Washington Report:

COFFIN, TRISTRAM

WASHINGTON-U.S.A. Kennedy's Views On Nuclear Test Ban By Tristram Coffin Washington The new President, hardly more than a month in office, has the air of a man in love with his...

...Kennedy's combination of zest, intellectual curiosity, sense of history, political sagacity and cool mind is being directed to two main goals: restoring the nation's economic vigor and making the world safer...
...Senate...
...That is our object...
...The chief of these advisors, Dr...
...At that time, the world was not divided as sharply as it is today, and yet rather limited progress was made...
...The Eisenhower Administration never made up its mind...
...This may well be part of the reason why be has asked Congress to restore the five stars to Dwight Eisenhower, why he has sedulously courted such men as Byrd and Senator John McClellan (D.-Ark...
...and why he named Republican banker John McCloy his assistant on disarmament...
...But within these limits, if the Soviets are really ready to negotiate in earnest about a test ban, then we are also ready to do so...
...I am hopeful that we can work out a relationship which will permit us to live in peace and maintain our security and the security of those countries with which we are allied...
...I think the first area, of course, is in nuclear testing...
...So this is an extremely difficult matter...
...The Soviet Union is quite earnest in wanting an agreement and is willing to make concessions...
...At his recent press conference, President Kennedy spelled out with more precision than before his thinking on the second goal...
...The tactics at the bargaining table are reported by Joseph Alsop in these words: "A test ban not supported by a serious inspection system is to be rejected out of hand...
...Senators, especially that one-third facing election next year, are frantically concerned by the mood, short-term interests and prejudices of their own voters...
...The peril of continuing without a test ban, of letting the nuclear arms race get out of hand, outweighs the slim possibility of cheating by a nation in a highly sophisticated stage of nuclear development...
...The President would like to head off any attempt to form a conservative Republican-Southern Democrat coalition or Republican policy against a treaty...
...He said: "I would not attempt to make a judgment on what our future relations [with Russia] are going to be...
...Walter George, the patriarchal chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, discovered to his dismay that his leadership in world affairs was no longer a boon in Georgia, and was forced out by Herman Talmadge, who voted against the Antarctic Treaty...
...agrees to share the huge ice mass of the Antarctic with other nations, including Russia...
...That, I am hopeful we can reach an agreement on...
...Hubert Humphrey believed he made some headway in his marathon talk with Khrushchev...
...Jerome B. Wiesner, says the "Washington Post, "favors arms control (including a nuclear test ban) and believes the technical problems are not insuperable...
...Every time Eisenhower's science advisors persuaded him the ban was desirable, Admiral Lewis Strauss, former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, rushed in and unsold him...
...It is a clear-cut test of Soviet intentions and flexibility...
...The President, with his remarkable interest in facts, has looked through the volumes of official negotiations in Geneva and talked at length with scientists, experts on Russia and diplomats...
...On the first, Congress is beginning to respond with a near enthusiasm, and there are faint signs that business is reacting to the psychological glow from Washington...
...We have to, in addition to trying to work for disarmament, also work for a mechanism which will permit an orderly settlement of disputes between nations, disputes which under present conditions might be settled by military action, but which in some future date, if the goal of disarmament is achieved, would have to be settled by other means...
...That is, the great danger of a nuclear holocaust is not from Soviet Russia but from nations a few years away from the nuclear club, such as Communist China...
...There always will be a margin of uncertainty, because of new techniques...
...What he means by keeping up with it is a 12-16 hour day of assimilating information (he takes notes to remember key points brought by visitors) and making decisions...
...The United States and Britain will sit down at Geneva hopeful of getting an agreement signed by early summer, so that the President can present it to the Senate before it goes home...
...We want to proceed with arms control, leading to disarmament, but of course, this complete disarmament in four years is a goal which has been talked about a great many years...
...Kennedy has put primary emphasis on a nuclear ban...
...The Southerners have been traditionally internationalist because of the world market for Dixie cotton...
...He has reached these general conclusions: A nuclear test ban is desirable and in America's self-interest...
...Improvements in the inspection system already agreed on with the Soviets are now to be sought in the light of recent scientific developments...
...Under this treaty, the U.S...
...A very high hurdle, perhaps the worst, will be the U.S...
...This is the view of Ambassador to Russia Llewellyn E. Thompson, British Minister of State David OrmsbyGore, who is now in Washington for nuclear test ban talks, and Kennedy's science advisors...
...The Senate, by its very nature, is basically isolationist...
...Yet a few weeks ago, at an East-West round table, the two Soviet delegates became publicly outraged when former Representative Charles 0. Porter tried to lecture them on the role of the Senate in foreign policy and the politics of ethnic groups...
...The lesson may have been well taken, however, for within the past 10 days or so Soviet diplomats in Washington have been discreetly questioning acquaintances among correspondents and diplomats about the power of the Senate...
...He needs the votes of men like Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa on the Republican side and Russell...
...Last year, with almost no public controversy and with all the weight of the Eisenhower Administration behind it, the Antarctic Treaty had but eight votes to spare...
...Louis Sohn, one of the American scientists who attended the Sixth International Conference of Scientists in Moscow last December with Wiesner, states as a major impression that "the Russians are more flexible in their attitude toward disarmament and controls than is generally understood...
...A two-thirds majority must be piled up to ratify a treaty, and this has often thrown a deep and tragic shadow over foreign policy...
...His assistants are drawn with weariness, but John F. Kennedy buoyantly told a visitor recently, "This is really not a terribly tough job if you keep up with it...
...The 21 "no" votes were made up of the right wing of the GOP (Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, John Butler of Maryland, Carl Curtis of Nebraska and Barry Goldwater of Arizona), six Democratic members of the Armed Services Committee led by its Chairman, Georgia's Richard Russell, and nine other Democrats strongly influenced by Russell and Virginia's Harry Byrd, Connecticut's Thomas Dodd and New Mexico's Clinton Anderson...
...There is conflicting evidence on how aware the Kremlin is of the power of the Senate...
...And never, also, have the stakes been so high...
...Kennedy's Views On Nuclear Test Ban By Tristram Coffin Washington The new President, hardly more than a month in office, has the air of a man in love with his job, fascinated by it, given new zest by its very trials...
...I am somewhat familiar with the conversations which took place in Geneva under much less strained conditions from 1928 to 1929 and 1933-34...
...For never before has a President understood so keenly the men on The Hill and why they act as they do...
...It is extremely difficult to reach satisfactory agreements on disarmament...
...A completely fool-proof inspection system is highly improbable...
...The American public generally is suspicious of Russia, and this mood is raised to alarm when the Soviet becomes publicly truculent...
...When this market dissolved, so did the worldmindedness of Southern Senators...
...If a treaty is negotiated in Geneva, Washington is going to see some of the fanciest political skill and maneuvering in history...
...The United States, Britain and Russia are close enough on both a professed over-all desire to end nuclear tests and the techniques for inspection to reach an agreement if the atmosphere is right...
...Thus, Kennedy is already concerned about how tough the USSR is going to make it for him to pass a test-ban treaty...

Vol. 44 • March 1961 • No. 11


 
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