143. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Laird to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Nutter)1 2


  • National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 59

The NSSM 59 study constitutes the first full-scale, detailed review of the chemical warfare and biological research area in almost a decade. It serves the interest of the Department of Defense (DoD), as you will agree, for this study to be as thorough, complete, and well-reasoned as possible.

In order for the DoD positions to be as cogent as possible, I believe we must solicit and give consideration to the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the individual Services, and numerous elements of the OSD staff. I am especially interested in seeing that, in addition to the more purely military views, the Secretary of the Army inputs as well as the DDR&E, the Systems Analysis, and the Installations and Logistics views, receive full consideration.

The inputs DoD makes, even on a “working paper” level, will be important in the formulation of the final positions offered for full NSC consideration. I would appreciate your insuring (a) that the views of the various interested DoD elements are incorporated in the “working papers” and (b) that on this vital issue I am consulted as the DoD papers on key policy issues are formulated.

Melvin Laird
  1. 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.”
  2. 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.