168. Talking Paper Prepared in the Department of Defense1 2


  • New York Times Article December 16, 1969, “Two Agencies Clash over War Toxins”

The above named New York Times article alleges a disagreement between Department of State and Department of Defense over whether President Nixon’s announcement last month on chemical warfare and biological research precludes the development or use of toxins as falling within the renunciation of biological warfare.

In the brief time available to investigate this article the following conclusions and observations have been made:

1) There is a disagreement between the two Departments on this issue. DA is of the view that toxins (defined as products of living organisms which are toxic—poisonous) are properly classified as chemicals and that therefore they may be used in retaliation against a chemical warfare aggressor. Department of State takes the view that toxins are more properly classified in the biological area for purposes of the President’s pronouncement.

2) It is doubtful that Dr. Kissinger instructed the Army to stop production of toxins until the NSC addressed this matter. However, on 14 August, DA ordered the cessation of all “production of toxins and biological agents and the filling of dissemination devices within these agents.”

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–75–0103, 370.64 CBR, October–December. Top Secret.
  2. 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.