140. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1 2


  • Proposed NSSM on U.S. Policy and Programs Relating to Chemical and Biological Warfare and Agents

The attached NSSM requests a basic study of U.S. policy, programs and operational concepts relating to chemical and biological warfare and agents. The study requests a comprehensive review of present U.S. positions, including analysis of the main issues confronting U.S. policy in this field, and of possible alternative approaches thereto.

Secretary Laird has recommended that such a study be initiated “immediately”, and the Department of State has requested a review of CBW policy and programs “as soon as possible”.

Both interim policy guidelines on CBW and public posture guidelines have been in a state of flux due to the fact of substantial disagreement between departments on some fundamental aspects of the subject. In the light of the uncertainty surrounding U.S. policy and programs in this area, and in light of the increasing public concern and attention being given the subject, I believe that an overall study of present policy and possible alternatives is required.


That you approve the attached NSSM.

APPROVE: [RN 5/28 initialed]

  1. 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.
  2. Kissinger recommended the President approve an NSSM calling for an overall study of U.S. policy on chemical and biological warfare and agents.