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152. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France1

66861. Subject: Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB): Consultations With French.

1. Politico-Military Affairs Director Gelb met with French Chargé Boyer March 24 to review arms control subjects on eve of Secretary Vance’s departure to Moscow. Drawing on President’s statements and Gelb March 21 statement to North Atlantic Council,2 Gelb reviewed SALT, CTB, MBFR, Indian Ocean, conventional arms transfers, anti-satellite capabilities, and prior notification of missile launches.

2. On test ban, Gelb noted President’s proposal for US-Soviet bilateral moratorium on nuclear testing for two, three or four years,3 explaining that if other nations cared to associate with it, this would be welcomed, but it was not a precondition. US was prepared to hear Soviets out on PNEs, but we did not favor them. Gelb specifically noted that:

A) Our test ban initiative was not intended to give problems to our allies, in particular France;

B) US of course would welcome it if France or others chose to associate with a cessation of testing;

C) Such a cessation of testing would not adversely affect NATO strategy or targeting. In our judgment, a CTB was not to our military disadvantage;

D) Before going forward with specific CTB negotiations, we would consult with our allies, including France.

3. Boyer noted French position was that a certain time was needed for other military tests. France would not rpt not join any moratorium at present. Boyer did not rpt not know about the future. Boyer added that, as Gelb had noted, there was the hope that a US-Soviet cessation of testing would be joined by other powers in the future.

4. In response to a question, Gelb confirmed position of administration favoring ratification of Threshold Test Ban Treaty.

Christopher
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770105–0121. Secret. Also sent to USNATO, Moscow, London, the Mission in Geneva, USUN, the Liaison Office in Peking, and the IAEA in Vienna. Drafted by Mark Ramee (PM/DCA); cleared by James Dobbins (EUR/CE), Peter Sebastian (S/S), and Robert Rochline (ACDA); and approved by Gelb.
  2. Not found.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 145.