133. Memorandum From Charles E. Johnson of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow)1


The FY 1968 Nuclear Weapons Stockpile proposal has been ill-starred. When it came in in January,2 Mac looked at it but got away before we could get the Bureau of the Budget analysis and paper work completed. Bob Komer sent the package to the President in March recommending approval. It is not clear whether the President or Joe Califano looked at it, but we were requested to return the package to the Pentagon to get Secretary McNamara’s signature on it and also to obtain the formal concurrence of the Joint Chiefs. This was done about the middle of March and ever since Cy Vance and General Wheeler have been in negotiation, characterized more by its heat than its light.

The new proposal does not carry the Secretary’s signature (it is also signed by Vance),3 and it is my recommendation, as well as Keeny’s, that we should not at this time press for a McNamara signature. Gen. Wheeler did concur in the submittal but the JCS price was to force deferring the retirement of [number not declassified] weapons previously scheduled for retirement in FY 1968 as a result of joint action by BOB and Vance’s staff.

I have no doubt, and the BOB staff agrees, that the [number not declassified] weapons will be retired either in FY 1969 or possibly in FY 1968. I would not be surprised to see this matter disposed of next Fall in connection with the Secretary’s budget memorandum projecting weapons requirements through 1975.

Keeny and I have both gone over this package and recommend that it be sent forward to the President.

Charles E. Johnson 4
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt Rostow, Vol. 8. Top Secret; Restricted Data.
  2. The January 1966 proposal has not been found.
  3. Reference is to a June 6 letter from Vance and Seaborg to the President. A copy is in the Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330 70 A 4662, A–400.23 1966.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typewritten signature.