114. Summary of Action1


Draft of Proposed Presidential Message to the ENDC 2


  • Memorandum for the Members of the Committee of Principals, dated January 19, 1966, from William C. Foster, Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency3
The paper used as a point of discussion for the meeting was the draft of the proposed Presidential Message to the ENDC, attached to the Memorandum referred to above.

Mr. Bundy suggested that the reference to “sophisticated” weapons be deleted from the Seventh item of the message because of our use of such weapons in Vietnam. It was agreed that the third sentence of the message should refer to an exploration of ways to limit arms competition among the countries concerned. In later discussion, General Goodpaster4 [Page 293] stated that, while the JCS supported the measure described in paragraph Seventh, they questioned whether it should be described in a Presidential Message. Mr. Barber said the DOD view was that this was a matter of tactics, not of basic position. Secretary Rusk thought it useful to have a Presidential endorsement of the idea (1) to put pressure on the many countries which have urged disarmament by the great powers, and (2) to show that the United States does not intend to stimulate arms competition between smaller countries. He added that he thought Congress was likely soon to take the U.S. out of much of the arms sales business anyway. Secretary Rusk indicated his belief that while the Soviet Union and the United States sincerely desired some form of arms limitations upon themselves, there was a great deal of hypocrisy about disarmament by many others.

General Goodpaster suggested that the measure not refer solely to developing countries, which was agreed. Secretary Rusk suggested that an understanding among supplying countries be sought. Mr. Foster indicated that part of the plan was to seek some such understanding about not supplying costly prestige weapons to certain areas of the world.

Secretary Rusk suggested that the message, or Mr. Foster’s first speech to the ENDC, should refer to the fighting in Vietnam. Mr. Foster read from testimony on that point he had given that morning to the Disarmament Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.5 This testimony was to the effect that the great differences with the Communists over Vietnam made our common interests in preventing nuclear spread and curbing the nuclear arms race all the more important to pursue at the ENDC. Secretary Rusk agreed with this but suggested that the draft message also indicate that Vietnam was an obstacle to disarmament, or that the burden of armaments had increased because of the war there. He asked that the message include a statement that the United States Representative would be prepared to discuss, outside official channels and with other representatives to the ENDC, any avenues toward peaceful settlement of Vietnam. Such a settlement would permit a reduction of the burden of arms. The Vice President said we would be ignoring facts of life if we did not recognize the impact of Vietnam on the disarmament discussions.

General Goodpaster urged the elimination of paragraph Fourth of the draft message. This paragraph repeats prior proposals for a comprehensive test ban. The JCS objection was twofold: (1) no adequate system [Page 294] of verification had yet been devised; (2) even if verification were possible, recent scientific analyses show that information on hot x-rays which might help solve ABM and related problems may be available to the Soviets (although not to the U.S.) and could be exploited to the disadvantage of the United States. Chairman Seaborg explained that if this were so, and if we tested up to several hundreds of kts underground, the United States could also make progress in this area.

Mr. Barber pointed out that there was no agreement within the government or within the intelligence community as to the recent analyses referred to by General Goodpaster. He reported Secretary McNamara’s view that further analysis of the data should be made before any drastic change was made in the United States position. Secretary Rusk concluded that deletion of paragraph Fourth would reverse a Presidential decision made long ago. In his view our position should remain the same while making the further analysis desired by Secretary McNamara. Chairman Seaborg and others agreed.

General Goodpaster urged revision of the last sentence of paragraph Fifth (cutoff and transfer) so that it would refer to verification by “on-site inspection.” It was agreed that the message should be revised to refer to “effective inspection.”
General Goodpaster suggested that the last sentence in paragraph Sixth (freeze and reductions) should be revised to delete the reference to “issues involved in both a freeze and the reductions which could accompany a freeze.” It was agreed that this be revised to “issues involved in both these proposals.”
Chairman Seaborg suggested that paragraph Second relating to IAEA safeguards be amended to add a phrase to the effect that the non-proliferation treaty should itself provide a specific undertaking that such safeguards be applied to peaceful nuclear activities. Commissioner Tape said this would mean dropping out all of paragraph Second after the first sentence. Mr. Foster objected to a Presidential message urging that language be included in the treaty which we knew the Italians and the UK would object to before we had an opportunity to consult with them. Mr. Fisher was also concerned about deleting the remainder of the paragraph because of the importance of this language to the Government’s effort to secure adoption of IAEA safeguards in other ways than through a non-proliferation treaty. After an exchange about the Senate debate on the Pastore non-proliferation resolution,6 Secretary Rusk suggested that the draft Presidential message endorse the Senate’s discussion. The Vice [Page 295] President reported a discussion with Pastore before the resolution was introduced. Although he had agreed with Pastore that the resolution was a good idea, the Senate’s position was now being interpreted as contrary to that of the Administration. He felt it useful therefore that the Presidential message refer with approval to the resolution.
Chairman Seaborg objected to some of the language in paragraph Fifth and several other drafting changes were suggested by others present. Mr. Bundy expressed the view that there should definitely be a Presidential message to the ENDC. He asked that the draft be amended to reflect the comments made at the meeting and submitted to the White House for final drafting changes.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Disarmament, Committee of Principals, Vol. 3, Box 14. Secret; Restricted Data. An attached list of participants is not printed. The meeting was held in the Secretary of State’s conference room.
  2. A copy of the proposed Presidential message to the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee is attached to the January 20 memorandum from Keeny to Bundy on the upcoming meeting of the Committee of Principals, January 21. (Ibid., Bator Papers, Nonproliferation, August 3, 1965-July 29, 1966)
  3. Not found.
  4. Lieutenant General Andrew J. Goodpaster, USA, Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  5. Foster’s testimony before the Subcommittee on Disarmament of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, January 21, 1966, is printed in Executive Sessions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Historical Series): Volume XVIII, Eighty-Ninth Congress, Second Session, 1966 (Washington, February 1993), pp. 105-131.
  6. Reference is to S. Res. 179, 89th Cong., introduced January 18, by Senator John O. Pastore (D-RI) and adopted May 17, 1966, a sense-of-the-Senate resolution supporting the President’s efforts to negotiate a nuclear nonproliferation treaty. (Documents on Disarmament, 1966, pp. 306-307)