290. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Science and Technology, Department of State (Pollack) to the Under Secretary of State (Richardson)1 2
- Peaceful Nuclear Explosions and the Limited Test Ban Treaty
Your memorandum of June 12, 1969 requested a study of the implications of the Limited Test Ban Treaty on the “Plowshare” program for peaceful application of nuclear explosives.
Representatives of the Department of State, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the Atomic Energy Commission and the Department of Defense have participated in this study. Within the Department, contributions have been made by the Legal Adviser’s office, the Political/Military staff in Under Secretary Johnson’s office, the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, and the Bureau of European Affairs, as well as the staff of International Scientific and Technological Affairs, Our report is attached at Tab C. SCI, with the participation of ACDA and AEC, has also prepared a Summary (Tab A) and Conclusions (Tab B) for your convenience in reviewing the report.
For the sake of brevity we have not repeated in this report the full recital of potential advantages and disadvantages for all aspects of the problem, since this [Page 2]would have involved covering much of the same ground which was treated in our March 22, 1969 report on the proposed Cape Keraudren nuclear harbor excavation in Australia (NSSM 25), The present report addresses itself to the most realistic options available for consideration as well as new factors which have emerged since the Cape Keraudren study.
In this study we have borne in mind not only the limitations of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, but also the desirability of proceeding with the development of this technology in order to meet the expectations under Article V of the Non-Prolifera-tion Treaty.
While some differences in viewpoint still exist regarding the’ restrictions of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, the attached report endeavors to present the significant considerations without prejudice. The participants in this study are in general agreement on the Conclusions expressed in Tab B, although divergent views regarding presentation and emphasis still remain- Even in the absence of unanimity, it has been gratifying to observe the extent to which the agencies and offices concerned have been willing to accomodate their different views on this traditionally controversial subject.
Annex II, an illustrative draft Protocol, will be transmitted as soon as the various Agencies have completed their review of the draft text.[Page 3] [Page 13]
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, General Files on NSC Matters, Box 15, NSC–U/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.↩
- 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.↩
- Ever-present but variable background radioactivity at any given location, unrelated to current excavation explosions, complicates the problem of measuring the radioactive debris attributable to a particular explosion. It should also be noted that increasingly sensitive techniques make it possible for a number of countries to detect and identify the presence of minimal amounts of radioactive debris—far below the levels which could be considered significant from a health standpoint.↩