284. Telegram 30638 From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1 2

REF:

  • STATE 9903

SUBJ.:

  • US Reply to Soviet Protest on SCHOONER
1.
Acting Country Director for USSR called in Soviet Embassy Counselor Vorontsov Feb. 26 and handed him US reply to Soviet aide-mémoire of January 21, 1969, concerning US nuclear explosion of December 8, 1968 (SCHOONER). Vorontsov made no substantive comment but said he would transmit US aide-mémoire to his government. Full text follows.
2.

BEGIN TEXT…Reference is made to the Soviet aide-mémoire of January 21, 1969, concerning the United States nuclear explosion of December 8, 1968, at the Nevada Test Site of the United States Atomic Energy Commission.

As the Soviet Government is aware, this experiment was part of the Atomic Energy Commission’s program to develop information on the possible use of nuclear explosions for peaceful excavations and other engineering purposes. The intention to conduct the experiment was publicly announced in advance,[Page 2] and the significant results achieved were announced after the test. Extensive precautions were taken to ensure that it was carried out in a manner consistent with the Limited Test Ban Treaty. The test was not conducted until very precise meteorological conditions were present that were selected to assure dilution, dispersion and decay within the United States of the small quantities of radioactivity released at the test site.

The United States refers to and reaffirms its earlier statement in an aide-mémoire to the Soviet Government dated May 14, 1965, that “the United States Government will continue to take the greatest care in the conduct of nuclear detonations including its program for peaceful uses of nuclear explosions. The United States Government affirms its commitment to the preservation of the Treaty (Limited Test Ban Treaty) with unimpaired authority.”…END TEXT

3.
FOR OTTAWA: Since we informed Canadian Embassy here in confidence of substance of Soviet aide-mémoire and Bohlen-Chernyakov conversation of January 21, we plan likewise to inform them of nature of our reply.

END

Richardson
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–1969, AE 6 US. Secret. It was repeated to Ottawa. Drafted by MacCracken (EUR/SOV); cleared by Dubs (EUR/SOV) and Scott (EUR/CAN) and in substance in J/PM and ACDA; and approved by Toon. Secret.
  2. The Department reported that on February 26 an aide-mémoire was given to Soviet Embassy Counselor Vorontsov in response to the Soviets’ January 21 aide-mémoire on the December 8, 1968 Schooner explosion.