205. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara1



  • Denuclearization of Africa (U)
(U) Reference is made to an oral request by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA) for the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff related to a proposed UN resolution calling for the denuclearization of Africa.
(U) An analysis of the operative paragraphs of the resolution shows generally four proposed actions:
Paragraphs 1, 4, and 5 call upon all UN members to refrain from testing, storing, using, or deploying nuclear weapons in Africa.
Paragraphs 2 and 3 endorse a treaty under UN auspices whereby African states will undertake not to manufacture or acquire nuclear weapons.
Paragraph 6 urges UN members possessing nuclear weapons and capabilities not to transfer nuclear weapons or technology to any state which may be used to assist that state in manufacturing or using nuclear weapons in Africa.
Paragraph 7 expresses the hope that African states will initiate studies to implement denuclearization of Africa and to take the necessary measures through the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to achieve this end.

(S) [7-½ lines of source text not declassified]

[2 paragraphs (32 lines of source text) not declassified]

(U) It is not clear to the Joint Chiefs of Staff whether all aspects of an NFZ in Africa are covered by the UN declaration. However, it is the opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the reasons set forth above, that the denuclearization of Africa as contained in the proposed resolution would not be in the security interest of the United States and should be opposed. It is recognized that political considerations may not warrant active US opposition to the UN resolution. In such an eventuality, it is recommended that the United States abstain from voting on this resolution.2
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Earle G. Wheeler 3
Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 70 A 3717, 388.3 Africa. Secret. A stamped notation on the source text reads: “Mr. McNaughton has seen.”
  2. On December 1, the U.N. First Committee approved the proposed draft resolution without change by a roll-call vote of 105 (including the United States) to 0 with 3 abstentions. On December 3, by a vote of 105 (including the United States) to 0 with 2 abstentions (France and Portugal), the U.N. General Assembly adopted Resolution 2033 (XX) endorsing the July 21, 1964, OAU declaration on the denuclearization of Africa. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1965, pp. 369–370.
  3. Printed from a copy that indicates Wheeler signed the original.