22. Oral Message From President Johnson to Chairman Khrushchev 1

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I have decided to announce our plan for an additional cutback in the production of Uranium 235 in an address on foreign policy on April 20.

I had hoped to make this announcement in conjunction with parallel announcements by the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom. I still hope that this will be possible. We are under considerable pressure, however, to proceed promptly with this announcement since major long-term electric power contracts must be renegotiated immediately if the action is to be accomplished in an orderly and expeditious fashion. I have not heard from you on this matter since my oral message of March 9,2 and I do not think I should delay further the public actions necessary to initiate this cutback in the production of Uranium 235.

In my speech, I will announce that I have ordered a further reduction of our production of Uranium 235 by an additional 25 percent—which will result in a total reduction of some 45 percent below present levels. This reduction will take place in an orderly fashion over the next four years.

I was very gratified to learn in your message of March 23 that the Soviet Government was prepared to announce the ending of construction of two new large reactors for the production of plutonium. At the same time, I urged you in my message of March 9 to consider seriously the possibility of some action on your Uranium 235 program since it is our understanding that this program is continuing to expand. I hope that you have decided that such reductions will be possible and that your announcement can more closely parallel those of the United Kingdom and ourselves.

Unless I hear from you before April 20, I do not plan to refer in my speech to the possibility of parallel actions by the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom since I am not certain how you will wish to proceed in this matter.


  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence File, Pen Pal Correspondence, Khrushchev (2), Box 8. No classification marking.
  2. Document 18.
  3. Document 15. The March 2 date is the day Dobrynin delivered the message to Llewellyn Thompson.
  4. Printed from an unsigned copy.