186. Memorandum From the Department of State’s Executive Secretary (Read) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Status of Efforts to Influence Action on Draft Convention for African Nuclear Free Zone

The Department’s July 6 circular telegram on the draft Convention for an African nuclear free zone2 instructed our Ambassadors in selected [Page 282] African countries to approach Heads of Government or Foreign Ministers. The Ambassadors were asked to persuade them to advocate either (a) modification of language which would meet our concern regarding both possible prohibition of transit by US naval vessels or military aircraft and lack of provision in the draft Convention for verification and inspection against production or acquisition of nuclear weapons or their deployment in Africa by others, or (b) postponement of definite action on the draft in order to permit “further study.”

Responses to date have ranged from definitely sympathetic to non-committal, so that as of this writing the Department is not in a position to make a prediction as to the final outcome. It should be borne in mind that we have initially assumed that although the Africans may of their own volition proceed as we would wish, there is little likelihood that our own effort alone will influence a sufficient number of African governments to take one of the courses that we have proposed.

There is enclosed, as a separate but related item, a brief resume of the proceedings of the Algiers Conference on Denuclearization of the Mediterranean Area.3

Marion A. Baldwin 4
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Africa, General, Vol. II, 7/64–6/65. Secret.
  2. Circular telegram 28, July 6. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 3 OAU)
  3. Attached but not printed. On July 21, the OAU Heads of State Conference at Cairo passed a resolution reaffirming the November 1961 U.N. resolution calling on states to respect the continent of Africa as a nuclear-free zone and asking for an international treaty to achieve this. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1964, p. 1096.
  4. Baldwin signed for Read above Read’s typed signature. A covering note from NSC Staff member Samuel Belk to Bundy reads: “Mac: The attached memorandum deals with the current situation on a problem Governor Harriman is following closely. He spoke to me at great length about it and probably will do the same with you. Perhaps the attachment will be of interest. Sam.”