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


  • Material on NPT for Presidential Speech June 4 at Glassboro2

The timing of the NPT debate in the UNGA makes it extremely opportune for the NPT to be a central theme in a speech delivered in Glassboro on June 4. The plan is now to submit to Committee I on Wednesday of next week3 the agreed text of a resolution endorsing the NPT, together with a final version of the treaty. There is every indication that there will be a very substantial majority voting for it although some of the key countries will abstain.

In order to minimize the possibility of further amendments, it is planned to bring the resolution to a final vote as soon as possible. It is now estimated that the vote on the resolution will come on June 4! The [Page 604] resolution will then be referred to the Plenary session of the UNGA and will be voted on there again after a week or so. Although normally the vote would be the same in both forums, there is in this case a real possibility that some of the expected abstentions in Committee I might change to positive votes in the Plenary.

The fact that the vote in Committee I and the speech may be on the same day presents the speech writer with some problems. We might be able to speed up the vote by one day and we could certainly delay it a few days.

After the vote, the speech could welcome the first international endorsement of the NPT and at the same time to maintain the pressure looking toward an even stronger vote of endorsement in the Plenary of the UNGA. Before the vote, the speech could anticipate the international endorsement and maintain pressure on those who were undecided whether to vote yes or abstain in Committee I.

I think the President might make the following points:

Welcome, or encourage, endorsement of NPT by Committee I.
Identify critical nature of nuclear proliferation problem.
Note the three purposes served by the NPT:
Prevent proliferation.
Permit peaceful uses of the atom without fear of diversion to nuclear weapons.
New impetus on negotiations to halt arms race.
Treaty represents the collective efforts of the major nuclear powers and most of the rest of the world—first in ENDC, now in UNGA.
UNGA support for NPT represents an historic vote of confidence in man’s ability to control his destiny—to create an environment in which nuclear energy will not be an ever-expanding threat but a benefit to all mankind.
NPT convincingly demonstrates ability of major nuclear powers to work together closely and effectively on matter of critical importance to all.
We and the Soviets must pursue negotiations for further steps on arms control and disarmament as called for in NPT.
Restate call for discussions on strategic weapons freeze.
Call on Committee I or UNGA Plenary for strong endorsement of NPT, depending on timing of speech.
Express expectation that treaty can be signed and submitted to this session of Congress.

I am attaching for your reference the text on the NPT prepared by Bill Foster for the ACDA bill signing but held back for the “Swords into Plowshares” [Page 605] award.4 I understand that this ceremony has now been deferred until June 6 and will be a small, private affair, so this material could better be used in connection with the Glassboro speech. I think you will find this text, which covers some of the above points, useful.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Rostow Files, Glassboro State College, 6/4/68 Commencement Speech, Box 11. Confidential.
  2. For text of President Johnson’s speech, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-69, Book I, pp. 679-684.
  3. May 29.
  4. Not found.