4. Nuclear Test Ban Issues; Peaceful Nuclear Explosions


277. Telegram 9903 From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union

Soviet Chargé Chernyakov delivered an aide-mémoire protesting the fallout from a December 8, 1968, U.S. underground nuclear test (Schooner).

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–1969, AE 6 US. Secret. It was repeated to Ottawa. Drafted by MacCracken (EUR/SOV); cleared by Toon and Springsteen (EUR), Dubs (EUR/SOV), Scott (EUR/CAN), and Lehman (G/PM); and approved by Bohlen.


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

Kissinger briefed Nixon on the Non-Proliferation Treaty, control of nuclear weapons, deployment of ABMs, underground testing of large yield nuclear weapons, and nuclear excavation for his meeting that afternoon with Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Glenn Seaborg.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 202, Agency Files, Atomic Energy Commission-1969, General, volume I. Secret.


279. Journal Entry by the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (Seaborg)

Seaborg summarized the substance of his January 28 meeting with Nixon. He focused specifically on his discussion with the President about the peaceful nuclear explosive projects (Plowshare).

Source: Journal of Glenn T. Seaborg, volume 18, pp. 35–39. No classification marking.


280. Letter From the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (Seaborg) to President Nixon

Seaborg addressed the various Plowshare projects and the treaty banning nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere. He recommended allocating funding for AEC’s excavation and explosive development program, but noted that doing so potentially violated the LTBT.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 200, Agency Files, Nuclear Testing, Joint Nuclear Tests. Secret.


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

Citing Senate interest in nuclear excavation, Kissinger proposed the preparation of an options paper on the relationship of the Australian excavation project to the Limited Test Ban Treaty. He then attached an issues paper, titled Cape Keraudren Nuclear Excavation Project in Australia and the Limited Test Ban Treaty, outlining possible objectives.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 200, Agency Files, Nuclear Testing, Joint Nuclear Tests. Secret. The attachments at Tabs A and B are published. The NSSM at Tab C is Document 283. Written in hand at the top of the memorandum is, “copy sent Ellsworth as attachment to top memo,” a reference to the copy of the February 17 memorandum from Kissinger to Ellsworth to which Kissinger’s memorandum to the President is attached.


283. National Security Study Memorandum 25

Per Kissinger’s suggestion ( Document 282), the President directed a study be prepared on the relationship of the Australian excavation project to the LTBT.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, NSSMs (1–42). Secret.


284. Telegram 30638 From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union

The Department reported that on February 26 an aide-mémoire was given to Soviet Embassy Counselor Vorontsov in response to the Soviets’ January 21 aide-mémoire on the December 8, 1968 Schooner explosion.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–1969, AE 6 US. Secret. It was repeated to Ottawa. Drafted by MacCracken (EUR/SOV); cleared by Dubs (EUR/SOV) and Scott (EUR/CAN) and in substance in J/PM and ACDA; and approved by Toon. Secret.


285. Memorandum of Conversation

In a meeting with Under Secretary of State Richardson, Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin delivered a verbal statement requesting a formal explanation how the U.S. joint nuclear cratering experiment with Australia would comply with the terms of the LTBT and the reason for the lack of U.S. response to the Soviet proposal to hold PNE technical talks.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 725, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Memcons, Dobrynin/Secretary, Mar 69. Confidential. Drafted by Dubs (EUR/SOV) on March 3, 1969.


286. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of International Scientific and Technological Affairs (Pollack) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Pollock forwarded the report prepared in response to NSSM 25 and highlighted the need for a more refined definition between the peaceful nuclear explosions program and the LTBT.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, General Files on NSC Matters, Box 15, NSCU/Sec Committee Misc. Memos. Secret. The appendices to the attached report are not published.


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

Kissinger’s forwarded Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Seaborg’s March 26 memorandum notifying the President that the Cape Keraudren PNE project had been canceled.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 200, Agency Files, Nuclear Testing, Joint Nuclear Testing. Confidential. “Approve press release” is checked. The letter at Tab A is published but not the press release at Tab B.


288. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Acting Secretary of State Richardson

Kissinger noted that the President had directed that a study be conducted of the available options for reconciling the U.S. Plowshare program with the LTBT.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, General Files on NSC Matters, Box 15, NSC/USC Memos-UN Secretary’s Committee. Secret. At Tab A was the attachment to Document 286. In a May 23 memorandum, Richardson replied that even before the NSSM 25 exercise began Rogers had approved just such a study and that an interagency group under Pollock’s direction was working on the project. (Ibid.)


289. National Security Decision Memorandum 18

The President directed that henceforth the Under Secretaries Committee review the annual underground nuclear test program and quarterly requests for authorization of specific scheduled tests.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 363, Subject Files, NSDMs (1–50.) Secret. A copy was sent to Moorer (JCS). Laurence Lynn drafted the NSDM and, under cover of a June 23 memorandum, forwarded it to Kissinger together with a draft memorandum from Kissinger to the President explaining that “to extend bureaucratic arrangements directed by NSAMs 269 and 307 would not be consistent with the new NSC organization because the previous directives designate me as chairman of a group whose membership includes the Secretaries of State and Defense.” (Ibid., Box 341, President/Kissinger Memos)


290. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Science and Technology, Department of State (Pollack) to the Under Secretary of State (Richardson)

Pollack forwarded the report requested by Richardson on the implications of the LTBT for the Plowshare program, which included both long-term and interim measures for the U.S. to adopt.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, General Files on NSC Matters, Box 15, NSCU/SEC, Committee Misc., Memos. Secret; Restricted Data. The summary and conclusions at Tabs A and B are published but not the report at Tab C.


291. Memorandum for the Record

The memorandum is a record of the discussion on relationship between the PNEs and the LTBT at the October 14 meeting of the NSC Under Secretaries Committee.

Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–75–89, A–400.112 (Sep–Dec) 1969. Secret; Sensitive. Prepared by M.C. Demler on October 15.


292. Journal Entry by the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (Seaborg)

Seaborg kept his own record of the discussion concerning the PNE and LTBT at the October 14 NSC Under Secretaries meeting. This entry also includes a record of his discussion with Under Secretary of State Richardson following the meeting.

Source: Journal of Glenn T. Seaborg, vol. 20, pp. 304, 307, 309. No classification marking.


293. National Security Council Under Secretaries Committee Decision Memorandum 22

The memorandum is a record of the decisions reached at the October 14 NSC Under Secretaries Committee meeting, noting that, if the United States intended to continue with the Plowshare program, the LTBT needed to be modified.

Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–75–89, A–400.112 (Sep–Dec) 1969. Confidential. Prepared by Arthur Hartman.


294. Memorandum From the Deputy Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Farley) to the Under Secretary of State (Irwin)

Source: Washington National Records Center, Office of the Director, Subject Files of the Former Executive Director Office, December 1969–December 1970: FRC 383–98–4, Soviet Venting from Nuclear Testing, Nov.–Dec. 1970. Secret. The attachments at Tabs C and D are published but not the attachments at Tabs A, B, and E.


295. Journal Entry by the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (Seaborg)

At a December 15 meeting, Seaborg, Under Secretary of State Irwin, and other officials discussed the proposed aide mémoire to the Soviets protesting the venting of their October 14 nuclear test.

Source: Journal of Glenn T. Seaborg, vol. 23, pp. 621–622. No classification marking.


296. Telegram 2322 From the Department of State to Embassy in the Soviet Union

This telegram transmitted Dobrynin’s verbal statement criticizing the U.S. for the venting from recent underground nuclear explosions.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–1973, DEF 18–8 US. Confidential; Limdis. It was repeated to AEC. Drafted by Dubs (EUR/SOV); cleared by Davies (EUR) and in PM, SCI, ACDA, and AEC; and approved by Hillenbrand.


297. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (Seaborg) to the National Security Council Under Secretaries Committee

Seaborg highlighted an interim status report on the December 18, 1970, Baneberry underground nuclear test, which vented radioactivity into the atmosphere. The report indicated no large scale public health hazard resulting from the explosion and designated an investigation into the possibilities for the radioactive release.

Source: Journal of Glenn T. Seaborg, vol. 24, pp. 42–43. No classification marking. The status report is not included in Seaborg’s journal.


298. Memorandum From the Assistant Director of the Science and Technology Bureau, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Keeny) to the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Smith)

Keeny discussed the Canadian reports of radioactive material detected in the atmosphere resulting from U.S. venting following the December 18, 1970 Baneberry underground nuclear test.

Source: Washington National Records Center, Office of the Director, Subject Files of the Former Executive Director Office, January–December 1971: FRC 383–98–5, Underground Nuclear Testing–Venting December 1970–December 1971. Drafted by P.J. Long (ACDA/ST). The attached memorandum of conversation is not published. The Canadian minister stated that their readings did not indicate conclusively that the increase in radioactivity was a result of venting from the Nevada tests, but they considered it probable because the radioactivity resulted from “fresh venting.”


299. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Under Secretaries Committee (Irwin) to President Nixon

Irwin reported on the underground nuclear test program for the third and fourth quarters of fiscal year 1971, focusing specifically on the venting of radioactive material into the atmosphere following the December 18, 1968 test at Baneberry.

Source: Washington National Records Center, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 330–74–83, 334 NSCU (March–April). Secret; Restricted Data. The attachments to the Under Secretaries Committee’s report are not published. The President approved the test program in a May 5 letter to Seaborg. (Ibid., May 1971)


300. Telegram 85171 From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union

The Department reported on Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Springsteen’s May 14 meeting with Soviet Acting DCM Vorontsov. At this meeting the two men discussed the Soviet demarche over the venting of radioactive material from the December 18, 1970, Baneberry underground nuclear test.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–1973, DEF 18–8 US. Confidential. It was repeated to USMission Geneva, Vienna, and AEC. Drafted on May 14 by Okun (EUR/SOV); cleared by Van Doren (ACDA); and approved by Springsteen (EUR).


301. Memorandum From the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Smith) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

In light of the growing domestic and international opposition to nuclear testing, Smith recommended an interagency review of U.S. nuclear test ban policy and attached a draft NSSM detailing various viable proposals.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–184, NSSM 128. Secret; Noforn. Under cover of a May 24 memorandum, Behr, Smith, and Sonnenfeldt forwarded Smith’s memorandum and draft NSSM to Kissinger together with their own draft NSSM, noting that they had changed Smith’s “approach of looking at alternative ways to have a ban and adopted the approach used for SALT: that is, studying verification and strategic implications alone.” (Ibid.)


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

Citing international, domestic, and Congressional opposition to nuclear testing and the connection between SALT and test ban options, Kissinger recommended that Nixon approve instituting a review of U.S. nuclear test ban policy.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, NSSMs (104–206). Top Secret. Sent for action. The memorandum was drafted by Behr, Smith, and Sonnenfeldt and forwarded to Kissinger under cover of a May 24 memorandum in which they proposed that Kissinger either initial it and forward it to the President for his approval or approve it for the President himself. Kissinger initialed the memorandum and approved it for the President, writing “HK for RN” next to “Approve.” For Tab A, NSSM 128, see Document 303.


303. National Security Study Memorandum 128

The President directed a review of U.S. policy with respect to underground nuclear testing and requested separate analyses for verification possibilities, effect on U.S. and Soviet nuclear development, and potentially influential political factors.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, NSSMs (104–206). Top Secret. A copy was sent to the David, Seaborg, and Moorer.


304. Memorandum From the Director of the Program Analysis Staff, National Security Council (Smith), to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Smith recommended that the White House clear all U.S. delegation public statements and instructions involving nuclear test ban policy until the issuance of the NSSM 128 study on U.S. nuclear test ban policy.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 229, Agency Files, Department of Defense, volume 14–Nov–Dec 1971. Confidential. Sent for action. At Tab A was the November 17 memorandum issued by Kissinger ( Document 305).


305. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary of State Rogers and the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Smith)

The President issued directions for clearance of statements and instructions concerning nuclear test ban policy.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 229, Agency Files, Department of Defense, volume 14, Nov–Dec 1971. Confidential. A copy was sent to Laird, Schlesinger, and Moorer.


306. Memorandum From the Director of the Program Analysis Staff, National Security Council (Odeen), to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Odeen reviewed and evaluated three resolutions before the UN General Assembly urging all nuclear powers to halt nuclear weapons testing.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1328, NSC Unfiled, 1971. Confidential. Sent for urgent action. The attachments are not published. None of the options on page 5 are marked. Haig forwarded Odeen’s memorandum to Kissinger under cover of a note in which he observed that State and ACDA wanted the U.S. to agree with the Canadian resolution while Odeen and Merrit thought the U.S. should abstain. Haig recommended voting no on the Mexican and Saudi resolutions but abstaining on the Canadian resolution “to reflect a degree of difference in our attitude.” Kissinger wrote “Agree” at the bottom of Haig’s note. (Ibid.)