337. Memorandum for the Record0


  • Special Meeting at State Dept.—21 July—re Test Ban Agreement


  • Secty. Rusk, Secty. Ball, Mr. Bundy, Secty. McNamara
  • Secty. Gilpatric and Mr. McCone

A special meeting was held at State Department on Sunday, 21 July, at 10:00 o’clock to consider the Congressional problems in connection with the test ban agreement being worked out by Gov. Harriman in Moscow.

There was general agreement the test ban negotiations were reasonably satisfactory.1 I took the position that withdrawal clause related to the content of the treaty with 60 to 90 day’s notice was all right. I favored a shorter rather than a longer notification. Also I urged that any reference to underground tests be stricken from the text of the treaty inasmuch as the treaty was limited to 3 environments. This was agreed. I also advised that I felt there would be some problems in connection with the outlawing of peaceful uses and this would almost certainly cause the Atomic Energy Commission to oppose the treaty. I urged that some organ be included in the treaty to permit reopening of this subject at a later date.
McNamara suggested that we now develop a White Paper on the pros and cons of the test ban, i.e. whether such a ban would be in the interest of the United States or not. This subject was debated at some length. I took the position that such an appraisal should not be made, we had passed the point of decision in this regard, that we must recognize that the Chiefs and, to a lesser extent the laboratory directors and such men as Edward Teller, would protest the treaty, that I did not think the protest would be particularly well received by either the public or the Congress; stated I thought to try to reappraise the situation now would leak to the Press and would cause a rash of criticism that the Administration [Page 822] was trying to find out if a certain move was in our best interest long after we had publicly endorsed the idea. I therefore urged that a paper be developed giving the rationale and the arguments supporting the treaty and let opposition and criticism fall where it may. This approach was generally accepted and McNamara withdrew his proposal.
I was asked to determine the attitudes of Senator Pastore and Senator Anderson. Following the meeting I talked to Anderson. He endorsed the proposed treaty and stated that he had discussed it with Senator Jackson, Senator Symington and Senator Russell and they, too, would support the treaty. This I reported to Bundy.
At dinner Sunday night Jackson refused to indicate his support of the treaty although he did not say he would not support it. He engaged in a very serious condemnation of McNamara and Gilpatric over the TFX, and his distress over this issue might cause him to oppose a test ban treaty. He indicated that “he, Symington and Russell would have to get together and make up their minds what to do.” This I reported to Bundy.

On Monday morning, 22 July, I phoned Senator Pastore who indicated support of the test ban. His position is outlined in the attached memo.2 This was reported to Bundy.

[Here follows discussion of Venezuela.]

I then told Rusk 3 that I felt we must explore an area of agreement with deGaulle and that we simply could not permit deGaulle relationships to further deteriorate. I said that normal diplomatic channels are unproductive and suggested we use the Atomic Energy channel, going through Palewski4 directly to deGaulle. I urged that this be done prior to deGaulle’s July 29th Press Conference as I felt it highly probable that he would take a position which would be irrevocable without great embarrassment and the consequences would be that the test ban negotiations would go out the window. Rusk was unresponsive although I proposed that Dwight Ink, Assistant General Manager of the AEC who is now in Europe talking to the French on weapons safety, might open up the subject in sufficient detail to give DeGaulle an indicator which would be useful in stopping him from taking an irrevocable position on July 29th.5 Mr. Bundy was in on part of this discussion.
During the earlier meeting the deGaulle problem was discussed off and on. It was obvious that George Ball has a pretty stiff neck on this whole deGaulle-French problem and is not inclined to offer any concessions. Throughout the meeting I urged the approach discussed privately with Rusk. No one seemed inclined to feel that it was possible to do anything with deGaulle at the present time. The meetings were inconclusive.
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Memos for Record 6/5-7/20/63. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by McCone.
  2. In a memorandum of a telephone conversation with Lewis Strauss on July 22, McCone stated that Strauss had indicated his unhappiness with the prospect of a limited test ban treaty. McCone had “responded that I could not now oppose the atmospheric ban in view of my consistent position favoring such a ban since March 1959 when the idea was first proposed by President Eisenhower.” McCone also stated his belief that missile system testing could be valid without explosion of the nuclear components. (Ibid., DCI Memoranda 3/1/62-4/30/65)
  3. Not printed. In the conversation, McCone indicated his approval of the projected limited test ban treaty. Pastore then indicated his tentative support, based partly on his hope that the existence of the treaty might instill in the Chinese a “moral inhibition” against testing and acquisition of nuclear weapons. (Ibid., DCI Memos for Record 6/5-7/20/63)
  4. The omitted section indicates that this conversation took place following the meeting.
  5. Gaston Palewski, French Atomic Energy Minister.
  6. The date of de Gaulle’s projected press conference, at which he did in fact announce French rejection of the treaty. Additional information regarding the initiative proposed by McCone has not been found.