The Moscow Agreement 1963

In 1954, just weeks after the Castle Bravo test, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for the first time called for a «status quo agreement» on nuclear testing, which saw a test moratorium as a springboard to broader arms control agreements. [4] [7] In the same year, the British Labour Party, then led by Clement Attlee, asked the UN to ban the experimentation of thermonuclear weapons. [19] Negotiations on the ban on testing began in 1955, when Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev first proposed discussions on the subject in February 1955. [20] [21] On 10 May 1955, the Soviet Union proposed a ban on testing before the Committee of Five of the United Nations Commission on Disarmament (Britain, Canada, France, the Soviet Union and the United States). This proposal, which reflected a previous Anglo-French proposal, was originally part of a comprehensive disarmament proposal aimed at reducing the volume of conventional weapons and eliminating nuclear weapons. Despite the proximity of the Soviet proposal to previous Western proposals, the United States reversed its position on the provisions and rejected the Soviet offer «in the absence of more general control agreements», including restrictions on the production of fissile material and protection from a surprising nuclear attack. [2] The May 1955 proposal is now seen as evidence of Khrushchev`s «new approach» to foreign policy, with Khrushchev trying to improve relations with the West. The proposal would serve as the basis for the Soviet negotiating position until 1957. [22] Despite Teller`s assurances, Kennedy himself hated «the idea of reopening the race» and was dissatisfied with the continued production of Fallout,[118] a negative consequence of the resumption of tests that his opponents emphasized within the government. Opponents of the tests also argued that new atmospheric testing would entail significant moral costs for the United States, given the broad public opposition to the plan, and argued that further testing was largely unnecessary, given that the United States already had an adequate nuclear arsenal. [119] Arthur Dean felt that public opposition to atmospheric testing was such that the United States should stop testing within four years, even without agreement. [120] John Kenneth Galbraith, then ambassador to India, told Kennedy in June 1961 that the resumption of testing «would cause us the most serious difficulties in Asia, Africa and elsewhere.» Similarly, Hubert Humphrey called the moratorium «a glimmer of hope for millions of worried people.» Its end, Humphrey warned, «could very well change the political tides in the world on behalf of the Soviets.» [118] Wouldn`t the best guarantee against the violation of such an agreement be the simple fact that secret nuclear weapons tests are impossible and, therefore, that a government that makes a solemn commitment to suspend the tests could not violate them without exposing itself to the whole world as an violator of an international agreement? After the interruption of the Conference of the Three Powers in January 1962 and the completion of the drafting of a treaty, because the Soviet Union maintained that national detection was sufficient for all quarters, the main negotiating forum became the newly formed Committee on the Disarmament of eighteen nations (ENDC), which began its meetings in Geneva under the aegis of the General Assembly in March 1962.

On the U.S. side, William C. Foster, the first director of the newly created U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, took over as general manager of the negotiations. However, the Soviet insistence that the West accept the quota of three annual inspections by the West has put these talks in a bind. The United States and the United Kingdom then attempted to hold three-power talks as part of a high-level correspondence with the Soviet Union. Finally, on June 10, 1963, President Kennedy announced that an agreement had been reached on a ban on testing in Moscow.