67. Memorandum From Spurgeon Keeny and Morton Halperin of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2


  • Review Group Meeting, March 6, 1969

There are two items on the agenda for the Review Group meeting:


ENDC opens on March 18. The three major items on the agenda are the test ban, cut-off of the production of fissionable material, and arms control of the seabeds. On each of these issues there is substantial interagency disagreement. There are no agency positions stated in the paper but we know that the JCS are opposed to agreements on each of the three items and object to our publicly supporting agreements. The AEC supports the JCS position on the first two items. ACDA notes that in the past we have publicly supported a test ban and a production cut-off and argues that we should continue to support these proposals. ACDA believes we should advance a specific proposal on the seabeds going beyond our current willingness only to discuss “factors” in such a proposal. The position of State and DOD at high levels is not known, although State is likely to support the ACDA position. On security grounds there is no urgent reason for going forward and legitimate difference as to whether any of the proposals are in our interests. The basic issue is one of the President’s public and international posture. Does he wish to appear publicly as backtracking from proposals to control the arms race which were endorsed by his predecessors? There is a great deal of obfuscation which can be done and we can certainly put forward a position without pushing it if we decide to do so. Your talking points are designed to narrow down and sharpen the issues.

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2. NPT Countries

The NSSM asked for a study of what our policy should be toward key countries following the President’s decision to seek ratification by us of the treaty. The recommended courses of action are in every case quite moderate and none involve putting pressure on the countries to sign or ratify. This is basically an operational problem which could now be assigned to the Under Secretaries Committee. In effect, we would be assigning the responsibility to that Committee for implementing NSDM 6 using the guidance of this paper. You may want to discuss this with Elliot Richardson before the RG meeting.

A letter by the President to the Israeli Prime Minister is suggested. This should be handled as a normal operational matter, with a draft coming from State to the President.

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Tab A

ENDC Agenda

In recognition of the views expressed by the members of the Committee, in response to the recommendations of the General Assembly, taking into account the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and also the agreement announced on 1 July 1968, for bilateral discussions on the limitation and reduction of both offensive strategic nuclear weapons delivery systems and systems of defense against ballistic missiles, which was welcomed by members of the Committee, the Co-Chairmen recommended the following provisional agenda which was adopted by the Committee on 15 August 1968:

“1. Further effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.

“Under this heading members may wish to discuss measures dealing with the cessation of testing, the nonuse of nuclear weapons, the cessation of production of fissionable materials for weapons use, the cessation of manufacture of weapons, and reduction and subsequent elimination of nuclear stockpiles, nuclear free zones, etc.

“2. Non-nuclear measures.

“Under this heading, members may wish to discuss chemical and bacteriological warfare, regional arms limitations, etc.

“3. Other collateral measures.

“Under this heading, members may wish to discuss prevention of an arms race on the seabed, etc.

“4. General and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

The Committee also noted the recognized right of any delegation to raise and discuss any disarmament subject at any time.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–34, Senior Review Group Meeting, 3/6/69. Top Secret. Sent for action.
  2. The memorandum briefed Kissinger for the next day’s Review Group. It focused on the three key issues for the ENDC, the test ban, the halting of production of fissionable material, and arms control for the seabeds. He went on to outline the “substantial” disagreement between the AEC, the JCS, the ACDA, and the DOD on each item. On the second issue, the NPT, Keeny reiterated the U.S. position of not pressuring nations to sign the agreement. Also included was an Agenda for the following day’s ENDC meeting.