G/PM files, lot 68 D 349, “Use Policy, 1950–1955”
Memorandum by the Chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Commission (Dean) to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Lay)1
The views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Department of Defense interest in the use of atomic weapons,2 referred to me as a member of the Special Committee on Atomic Energy, have been reviewed carefully by my colleagues on the Atomic Energy Commission and myself. Our views on this statement are attached hereto.
There are a number of important matters raised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff that deserve special comment by the Commission. It is, therefore, recommended that the Joint Chiefs of Staff statement be reviewed in the light of these remarks and the statements of the Atomic Energy Commission responsibilities set forth in the attached statement.
The Commission notes with particular concern the Joint Chiefs statement that “The present system of divided responsibility for the storage, surveillance, maintenance and security of the stockpile of atomic weapons is inimical to the best interests of the United States.” This is considered to be an assertion unsupported by evidence. It is the view of the Commission that the “best interests of the United States”, in so far as atomic weapons are concerned, is measured directly in terms of readiness to deliver effectively atomic attack when ordered. The actions taken by the Commission to effect the maximum degree of readiness are set forth in detail in the attached statement.
In consonance with the Commission policy to provide those weapons required by the JCS to meet their standards of operational readiness, the AEC is prepared at any time to work out a plan with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, subject to Presidential approval, to provide the reservoir of additional weapons in DoD custody that may be required.