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

238. From Harriman and Fisher. At the plenary today agreement was reached on the proposal to settle the preamble along the lines proposed by the US in the drafting committee.1 The text reads as follows:

Verbatim text begins. The Governments of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America, hereinafter referred to as the “original parties,”

Proclaiming as their principal aim the speediest possible achievement of an agreement on general and complete disarmament under strict international control in accordance with the objectives of the United Nations which would put an end to the armaments race and eliminate the incentive to the production and testing of all kinds of weapons, including nuclear weapons,

Seeking to achieve the discontinuance of all test explosions of nuclear weapons for all time, determined to continue negotiations to this end, and desiring to put an end to the contamination of man’s environment by radioactive substances,

Have agreed as follows: end verbatim text.

At the plenary Harriman called attention to fact that Article I of treaty draft circulated by Soviets at prior meeting contained differences in language from that previously agreed by drafting committee and adopted by plenary. He stated that US wish to stand upon revised language submitted July 19 involving changes reported Embtel 224.1 English translation of Article I contained in Soviet draft reads as follows:

Begin verbatim text. 1. Each of the parties to this treaty undertakes to prohibit and not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosions at any place under its jurisdiction or control: (A) in the atmosphere, and beyond its limits, including outer space, or underwater, including territorial waters or high seas; or (B) in any other environment if such explosion causes radioactive debris to be present outside the territorial limits of the state under whose jurisdiction or control such explosion is conducted on the understanding that upon the [Page 820] achievement of an agreement to ban all nuclear tests, all such tests shall be prohibited also in the environments referred to in this subparagraph.

2. Each of the parties to this treaty undertakes furthermore to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in, the carrying out of any nuclear explosion anywhere which would take place in any of the environments described, or have the effect prescribed, in paragraph 1 of this article. End verbatim text.

Discussion of this new text focused primarily on last three lines Soviets added to paragraph 1(B), Gromyko arguing that this was necessary because this treaty had, in effect, created a new environment, the underground test which resulted in radioactive debris outside the territory, and Soviets wanted to be sure that a treaty banning underground tests did not result in tests in this new environment not being banned. Despite some general indications of non-objection by Hailsham, Harriman indicated that the preamble referred to our desire to negotiate comprehensive ban, that subsequent treaty would stand on its own two feet, and that it was unwise to refer, in a treaty, to another treaty that had not been negotiated. He also pointed out prior US language had a long history of study. Gromyko argued no intention to prejudge separate treaty. After meeting Sov Del sent to US Del new language of (B) which they said would clarify questions raised.

Begin verbatim text. B. In any other environment if such explosion causes radioactive debris to be present outside the territorial limits of the state under whose jurisdiction or control such explosion is conducted, bearing in mind that the matter of prohibiting nuclear tests in the environments referred to in this subparagraph shall be settled by an agreement on the prohibition of all nuclear tests. End verbatim text.

This Soviet suggested Article I, coming at this stage, raises a variety of problems which will be discussed at a meeting of the drafting committee Monday morning. Specifically, we hope at that time to find out what the Sovs driving at in their proposed para 1(B).

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-3 USSR (MO). Secret; Operational Immediate. Received at 2:30 p.m.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 333.