83. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy0
- U.S. Position for the General Assembly on the Nuclear Test Ban
The Committee of Principals reviewed the present state of the nuclear test ban issue,1 in the light of the imminent discussion of this subject at the UN General Assembly.
At the United Nations, we are certain to be confronted with an Indian resolution calling for an uninspected ban on all forms of testing.2 [Page 203]The British and we are sponsoring another resolution calling on the parties to the Geneva talks to bring to a conclusion negotiations for a test ban treaty with relevant controls and arrangements for inspection.3 (There will also be other minor resolutions in this field, including an Irish one against transfer of control over nuclear devices to countries that do not now have them,4 and a Canadian proposal to criticize all fall-out tests and declare that no country has the right to test in the atmosphere.5)
We have considered various ways in which we could improve the prospects for our resolution and reduce the almost unanimous support for the uninspected ban being pushed by the Indians. We conclude that, even though our position will clearly be a minority one, our responsibilities as a great power dictate a policy that is simple, honest and clear. Our position is stated on the enclosed page.
- Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Subjects Series, Nuclear Testing 10/11-15/61. Confidential. A typed note on another copy indicates that Rusk signed the memorandum on October 10 and gave it to Cleveland to deliver to the White House. (Department of State, Central Files, 700.5611/10-1061)↩
- See Document 82.↩
- The Indian resolution was passed on November 6 as Resolution 1648 (XVI) by a vote of 71-20-8; for text, see Documents on Disarmament, 1961, p. 568; see also pp. 539, 560. The resolution was opposed by, among others, the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies, the Western nuclear powers, and the Republic of China.↩
- The U.S.-U.K. resolution was passed on November 8 as Resolution 1649 (XVI) by a vote of 71-11-15; for text, see ibid., pp. 578-579. The Warsaw Pact countries and Cuba opposed the resolution; France was among those abstaining.↩
- Resolution 1665 (XVI) passed unanimously on December 4; see ibid., p. 694.↩
- This proposal did not come to a vote.↩
- The covering memorandum bears a note: “JFK approved Oct 13.” Instructions based on it went to USUN in telegram 918, October 13. (Department of State, Central Files, 700.5611/10-1361) In an October 12 memorandum to Kennedy, Stevenson did not oppose Rusk’s proposals but suggested in addition a public statement offering to negotiate a test ban treaty within 30 days, to be made by himself or the President. Kennedy approved but directed that the statement be made by Stevenson or the Department. (Attachment to memorandum from Ball to Kennedy, October 12; ibid., 700.5611/10-1261) See the Supplement. For text of the statement as delivered by Stevenson before the First Committee on October 19, see Documents on Disarmament, 1961, pp. 537-542.↩