“We are keeping Russian secrets even more jealously than we are keeping our own. Under these conditions, the American people can never really understand the danger.” This statement by one of Americans most distinguished scientists, Dr. Edward Teller, referred to the way Americans are kept substantially in the dark about the growing threat from Soviet nuclear weapons, but it is particularly true about the Moscow Test Ban Treaty which banned the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere and went into effect ten years ago this week.
Last year, Senator Margaret Chase Smith, the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote: “The American people still have not been told the whole story about how the Treaty worked to the Russians’ tremendous advantage and to our own vast detriment. In reality, it was a disaster for the American people and a great victory for the Russians who, with their superior nuclear technology, were soon embarked on a military buildup that has no parallel.”
The reason why it worked to the Russians’ advantage is that they did all their testing before they signed the Treaty, but we did not. Their giant series of nuclear weapons tests in September 196I included one blast which Defense Secretary McNamara testified would weaponize at 100 megatons.
The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, in testifying before theSenate Foreign Relations Committee on August 15, 1963, made it clear that the Soviets were on the safe side of the nuclear technology gap. The JCS stated: “The U.S.S.R. is ahead of the United States in the high-yield (tens of megatons) technology, in weapons-effect knowledge derived from high-yield explosives, and in the yield-weight: ratios of high-yield devices.”
After the Soviets had gained all the technology they needed, they signed the Moscow Test Ban Treaty which prevented us from conducting our tests and catching up with their lead. In other words, the Moscow Test Ban Treaty froze the Soviet superiority in the multi-megaton Weapons.
It was the same way in the SALT negotiations. After the Soviets had built 564 more intercontinental ballistic missiles than we have, then they were willing to sign the SALT Treaty which freezes us and prevents us from catching up.
It will likewise be the same way with MIRVs. The Soviets are refusing to sign an agreement limiting MIRVs until they have a clear superiority in numbers and explosive power. Then they will be glad to sign a MIRV treaty which will prevent us from catching up.
When Secretary of the Treasury George Shultz admitted that our Government made a mistake on the Soviet grain giveaway last year, he added: “If you get burned once, that’s their fault. If you get burned twice, that’s our fault.”
That’s right, Mr. Shultz. When the Soviets burn us on the Test Ban Treaty, and again on the SALT Treaty, and again on the grain giveaway, it certainly is our Government’s fault.