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


  • Completion of Plans and Proposed Announcement for the Destruction of Biological and Toxin Weapons

As directed by you in NSDM’s 35 and 44 (Tab G), Secretary Laird forwarded a description of his plan for the destruction of all stockpiles of biological and toxin agents and munitions in July (Tab E/With Inventory of Weapons, Tab F).

This plan required further action by Defense before forwarding it for your approval. In response to my memoranda (Tab D)

  • — Defense has now submitted its environmental impact statement (Tab H) and public affairs plan (Tab I) to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ): and
  • — CEQ Chairman Train has reported to you (Tab C) assuring you of the adequacy of the destruction plan from the environmental standpoint and stating that the Army, HEW and Agriculture are to be congratulated on a comprehensive plan ensuring complete protection of the environment.

The plan also has the concurrences of your Office of Science and Technology, the US Surgeon General, the Department of Agriculture and the Federal Water Quality Administration.

Major points of the plan are:

  • — Destruction of anti-personnel agents will take place at Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas (little over a year in process). Destruction of anti-crop agents will take place at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (about two years), Beale Air Force Base, California and Fort Detrick Maryland (both taking less than two months.)
  • — All destruction will be accomplished at the sites so that no transportation is involved.
  • — The agents will be rendered completely innocuous by contained sterilization and incineration.

Defense wants approval to begin operations as soon as possible. I think we should move ahead with this matter now. John Whitaker and Bill Timmons concur.

At Tab A is a proposed memorandum from me to the Secretary of Defense which (1) informs him that you approve the plan, (2) forwards the compliments of the CEQ to those responsible for it, and (3) requests that he call the Governors involved and make the necessary arrangements to notify concerned Congressmen and Senators as a courtesy shortly before the announcement.

At Tab B is a proposed public release for your approval. The substance of the release has been cleared with John Whitaker and Bill Timmons. The text has been cleared by Ray Price.


That you approve the memorandum for Secretary Laird at Tab A and the draft public release at Tab B.


[HAK approved for Pres]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 311, Subject Files, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc) Vol. III. Secret. Sent for action. A handwritten notation on page two indicates that Kissinger approved the memorandum for the President. It was sent to Laird on December 15. (Ibid.) The attachments at Tabs A, B, C, H, and I are not published. NSDMs 35 and 44 (at Tab G) are Documents 165 and 190; [11/25/69; 2/20/70] Laird’s July 6 memorandum and the inventory of weapons (at Tabs E and F) are Document 199 and its attachment; and Kissinger’s memorandum at Tab D is an attachment to Document 207. [9/14]
  2. Kissinger recommended the President approve a memorandum to Laird authorizing him to proceed with the Defense Department’s plans for the destruction of biological and toxin agents.