33. Letter From the Director of the White House Office of Emergency Planning (McDermott) to Secretary of State Rusk1

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I recently submitted to The President a report about the progress that has been made on the Supply-Requirements Study for Nuclear War and Reconstruction that is currently being carried out by the Office of Emergency Planning in cooperation with a number of Federal agencies, including the Department of State.2 On June 4, 1964, the Honorable Walter Jenkins, Special Assistant to the President, wrote me that “The President has asked to be kept advised periodically of your progress,” and added that “Because of the obvious need for nuclear war objectives to provide guidance for stockpile policy, the participating Federal agencies should give high priority to this work.” A copy of Mr. Jenkins’ memorandum is enclosed.3

The Department of State, under guidance issued by the Office of Emergency Planning, is contributing to this study through the development of estimates covering the supply of and requirements for various major resources following a nuclear attack on the United States. The study was explained at a special meeting of the Interdepartmental Emergency Planning Committee on October 1, 1963.4 Since that date, all departments and agencies having either resource or claimant responsibilities for specific materials, products, or services during emergency periods have been conducting detailed evaluations in their assigned areas.

The results of the study will be invaluable in our planning for the postattack recovery of the nation, and will provide the basis for setting nuclear war stockpile objectives. Our present stockpile objectives are based on supply-requirements studies reflecting the needs of a conventional war. We are currently being urged, both by members of the Congress and representatives of industry, to develop stockpile objectives which will meet the needs of nuclear war and reconstruction.

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I would appreciate your informing the individuals in your agency that are engaged in this study of its importance and of the necessity for ensuring that no unjustifiable delays prevent its completion as soon as possible. In this connection, I would also appreciate having you bring a copy of Mr. Jenkins’ memorandum to their attention.


  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 1–2 US. No classification marking. An attached June 26 note from Marion A. Baldwin (S/S–S) to William E. Knepper (S) requested approval of an attached draft letter from G. Griffith Johnson to McDermott, as a reply to McDermott’s letter to the Secretary. A “yes” is handwritten in the margin of Baldwin’s note.
  2. The progress report has not been found. Regarding what apparently is the final report, see footnote 4, Document 44.
  3. Attached but not printed.
  4. Not further identified.