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14. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1

Mac—

I've been sitting on attached Chicom nuclear paper,2 on assumption you'd hardly find it urgent business.

[Page 24]

Walt's first hope is that LBJ will look at the conclusions (at my suggestion he summarized them in letters to McNamara, McCone, etc.).3 LBJ really should be told about these, because they reduce the problem to proper perspective, i.e. not much of a military threat but of some political “scare" potential. If you agree I'll do a one-pager for weekend reading.4

Walt also wants a NSAM. This seems quite unnecessary at this point, and you'll agree when you see horrendous draft attached.5 Paper is mostly of educational value, and has already largely served its purpose. If a high level ad hoc group is really needed for follow-up action (I'm of two minds),6 why couldn't this be discussed in SG and then set up by Rusk (with WWR as chairman).

JCS have done some comments, which further complicate picture.7

WWR is also poking around in pre-emptive action field. Do we want this?8

RWK
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Komer Files, China (CPR), Nuclear Explosion/Capability. Secret.
  2. Reference is to a draft policy statement of October 15, 1963, prepared in the Policy Planning Council of the Department of State. (Ibid.) For information concerning it, see Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XXII, p. 399, footnote 1. For the summary portion, see the Supplement to that volume.
  3. A January 24 letter from Rostow to Bundy enclosed a copy of his January 21 letter to McNamara. (Both Johnson Library, National Security File, Komer Files, China (CPR))
  4. A marginal note in Bundy's handwriting next to this sentence reads, “Yes.” The word “weekend" was crossed out and the word “night" added in Bundy's handwriting.
  5. A marginal note in Bundy's handwriting next to this sentence reads, “Not needed yet.” The draft NSAM, with a drafting date of January 24, is in Johnson Library, National Security File, Komer Files, China (CPR).
  6. A marginal note in Bundy's handwriting connected to the words “ad hoc group" reads, “Not now, in my view. Ad hoc groups are over employed on more urgent stuff.”
  7. The JCS comments on the October 15 draft statement have not been found. A JCS memorandum to McNamara (JCSM-986–63), December 14, 1963, responded to a memorandum of July 31 from Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs William Bundy to the JCS Chairman requesting a contingency plan for an attack with conventional weapons on Chinese Communist nuclear weapons production facilities designed to cause severest impact on and delay in the Chinese nuclear program. The JCS memorandum of December 14 indicated that such an operation was feasible but recommended consideration of the use of nuclear weapons for such an attack. Both memoranda are in Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 91–0017, 471.61 China Reds.
  8. A marginal note in Bundy's handwriting connected to this sentence reads, “I'm for this.”