325. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State0

151. From Harriman. Hailsham and I had discussion with Khrushchev this afternoon lasting over three hours.1

Conversation opened with general remarks on desirability of relaxation of tensions and protection against risk of nuclear war.

Khrushchev stated that he would not permit any inspection in connection with test ban, and withdrew the two or three inspections which he had previously proposed. He added, however, that he would permit an increased number of black boxes. Since there was obviously no use arguing point, Hailsham and I recorded that both our governments would prefer comprehensive test ban but that we would be prepared to agree to test ban in three environments without inspection, as a first step towards the comprehensive agreement.

Khrushchev tabled two draft treaties, one covering the three environment test ban,2 and one covering NAP.3 In order to divert attention from NAP, I inquired about non-dissemination. Khrushchev indicated his willingness to discuss it along the lines of Soviet previous proposals.

He then suggested a series of other steps:

  • First, freezing of military budgets at 1963 levels.
  • Second, return to earlier proposal to protect against surprise attack, i.e., establishment of fixed control posts within certain specified zones, at rail junctions, major roads, airfields and ports.
  • Third, agreement on level of armed forces now located in the FRG and GDR.

I asked whether he wanted to discuss reducing his military budget or rather taking steps which would have that effect. He indicated a readiness [Page 800] to do so but maintained that he was going to reduce his military budget anyway, since Soviets now had enough missiles and he wished to increase his investment in chemical industry and agriculture. He paid his compliments to the insatiable demands of his Generals which he claimed he was resisting.

We then came back to the test ban and I gave him a copy of the three environment test ban treaty we tabled in Geneva.4 Hailsham and I insisted that France be eliminated from Soviet draft. Although we accepted Khrushchev’s contention that it was important to get France to join after the three of us had concluded agreement, he agreed that France could be dropped from Soviet draft as original signatory.

This gave me opportunity to open up problems with China and although considerable time was spent on the subject we got very little info. Khrushchev maintains that it will be some years off before China is a nuclear power and did not indicate particular concern. He commented that only US and USSR can “accumulate nuclear weapons.” UK and France can’t and China wouldn’t be able to.

It was thereupon agreed that we would study the Soviet draft and the Soviets would study our draft over night and that we would meet with Gromyko tomorrow to discuss them. There was no further discussion of NAP. Gromyko, however, tried to get into the communiqué consideration of documents, which we suspected was an attempt to include NAP in our next conference. However, it was made quite clear by Hailsham and myself that we would meet with Gromyko tomorrow in attempt to reach an agreement on text test ban and treaty and nothing else. It seems quite clear to me that Khrushchev is ready to go ahead with three environment test ban without NAP, but I feel sure Gromyko will make another attempt tomorrow to link the two.

Soviet test ban draft unsatisfactory in form but not in intent. We will probably run into heavy weather in attempting to get reasonable treaty language, but it is our impression that Khrushchev wants an agreement and will accept the three environment test ban without commitment on other subjects.

A good half of the time was spent in listening to Khrushchev’s plans for economic development, particularly in agriculture and chemical industry, and a certain amount of levity, some in good nature and some with barbs attached, particularly when referring to trade and pipe.

Khrushchev was in good mood. Although anxious to impress us with his desire to make progress in the fields under discussion, he seemed to prefer not to get into details. Other points of particular interest were: [Page 801]

He accepted France without question as a nuclear power.
Regarding NAP he said lawyers ought to be able to find language to avoid Western recognition of East Germany which was not his aim.
He reaffirmed his strong interest in German peace treaty along lines of July second speech.
He warmly praised President’s June tenth speech which he thought required courage to make.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-3 USSR (MO). Secret. Received at 5:45 p.m. Another set of the telegrams documenting the Moscow test ban negotiations is ibid., Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 2284-2286.
  2. Telegram 154 from Moscow, July 16, is a 20-page account of this meeting, which began at 3 p.m. and ended at 6:20 p.m. (Ibid., Central Files, DEF 18-3 USSR (MO)) See the Supplement. Kaysen’s handwritten notes of this conversation are in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Kaysen Series, Disarmament, Harriman Mission, Records/Actions. Telegram 154 states that before the conversation began, Harriman handed Khrushchev Kennedy’s letter transmitted in Document 324.
  3. A partial text is in telegram 153 from Moscow, July 15. The preamble includes France as a sponsor and signatory. The first article states that “each party to this agreement undertakes to discontinue the carrying out, in any locality, of all kinds of test explosions of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, in outer space, in territorial waters or on the high seas.” The second states that the treaty shall enter into force upon signature, and invites adherence by all nations. (Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-3 USSR (MO))
  4. Not found.
  5. See footnote 2, Document 318.