3. Chemical and Biological Warfare; Geneva Protocol; Biological Weapons Convention


139. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Laird to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Laird recommended that the National Security Council undertake an immediate review of U.S. chemical and biological weapons programs.

Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–75–0089, Box 50, 370.64 CBR (April 1969). Confidential. Sent for action.


140. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon

Kissinger recommended the President approve an NSSM calling for an overall study of U.S. policy on chemical and biological warfare and agents.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–153, NSSM 1–348, NSSM 59. Secret. Sent for action. The attached NSSM is printed in Document 141.


141. National Security Study Memorandum 59

NSSM 59 directed officials to conduct a study of the U.S. policy on chemical and biological warfare and agents. The study was to include U.S. programs and operational concepts; problematic issues encountered with those programs; and the ways in which those programs effected U.S. relationships with its Allies.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, NSSMs (43–103). Secret. A copy was sent to Wheeler


142. Minutes of the Secretary of Defense’s Staff Meeting

In this meeting, Laird stated that it was important to discontinue the use of the term CBW term as such since it lumps together two separate programs, one for chemical warfare and one for biological research.

Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–76–28, Office Chrons, June–Aug 1969. Secret.


143. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Laird to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Nutter)

Laird indicated he wanted the views of the various interested DOD elements incorporated in DOD’s input into the NSSM 59 study and he wanted to be consulted as DOD papers on key policy issues were formulated.

Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–75–89, 370.64 CBR (August 1969). Confidential. A handwritten notation by Laird stated: “Warren—As you know I requested this study and I’m most interested in it—hope the item I discussed at Monday staff meeting is handled as per my instruction. MRL.”


144. Intelligence Report Prepared by Directorate of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency

This detailed CIA report, entitled “Disarmament: Chemical-Biological Warfare Controls and Prospects for Improvement,” provided historical background, analysis, and projections on chemical-biological warfare controls and the prospects for improvement.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 310, Subject Files, Chemical, Biological Warfare-Vol. I. Confidential; No Foreign Dissem. A note at the bottom of the first page reads: "This report was produced solely by CIA. It was prepared by the Office of Current Intelligence and coordinated with the Office of National Estimates, the Office of Strategic Research, and the Office of Scientific Intelligence."


145. Memorandum From Morton Halperin of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Halperin informed Kissinger that DOD’s input into the NSSM 59 study would be delayed. It then provided a five-page overview of U.S. policy, programs, and issues of chemical and biological arms control.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 310, Subject Files, Chemical, Biological Warfare-Vol. I. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Sent for information. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates Kissinger saw it on September 23.


146. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs (Spiers) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

As chairman of the Interdepartmental Political-Military Group, Spiers discussed the delay in response to NSSM 59 from the Department of Defense and the implications of the delay.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–153, NSSM 1–348, NSSM 59. Secret. Halperin forwarded Spiers’ memorandum to Kissinger under cover of a September 10 memorandum. (Ibid.)


147. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary of State Rogers

Kissinger extended to October 5 the due date for completion of the NSSM 59 study.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–153, NSSM 1–348, NSSM 59. Secret. It was also sent to Laird, Helms, DuBridge, and Gerard Smith. A copy was sent to Wheeler.


148. Memorandum of Conversation Between Secretary of State Rogers and Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko

Rogers and Gromyko discussed the Soviet proposals to ban chemical and biological weapons and to maintain international security that were before the UN General Assembly.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–1969, POL USUSSR 5/1/69. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by William D. Krimer. The meeting was held at the Waldorf Towers in New York City


149. Telegram 168999 From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations

The Department of State issued instructions to the United Nations and the Committee on the Conference for Disarmament delegations on how to handle the UN General Assembly discussions of chemical and biological warfare while awaiting NSC guidance from the NSSM 59 review.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–1969, POL 27–10 UN. Confidential. It was also sent to USMission Geneva. It was repeated to Ottawa, London, Moscow, Stockholm, and USNATO. Drafted on October 3 by Day and Lorenz (IO/UNP); cleared in IO, IO/UNP ACDA, ACDA/GC, L, L/UNA, DOD/ISA (info), and PM; paragraph 6 was cleared in substance in DOD/OGC; and approved by De Palma.


150. Paper Prepared in the Department of Defense, Washington, undated.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–40, Review Group Meeting Folders, NSSM 59, CW and BW, 10/30/69. Top Secret.


151. Letter From the Representative to the United Nations (Yost) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Yost noted that the U.S. delegation would be in considerable difficulties if the U.S. position on CBW remained unsettled and expressed hope that a decision could be made to seek ratification of the 1925 Protocol.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 296, Agency Files, U.S.U.N., Vol. II, 1 Aug 1969–31 Jan 1970, Pt. 3. Confidential and Personal.


152. Analytical Summary Prepared by the National Security Council Staff

This ten-page analytical summary of the Interdepartmental Political-Military Group Paper on CBW, prepared in response to NSSM 59, addressed U.S. policy on biological and chemical warfare, and the use of tear gas in war.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–40, Review Group Meeting Folders, NSSM 59, CW and BW, 10/30/69. Top Secret. The summary was prepared for the NSC Review Group meeting on October 30. The summary bears no drafting information.


153. Talking Points Prepared for the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

The Talking Points outlined the policy issues for discussion at the upcoming Review Group meeting under three main headings: 1) biological warfare; 2) chemical warfare; 3) ratification of the Geneva Protocol and the use of tear gas and herbicides.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–40, Review Group Meeting, NSSM 59, CW and BW, 10/30/69. Top Secret. The handwritten revisions made to II A (“1,” “2,” “3,” and “appears to be”), to II B (“Option one and perhaps option two”), and to III B (“1” and “2”) are in an unknown hand. Other handwritten markings are Kissinger’s, including “incapacitants” on page 4, “Def. of retaliatory capability?” at the top of page 5, “State & Defense in disagreement” at the bottom of page 5, and “Why? State?” on page 6.


154. Memorandum From Michael Guhin of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

In this memorandum, Guhin discussed the Talking Points prepared on CBW for Kissinger for the upcoming NSC Review Group meeting. He then attached an outline of probable agency positions on the various policy issues.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–40, Review Group Meeting, NSSM 59, CW and BW, 10/30/69. Top Secret. Sent for information.


155. Minutes of National Security Council Review Group Meeting

The group discussed chemical and biological weapons for 90 minutes. Over the course of the meeting, participants specified 7 changes to be made in reworking the IPMG paper—which included regrouping the issues into categories; clarifying the distinction between offensive and defensive R&Ds; outlining the arguments for and against informing the German Government on the deployment of chemical weapon stocks in Germany; specifying policy on the UK’s draft biological weapons convention; defining an adequate chemical weapons retaliatory capability; a discussion of the ratification of the Geneva Protocol; and the possibility of requiring a Presidential decision to use tear gas in conflicts other than Vietnam.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–111, Meeting Minutes, SRG Minutes 1969. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room. The minutes bear no drafting information.


156. Report Prepared by the Interdepartmental Political-Military Group

This fifty-one page report on CBW, prepared in response to NSSM 59 and revised following the October 29 Review Group meeting, outlined the U.S. policies on chemical and biological warfare and agents and was considered at the NSC meeting on November 18.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–25, NSC Meeting, 11/18/69, CBW, NSSM 59. Top Secret. Davis forwarded the report to Agnew, Rogers, Laird, Lincoln, Mitchell, Richardson, Wheeler, Helms, Gerard Smith, and DuBridge under cover of a November 12 memorandum in which she noted that it reflected discussion at the October 30 Review Group meeting and would be considered at the upcoming NSC meeting. (Ibid.) Under cover of a November 17 memorandum, Davis notified recipients of the IMPG report that on page 46, line 4, the text should read, “The United States has not sought to establish.” (Ibid, Box H–153, NSSM 59)


157. Letter From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Representative to the United Nations (Yost)

Kissinger responded to Yost that the National Security Council would discuss the issue on November 19 and that Yost would be given policy guidance on the 1925 Protocol and other CBW issues shortly thereafter.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 296, Agency Files, U.S.U.N., Vol. II, 1 Aug 1969–31 Jan 1970, Pt. 3. Confidential.


158. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon

Kissinger briefed the President for the NSC meeting on CBW the next day, emphasizing the need to develop frameworks compatible with the national security and arms control objectives. The attached Issues for Decision paper outlined Kissinger’s recommendations for the policies on the use of chemical and biological weapons; the use of tear gas in relation to the 1925 protocol established by the Geneva Convention; and the authorization policy for the use of tear gas and herbicides in war.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–25, NSC Meeting, 11/18/69, CBW, NSSM 59. Top Secret. The attached Talking Points are not published.


159. Notes of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Secretary of Defense Laird

Kissinger and Laird had a brief discussion of CBW issues in anticipation of the NSC meeting the next day.

Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 361, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File, November 11–17, 1969. No classification marking.


160. Notes of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Secretary of Defense Laird

Kissinger and Laird discussed further the upcoming NSC meeting on CBW.

Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 361, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File, November 18–28, 1969. No classification marking.


161. Minutes of a National Security Council Meeting

The meeting focused on U.S. chemical warfare policies. It included some discussion of the 1925 Geneva Protocol banning the use of chemical and biological agents in warfare and where tear gas and herbicides fit into that agreement.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–109, NSC Meeting Minutes Originals, 1969. Top Secret. The minutes bear no indication of who drafted them. The attachments (the NSC book and Helms’ briefing on Soviet chemical and biological warfare) are not published.


162. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Secretary of Defense Laird

The conversation dealt with follow-up to the NSC meeting and the possible draft of a legislative strategy to address the CBW.

Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 361, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File, November 18–28, 1969. No classification marking.


163. Notes of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the British Ambassador (Tomkins)

Kissinger informed Tomkins about the decision to be announced the next day concerning chemical and biological weapons.

Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 361, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File, 18–28 November 1969. No classification marking.


165. National Security Decision Memorandum 35

Among the President’s decisions on chemical warfare and bacteriological/biological research were decisions to submit the Geneva Protocol for Senate ratification and to associate the U.S. with the UK draft convention on biological warfare presented to the ENDC in August 1969.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 363, Subject Files, NSDMs (1–50). Top Secret; Nodis. A copy was sent to Wheeler.


166. Statement Issued by President Nixon

The President highlighted his decisions on CBW. This statement confirmed the U.S. alliance with the objectives of the UK Draft Convention banning the use of biological agents in war. It included the decision to submit the 1925 Geneva Protocol, prohibiting the first use of chemical and biological agents in warfare, to the U.S. Senate for ratification. Moreover it established a research agenda to investigate the methods of disposal for bacteriological weaponry and restricted research to “defensive measures” only.

Source: Public Papers: Nixon, 1969, pp. 968–969. No classification marking. For text of the President’s remarks on his CBW decisions, made the same day, see ibid., pp. 969–970.


167. Memorandum From Michael Guhin and Winston Lord of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Guhin briefed Kissinger on the CBW resolutions at the UN. He then attached a Department of State telegram transmitting guidance to the U.S. Mission to the UN.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 29, Agency Files, U.S.U.N. Vol. II, 1 Aug 69–31 Jan 70 [Part 3]. No classification marking. Sent for information. A notation on the memorandum indicates Kissinger saw it on December 3. A copy was sent to Behr and Sonnenfeldt. The attached telegram was drafted in IO/UNP; cleared in ACDA, L, and PM/ISP; approved in IO. It was sent for information to Geneva.


168. Talking Paper Prepared in the Department of Defense

The paper discussed a New York Times article that alleged an interagency disagreement over whether toxins were more properly classified, for purposes of the President’s November 25 statement, as chemical or biological agents.

Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–75–0103, 370.64 CBR, October–December. Top Secret.