95. Letter From Secretary of State Rusk to the British Ambassador (Dean)1

Dear Pat:

On August 12, you provided me with a talking paper which expressed the interest of your Government in holding discussions with representatives of the United States on various aspects of a possible deployment of a United States anti-ballistic missile defense system.2 I fully appreciate the interest of your Government in this problem.

We have been engaged in an examination of the political implications of a possible deployment decision; our preliminary study of these implications has not yet been completed. Meanwhile, our Department of Defense has certain additional technical studies in progress that could bear on a U.S. decision.3

Accordingly, it is our view that discussions of this question, in which we believe other members of the Alliance may be interested as well, would be more useful if they were held after we have progressed somewhat further with both our technical studies and our analysis of possible political implications.

I shall be in touch with you when we have completed more of our homework.

With warmest regards,


  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 12. Top Secret. The letter forms Tab A to a September 14 action memorandum from Llewellyn E. Thompson to Secretary Rusk, which indicates that the letter was drafted in G/PM.
  2. This talking paper, entitled “Anti-ballistic Missiles,” is attached as Tab B to Thompson’s memorandum (see footnote 1 above). It is not printed.
  3. Acting Secretary of Defense Vance’s September 4 letter to Secretary Rusk, attached as Tab D to Thompson’s September 14 memorandum, noted that the Department of Defense agreed in principle to talks with the British on anti-ballistic missile deployments, but preferred “to postpone setting a date until we have reached a more definite position on the deployment of an ABM system.” Tab C is identified as Secretary Rusk’s August 23 letter to McNamara, asking for the position of the Department of Defense on this question; this letter has not been found.