114. Memorandum From R.C. Bowman of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1
- AEC Review of Nuclear Control Procedures
Commissioner Palfrey has indicated to Chuck Johnson that he intends to approach you personally for a reconsideration of your decision not to give the AEC [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].2 It might be just as well to take care of this before you leave.3
As I mentioned in my last memo,4 there are indications that the AEC intends to make a major move into the area of Presidential control. They are currently holding up the [3 lines of source text not declassified].
The [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] is a classic case in that it raises all of the key issues in the area of Presidential control.[Page 344]
[5 paragraphs (10 lines of source text) not declassified]
Since the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] is dealing with defensive weapons, these questions are less critical in this context. But the release of this Agreement with its comprehensive list of issues might open up a great debate over the President’s emergency powers.
As you are aware, the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] provides for [8 lines of source text not declassified].
A letter from the Deputy Secretary of Defense to the President on 6 December 19635 indicated that it was the view of State, Defense and Justice that [6 lines of source text not declassified].
If the AEC were given access to the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] they might challenge [7 lines of source text not declassified].
As you are aware, [6 lines of source text not declassified].
Recommend that you dissuade the AEC from further efforts to review Presidential command arrangements and confine their activities to safety provisions for the weapons in the field.
I conclude that the President and SecDef must themselves serve as the reviewing authority for Presidential nuclear control procedures. This is one of those rare cases in which national security will not permit any further checks and balances.6
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Nuclear Weapons, Dispersals (General), Vol. I, Box 33. Top Secret; Closely Held. A handwritten note by Bromley Smith reads: “Bundy handled by phone with Seaborg.”↩
- Reference is to two agreements on nuclear warheads for Canadian forces in Canada and Europe negotiated in August and September 1963. See Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XIII, Document 455, footnote 2.↩
- Reference is to Bundy’s planned resignation as the Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs at the end of February.↩
- Presumably a reference to Bowman’s December 2, 1965, memorandum to Bundy, which presented four options on this issue and asked for guidance from Bundy, who was “the only one with access to all of the info on the Presidential command and control arrangements.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Nuclear Weapons, Canada, Vol. I, Box 33)↩
- Not found.↩
- The postscript is handwritten.↩