193. Memorandum From the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Foster) to President Johnson1


  • Offer to Put U.S. Peaceful Nuclear Facilities under IAEA Safeguards (C)

In the course of our intensive consultations during the last few weeks, many of the non-nuclear-weapon countries, including many of our important NATO allies, have expressed concern that the proposed safeguards requirements in our draft non-proliferation treaty might hinder their peaceful nuclear programs and leave them vulnerable to industrial espionage. It might help to overcome these objections if the United States were to invite the International Atomic Energy Agency to apply its safeguards on a broad scale to U.S. peaceful nuclear facilities. The justification for the exclusion of any U.S. facilities from the IAEA safeguards offer would be only on military or security grounds and not for any commercial reasons. Such an offer would be made to apply at such a time as mandatory safeguards as specified in the non-proliferation treaty are applied to non-nuclear-weapon states.

I recommend that you approve a statement to this effect to be made at such time as would best help to achieve a satisfactory safeguards article in the treaty. The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission concur in this recommendation.

This concept has been discussed by the Atomic Energy Commission with representatives of the major U.S. industrial and utility concerns involved in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Many of these representatives think it is quite a good thing to do in order to achieve an effective worldwide safeguards system, although some of them point out that there will be problems in implementation of the offer which will have to be worked out in the course of negotiating the necessary arrangements with the International Atomic Energy Agency. These arrangements will not only advance our national interest in achieving safeguards, but will promote industrial interests by establishing conditions which favor the widest possible export of nuclear materials and equipment under safeguards.

It is our intention in making this offer to rely upon the voluntary cooperation of the U.S. nuclear industry in implementing it, and our consultations [Page 472] have given us confidence that this cooperation will be forthcoming. However, if it becomes necessary in a few instances to rely on the Commission’s regulatory powers to require the participation in the inspection system by specific companies, the Attorney General would have to determine whether the Commission’s current authority extends to requiring a licensee to open his facilities to inspection by an organization other than the Commission or other U.S. agencies. If not, some clarifying legislation might be necessary to ensure enforcement in the unlikely event that the Commission’s authority in this field were challenged.

The British have indicated privately to us that if the United States were to make such an offer, the United Kingdom would do likewise.

The proposed offer has been discussed with Senator Pastore and Representative Holifield of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, who concur. Senator Gore, Chairman of the Disarmament Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, indicated general agreement. Senator Hickenlooper expressed interest but did not commit himself; in my judgment, he will support the idea because of his past support for IAEA safeguards, because what we are planning appears reasonable under the circumstances, and because it would not adversely affect industrial uses of atomic energy. Senators Mansfield and Dirksen were both noncommittal, but I think they will rely on the views of Senators Pastore and Hickenlooper, respectively.

William C. Foster 2
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 71 A 4546, 388.3, March-May, 1967. Confidential. A stamped notation on the source text reads: “Mr. Barber has seen.”
  2. Printed from a copy that indicates Foster signed the original.