137. Memorandum From Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr., of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow)1


  • Dobrynin-Foster Meeting

Following up your request this morning for further information on the Dobrynin-Foster meeting reported in the President’s Evening Reading for June 8,2 I met with Bill Foster and obtained the following additional information.

The discussions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty came in the middle of an extended discussion of the status of a broad range of Arms Control measures. Foster reports that, while Dobrynin did not state flatly that the Soviets would sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty if we rejected the hardware solution to nuclear sharing, he did indicate quite clearly that this was the area of their concern and that they were not concerned with present US weapons in Germany or with the possibility of more substantive consultation between us and our allies on the use of nuclear weapons. Dobrynin said that he understood the UK was going to table revised Non-Proliferation Treaty language that would differ from ours. Dobrynin did not respond to Foster’s comments on the importance of some sort of multilateral nuclear assurances for non-nuclear countries such as India in connection with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

On the basis of my brief discussion with Foster, I don’t believe there were any other particularly significant points to report. With regard to the freeze on strategic offensive-defensive delivery systems, Dobrynin commented that it was so complicated that he did not think there was much point in discussing it at Geneva now. Dobrynin appeared to agree with Foster’s standard argument as to why we should have a freeze on ABMs but did not offer any suggestion as to what should be done about it.

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In response to Dobrynin’s question as to whether we had actually made a no-first-use proposal to the Communist Chinese, Foster explained that we were simply trying to clarify what Chou En-lai had proposed in his earlier statement.3

Bill Foster is preparing a detailed memcon which we should get later today.4

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, U.S. Draft on Non-Proliferation Treaty, Box 27. Secret.
  2. Reference is to a June 8 memorandum from Ball to President Johnson, “Items for Evening Reading,” item 4 of which reads as follows: “Dobrynin-Foster Meeting—In the course of their meeting today, Ambassador Dobrynin and Bill Foster discussed non-proliferation, improved detection measures, and the freeze and reduction of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles. Foster reports receiving a clear implication that, if the Soviets could be sure that Germany would not use or would not be able to use nuclear weapons on their own decision, a non-proliferation treaty would be possible. Dobrynin stated that Soviet Embassies in NATO capitals had reported that no one except the Germans had any interest in a change in present nuclear arrangements. He said they were prepared to make arrangements with us at Geneva for the exchange of seismic data. In an aside he said they were shuffling their diplomatic corps to replace about thirty of their older Ambassadors.” (Ibid.)
  3. In an address at a Sino-Albanian Banquet on May 10, Premier Chou said that “China has proposed to the United States that the two countries undertake the obligation of not being the first to use nuclear weapons against each other. But U.S. imperialism has rejected China’s proposal.” (Documents on Disarmament, 1966, p. 280)
  4. Foster’s memorandum of his conversation with Dobrynin, June 8, is in Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, ACDA, Vol. II, Box 6.