chapter  6
29 Pages

THE END OF THE MLF AND NUCLEAR SHARING

President Kennedy’s death in November 1963 had marked the start of a period of stagnation in plans for the MLF. Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the presidency with relatively little knowledge of the NATO nuclear force project. To him, the MLF was a public commitment that Kennedy had made almost a year before and one that should be honoured – he seemed unaware of the Kennedy retreat from MLF during the summer of 1963, a view from which the State Department did nothing to dissuade him.1 Indeed, only days after Kennedy’s death, Dean Rusk asked George Ball for a paper (presumably intended for the new president) on the ‘MLF business setting forth the key points of what it is’.2 Although the president then reaffirmed US support for MLF (in line with Kennedy’s apparent position), he appears to have spent a little more time on the subject in his first few months in office.3