The Acting Secretary of Defense (Foster) to the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (Dean)


Dear Mr. Dean: I write to express my concern over the manner in which S. 2233 was considered since this Bill has military implications of gravity.1 The Department of Defense was not consulted, as has been customary in the past, during the consideration of the Bill by either the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy or by the Senate [Page 785] during debate and passage. The Department was consulted by the House on the date the amendment was due to be voted by the House but this did not give adequate time for consideration on such a matter.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff are concerned that continuation of such a precedent might have serious implications for the Department of Defense. The Joint Chiefs further state that this Bill warranted careful consideration by the Department of Defense even during the early stages of the Bill’s preparation when the Military Liaison Committee should have had an opportunity to exercise its statutory responsibilities as they are set forth in the Atomic Energy Act. I am in agreement with their views.

It seems to me to be essential that before any further legislation to amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 is presented to the Congress or to its Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, agreement thereon is readied at least among the Atomic Energy Commission, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. Accordingly, I have issued appropriate instructions to my staff that in any consideration of legislation concerning the Atomic Energy Act, they will continue to coordinate with your Commission to insure that you are aware of such legislation, and that appropriate action toward agreement within the Executive Agencies of the Government is accomplished. I would greatly appreciate receiving similar assurances from your Commission. I am sending a copy of this letter to the Secretary of State.

Sincerely yours,

William C. Foster
  1. See footnote 2, p. 777.