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

269. From Harriman.

Today’s plenary lasted three hours, during which agreement on all substantive points on test ban treaty reached in accordance with your instructions, with exception item discussed para three below. Nonaggression pact was also discussed for last quarter of session.
The English text of withdrawal clause (sent Embtel 233)1 but with words “events” and “subject matter” in accordance with Deptel 263,2 was accepted as agreed translation of Russian text. Harriman explained that “subject matter” read better in English than “contents” and “events” conveyed sense we wished more precisely than “circumstances.” After some discussion with translators and colleagues, Gromyko accepted. Our rationale this procedure being sent septel.3

Gromyko refused suggestion new final qualifying clause Soviet draft Article I-1-B4 be dropped and substance put in preamble. Insisted Soviet draft required to make clear that first of two new categories of tests introduced by US language, namely, venting underground explosions which did not, and those which did, distribute debris outside national boundaries, would be prohibited in future comprehensive treaty, however drafted or related to present treaty. After some discussion in which UK took neutral position, there was ten minute recess. US, UK then submitted following language as substitute Soviet language final phrases Article I-1-B, with understanding it was ad referendum. The language was referred to drafting committee, with understanding it was for possible improvement in word order.

(This language follows immediately after end of original US text.)

“It is understood in this connection that the provisions of this subparagraph are without prejudice to the conclusion of a treaty resulting in the permanent banning of all nuclear test explosions, including all such explosions underground, the conclusion of which, as the parties have stated in the preamble to this treaty, they seek to achieve.”

US accepted deletion of Article II in US draft, but Harriman stated strong US interest possibility re-opening matter under appropriate circumstances by amendment procedure.5 He referred in this connection to his conversation with Khrushchev yesterday, reported septel.6 Gromyko agreed that withdrawal of Article II was without prejudice to future discussion. In later discussion, Gromyko accepted US proposal change voting procedure governing amendments to majority.

Gromyko, at close of test ban discussion, referred to France, citing Khrushchev’s remarks at opening meeting with him on importance Soviets attach to French observance of treaty. If France tested, would create new situation, which required Soviets to reconsider its position. On other hand, if US/UK succeeded in persuading France sign treaty, would be important positive achievement, enhancing significance of treaty.

In brief private conversation after meeting among Hailsham, Harriman and Gromyko, Harriman replied that he expected to have instructions from the President in time to discuss this subject with Khrushchev.

Other drafting problems practically all solved. Drafting committee meets 10:00 AM 23 July to prepare final draft text. Will send as soon as available.
Gromyko turned to nonaggression pact and repeated his and Khrushchev’s earlier remarks on its importance to Soviet Union and general detente that would follow from simultaneous signatures. Harriman and Hailsham repeated inability to negotiate before consultation with allies. Pointed to original basis for test ban negotiation to which Khrushchev had agreed. Nonaggression pact was new subject introduced by Khrushchev July 2 speech. US/UK attempt to discuss now would probably preclude allied acceptance. On being handed US draft communiqué language (Deptel 237)7 by Hailsham,8 Gromyko reacted coldly describing it as negative in tone. Gromyko said he would consult his government and advise position tomorrow.
Request authority to accept changed wording Article I-1-B, para 3 above. Also request authority to use proposed UK communiqué language sent Embtel 248,9 if necessary to achieve agreement early signing treaty.
Plenary meeting 3:00 July 23. Full report follows soonest.10
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-3 USSR (MO). Secret; Flash. Received at 4:22 p.m.
  2. Document 335.
  3. Telegram 263 to Moscow, July 21 (cleared by Bundy and President Kennedy), instructed Harriman to seek the change from “circumstances” to “events” as a substantive alteration, apparently requiring alteration of the Russian text as well, and change from “contents” to “subject matter” as an interpretive one in the English version. (Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-3 USSR (MO))
  4. In telegram 270 from Moscow, July 22, the delegation explained the linguistic problems that prevented it from proposing any changes in the Russian text to parallel the change in the English text from “circumstances” to “events.” (Ibid., POL 7 US/Harriman)
  5. Contained in Document 336.
  6. As instructed by telegram 263 to Moscow.
  7. Document 338.
  8. Document 332.
  9. The extended report of this meeting states that at this point Hailsham handed Gromyko the text of the U.K. draft communique and that Gromyko reacted to it as described here. Although the extended report describes Harriman outlining the U.S. position to Gromyko, it does not record him handing Gromyko a document on the subject. (Telegram 271 from Moscow, July 22; Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-3 USSR (MO)) See the Supplement. Much of the U.K. draft is in footnote 10 below.
  10. Dated July 22. (Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-3 USSR (MO)) The language reads: “The three principals solemnly reaffirm the intention of their respective governments to comply strictly with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter in their relations between one another. They discussed the Soviet proposal for nonaggression arrangements” under which NATO and the Warsaw Pact “would give similar confirmation of their intentions. The three governments agreed to inform” their allies “fully about these talks and consult with them on the desirability and manner of continuing discussions on this subject.”
  11. Telegram 248; see footnote 10 above. Harriman, Hailsham, and Gromyko met privately following the plenary meeting. Most of the discussion concerned the proposed non-aggression pact. (Telegram 274 from Moscow, July 23; Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/Harriman) See the Supplement.