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

Dear Mr. President:

Mr. Fisher has been instructed to inform Ambassador Roshchin that the U.S. Delegation is prepared to stay in Geneva as long as necessary to reach agreement on Article III of the NPT. We would fully expect, however, to reach agreement by the end of October because as a practical matter it would be very difficult to defer an ENDC report to the UNGA much beyond that time.

The EEC Council of Ministers is meeting today and tomorrow2 and it is hoped that they will develop a Euratom position on the draft Article III proposed by the Soviets. We expect to learn by tomorrow whether we shall be receiving these views before the NAC meeting on October 6. If we are not going to have Euratom’s position before October 6, we propose to inform all NATO capitals on October 4 of U.S. views on the Soviet proposal and what amendments and understandings we believe to be negotiable with the Soviets.3 If we are unable to bridge the gap between our Euratom allies and the Soviets in the next week or two, there is danger that the whole NPT project might be jeopardized because treaty [Page 516] drafting might get out of control of the U.S. and U.S.S.R. as Co-Chairmen of the ENDC.

Faithfully yours,

William C. Foster 4
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, ACDA, Vol. III, Box 6. Secret.
  2. The EEC Council of Ministers met in Brussels.
  3. In an October 2 memorandum from Foster to Rusk, Foster recommended that the United States inform its NATO allies of its position on the Soviet Article III draft. According to Foster, “If we were to wait until next week to make our position known to our allies, precious time will be lost and might result in a situation in which we found ourselves having to start discussions in Committee I with a blank Article III. This in turn would encourage non-aligned countries to make other unacceptable suggestions. If this were to happen matters could easily get out of our control and that of the Soviets.” Foster further proposed that all NATO capitals except Paris receive an aide-mémoire to be delivered on October 4 outlining the U.S. Government’s position. (Washington National Records Center, RG 383, ACDA/D Files: FRC 77 A 52, Memoranda to the Secretary of State, 1967)
  4. Printed from a copy that indicates Foster signed the original.