MOSCOW AND A NUCLEAR TEST BAN

Created: 3/16/1961

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MOSCOWUCLEAR TEST BAN

his heated remarks to the press in Paris after the collapse of the summit meeting last May, Khrushchev said that, as far as the ten-nationtalks were concerned, he was "almost convinced that our partners in Geneva do not wantisis merelyHe stated flatly,that the USSR wouldthe nuclear test ban negotiations, thus indicating that he considered the test ban Issue outside the framework of general disarmament talks and beyond the limits of Moscow's anti-US agitation andoffensive.

Similarly, publicby Khrushchev during his visit to Austria last July seemed intended to providethat the bloc walkout onune from thetalks did notimilar move in the test ban negotiations.

The Soviet leaders were nonetheless concerned that their actions might lead to Western withdrawal from the test ban talks. Shortly after the US announced onuly that it wouldests for researchduring the next two years, the Soviet delegation in Genevaajor concession in its negotiating position. The concession involved theof permitting International inspection of sites atuclear explosion might bn.ve occurred. The Soviets had previously

declared the precise number of such inspections an issue beyond the scope of the Geneva talks. However, they conceded at this point that they might allow three annually. The number was unacceptable to thepowers, but the initiative was probably intendedign of continuing Soviet interest in arrivingest ban agreement.

The USSR thus sought to keep the test ban talks alive despite its militant anti-US campaign and virtual severance ofwith the US in all other mattershange in This persistence probably stemmed from four main factors: the obvious political and strategic advantages ofe factoesire to use the test ban question in future efforts to promote somewith the US; concern over the spread of nuclearwithin the Western alliance; and an urgent needretext for rebuffing Communist China's insistence that the USSRit with nuclear weapons.

The Soviet Position

When the Geneva talks opened in October the Soviet leaders probably decided that protracted negotiations, accompanied by an uncontrolled moratorium on testing, would serve both their political and long-range strategic aims. They appear to have concluded that, despite US superiority intechnological aspects,of nuclear weapons

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would serve Soviet military interests betterontinuation of testing by both sides with no assurance that the USSR would improve its relative military position by further tests. The USSR,hadide range of nuclear weapons which were probably considered adequate to meet basic military.

From the political the Soviet leaderssaw at least threeadvantages to the talks: they would further the Soviet effort to single out andnuclear weapons; they would strengthen the longcampaignest ban as the first step in nuclear disarmament; and they would generate political problems in the free world which would serve to inhibit Westernplanning.

The close relationship in Soviet thinkingest ban and Western defensewas reflected in Foreign Minister Gromyko's announcement in8 of the USSR's first unilateral cessation of testing. Gromyko warned that the West German decision tonuclear weaponsest banan urgent and imperative task.

Soviet Tactics

Moscow over the past three years has tied its tactics

in negotiations to tbe over-all state of Soviet relations with the Western powers. hen negotiationsuntil Khrushchev's visit to the US inoviet moves on the test ban issue were primarily designed to keep the talks alive by making strictly limited concessions on the vital control issues. With theconference virtually agreed upon after Khrushchev's visit, the USSRore flexible position and sought toew outstanding problems for settlement. After the Paris conference, however, the Soviet delegation withdrew someconcessions, temporized on almost all major Issues, and made it clear the USSR would await negotiationsew US administration.

Soviet sources have recently begun to revive the test ban questionummit-level topic, and the Soviet note agreeing to postpone negotiationsebruary untilarch was couched in optimisticumber of Soviet spokesmen have also implied that whenresume, the Sovietwill be prepared to offer concessions on key issues.

On the number of on-site inspections, Soviet officials and scientists at the Pugwash Conference in Moscow lastimplied that awould be possible ln which the USSR would accept theproposal fornspections in the USSR each year ln return for American agreementour-year moratorium on small

secret

underground tests, instead ofmonth moratorium proposed by the US.

course and what concessions it can make.

In his recent letter to the American Committeeane Nuclear Policy, Khrushchevtbat the moratoriumesearch program todetection methods for small underground explosionsmajor unresolved issues. The Soviet negotiating position has been to defer settlement of the questionesearchuntil the duration of the moratorium is agreed on. probably believes that an extended moratorium would make lt increasingly difficult for the West to resume underground tests, even if an agreedprogram during thefailed to yield results in improving detection methods.

The Soviet leaders may also anticipate that, followingof the on-siteand moratorium problems, continued rejection of the American position on aresearch program which includes nuclear explosions would endanger the talks.

Last August the Soviet delegate also indicated some interest in working out aformula to resolve the Impasse over another key issue, the composition of the control commission.

In general, however,is likely to await new American proposals before on its over-all

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