20. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense McNamara to President Johnson1

After a review of the currently approved Instructions for Expenditure of Nuclear Weapons in Emergency Conditions, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have recommended approval of redrafted instructions which are in simplified format and which have been updated to make them editorially compatible with the terminology employed in current plans. A copy of these updated instructions was delivered to you during your meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on March 4, 1964.2

[1 paragraph (9 lines of source text) not declassified]

You will recall that the instructions currently in use were approved by President Eisenhower on December 3, 1959,3 and were continued in effect by President Kennedy.

Your approval of the updated instructions is requested together with your authorization to place these instructions in effect.

Robert S. McNamara
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Nuclear Weapons, General, Vol. I, Box 32. Top Secret.
  2. See Documents 16 and 17.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1958–1960, vol. III, p. 353. A copy of the mostly-declassified Eisenhower administration’s “Instructions for the Expenditures of Nuclear Weapons in Accordance With the Presidential Authorization Dated May 22, 1957,” which contains revisions dated January 28, 1959, November 2, 1959, and May 12, 1960, is available on the Internet, National Security Archive (www.gwu.edu/nsarchiv), Electronic Briefing Book No. 45, “Eisenhower and Predelegation,” Document 3.