331. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State 0

195. From Harriman. Have decided unless instructed otherwise to play down further discussions nondissemination and to request Hailsham do the same. My reasons are:

Sovs including both Khrushchev and Gromyko have shown no interest and in fact brushed subject off on several occasions. I have used it, of course, as one approach to hammer away at China.
If we do pursue it, Soviets will in all probability interject MLF and our nuclear weapons in Europe, which would compel me to retreat from this subject.
I am beginning to piece together a logical theory on why Khrushchev is interested in test ban at this time.

Obviously, his first preoccupation is his battle with ChiComs and particularly effect on Soviet leadership of international Communist movement. Khrushchev wants to use the test ban treaty in this connection. Since he is unable to get the ChiComs to agree to join the test ban, he will attempt to isolate them. He will attempt to get the maximum number of nations to adhere to test ban treaty, thus leaving the Chinese isolated if possible as the only nation refusing to cooperate on this highly emotional subject to the underdeveloped nations. This explains his particular emphasis on France’s adherence.

This theory was substantiated by talk I had about Red China with Yuri Zhukov1 at Spaso House. When Zhukov was in Washington last year he told me that test ban agreement was imminent. When I asked him about the participation of Red China, he replied that if the US and USSR agree, world opinion would force Red China to adhere. I referred to this conversation yesterday and asked him whether his opinion had changed, and whether there was some other way of getting China to agree, since I doubted world public opinion would affect Peiping. He then explained in some detail that “all 130 countries” should be induced to adhere to test ban treaty and then the pressure of the underdeveloped countries, particularly in Africa, would be extremely great.

Since ChiComs want to make headway in gaining the support of these countries in competition with Soviet Union, such a situation as Zhukov described would obviously give Moscow a trump card to play against ChiComs.

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I will of course do everything I can to explore this theory in further conversations. So far there is some accumulation of evidence to substantiate it. The theory, however, is still too nebulous to accept or to let it affect our negotiating tactics. I have pressed subject of China whenever possible, both in my talk with Khrushchev and Gromyko, so far without anything to show for it, but will continue to raise subject.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-3 USSR (MO). Secret; Operational Immediate; Ban. Received at 12:43 p.m.
  2. Foreign editor of Pravda.