171. Memorandum From Arthur T. Downey of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2


  • Heroin Task Force Meeting, Tuesday, June 9, at 3 p.m.

In a memorandum to you of May 19, Under Secretary Richardson requested that you call an early meeting of the Task Force to consider the possibility of the US urging the complete cessation of the world’s opium production (his memo is at Tab A together with our covering memo). In addition, since his memo there has been a flurry of activity and progress toward convening an ad hoc meeting of CCMS, perhaps on June 18, to consider the opium and general drug problem.

A Task Force meeting had been scheduled last week, but was cancelled since Mr. Finch and Dr. Egeberg could not attend. The purpose of this meeting is to take up Mr. Richardson’s proposal and to review our goals at the CCMS meeting. Since you have been unable to attend recent Task Force meetings, it is highly desirable that you chair this meeting. A summary of the last meeting of May 6 is at Tab B.

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Talking Points


The Richardson Proposal: World Ban on Opium

Mr. Richardson feels that, in order to justify their probable position against a complete ban on opium, the Turks will argue that some opium production is required for medical purposes (morphine). To counter this, he believes that the US should be in a position to press at the CCMS meeting, or at a broader international conference in the fall, for the complete cessation of the world’s opium production, in part on the grounds that natural opium is no longer medically necessary. This approach will probably cause difficulties with the medical community, the drug firms, and the major legal opium producers such as India. Mr. Richardson pointed out in his memo to you that he had been in touch with Mr. Finch to solicit his advice on how best to surmount these obstacles. (Note: Dissatisfaction with the less than energetic action by HEW seems to have been one of the reasons Mr. Richardson has pressed for this meeting; [Page 2] presumably his new appointment will put the matter into a different context.)

  • --You may wish to ask Mr. Richardson to begin discussion by reviewing his proposal for a world ban on natural opium production, and the prospects for our ability to make such a proposal at the CCMS meeting later this month.
  • --Seek Dr. Egeberg’s views and comments on the best method to deal with the probable obstacles.
  • --Ask Mr. Richardson how he suggests this proposal could effectively be presented to the very large legal producing countries such as India, particularly where there is little evidence of divergence of that opium production into the illicit channels.

CCMS Meeting

The convening of an ad hoc CCMS meeting (probably on June 18) is designed to give the Turks an acceptable international forum in which to make more palatable a dramatic cut or even elimination of Turkish opium production. To avoid the impression that CCMS is being used as a cover for further US pressure on the Turks, the scope of the agenda will be broadened to include the entire drug problem (synthetics, education, rehabilitation), and the call for the meeting will be made by Brosio at the request of the Germans and perhaps also the Dutch and Belgians. Dr. Moynihan will represent the US at the meeting.

  • --You should try to reach a consensus at the meeting on how far we can reasonably expect the Turks to be able to go at the CCMS meeting in announcing the curtailment or elimination of opium production. (Note: Dr. Moynihan may take the position that the Turks must agree to announce that there will be no planting this June, although he may fall back to a position of no planting this fall. Mr. Richardson, on the other hand, may take the more realistic position that the Turks could agree only to cut back the fall planting to one or two provinces coupled with much stricter controls, and that there will be no planting in 1971.)
  • --You may wish to ask [name not declassified] Mr. Kleindienst about our ability to ensure that stricter Turkish controls on the crop collection are effective, and that opium is not diverted to illicit channels. (Note: Justice (BNDD) has dispatched a half-dozen agents to Turkey to assist local enforcement officials and to monitor the harvest.)
  • --Ask the current state of planning for a general international conference in the fall which will be called for in the CCMS meeting; this is designed to facilitate an eventual world ban on opium and also to permit the Turks to announce the total elimination of opium production.

A list of the expected participants at the Task Force meeting is at Tab C.

  1. Source: Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 357, Subject Files, Narcotics II. Sent for information. Tab A is Document 170. The covering memorandum of May 21 from Sonnenfeldt to Kissinger was attached but not published. Tab B was not attached. Tab C was attached but not published.
  2. Downey provided a briefing memorandum and talking points for Kissinger to use at an upcoming Heroin Task Force meeting.