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Highlights of Secretary McNamara’s Senate Testimony Today

Aug. 13, 1963 - Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara (pictured) gave his “unequivocal support” today to the treaty to outlaw nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in space, and under water. He also said the Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed fully with the Administration’s decision to seek such a treaty. In the second day of Senate hearings on the treaty, Mr. McNamara said the nuclear forces of the U.S. were “manifestly superior” to those of the Soviet Union. Mr. McNamara assured the Senators the U.S. superiority would be maintained rather than diminished by the treaty. The Secretary made the following points:

1. The U.S. numbers its nuclear warheads, strategic and tactical, in “the tens of thousands.”

2. This nation is clearly superior to the Soviet Union in the “yield-to-weight ratio” of its small and intermediate nuclear weapons. The yield-to-weight ratio measures the force of a weapon relative to its weight.

3. The U.S. has more than 500 missiles now and will have 1,700 by 1966. The Soviet Union has only a fraction as many.

4. This country has hundreds of strategic bombers on air alert and quick-reaction alert. The Soviet Union could place less than half as many over the U.S. on a first strike. Bombers on air alert are flying; those on quick-reaction alert can be airborne in 15 minutes.


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