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administration an avoidance of deviation. Policy justifies itself by the relationship of its measures and its sense of proportion; administration by the rationality of each action in terms of a given goal. The attempt to conduct policy bureaucratically leads to a quest for calculability which tends to become a prisoner of events. The effort to administer politically leads to total irresponsibility, because bureaucracies are designed to execute, not to conceive.

The temptation to conduct policy administratively is ever present, because most governments are organized primarily for the conduct of domestic policy, whose chief problem is the implementation of social decisions, a task which is limited only by its technical feasibility. But the concern with technical problems in foreign affairs leads to a standard which evaluates by mistakes avoided rather than by goals achieved, and to a belief that ability is more likely to be judged by the pre-vision of catastrophes than the discovery of opportunities. It is not surprising that, at the height of the dispute at Vienna in 1814, Vansittart simply denied the reality of the Russian threat, or that Stadion in 1821 protested against the drain on the Austrian treasury of a campaign against Piedmont. In each instance the risks were immediately apparent, while the dangers were either symbolic or deferred; in each case the quest for determinacy took the form of denying the reality of the danger.


[From American Scientists and Nuclear Weapons Policy by Robert Gilpin,

Princeton University Press, 1962]

By Robert Gilpin In retrospect there can be no doubt that the Conference of Experts* was unique in the annals of diplomacy. For, while the responsibility of the scientists was ostensibly solely technical in nature, in reality these men had been assigned a political task of the highest order. On a matter of grave consequence the Great Powers—or as it now appears, at least the United States—had entrusted to a group of untrained private citizens the serious diplomatic responsibility of negotiating the broad outlines of an arms control agreement. The significance of this fact, however, had not been recognized in early July 1958, and as a consequence the American experts were soon to find themselves in a position for which they were ill-prepared.

The American scientists went to Geneva with the belief that although their task had great political significance, their responsibility was solely technical, i.e., to assess only the technical possibilities of policing a possible agreement to ban nuclear weapons tests; this was made quite explicit by James Fisk in his opening statement to the Conference. “We hope,” Fisk told the assembled delegations, “that this inquiry can be kept exclusively technical. Our side is not empowered to discuss or reach decisions on any political matters. It will ease our deliberations if we are able to confine our discussions during the course of these talks to the technical issues we face.”

The United States delegation initially took the position that, after a consideration of all the technical factors, the conference should devise "a number of systems" with varying characteristics, capabilities, and limitations which would then be presented for consideration to their respective governments.

*Conference of Experts To Study the Possibility of Detecting Violations of a Possible Agreement on Suspension of Nuclear Tests, convened at Geneva on July 1, 1958.

In decided contrast, the Russian experts from the very first day of the conference argued that the purpose of the conference was to prepare "the entire control system for observing the agreement on the cessation of nuclear tests.” The experts, according to the Soviet scientists, should look into the various "existing methods of detecting nuclear explosions and [should select] . . . from among them those which could be recommended to the governments as the most effective. . .” The Soviet scientists sought to maneuver their Western colleagues into an implied commitment to a test ban and to a particular system by which to police the test ban.

On a second matter as well, the Western delegations were in fundamental political disagreement with their Russian colleagues. Not only did the Russians insist that the conference agree on one system which would be proposed to their respective governments, but they had definite ideas on the political requirements for such a system. For example, whereas the Western delegations wanted the conference to draw up specifications for a system with a capability to detect underground nuclear explosions down to one kiloton TNT equivalent in all environments, the Russian scientists refused to consider such a system. The cause of this Russian intransigence was explained two years later to the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy by Harold Brown, a scientific advisor to the American delegation: "[To monitor underground explosions down to] 1 kiloton equivalent or more required, it turned out, something like 650 stations worldwide. However, 650 stations were something that the Eastern delegation would not accept."

Thus the scientific delegations at Geneva found themselves with opposed political instructions. As a consequence, the American experts had to decide whether to break off the negotiations or to attempt to work out a technically sound agreement within the political restrictions imposed upon the conference by the Russian delegation. In choosing to follow the latter course of action, with at least the tacit approval of the Eisenhower Administration, the American experts undertook a task beyond their political experience and competence.

the American experts may be criticized as diplomatic negotiators. Inexperienced and apparently poorly advised, they were outmaneuvered by their Russian counterparts and, unwittingly, they made some rather unfortunate political concessions which negotiators with diplomatic experience undoubtedly would not have made.

The subject of the use of aircraft by the control commission furnishes. [an] example, and a striking one at that, of the manner in which the Russians maneuvered for political advantage in the "technical” talks. The following is from the official transcript: Mr. Fedorov (interpretation from Russian): Then, Dr. Fisk, I should

like to suggest modification of the text which you have proposed. I would propose that after the words “open seas,” which occur in two places, we add, in parentheses, the word "oceans." Why do I suggest this? Because the flights of aircraft for meteorological purposes and the use of such flights for the collection of

samples of radioactive products—are being carried out, and probably will continue to be carried out, specifically over oceans and not over small seas. Legally, everything may be considered to be an open sea—but, practically speaking, such flights will

take place over oceans. Mr. Fisk: In the interests of saving words, why do we not simply

replace "open seas” by "oceans? Mr. Tsarapkin: "Over the oceans”—plural? Mr. Fisk: Yes, plural—“'oceans.' Mr. Fedorov (interpretation from Russian): Then, Dr. Fisk, may

we consider that these conclusions have been accepted and

approved by our conference? Very good. Obviously Fedorov, a scientist, had had coaching from an expert in international law. Similarly it would have been wise for the head of the American delegation to have inquired into the legal difference between “high seas” and “oceans”—especially as understood by the Russians—before agreeing to the Soviet suggestion. A change in legal meaning, and not the desire to save words, was certainly the purpose of the Russian request. This seemingly innocent exchange of terminology might well have meant that under the Geneva System no regular aircraft flights to collect radioactive debris would have been possible near the Soviet Union because the USSR is bounded solely by "seas” and is untouched by the world's “oceans” except at the lower extremity of the Kamchatka Peninsula.

A second extremely important political problem which the American scientific delegation permitted the conference to leave unresolved was who or what would decide whether or not to initiate an on-site inspection of a suspicious event.

The position of the United States on this issue was, and has been throughout the subsequent political negotiations, that scientific criteria should be established by which non-inspectable events could be separated out, i.e., by which events could be identified as earthquakes. All other events would then be eligible for on-site inspection. The Soviet scientists, on the other hand, insisted that the decision to initiate each on-site inspection should rest solely with the control commission upon which the nuclear powers would sit. .

Thus, the actual issue dividing Western and Eastern scientists was whether or not the right of on-site inspection would be a guaranteed provision of the Geneva System. This is to say, would the Western powers have the right of inspection of Soviet territory? Unfortunately, the experts did not resolve this crucial political-technical issue. Instead, the ambiguous language in which the provision for on-site inspection was worded permitted East and West to draw opposed conclusions from it. In one place the final report read, "for those cases which remain unidentified inspection of the region will be necessary” and, at another point in the report, "[the control commission) can send an inspection group in order to determine whether a nuclear explosion had taken place or not.”

For the Western experts this language was regarded as a major victory over Russian intransigence on the inspection issue; it was believed that, for the first time in the postwar disarmament negotiations, the Russians had agreed to meaningful inspection. As subsequent events were very soon to reveal, however, the Russians intended that the Great Powers on the control commission, as in the Security

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Council of the United Nations, would exercise a veto over all substantive matters including the initiation of an on-site inspection. They have yet to veer from this position throughout the test ban negotiations.

(Culled from scraps of paper used as reminders by Robert A. Lovett during his

service in the Truman Administration culminating as Secretary of Defense, and as adviser to later Administrations. Previously unpublished.] SOME NOTES ON NEGOTIATIONS (AND OTHER TIRESOME


By Robert A. Lovett

Skepticism is the most essential quality in evaluating military intelligence, or indeed, any governmental statement, diplomatic or otherwise.

Double check for accuracy every figure given you by any governmental agency. They are usually incorrect or incomplete.

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Never use any governmental statistic without checking the source.

Never try to run a bluff in a negotiation. Be able and willing to carry out any action you say you will take.

Do not give away your trading points by being a blabber-mouth in advance of the meetings at press conferences, interviews, etc.

Avoid, if possible, any negative pledge. Example, "We will never ask for reparations” etc. “We will never be the first to use the Bomb." In fact, don't use "never" in your commitments.

Do not give unilateral concessions, particularly to the Russians or the French. They will not feel gratitude. They will feel contempt for your gullibility.

Beware of the incomplete or out-of-context quotations. There was
an incomplete and unfair jingle published sometime ago which went
as follows:

“In matters of commerce,
The fault of the Dutch,
Is giving too little,
And asking too much."

The second verse, which completely changed the meaning, was omitted in the magazine article quoted above. My attention was called to this by a warm friend from a foreign diplomatic mission who then proved that sometimes truth comes out in jest with the following:

"In negotiations,
The fault of the Yanks,
Is giving their shirts away,
And getting no thanks."

One of the apparent doctrines of a former ally of ours, is that a lie told to advance their cause is not a lie and is not reprehensible. Cheating, in their view, is perfectly fair if they do it.

I do not think there is any such thing as a self-policing, treaty”, or "self-enforcing treaty' between two countries without similar ideas of law, order and political freedom. The right of inspection between two parties who distrust each other is essential as a protection against cheating or sneak attacks. When inspection or other advanced techniques exist in a form which cannot be jammed or evaded, these mechanical devices may be adequate but certainly not prior to their testing.

Apparently the only valid protection against dishonesty between two great powers is to have a breach of a treaty carry its visible and tangible loss to the cheater. For example, an agreement to deliver oil against right of free passage through a canal. If the canal is blocked, oil delivery stops.

An insurance clause against oversight is useful if it can be obtained. Some catchall clause, such as “(you) agree to do any and all things necessary to give full effect to the understandings and undertakings herein made.'

(From Testimony before the Subcommittee on National Security and International

Operations, 89th Cong., 1st sess., Hearing, June 29, 1965)


By Richard E. Neustadt Alliance institutions, civil and military, are not sovereign statesthough SHAPE at one time often played the part and got away with it-but rather they are creatures, or at least creations, of the governments concerned. Thus their importance turns on their symbolic quality, together with their actual capacity (which often is not very great) to influence the work of men inside those governments.

Because allies are governments, each is a more or less complex arena for internal bargaining among the bureaucratic elements and political

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