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

248. Your cable reporting July 19 discussion and providing text new US Del withdrawal clause1 relayed to Hyannisport. This message provides Department guidance. If further guidance indicated will forward Saturday.


Withdrawal Clause

Agree you should sit tight because Soviet version withdrawal clause would produce totally illusory arrangement subject to cancellation on 90 day notice for any reason whatever. Senate would undoubtedly reject. Draft language you suggest is satisfactory.

Suggest temperature might be lowered by informal and discursive discussion of reasons for clause you have proposed and Western concept difference between power to abrogate treaty and right to withdraw under terms of treaty. Confident Fisher-McNaughton can provide orchestration. Theme is that state always has power to withdraw from [Page 816] treaty if supreme national interest jeopardized. However, if treaties are to have dignity which we and Sovs seek to give them, there can be no right to withdraw unless some other party violates, unless events occur which constitute exception recognized by international law, or unless treaty itself provides for withdrawal. Does not reduce dignity of treaty to provide for withdrawal. On contrary, if withdrawal occurred under circumstances on which both sides now agree, but no provision existed in treaty giving withdrawal right, dignity of treaties in general reduced. Neither power to abrogate nor state sovereignty diminished by treaty provision giving right of withdrawal.



Press reports here from Moscow are insistent that US delegation is proposing simultaneous unilateral declarations regarding nonaggression as means of going forward with NAP discussion. Since any suggestion that we are seriously negotiating NAP can create problems with our allies, Mission should make clear to Hightower of AP or others that these stories do not reflect actual situation.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-4. Secret; Operational Immediate; Eyes Only Ban. Drafted by Foster, cleared by Rusk and Ball, and approved by Read.
  2. Document 333.
  3. In telegram 229 from Moscow, July 20, the delegation replied that it had constantly drawn a line between negotiation of the test ban and exploratory discussion of other topics, that the distinction was understood by the American press. The telegram reported that John Hightower of AP and Seymour Topping of The New York Times had stated that their cable desks had “dropped or rewritten part of their file, thus distorting or coming forth with incomplete views on points they discussed.” (Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-3 USSR (MO))