127. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara 1
Washington, May 21, 1966.
- Chemical and Biological Warfare Policy (U)
- (U) Reference is made to:
- A memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), I–22689/66, dated 22 April 1966, subject as above.2
- A memorandum by the Deputy Director, US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), for the Deputies to the Committee of Principals, dated 19 April 1966, subject as above.3
- JCSM–112–65, dated 16 February 1965, subject: “Draft Policy Paper—Chemical and Biological Warfare (U).”4
- (S) In reference 1a, the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA) requested the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, to provide comments on an ACDA paper, attachment to reference 1b, which sets forth that agency’s tentative conclusions on policies which the United States should adopt with respect to chemical and biological weapons. The Deputy Director, ACDA, believes that, while the suggested policies are in the national interest, there may be compelling military and political factors which militate against their adoption.
- (S) The Joint Chiefs of Staff, in response to a request from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Administration), provided, in Appendix B to reference 1c, a proposed National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) on chemical and biological weapons. No action has been taken on the proposed NSAM. The Joint Chiefs of Staff continue to hold the view that a national policy on chemical and biological weapons should be established as a matter of priority. They further believe that policy matters regarding arms control and disarmament aspects should not be considered until such time as a national policy has been established or, at least, until a DOD position is determined.
- (S) The proposed NSAM forwarded in reference 1c continues
to reflect the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Accordingly, they
- The proposed NSAM contained in reference 1c be used as the basis for establishing the DOD position on the chemical and biological warfare policy issue in question.
- Efforts be made to attain a national policy as soon as possible.
- The Joint Chiefs of Staff be afforded an opportunity to comment on any possible DOD revisions to their proposed NSAM, as well as to participate in the review of any over-all State/Defense/ACDA inter-agency policy proposals prior to final adoption.
- ACDA and other interested governmental agencies be advised that no action within the Department of Defense will be taken on the ACDA paper in reference 1b until such time as, preferably, a national policy on chemical and biological weapons has been established or, at least, until such time as a DOD position is determined.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Earle G. Wheeler 5
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Source: Washington National Records Center, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 330 70 A 6648, 384 1966 Jan-. Secret. A September 1 covering memorandum from McNamara to the Chairman of the JCS indicates McNamara’s concurrence with the JCS view that a national policy on chemical and biological weapons should be established. He added that he had directed his staff to prepare a recommended Defense position for JCS comment during October and to use the draft NSAM included with JCSM–112–65 (Document 76) in developing the position.↩
- See footnote 1, Document 122.↩
- Document 122.↩
- Document 76.↩
- Printed from a copy that indicates Wheeler signed the original.↩