14. Notes of Meeting1

[Here follow notes of a telephone conversation on the Argonne Laboratory and a Regulatory Information Meeting.]

At 11 a.m. I attended a meeting of the Principals in the Secretary of State’s Conference Room. Present were Rusk, Foster, Fisher, Palfrey, Taylor, McCone, Webb, Bundy, Barber, McNamara, Hornig, Keeny, Alexis Johnson, plus Tyler, Labowitz, et al.

Rusk opened the meeting by asking Foster to give a summary of the negotiations at Geneva. Foster said that these had been conducted in the best atmosphere yet. There had been no agreement, not even on the agenda. The Soviets are insisting on reductions in the military budgets, but we are resisting this since there is no way of verifying such reductions. The Soviets emphasize the election year aspects of the U.S. reductions. The Soviets are proposing a 20% reduction in military budgets, with the savings to be contributed to the welfare of developing countries. The Soviets have given no answer to our proposal for the destruction of bombers.2 Tsarapkin often refers to the strategic superiority of the U.S. in missiles and bombers. With respect to the cutoff of the production of fissionable materials, he says privately that the U.S. already has too much and has a five-year lead on the USSR.

Rusk said he talked to Dobrynin yesterday, not about observation posts, as the newspapers reported, but about the possibility of the Soviets letting Charlie Hitch talk to their “Hitch,” but they refused.3 They say that the policy of mutual example is best, but Rusk said that the U.S. couldn’t agree to this without a lot of verification. It was suggested that Fisher go into this further. Rusk said that Dobrynin hinted at some Soviet withdrawals from Germany.

Rusk continued that today’s issue is the freeze on delivery vehicles and that we should get our position in line. We needn’t disclose any details in the early negotiations. The Soviets haven’t disclosed any position on this as yet. He said he appreciated the fine work done by the JCS on this question.

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Issue I. (Degree of linkage of a fissionable material cutoff to the freeze on strategic nuclear delivery vehicles.)

Rusk said he tended to agree with the Chiefs on this linkage,4 and that we could discuss the separability later. Foster, however, demurred and said that President Johnson’s message indicated that they are separable.5

McNamara felt that the language in this message was sufficiently finessed to make either point of view possible. Rusk said he thought we should proceed with what he called Option (5) [added to the four options listed in the agenda document (not attached)6 for this meeting] which would be to proceed with both missile freeze and production cutoff in parallel. McNamara said he would like to see them definitely linked, but Bundy said that linking them would weaken the proposal. Rusk spoke again for Option (5), whereas Bundy said he would prefer Option (4). Rusk suggested that a try be made to draft something to clarify this, which might be used to talk to our allies concerning our position.

Issue II. (Basis for production replacement.)

Rusk then suggested that we go on to Issue II, for which Fisher suggested Option (2) modified toward Option (1). There seemed to be general agreement on this.

Issue III. (The extent of limitations to be applied concerning the dispersal and hardening of launchers, in view of the interaction with the MLF and the Nassau Agreement.)

Rusk then suggested we go on to Issue III. McNamara suggested that Option (3) be agreed to, with specific provision for the MLF. Rusk, McNamara and Bundy spoke to the necessity of protecting the MLF and the Nassau Agreement. Rusk pointed out that the exact method of this could be left flexible and would depend on the effective date of the treaty in any case.

Issue IV. (Limitations to be applied on construction and testing of prototypes.)

Rusk then went on to Issue IV. Fisher said that the missile and firing systems apparently can be improved, and thus a freeze on testing is important; Hornig confirmed this.

Rusk reiterated that we can’t depend on limitations that depend on good faith; we must have verification. The consensus seemed to be that [Page 31] this arrangement needs much more exploration, and it was decided that a task force would be set up by Foster to explore this. McNamara said that we will need a specific statement on research and development limitations for use before the North Atlantic Council.

[Here follow notes of a meeting on AEC research support and a long meeting of the AEC Commissioners.]

  1. Source: Seaborg, Journal, Vol. 7, pp. 424, 429-430. No classification marking. Here and elsewhere, Seaborg has inserted reproduced documents in the Journal, which account for the interrupted pagination.
  2. The U.S. and Soviet Governments had earlier discussed the destruction of bombers informally, but the U.S. position was not formally presented until Fisher introduced it in the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee on March 19. Text of Fisher’s statement is in Documents on Disarmament, 1964, pp. 101-105.
  3. Regarding this conversation, see Document 13.
  4. For a statement of the JCS position, see Document 12.
  5. Reference is to the President’s statement to the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee, January 21. See footnote 3, Document 4.
  6. Brackets in the source text. The paper has not been found, but is identified elsewhere as a paper forwarded under cover of a memorandum from ACDA to the Committee of Principals, February 25. (Memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary McNamara (JCSM-223-64), March 18; Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Disarmament, Vol. 1, Box 10)