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

268. From Harriman. Ref Deptel 263.1 In ref to omission Article Two on peaceful uses, I have already spoken rather fully on this subject to Khrushchev, while watching Soviet/American track meet. He told me of the various long range plans Sovs had in mind, building canals and diverting Pechora River, to flow south to Kazakhstan, instead of to the north. This gave me opportunity to express surprise that he had thrown out our article on peaceful uses, since we had understood Soviet Union had big plans for use of nuclear explosions to divert rivers. He denied any immediate plans, but admitted that nuclear explosions for such purposes might be useful in the future. He opposed inclusion today since this reservation would be disappointing to world opinion and arouse suspicions. He readily offered the view that we should have no difficulty in agreeing on such matter when the subject has been more carefully explored, and there were special projects where such explosions would be useful. I mentioned the possibility of another canal paralleling Panama Canal, as a possibility. I pointed to the article on amendments as a [Page 824] means of reaching agreement. He said that when tensions were relieved by a test ban, and reduced by other understandings, would be a better time to raise question of peaceful uses. It would then meet popular approval.

Since dictating the above, I brought subject up with Gromyko in this afternoon’s session2 and made clear record on our position. He accepted my statement and thereupon approved majority including original three signatories, rather than two thirds for amendment procedure.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-3 USSR (MO). Secret; Operational Immediate; Ban. A longer account of this conversation is in telegram 280 from Moscow, July 23. (Ibid., POL 7 US/Harriman)
  2. Telegram 263, July 21, reads in part: “We accept omission Article II on peaceful uses. You should make clear, however, that as later operational phase of peaceful uses may develop, we reserve right to reopen question for discussion under the amendment clause or by separate treaty. Point out possibility both sides may wish to conduct such operations under appropriate safeguards for important peaceful purposes. Make clear also we have no present plans for this, but we expect to continue permitted research in this field.” (Ibid., DEF 18-3) See also footnotes 3 and 6, Document 339.
  3. See Document 339.