199. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara 1



  • Clandestine Introduction of Nuclear Weapons to the United States (C)
(S) Reference is made to a memorandum by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, dated 13 November 1967, subject as above,2 which identifies certain security problems for the United States arising from the proliferation of nuclear weapons capabilities, particularly those of Communist China, and the possible clandestine introduction of such weapons into the United States.
(TS) The Joint Chiefs of Staff, in considering the reference, note that in a statement of national policy contained in National Security Council 6022/1, dated 18 January 1961, entitled “U.S. Policy on Continental Defense,”3 the primary responsibility for implementing policy guidance concerning the internal security of the United States is assigned to the Interdepartmental Intelligence Conference (IIC) and the [Page 654]Interdepartmental Committee on Internal Security (ICIS). The Internal Security Section of NSC 6022/1 stipulates, in paragraph 28, that the ICIS, in coordination with the IIC, shall “provide adequate deterrents to the clandestine introduction of nuclear weapons.”
(C) National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) Nr. 161, dated 9 June 1962, subject: “U.S. Internal Security Programs,”4 transferred the supervision of the IIC and the ICIS from the National Security Council to the Attorney General of the United States and directed that the ICIS effect coordination in all phases of the internal security field except in those certain functions assigned to the IIC. The ICIS is composed of representatives of the Departments of State, Treasury, Defense, and Justice. Other Government agencies participate as ad hoc members of the ICIS when matters involving the responsibilities of such agencies are under consideration.
(TS) Within the structure of the ICIS and the IIC, a Joint ICISIIC Committee on Countermeasures, referred to as Committee “B”, has been responsible, since its inception in 1953, for considering ways and means of safeguarding against the clandestine introduction of nuclear weapons. This committee, composed of representatives of the Bureau of Customs, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Departments of Defense and the Army, and the Atomic Energy Commission, periodically submits studies concerning this subject to the Chairmen of the ICIS and the IIC. The most recent study prepared by Committee “B” on this subject is a “Reappraisal of the Threat of Clandestine Introduction of Nuclear Weapons,” dated 27 June 1963.5 In conjunction with the preparation of this reappraisal, the committee first generated a requirement for a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on this subject. This resulted in the publication by the Director of Central Intelligence, in coordination with the United States Intelligence Board (USIB), of NIE 11–7–63, dated 13 March 1963, subject: “The Clandestine Introduction of Weapons of Mass Destruction into the US.”6
(TS) The Joint Chiefs of Staff believe that a comprehensive review of this matter is required at this time, since neither NIE 11–7–63 nor the 1963 ICIS study deals with the Chinese communist nuclear threat or many of the other cited problems. In view of the authority and responsibilities vested in the ICIS and the IIC by the NSC policy statement and White House memorandum previously cited, a reassessment of the complete threat should be initiated and conducted at the ICIS and the [Page 655] IIC level. The DOD representative to the ICIS (Director for Security Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Administration)) could most logically introduce these issues and request a reassessment. The USIB should consider the other relevant problems raised in the reference and submit an up-to-date estimate. In this respect, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are requesting that the USIB update NIE 11–7–63.7
(U) Since the Joint Chiefs of Staff share your concern over this matter and as nuclear proliferation becomes an increasing problem, they propose that, as a second phase of the study effort, the Joint Chiefs of Staff would review the findings of the ICIS and the IIC in the context of the issues cited in the reference. This review, to be conducted in coordination with your staff, would provide the basis for a report to you on the military aspects of the problem and possible further action by the Department of Defense to contribute to a concerted national effort to contain the threat.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Earle G. Wheeler
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 330 72 A 1498, 471.6 1968 Jan-Feb. Top Secret.
  2. Not found.
  3. Text of NSC 6022, December 13, 1960, is included in Foreign Relations, 1958–1960, vol. III, Microfiche Supplement. Copies of NSC 6022/1 are in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/PNSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, NSC 6022 Series, and Eisenhower Library, NSC Staff Papers, Disaster File.
  4. A copy is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, National Security Action Memoranda, NSAM 161—U.S. Internal Security Programs, Box 1.
  5. Not found.
  6. A copy is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 263.
  7. This request was conveyed in a January 2 memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Chairman of the U.S. Intelligence Board (JCSM–4–68). (Washington National Records Center, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 330 72 A 1498, 471.6 1968 Jan-Feb)