have to develop this. The President then stated that we might want to discuss this in depth with Macmillan and suggested that Harriman and Foster might join him in London.” (Central Intelligence Agency, Meetings with President, 4/1/63-6/30/63)