189. National Security Action Memorandum No. 3641


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission


  • Nuclear Weapons Dispersal Authorization for FY 1967–FY 1968

The President has noted the request for nuclear weapons dispersal authorization for FY 1967 and FY 1968 as contained in the Department of Defense memorandum dated May 26, 1967,2 and as corrected by the DOD memorandum dated July 5, 1967 to the holders of the May 26 memorandum,3 and has taken the following actions in connection therewith:

The Department of Defense is authorized to:
Disperse nuclear weapons in the United States without limit.
Disperse nuclear weapons to areas outside the United States in the numbers indicated in the last column of Appendix A to the May 26 memorandum, as amended, with the provisos that: (1) the total in each area may be exceeded by 10% in the event of unforeseen contingencies, (2) weapons, for which dispersal in support of non-U.S. NATO forces is authorized for planning purposes only, may be dispersed in support of U.S. forces pending additional and specific dispersal authorizations on a case-by-case basis, and (3) the grand total of weapons outside the U.S. (areas under foreign sovereignty and areas under U.S. control other than U.S.) shall not exceed [number not declassified] nuclear weapons. Such dispersals will be subject to the yield restrictions specified in NSAM 143 and policy regarding permissive action link devices contained in NSAM 160.4
Continue to disperse nuclear weapons and to provide nuclear weapon support to non-U.S. forces in accordance with the current dispersal authorizations which have been approved under NSAM 143 and which are tabulated in the column “Non-U.S. Forces—Authorized FY [Page 605] 1966” (Column C) of Appendix B to the May 26, 1967 Department of Defense memorandum.
The President has noted that the Department of Defense has concurred in a recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the dispersal authorization for the Pacific Theater be increased over the current dispersal authorization by approximately 5%. The President has accepted the recommendation of the Department of Defense in this matter. The President understands that the Pacific Theater requirements will be given further review during consideration of the next dispersal authorization request.
In connection with his action of the FY 1967–FY 1968 dispersals, the President has directed that in the future dispersal authorizations should be handled as follows:
A deployment plan will be submitted annually by the Secretary of Defense approximately in mid-November of each year concurrent with the nuclear weapon stockpile approval request.
Presidential authorization will establish levels in terms of (1) total overseas, (2) total by area, and (3) total by type of weapons (e.g., strategic offensive, tactical air, ASW) within each region. The Secretary of Defense will have authority to exceed control levels (2) and (3) by 10% to meet unforeseen contingencies.
The plan will contain actual deployment figures for the end of the previous fiscal year, deployments previously authorized, and proposed deployments for the same two fiscal year period as covered by the stockpile request.
Authorized deployments will be those planned as of the end of each fiscal year. The Secretary of Defense will have reasonable flexibility to manage and alter quantities during the course of the year to cover unavoidable peaks in deployment due to logistical factors. Plans for contingency deployments included in the Presidential authorization will be shown separately with adequate explanations.
The plan will include, on a highlight basis, the rationale for and major changes in the deployment plans.
The initial plan on the revised basis should be submitted by November 15, 1967 and should have the concurrence of the Department of State and the Atomic Energy Commission.

W.W. Rostow



[table (11 columns and 29 rows) not declassified]

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330 72 A 2467, A–471.61 Dispersal 1967. Top Secret; Formerly Restricted Data.
  2. From Vance to President Johnson. (Ibid., OASD/ISA Files: FRC 330 71 A 4919, 471.6 1967 May–Aug)
  3. Not found.
  4. See footnote 4, Document 90.