Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-1969

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Author: Lyndon B. Johnson  | Date: February 12, 1968

69
Message to the Congress Transmitting Annual Report of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
February 12, 1968

To the Congress of the United States:

I am transmitting herewith the Seventh Annual Report of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

Two weeks ago, on January 18, this agency reported to me, and to the world, that agreement had at last been reached with the Soviet Union on a complete draft treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The draft treaty, which has been submitted to theEighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee in Geneva for consideration by other nations, is the most significant achievement of the Agency since its establishment seven years ago.

On January 23, I forwarded to the Congress a request that the life of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency be extended for an additional three years. At that time I noted the role of the Agency in bringing us close to the final conclusion of a nonproliferation treaty, and pointed out that the treaty "is not a creation of the United States. It is not a creation of the United States and the Soviet Union. It is the creation of all nations, large and small .... "

While the United States and the Soviet Union, as Co-Chairmen of the Geneva Conference, have had the responsibility for preparing the draft treaty, a reading of this Report will make plain the extent to which the draft has been responsive to interests and views of the nations which do not now have nuclear weapons.

In the course of a long and arduous negotiation, we have learned much of the concerns and desires of these nations. We have learned that it is not nuclear weapons they want, but security; not the destructiveness of the atom, but its benefits. We have been made aware of the depth of worldwide concern about the nuclear arms race.

The non-nuclear states have wanted their renunciation of nuclear weapons to be matched with a binding pledge by the nuclear powers to negotiate a halt in the arms race. They have not asked that the treaty require us to stop making nuclear weapons, or to divest ourselves of those now in our arsenals.

But they have asked us to pledge ourselves to move towards that ultimate goal. They feel the restraints they will voluntarily accept give them the right to such a pledge.

In drafting the non-proliferation treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union have acknowledged that right.

Under Article VI of the draft now before the Disarmament Committee, the nuclear nations will assume a solemn treaty obligation "to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures regarding cessation of the nuclear arms race and disarmament .... " It is an obligation the United States will undertake with the utmost seriousness—for it continues a policy begun in 1946, when this nation offered to place its nuclear weapons under international control. We reaffirmed that obligation at Geneva when the Disarmament Conference convened there six years ago.

A reading of this Report shows clearly that the United States is pursuing a broad program of research and negotiation in fulfillment of its commitment to disarmament. The non-proliferation treaty now under consideration is another step in that direction, as the hot line and the limited test ban treaty and the outer space agreement were before it.

No nation is more aware of the perils in the increasingly expert destructiveness of our time than the United States. I believe the Soviet Union shares this awareness.

This is why we have jointly pledged our nations to negotiate towards the cessation of the nuclear arms race.

This is why the United States urgently desires to begin discussions with the Soviet Union about the buildup of offensive and defensive missiles on both sides. Such discussions-and it is important to note that the Soviet Union has agreed to them, in principle at least—will aim at finding ways to avoid another costly and futile escalation of the arms race.

Our hopes that talks will soon begin residein our conviction that the same mutual interest reflected in earlier agreements is present here—a mutual interest in stopping the rapid accumulation and refinement of these munitions.

The obligations of the non-proliferation treaty will reinforce our will to bring an end to the nuclear arms race. The world will judge us by our performance.

The report I am forwarding today is testimony to the skill and determination with which the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, under the leadership of Mr. William C. Foster, is supporting this nation’s effort to keep the somber and grim elements of the nuclear present from obliterating the promise of the future.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON
The White House
February 12, 1968

NOTE: The report is entitled "United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Seventh Annual Report to Congress, January 1, 1967—December 31, 1967" (172 pp.).

For a statement by the President on January 18 on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and for his letter of January 23 requesting extension of the Agency, see Items 16, 27.

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Chicago: Lyndon B. Johnson, "69 Message to the Congress Transmitting Annual Report of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.," Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-1969 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-1969 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1369 217–218. Original Sources, accessed October 1, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L9CAZ3QELVKFP2F.

MLA: Johnson, Lyndon B. "69 Message to the Congress Transmitting Annual Report of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency." Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-1969, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-1969 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1369, pp. 217–218. Original Sources. 1 Oct. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L9CAZ3QELVKFP2F.

Harvard: Johnson, LB, '69 Message to the Congress Transmitting Annual Report of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.' in Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-1969. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-1969 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1369, pp.217–218. Original Sources, retrieved 1 October 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L9CAZ3QELVKFP2F.