149. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara1



  • Production and Deployment of the Nike-X (C)
(U) Your informal memorandum, dated 29 November 1966,2 requested the comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on your draft memorandum for the President, subject: “Production and Deployment of the Nike-X.”3 Detailed comments, in line-in/line-out form, are contained in the Annex hereto.4 These comments refine the factual data and are not intended to produce a text which represents the judgments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
(S) The Joint Chiefs of Staff cannot agree with the over-all rationale in the draft memorandum in the following respects:
They consider that your discussion of assured destruction and damage limiting does not address the need for a suitable interrelationship between these two capabilities.
They do not agree that Soviet decisions as to the future development of their offensive missile force are as directly dependent on the US ABM decision as is implied in the draft memorandum.
They believe that the problems and uncertainties of coping with a US ABM defense would reduce the risk of a Soviet attack.
(S) The Joint Chiefs of Staff reaffirm their recommendation that a decision be made now to initiate deployment of Nike-X for an initial operational capability in FY 1972.
(U) Without attachment, this memorandum is downgraded to Secret.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Earle G. Wheeler
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330 70 A 4662, 471.94 ABM (Nov &Dec) 1966. Top Secret.
  2. Not found.
  3. Not found. Reference may be to a later draft of a November 18 19-page paper, labeled “Draft II” but without a subject line. (Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330 70 A 4443, 471.94 ABM (November) 1966)
  4. Not printed.