50. Statement Prepared by the Ad Hoc Committee of the Space Council1



In the spring of 1966 the British Government began the process of reconsideration of its participation in ELDO. When it became apparent that this reconsideration might lead to British withdrawal from ELDO, the United States made known to the British and to certain other members of ELDO its hope that the British would continue their ELDO membership and participation. The United States informed the British that a “U.S. position would be prepared providing for cooperation with ELDO in the event ELDO members desire such cooperation.” At a meeting of ELDO on June 9, Great Britain sought a reduction in the British ELDO assessment.2 The decision to follow this course of action rather than anticipated withdrawal from ELDO was no doubt influenced by the severe European reaction to the possibility of British withdrawal and to the expressions of US interest in the continuation of ELDO and the U.S. willingness to cooperate with ELDO should ELDO desire. [At a subsequent meeting on July 7–8 ELDO agreed on a reduction in the British assessment and confirmed the continuation of its present program (the completion of the ELDO-A vehicle) through 1971.]3 It is therefore desirable to have available as promptly as possible for contingency use the U.S. position on cooperation with ELDO.

Policy Considerations

The principal US interest in the continuation of ELDO is political rather than programmatic. British withdrawal from ELDO or ELDO’s [Page 101] demise would adversely affect US foreign policy objectives in the following respects:4

It would be unfortunate not only with respect to British political relationships with the Continent and the Common Market but also could have an adverse impact on other European multilateral efforts.
The US prefers multilateral to national programs of launcher development which might be stimulated in the absence of ELDO.
The US is concerned that, if ELDO were to be dissolved, France might devote more of its resources to a national, military-related program or that it might establish undesirable bilateral relationships for the construction of satellite launch vehicles.
The US feels that Europe’s technological development is in part dependent upon its participation in major space activities involving highly advanced technology.

US Position

It should be made known that the US stands prepared to offer cooperation and assistance to ELDO, which would contribute to the desirability from the European point of view of the continuation of ELDO.

A. Conditions underlying cooperation—In view of existing policies concerning US assistance in the development of foreign communications satellite capabilities and the non-proliferation of ballistic missile delivery capabilities as stated in NSAMs 338 and 294, it is understood that in responding to requests for cooperation by ELDO, US cooperation would be selective and subject to government-to-government agreement that launcher vehicles, components and technology would not be used for:

Advancement of communication satellite capability other than (a) to permit participation in the US National Defense Communication Satellite System; or (b) in connection with the Single Global Commercial Communication Satellite System in accordance with the provisions of the Interim Agreement and Special Agreement of August 20, 1964.5
Advancement of nuclear missile delivery capabilities of one or more member countries.
Transmittal or transferral to non-ELDO countries without US authorization.

B. Areas of US cooperation and assistance—

1. General assistance applicable to both short and long range ELDO projects, as follows:

Training—Participation by ELDO nominees in NASA seminars for technical management training in such subjects as PERT and Companion Cost System, Reliability and Quality Assurance in Specific Systems, Testing and Checkout, Systems Compatibility, Incentive Contracting.
Facilitating export licenses for ELDO requirements, including an extension of the ELDO export certification process (originally adopted for UDMH) to cover the procurement of other launch vehicle and ground support equipment hardware. (A device to give ELDO items priority and access beyond European national vehicle programs.)
Use of NASA test facilities.
Designation within NASA of a technical office specifically to serve in an expediting and assisting role for ELDO.

2. Short range assistance in the proposed reconfiguration of ELDO-A.

Make available on a case by case basis, subject to export control approval, Atlas Standard Launch Vehicle (SLV) technology additional to that already provided under past export control actions.
Technical advice and assistance in such areas as
Multi-stage vehicle integration.
Stage separation
Range organization, lay-out, and equipment as related to the ELDO vehicle.
Synchronous orbit injection techniques.
Procurement of unclassified flight hardware in the US including such items as the Miniature Integrating Gyro (MIG) strapped-down “guidance” (auto-pilot) package used on the Scout vehicle. Comparable hardware has already been exported to Japan.

3. Long range assistance in the development of follow-up ELDO projects using high-energy cryogenic upper stages (e.g. ELDO-B).

Access to related US experience and technology as available in the Atlas-Centaur system through technical documentation and contacts.
Bring ELDO technical personnel into intimate touch with problems of systems design, integration, and program management of a high-energy upper stage such as the Centaur.
Consideration of joint use of a high-energy upper stage developed in Europe.

C. Supplementary action—To supplement ELDO-A launch services the US will sell Scout, Thor, and Atlas vehicles and launch services for scientific and applications satellites to Western European and other countries as deemed appropriate and consistent with A above.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, SP 11 ELDO. Confidential. The first draft of this paper was prepared by Pollack and a working group of the International Cooperation subcommittee, chaired by Under Secretary of State U. Alexis Johnson. Pollack sent the draft, in circulation for comments, under cover of a memorandum to Secretary Rusk on June 15 in preparation for a National Aeronautics and Space Council meeting. (Ibid., SP 10) On July 22 Joyce sent the final version of the paper, as printed here, prepared as a draft NSAM, under cover of a memorandum to President Johnson requesting Johnson’s signature to another memorandum to the Vice President.
  2. See Document 45.
  3. Brackets in the source text.
  4. The DOD feels that paragraph A alone is a sufficient basis for the US position; the DOD does not endorse Paras. B, C, and D. [Footnote in the source text. Secretary McNamara explained his objectives to President Johnson on July 2: “I cannot endorse all the ‘Policy Considerations’ since several of the points listed imply conclusions which seem doubtful as to French and other ELDO nations’ policies.” He added, “It is understood that should the ELDO structure change significantly, such as by withdrawal of the UK, the policy proposed herein would be reconsidered.” (Department of State,SCI Files: Lot 68 D 383, SP 11 ELDO)]
  5. See Document 71.