72. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Disarmament


  • UK Side
    • Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart
    • Sir Harold Caccia, Permanent Under Secretary of State, Foreign Office
    • Michael Stewart, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., British Embassy
    • R.S. Crawford, Assistant Under Secretary, Foreign Office
    • Michael Hadow, Counselor, Foreign Office
    • J.N. Henderson, Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary
    • John Harris, Special Assistant to the Foreign Secretary
  • US Side
    • The Secretary
    • Ambassador Bruce
    • William C. Foster, Director,ACDA
    • William R. Tyler, Assistant Secretary, EUR
    • Harlan Cleveland, Assistant Secretary, IO
    • Richard I. Phillips, Deputy Assistant Secretary, P
    • J. Harold Shullaw, Director, BNA

Foreign Secretary Stewart said that Gromyko in his talks in London last week had refused to include in the communique any mention of [Page 195] resumed disarmament discussions at Geneva.2 Nevertheless, he had indicated that the Soviet reply to the US proposal regarding resumption of the talks would be forthcoming shortly. Mr. Stewart listed three subjects which he had discussed with Gromyko: (1) a non-dissemination agreement; (2) extension of the test ban to cover underground tests; and (3) a combination of a freeze on delivery systems with the destruction of some means of delivery. Gromyko had been emphatic that so long as there is a prospect of MLF or an ANF there can be no agreement on non-dissemination. With respect to an extension of the test ban to include underground tests, Gromyko maintained that there is no need for on-site inspections. He did not respond to Mr. Stewart’s suggestion that scientists on each site should examine the scientific basis for the Soviet contention that on-site inspections are unnecessary.

In response to the Secretary’s question, Mr. Stewart said that Gromyko had not made any suggestions regarding a reconstitution of the membership of the Geneva Conference, for example, to include Communist China. In discussing other forums for disarmament negotiations, however, Gromyko had referred to the possibility of a five-power meeting, including Communist China, to discuss nuclear weapons. Mr. Stewart believes that the Soviet Union will probably agree to resume discussions at Geneva but in doing so is likely to attach various restrictive conditions.

The Secretary said that the U.S. does not exclude the possibility of Chinese Communist participation in disarmament negotiations. We have always recognized that at a certain stage their participation will be necessary.

The Foreign Secretary reported that Gromyko in discussing a possible budgetary approach to disarmament had been unresponsive when the problem of differences in budgetary accounting between different countries was raised with him. The Secretary said that we would be interested in a budgetary approach to the problem of disarmament but a necessary preliminary would be a discussion of the comparability of budgets. We have informed the Soviet Union of reductions in our defense budgets pursuant to the idea of encouraging reductions by mutual example.

Mr. Foster said that some parts of the U.K. draft agreement on nonproliferation caused us concern. He mentioned in this connection implications with respect to MLF and ANF with which we did not agree. Mr. Foster also expressed doubts about the desirability of early tabling of [Page 196] such a proposal in disarmament discussions. He emphasized that we are in accord with the importance of a non-dissemination agreement and the urgency of the matter.

With respect to an extension of the test ban treaty to cover underground tests, Mr. Foster said that for scientific and political reasons there is still a need for on-site inspections. He recalled that our last offer had been for a minimum of seven on-site inspections while the Russians had proposed three and then later had withdrawn their offer. Mr. Foster expressed doubt about the desirability of our proposing a new number of on-site inspections until the Soviet Union has accepted the principle of such inspections. Mr. Stewart agreed with Mr. Foster on this point.

The Foreign Secretary, reverting to the recent UK/German talks,3 said that the Federal Republic is not prepared to consider any form of discrimination going beyond its present undertaking not to manufacture nuclear weapons. The Germans are unwillling to enter into new contractual obligations with the Soviet Union without concurrent progress on reunification. The Secretary said we do not agree that this is a card the Germans are entitled to play. If we reach agreement on an MLF/ANF we can, however, say the German reunification would necessitate review of the situation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18. Secret. Drafted by J. Harold Shullaw (EUR/BNA) and approved in S on March 31. The source text is labeled “Part 2 of 5.” The meeting was held in the Secretary’s conference room. Foreign Secretary Stewart visited Washington, March 21-24.
  2. Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko, who visited London March 16-20, 1965, for talks with British Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart, did not mention resumption of the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee, which had adjourned in Geneva on September 17, 1964.
  3. Probably a reference to West German Foreign Minister Gerhard Schroeder’s talks with British Foreign Secretary Gordon Walker in London on December 11, 1964, largely on the NATO nuclear issue.