24. Memorandum From President Johnson to Secretary of Defense McNamara1

I accept the recommendation made by you and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in your memorandum of March 14th2 and hereby authorize you to put into effect the updated “Instructions for Expenditure of Nuclear Weapons in Emergency Conditions” which were brought to me by the Joint Chiefs on March 4, 1964.3 It is my understanding that the redrafted instructions are basically the same as those approved by President Eisenhower and continued in effect by President Kennedy.

I would like to receive copies of all implementing directives which the Joint Chiefs issue on the basis of these instructions.

I have asked Mr. McGeorge Bundy to discuss with you and Secretary Rusk whether a substantive review of the instructions is needed to ensure that they reflect our coordinated views.4

Lyndon B. Johnson 5
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Subject File, Nuclear Weapons, General, Vol. I, Box 32. Top Secret.
  2. Document 20.
  3. See Documents 16 and 17.
  4. In a March 31 note to Secretary Rusk, attached to another copy of his memorandum of March 26, McGeorge Bundy wrote: “The action referred to in paragraph 3 of this memorandum will await the completion of the Joint Staff studies which Secretary McNamara mentioned at a recent luncheon meeting with the President.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 12 US)
  5. Printed from a copy that indicates President Johnson signed the original.