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National Security Policy
Arms Control/Disarmament
Foreign Relations, , Vol VII 1961-1963

When John F. Kennedy became President in January 1961, the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union still adhered to a joint moratorium on nuclear testing. The efforts of Kennedy administration officials to negotiate a permanent ban on nuclear tests is the principal subject documented in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, volume VII, Arms Control and Disarmament. The Kennedy administration promoted several policy initiatives on the testing question both directly with the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union and at the sessions of the Geneva Conference on the Discontinuance of Nuclear Weapons Tests and its successor forum, the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee (ENDC).

Initially, different voices within the administration debated the wisdom of continuing to adhere to the testing moratorium, and a Presidential panel headed by John J. McCloy recommended that the United States resume testing if timely progress was not made in the Geneva talks. The Soviet Union's announcement on August 30, 1961, that it had resumed atomic testing effectively ended ideological and bureaucratic wrangling in the Kennedy administration, and the President, with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, shortly called for a ban on atmospheric tests while preparing for a resumption of U.S. testing.

Internal debate continued on whether to conduct some of the upcoming U.S. nuclear tests in the atmosphere. Most of the President's senior advisers argued that, despite public concerns about the potentially harmful effects of radiation fallout and probable criticism from nonaligned nations, U.S. national security required such tests. Despite his own misgivings, President Kennedy soon announced publicly his decision to conduct atmospheric tests.

The main stumbling block to progress with the Soviet Union on the testing question was inspection and verification. The United States insisted on an objective international inspection system, but the Soviet Union balked at foreign inspectors on its territory. The Cuban missile crisis in late October 1962 dramatized to both Kennedy and Soviet Chairman Nikita Khrushchev the need for better U.S.-Soviet cooperation on disarmament, but the two delegations at the Geneva meetings of the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee could not agree on the inspection issue.

In an effort to break the impasse, Kennedy sent W. Averell Harriman to Moscow in July 1963 as his special emissary to negotiate directly with a British envoy and the Soviet leadership on the testing question. Harriman's instructions called for negotiation of a comprehensive test ban, if possible, but he was also advised to pursue a more likely agreement banning tests in the atmosphere, outer space, and underwater. Khrushchev reverted to a position of accepting no inspections of Soviet territory, so the negotiators focused on a more modest three-environment test ban. When the United States gave up its proposal to allow for peaceful nuclear explosions in the three environments in return for Soviet acceptance of withdrawal from the treaty if a nation conducted a nuclear weapons test that others believed might threaten their national security, the three powers agreed to sign the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) on August 5, 1963. Kennedy administration officials reassured the Joint Chiefs of Staff and many skeptical Senators that the LTBT did not compromise U.S. security, and the U.S. Senate soon voted its consent to the agreement by a comfortable margin.

Kennedy also interested himself to a limited extent in deterrent theory, but the main force in the theory's constant evolution during his administration was McNamara. In January 1961 the outgoing Eisenhower administration discussed several issues that would preoccupy its successor. On January 12 Eisenhower and his advisers discussed reports on U.S. limited war, reaching the conclusion that "U.S. capabilities to conduct limited war are substantial and will show a further improvement on the basis of the 1962 budget as submitted." The administration also specified force goals of 540 Minuteman missiles by mid-1964 and a total authorization of 19 Polaris submarines. (Supplement, January 5, 1961) At a conference with President-elect Kennedy held January 19, Secretary of Defense Thomas Gates assured Kennedy and Secretary of Defense- designate Robert McNamara that "the United States can handle any number of small limited war situations at one time." (3)

From the outset, it was clear that the new administration would not accept previously projected missile force levels or assurances that limited war capabilities were adequate at existing funding levels. The report of a transition team headed by Paul H. Nitze, who became Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs under McNamara, started from the premise that the most basic strategic judgment was "between attempting to follow a politically meaningful 'win' capability in general war versus the creation of a secure retaliatory capability" and concluded that "in addition to a secure deterrent posture, some admixture of possible 'win' capabilities is called for." (1)

At a policy meeting held in early February, McNamara reported decisions to accelerate procurement of five Polaris submarines by ten months, increase airlift capacity, and carry out a complete reappraisal of the pending FY 1962 military budget. (8) McNamara reported to Kennedy on the major work of this reappraisal on February 20, and recommended an increase in $2 billion for items designed to strengthen both strategic retaliatory and limited war capabilities. McNamara chose to boost Polaris rather than Minuteman production because of the Navy missile's invulnerability, but proposed also to double Minuteman production capability to afford the option of increasing this program later. For conventional forces, McNamara proposed funds for training, readiness, and a higher supply level to forward a long-range objective of making "non-nuclear warfare" the "primary mission of our overseas forces." (17)

The interim increases were but the first result of a massive inquiry into the role, mission, and doctrine of strategic and conventional forces that would continue throughout the Kennedy administration. One of the first surprises to the public at large was a newspaper article in early February 1961, apparently based on a briefing by McNamara, stating that the "missile gap," during which it had been expected that the Soviet Union would bring large numbers of ICBMs on line before the United States, was unlikely to materialize. (14) Firm, widely disseminated figures fully backing the end of the "missile gap," however, did not materialize until new intelligence estimates were circulated in June and especially in September 1961. (29, 45, 129)

By the fall of 1961 the outline of some of the administration's major changes in strategic nuclear policy was visible. In the first of a series of "Draft Presidential Memoranda" (usually known as "DPMs") to Kennedy regarding the FY 1963 defense budget, McNamara recommended substantial increases over the Eisenhower administration ICBM force objectives, for a total of 1,000 Minuteman and 656 Polaris missiles by the end of FY 1967. In justification McNamara enunciated a variant of the doctrine known as "counterforce," in which the first salvo of nuclear weapons in a retaliatory attack would be directed against enemy forces instead of enemy population centers, while a certain portion of the strategic force would be withheld for potential later use against military, industrial, and population targets. McNamara specifically rejected "minimum deterrence," a relatively small retaliatory capability targeted on enemy population centers only, on the ground that in an actual war "a capability to counterattack against high-priority Soviet military targets can make a major contribution" to "limiting damage and terminating the war on acceptable terms." Minimum deterrence would also fail to protect U.S. allies. McNamara was equally emphatic in rejecting "a full first strike capability," in which most nuclear weapons would be discharged in an attempt to destroy enemy in one blow, on the grounds that it was infeasible and that attempting to arm for this objective would intensify the arms race. (46)

Implicitly McNamara was also rejecting the "optimum mix" targeting doctrine which had guided preparation of the first Single Integrated Operations Plan, or SIOP-62, approved in December 1960. (Documentation will be included in Foreign Relations, 1958-1960, Volume III, scheduled to be published in November 1996.) New guidance for SIOP-63, the replacement targeting plan, which went into effect in June 1962, in general reflected the priorities of McNamara's DPM. (41, 62) Guidance for the following year's plan, SIOP-64, was closely similar. (92; Supplement, November 14, 1962)

Also for FY 1963 McNamara recommended only enough funds for the Nike- Zeus anti-missile system to allow its limited deployment "in the near future," curtailment of long-range bomber procurement, improvements in Army equipment and reserve readiness rather than a large increase in personnel, and a strengthening of land-based tactical air units. (48, 50, 51) The Bureau of the Budget and the President's Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, Carl Kaysen, unsuccessfully advocated some cuts in the missile program. (57, 63) General Maxwell Taylor, the President's Military Representative, recommended greater emphasis on Nike-Zeus and a buildup in conventional forces. (58, 60) For the most part, however, the budget as submitted to the Congress reflected McNamara's priorities. The administration also approved substantial civil defense expenditures, but these were never approved by the Congress. (61, 63)

As noted above, McNamara had embraced counterforce doctrine in his first DPM. In the spring of 1962, he advocated counterforce to the NATO Foreign Ministers assembled in Athens, and he expounded some of the same ideas in unclassified form in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in June. (82) Thereafter he moved steadily away from counterforce. Even before the Ann Arbor address he scribbled on a memorandum that the "concept of 'worsened relative military position after a general nuclear war' is not a meaningful one to me when each side has the capacity to destroy the other's civilization." (89) In his rationale for strategic retaliatory forces, contained in a DPM of November 1962, he placed counterforce after the need "to provide the United States with a secure, protected retaliatory force able to survive any attack within enemy capabilities and capable of striking back and destroying Soviet urban society, if necessary, in a controlled and deliberate way." (112)

In the equivalent report for 1963, McNamara shifted to a greater emphasis on deterrence by stressing "assured destruction," which was "the ability to destroy, after a well planned and executed Soviet surprise attack on our Strategic Nuclear Forces, the Soviet government and military controls, plus a large percentage of their population and economy. . . . This calculation of the effectiveness of U.S. forces is not a reflection of our actual targeting doctrine in the event deterrence fails." Beyond "assured destruction," which focused almost entirely on deterrence, McNamara was willing to expend some money on "damage limiting," or reduction of damage to the United States in the event of war, but not to the point of giving the United States a "full first strike capability," which McNamara always regarded as infeasible and destabilizing. (151)

Others in the administration also experienced this shift toward pure deterrence, in some cases reaching that position before, and more unconditionally than McNamara. In February 1963, "Bundy said in the most serious way that he felt there was really no logic whatever to 'nuclear policy.' What he meant by this was that the military planners who calculate that we will win if only we can kill 100 million Russians while they are killing 30 million Americans are living in a total dreamland." (127)

At a September 1963 meeting of top officials with the Net Evaluation Subcommittee (NESC) of the JCS to discuss nuclear issues, the President too revealed his concern with excessive production and deployment of nuclear weapons(the problem of "overkill." While the NESC and McNamara both appeared, for different reasons, to be interested in a somewhat larger force than the President appeared to, the meeting demonstrated unequivocally a consensus at the highest level regarding the futility of any U.S. attempt at a preemptive strike. (141) The administration entertained some fear that certain military, particularly Air Force, circles were in favor of a first strike. (118)

While the debate on strategic nuclear weapons was relatively clearly focused, and a rough consensus on their role and use had emerged by mid- 1963, the Kennedy administration never succeeded in formulating clear policy on the deployment and potential use of tactical nuclear weapons. There was a consensus on the need for increased emphasis on non-nuclear forces, both "conventional" and for counterinsurgency. Secretary of State Dean Rusk in particular periodically reminded McNamara of the need to spend more, not less, money on conventional forces for foreign policy reasons: to reassure the NATO allies and to present a consistently determined force posture against Communist nations. (10, 35, 53) (Rusk, unlike McNamara, also strongly endorsed funding for development of an anti-ballistic missile defense system.) (114)

Beyond the area of consensus, however, major variations persisted. General Taylor had retired from the Army in 1958 partly because of his desire to "go public" on flexible response, and it was his position on this issue that had initially recommended him to the President. Yet as Taylor made clear in memoranda to Kennedy, he desired a buildup in conventional forces and increased development of tactical nuclear weapons. His objective was to achieve "dual capable" ground forces which could use or not use nuclear weapons as the occasion demanded. The issue with tactical nuclears was not whether to have them but how to "improve them down to the fractional kiloton yields which offer the possibility of a separate stage in escalation short of the use of weapons of mass destruction." (10, 60, 80, 87)

The questions raised by McNamara, Kaysen, and others, on the other hand, make clear their overall skepticism on the usefulness of tactical nuclears and the possibility of employing them in situations that would not escalate into general war. Studies ordered by McNamara did not convince him that an answer to the problem had been found: "Our own studies, not being definitive, don't persuade." Regarding the problem of further escalation in a hypothetical scenario in which the United States had initiated use of tactical nuclears in Europe, one study quoted with approval USCINCEUR's conviction that it was "doubtful that Soviet leaders would regard success of ventures into Western Europe as so vital an objective as to be willing to escalate the level of conflict, especially in view of the risk of bringing about a general war from which the destruction of their homeland would result." (86; Supplement, April 1963) McNamara continued to believe, however, "that the escalation potential of tactical nuclear warfare, of the type on which present plans are based, [was] high," and that "we have not been able to clarify fully the role of tactical nuclear weapons in our over- all strategy." (151)

The question of resuming nuclear weapons tests dominated discussions on arms control at the beginning of the Kennedy administration. Since 1958, the United States had adhered to a joint moratorium on nuclear testing with the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. The three countries had worked for a permanent test ban at the ongoing Geneva Conference on the Discontinuance of Nuclear Weapons Tests. The negotiations had not yet produced an agreement when John F. Kennedy became President in 1961.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Department of Defense advocated a return to weapons testing. Adhering to the moratorium, they thought, delayed weapons development and jeopardized national security. (14, 22) Other advisers, especially Secretary of State Dean Rusk, along with President Kennedy himself, had misgivings about the wisdom of abandoning the moratorium. The U.S. Mission to the United Nations thought resuming tests would damage U.S. international political standing. (29) Adlai E. Stevenson, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, was an outspoken critic of nuclear testing.

Kennedy had named John J. McCloy as his special adviser on disarmament. McCloy formed his own group of experts, known as the Fisk Panel after its chairman, James Fisk, to study the technical considerations of an agreement for the discontinuance of nuclear tests. The panel reported that a test ban agreement could hinder nuclear weapons development; however, this risk "must be appraised in the light of all the courses and risk factors the United States [considers] in its endeavor to reduce the likelihood of war and promote strong conditions of peace." The panel ultimately recommended that the United States resume testing if timely progress was not made at the Geneva Conference. (5)

At the Conference, the United States and the Soviet Union quarreled over the issues of inspection and verification. Even within the Kennedy administration, there was disagreement over how many on-site inspections would be necessary. (4) Soviet Chairman Nikita S. Khrushchev often maintained that three inspections a year would be sufficient; any more would be tantamount to spying. The Soviets also opposed draft treaty provisions for a worldwide detection system headed by a single administrator; they preferred a three-man body that would not be prejudicial to any side. Khrushchev insisted that the controls proposed by the United States would endanger the Soviet Union's national security and subject its defense program "to the will of a third party." (31) The Soviets' refusal to accept inspection and verification remained a stumbling block throughout the negotiations.

In June 1961, Ambassador to the Soviet Union Llewellyn E. Thompson suggested the formal renewal of the proposal for a ban on atmospheric and undersea tests. (33) The Geneva negotiations soon stalled, however, as the Soviet Union maintained that any inspection and control had to be subject to Soviet veto. (35) There was also concern that the Soviets had secretly broken the moratorium and resumed testing. (48, 49)

In a TASS broadcast on August 30, 1961, the Soviet Union ended speculation by announcing it had resumed atomic testing. A few days later, President Kennedy and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan issued a joint declaration for a ban on atmospheric tests. (63) On September 5, after the Soviet Union conducted three nuclear weapons tests, Kennedy ordered the resumption of underground weapons testing. (65)

Later that fall, India introduced a resolution in the U.N. General Assembly that called for an uninspected ban on all forms of testing. The Kennedy administration responded that the "proper road to a nuclear test ban is through a treaty among the countries that can test nuclear devices." (83) The President emphasized that he remained prepared to sign the atmospheric test ban proposed by the United States and the United Kingdom.

At the reopening of the Geneva Conference on November 28, 1961, however, agreement did not seem possible. Secretary Rusk stated that the United States would not make a pre-treaty commitment to withhold resumption of tests. The Soviet Union had broken the moratorium; it was only fair, he argued, that the United States continue its weapons program. (99)

Semyon Tsarapkin, a member of the Soviet Delegation to the Conference, maintained that the Soviets had resumed testing because the United States was ahead in weapons development. The Soviet Union could not allow the United States to retain this advantage, as the United States remained committed to the destruction of the Soviet Union. Soviet leaders also refused to submit to control posts or on-site inspections. Despite U.S. admonitions that the Soviets were being unrealistic, Tsarapkin maintained the previous Soviet position that general and complete disarmament had to come before inspection and control of armaments.(106)

With talks stalled once again, the Kennedy administration engaged in internal debate over resuming atmospheric tests. Most of Kennedy's advisers, in particular the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), advocated following the Soviets' lead and beginning a new series of tests. (137) Secretary Rusk thought the nation's security depended on atmospheric testing. (131)

Other advisers took more moderate positions. Jerome Wiesner, the President's special assistant on science issues, believed that atmospheric tests would be desirable for military development, but also felt "the security of the United States would not be endangered by a decision not to test in the atmosphere at this time." (110) Arthur Schlesinger, the President's Special Assistant, advised that adhering to the moratorium could make the United States look weak, while testing could make the arms race seem out of control. (113) Adlai Stevenson argued that the United States could make major gains with the non- aligned world by refraining from tests.(137)

One of Kennedy's main concerns was the bad press that would result from performing an atmospheric test in the United States. He asked Prime Minister Macmillan to allow the United States to use remote Christmas Island for the first test. Macmillan feared world outcry over U.S. resumption of atmospheric tests. Before allowing the United States to use Christmas Island, Macmillan required a clearer picture of the kind of tests the United States would perform, as well as a better understanding of the purpose of the tests. He was concerned that a return to testing would hurt disarmament efforts. Although the Soviet Union had broken the moratorium, the Prime Minister did not believe the United States had to respond in kind. (95) Macmillan eventually agreed to Kennedy's request, but he wanted any announcement of tests to be connected with a new disarmament initiative. (122)

On March 2, 1962, Kennedy delivered a radio and television address announcing his decision to begin preparations for atmospheric tests. He stressed recent Soviet tests and U.S. security needs as reasons for this decision. Despite the resumption of tests, he stated that the United States remained committed to a comprehensive disarmament agreement at the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee (ENDC) in Geneva. (143) The ENDC, opening on March 14, 1962, replaced the Geneva Conference as the major forum for test ban negotiations. It included five NATO countries, five Warsaw Pact countries, and eight non-aligned countries.

U.S. representatives at the ENDC still insisted on an objective international inspection system that could distinguish between natural and artificial seismic events. (163) The British felt the United States should be more flexible in the negotiations for a test ban treaty. The United Kingdom put forth its own proposal at Geneva, one that did not provide for as many inspections as the U.S. plan. Kennedy feared the United States would appear to have ruined a chance for agreement if he rejected the British plan. He was fairly sure the Soviet Union would not agree to the plan because it also included inspections; perhaps the United States should go along with the plan and let the Soviets take the heat for blocking agreement. (161) Kennedy's hunch was correct, and the Soviets rejected all Western proposals.

At an April 18, 1962, National Security Council (NSC) meeting, Kennedy approved an atmospheric test series, held in the Pacific Ocean area from April 25 to November 3, 1962. Kennedy was sensitive to world reactions to the tests and wanted them completed as quickly as possible. At the NSC meeting he asked for a short lead time between announcement and actual testing to minimize publicity. The President also inquired about the possibility of a photographer taking a picture of the mushroom cloud. A meeting memorandum noted that "everyone but the President seemed to feel that radiation in milk was no real problem." (176)

Failure to make real progress in gaining Soviet acceptance of on-site inspections as part of a comprehensive test ban resulted in the U.S. resurrection of a proposal for a ban on atmospheric testing. Secretary Rusk thought it was useless to haggle over the number of inspections when the Soviets had repeatedly told negotiators they would accept none. (203) Instructions sent in August 1962 to Arthur H. Dean, head of the U.S. negotiating team, reflected the realization that a limited treaty might be more feasible. The instructions stated that Dean should declare a willingness to discuss a comprehensive test ban treaty involving internationally supervised control posts. However, if the two superpowers could not agree on this aspect, the United States should suggest an atmospheric-outer space-underwater test ban treaty. (211) On August 27, Kennedy and Macmillan issued a joint statement indicating their representatives had been authorized to negotiate a limited treaty as an alternative to a comprehensive ban. (224)

While test ban negotiations continued, Secretary Rusk began to explore the possibility of an agreement on the non-transfer of nuclear weapons. Rusk first approached France, the United Kingdom, and Germany at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meeting in December 1962. The United Kingdom agreed to the concept, but Germany and France had some reservations. (249, 265) The Soviet Union was unenthusiastic, claiming that NATO contradicted the professed U.S. desire for non-proliferation. (261) Although eclipsed by the test ban negotiations, talks on "non- diffusion," as it was sometimes called, continued sporadically throughout 1963. Secretary Rusk's initiative ultimately bore fruit with the signing of the multilateral Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968.

Soviet leaders had become interested in the idea of using automatic seismic recording stations, or "black boxes," as the means for monitoring violations of a test ban. At the Pugwash Conference in September 1962, Soviet and U.S. scientists approved the suggestion for using automatic seismic stations for the purposes of control. Khrushchev wrote to Kennedy saying that he would like to view the U.S.- Soviet scientists' agreement as an encouraging sign. (232) Wiesner advised the President that the stations would not eliminate the need for on-site inspections, because so little was known about the characteristics of earthquakes in the Soviet Union. (233) Kennedy rejected the idea of relying on the black boxes. As he told Khrushchev, "My scientists indicate that it would require much more than the two or three such stations you mentioned." (236)

The Cuban missile crisis in late October 1962 sounded an alarm to both Kennedy and Khrushchev. Their messages to each other at the end of the crisis mentioned the need for renewed efforts on arms control. Khrushchev wrote to Kennedy, "We should like to continue the exchange of views on the prohibition of atomic and thermonuclear weapons." (239) Kennedy responded, "Perhaps now, as we step back from danger, we can together make real progress in this vital field." (239)

In December the number of permitted on-site inspections again moved to the forefront of negotiations, this time in a dispute over the meaning of two conversations between Dean and the Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister. The Soviets supposedly came away from the two meetings with the impression that the United States would be willing to accept two to four inspections a year. On December 19, Khrushchev wrote to Kennedy saying that the Soviet Union was prepared to accept Dean's "offer." Although Kennedy informed Khrushchev that Dean had mentioned the possibility of eight to ten inspections, not two to four, Soviet negotiators continued to refer to the two-to-four offer. (251, 256)

Dean maintained that he had suggested the United States might be willing to accept eight to ten inspections, only two of which had to be in aseismic areas. He pointed out that there had been no interpreter during the conversations, which were supposed to have been on an informal level. Dean's aide at the meetings confirmed his figures. The Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, William Foster, attempted to clarify Dean's comments at a plenary session of the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee in March 1963. He stated that he regretted any misunderstanding Dean may have caused, but the United States would not accept only two to four inspections. (251)

On July 10, 1963, Kennedy gave W. Averell Harriman, special emissary to the test ban negotiations, instructions for the next round of talks in Moscow. The President asked Harriman to try to negotiate the most comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty possible. Kennedy realized that agreement with the Soviets on a comprehensive treaty was unlikely, however, and so advised Harriman to seek an agreement banning testing in the atmosphere, outer space, and underwater. Kennedy also wanted Harriman to continue to emphasize the relationship between a nuclear test ban and the U.S. desire to control nuclear weapons proliferation. In addition, Kennedy instructed his emissary to explore Soviet intentions on a number of issues, such as the establishment of nuclear free zones and an agreement not to place nuclear weapons in orbit. (319)

The final round of negotiations began on July 15, 1963. Any hopes for a comprehensive ban were immediately dashed when Khrushchev said that the Soviet Union would not permit any inspections, even the two or three they had previously accepted. (325) Full attention then turned to a ban for atmospheric-outer space-underwater testing. The Soviets agreed to a three-environment test ban drafted by the United States and United Kingdom in August 1962, with two exceptions. (328) The draft treaty allowed peaceful explosions in the three environments if treaty signatories agreed to the explosions. It also provided a procedure for withdrawal from the treaty if a country performed a nuclear weapons test that others believed might threaten their national security. This matter was settled on July 17, when the United States gave up the peaceful uses clause in exchange for Soviet acceptance of the withdrawal clause. (329)

The negotiators also addressed the problem of Soviet desire for a non- aggression pact (NAP). (325, 333) Although Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko repeatedly stated that the Soviet Union saw a non- aggression pact as an important part of the negotiations, he eventually agreed that a test ban would not be contingent upon the pact. (335, 343) Likewise, Harriman decided to downplay the issue of non- proliferation when Khrushchev and Gromyko showed no interest in the subject. (331, 332)

With these differences resolved, the United States and Soviet Union agreed to initial the treaty once they developed language for the communiquÈ. (343) Two days later, on July 25, 1963, the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union initialed the document and released its text. (353) On August 5 representatives from the three countries signed the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Underwater, commonly known as the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) in Moscow. (359) President Kennedy hailed the agreement as an important step in reducing world tension and limiting the nuclear arms race.

Senate approval had been a concern throughout the negotiations. On July 21 the Department of State held a special meeting to consider any Congressional problems that might arise over the treaty. Administration officials reported that most key Senators were on board. (337) Kennedy later decided to include several Senators in the delegation sent to the official treaty signing. According to a memorandum, "the purpose of the Senate delegation is to interest them as well as to provide additional opportunities to direct public attention to the benefits of a test ban treaty." (340)

Secretary Rusk and Harriman also met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to reassure them that the treaty did not prevent the use of nuclear weapons in hostilities. The Secretary also stated that the treaty permitted the United States to continue underground "peaceful uses" experimentation for Plowshare, an area of concern for the Chiefs. The JCS ultimately reported that they had no major problems with the treaty. (362)

On September 24, 1963, the U.S. Senate gave its consent to the Limited Test Ban Treaty by a vote of 80 to 19. The treaty entered into force on October 10 when the instruments of ratification were exchanged in similar ceremonies in Washington, Moscow, and London. (366) In spite of the achievement of the treaty, the United States had no plans to abandon underground testing. The Department of Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission began preparing for a series of higher yield underground tests, as well as new testing techniques in August 1963. (363, 364)

Arms control efforts continued, however, as the Kennedy administration prepared for the next meeting of the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee, scheduled to resume on January 21, 1964. Upcoming issues included production cut-offs of fissionable materials and the formal inspection of production facilities and armaments that were to be destroyed. (373) The United States and Soviet Union also began efforts to refrain from placing weapons of mass destruction in orbit. (370, 371) In a September 1962 speech, Deputy Defense Secretary Roswell Gilpatric had stated the U.S. intention to prevent the arms race from extending into space, (226) and by the end of 1963, the two sides had developed outlines of an agreement. The administration of Lyndon Johnson resumed the talks, and the Outer Space Treaty was signed in 1967.

Since 1861, the Department of State's documentary series Foreign Relations of the United States has constituted the official record of the foreign policy and diplomacy of the United States. Historians in the Office of the Historian collect, arrange, and annotate the principal documents comprising the record of American foreign policy. The standards for the preparation of the series and the general deadlines for its publication are established by the Foreign Relations of the United States statute of October 28, 1991. (22 USC 4351, et seq.) U.S. policies in the administration of President John F. Kennedy are the subject of 25 print volumes and 6 microfiche supplements. Volumes in the Foreign Relations series are published when all the necessary editing, declassification, and printing steps have been completed.

The documents in this volume are drawn from the centralized indexed files of the Department of State, the decentralized lot files of the Department's Executive Secretariat, and Bureau, Office, and Division lot files. In addition, the editors made extensive use of the Presidential and other papers at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts.

Most of the documents were originally classified. The Historical Documents Review Division of the Department of State, in concert with the appropriate offices of other agencies and foreign governments, carried out their declassification.


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