99. Memorandum of Conversation1

SUBJECT

  • Disarmament

PARTICIPANTS

  • U.S.
    • Secretary Rusk
    • Secretary McNamara
    • Under Secretary Ball
    • Ambassador Thompson
    • Assistant Secretary Leddy
    • Ambassador Bruce
    • Adrian Fisher, Deputy Director,ACDA
    • J. Harold Shullaw, Director, BNA
  • U. K.
    • Michael Stewart, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
    • Sir Patrick Dean, British Ambassador
    • Sir Paul Gore-Booth, Permanent Under-Secretary of State
    • The Viscount Hood, Deputy Under-Secretary of State
    • Denis A. Greenhill, Assistant Under-Secretary of State
    • Michael N. F. Stewart, Minister, British Embassy
    • Lord Chalfont, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs

The Secretary suggested that Lord Chalfont and Mr. Fisher exchange views in advance of the meeting on October 14. Lord Chalfont [Page 258]asked whether there was any possibility of going further in linking a reduction of war heads with a freeze. The Secretary replied that there would be if we were engaged in serious discussions with the Russians. The trouble is that we have continued to make concession after concession with no response from the Soviet Union. Ambassador Thompson said that Gromyko had not been encouraging on the subject of the arms race in the Near East but appeared to want to keep the matter open. The Foreign Secretary said Gromyko had not discussed the Near East arms problem with him but had raised the question of denuclearizing Africa.

On the matter of extending the test ban treaty the Secretary said the Russians insisted on linking the threshold concept with a moratorium on all other tests. He said that this amounted to an unverified test ban and was unacceptable. The U.S. had proposed technical talks on detection systems. But Gromyko took the position that there could be no inspection for political reasons, and therefore it was unnecessary to hold technical talks on the effectiveness of detecting systems. The Soviets had also been unwilling to talk about the comparability of defense budgets. The Secretary said that progress by mutual example in budget reductions had been interrupted because Peiping had entered the picture in South East Asia. Nevertheless we are seriously interested in disarmament and a mutual understanding of defense budgets in the USSR and the U.S. would be helpful. Secretary McNamara agreed with this. He pointed out that the U.S. had made some defense budget cuts which the USSR didn’t understand because they weren’t familiar with our complex defense budget system. A full understanding by both governments of the other’s defense budget could well lead to practical results in mutual reductions in defense expenditures.

Mr. Fisher raised the question of our attitude toward a World Disarmament Conference. We see no merit in the idea but the problem is how to deal with it in the General Assembly. Lord Chalfont agreed that a World Conference could not be an effective forum for negotiations. In view of broad world support for it, however, it would be best to avoid appearing to oppose it while allowing the obvious difficulties in sponsorship etc. to arise without helping to solve them. Lord Chalfont said that Gromyko had made it clear the conference should be outside the UN and should take place by the middle of next year. The Secretary agreed that no good could come from such a conference. He added that it would cause great difficulties with Germany and could endanger the work of the Committee of 18.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18. Confidential. Drafted by J. Harold Shullaw (EUR/BNA) and approved in S, U, and G on October 19. The source text is labeled “Part 2 of 6.” This meeting was held in the Secretary of State’s office. Stewart visited the United States October 11-14.