81. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson1
- Release of Nuclear Weapons to Air Defense National Guard Units
1. In the attached memorandum Secretary McNamara last year requested authority for emergency release of nuclear air defense weapons to National Guard units.2 Under present arrangements, National Guard air defense units would be slow to act in an emergency due to administrative requirements for federalization. The requested authority would permit release of weapons and operational employment in accordance with emergency action procedures approved for regular forces.
I held up this action last year because of the risk of misunderstanding, in the light of the controversy over control of nuclear weapons. This is in fact a quite routine adjustment of emergency procedures, but it might not have seemed so in 1964. Secretary McNamara and the Joint Chiefs of Staff now feel that it should be approved, and I agree.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, Department of Defense, Vol. II, 12/64, Box 12. Top Secret.↩
- Document 38.↩
- This option is checked. A March 12 memorandum from Bundy to McNamara confirmed that the President approved the recommendation. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, Department of Defense, Vol. II, 12/64, Box 12)↩