115. Memorandum From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (McNaughton)1
- Special Committee2
Attached is a copy of the minutes of our Strategy Discussion Group Meeting last Tuesday. I thought that this was a very useful discussion as it enabled us to get on the table some of the issues that have been concerning all of us with respect to the future direction of the Special Committee.
I was particularly struck by the fact that we face a very real dilemma as we proceed with future meetings of the Working Groups. On the one hand, if we are to make the Special Committee a useful and meaningful activity, which is an objective we share, we will have to engage the other members in a thorough discussion of current nuclear planning ultimately focused on the question of specifying how the Europeans can become more effectively involved in nuclear planning and crisis consultation. On the other hand this seems certain to involve not only the release of sensitive military information but also disclosure of sensitive political relationships between heads of government; most importantly, it will require our coming to grips with the question of just how much of a voice we are prepared to give our allies in the planning of nuclear forces and in consultations regarding their use. Although in general we want to be forthcoming, there is obviously a point beyond which we are not prepared to go. Moreover, the decision as to the extent to which it is in the US national interest, both generally and specifically, to so engage our allies, can only be made at the highest levels of government.
On the basis of the foregoing considerations, it seems to me the following guidance should be applicable for all US personnel in the conduct of meetings and discussions under aegis of the Special Committee and its Working Groups:
- That US staff, in preparing proposals for internal US review, be guided by the principle of maximum allied participation in the various stages of nuclear planning and consultation, but
- That such proposals clearly identify instances that will require disclosure of sensitive military or political information or which will lead to commitments for any significantly increased allied involvement in any aspect of US nuclear planning and consultation, so that,
- These proposed disclosures and commitments may be subject to explicit review by our Strategy Group and we may take whatever actions for securing subsequent approval as may appear appropriate (including specifically forwarding proposals to our respective superiors and the President where this is indicated).
If you agree with the preceding suggestion, I propose that our Group meet again early in March to conduct the review suggested in 3. above, as well as to consider other related business.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 1 US. Secret. Drafted by Leon Sloss (G/PM). Also addressed to General Goodpaster (JCS representative on this Special Committee) and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Leddy.↩
- Regarding the origins of this committee, see footnote 4, Document 75.↩
- Drafted by Sloss on February 17. The memorandum is marked as an uncleared text. An attached distribution list is not printed. The meeting was held in the Deputy Under Secretary’s Conference Room.↩
- Not further identified.↩