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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968
Volume XI, Arms Control and Disarmament, Document 142


142. Editorial Note

A July 29, 1966, letter from Glenn T. Seaborg, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, to President Johnson requested concurrence in plans for conducting underground tests of yields up to 6-7 megatons at temporary supplemental sites, involving explorations of the following possible sites: (1) the Nellis Gunnery Range in Nevada adjacent to the Nevada Test Site for yields near 2 megatons; (2) in Alaska, north of the Brooks Range, or on the Island of Amchitka (6-7 megatons); (3) and other higher yield sites outside the United States, possibly central Australia, or on Christmas Island. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Nuclear Testing—General, Vol. I, Box 27)

An August 4 memorandum from Keeny to Rostow transmitted for Rostow's signature a memorandum for the President concerning a Bureau of the Budget recommendation that $25 million in fiscal year 1967 funds be reprogrammed in connection with the Atomic Energy Commission's proposal to develop alternate underground nuclear weapons test sites. Keeny endorsed the Bureau of the Budget proposal to reprogram funds “to initiate the new Nevada site and to permit an initial unpublicized survey of Alaska for potential additional sites” as “a very reasonable interim solution to this problem.” (Ibid.)

An August 8 memorandum from Rostow to Seaborg stated the President's approval of reprogramming of $25 million of available funds for AEC use in fiscal year 1967 “for initial development of the proposed Nevada site and for an initial survey of possible sites in Alaska.” It required prior clearance by the Alaskan Governor and Congressional delegation for the Alaskan survey. The President did not approve the proposal to approach the United Kingdom or Australia for the possible use of Christmas Island or Australia as alternate test sites. No action was to be taken in this regard without specific clearance by the Department of State and the White House. (Ibid.)