68. Memorandum for the Record1 2


  • NSC Review Group Meething, 6 March 1969
The 6 March meeting of the NSC Review Group dealt with two related subjects: aspects of the Non Proliferation Treaty, and Preparations for the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee (ENDC) scheduled to begin meetings in Geneva on 18 March.
Discussion concerning NPT revolved around a paper titled “Positions of Key Countries on the Non Proliferation Treaty”, prepared in response to NSSM #13 by a NSC Ad Hoc committee. This discussion was brief and was directed only at questions of accuracy. Finding that the Review Group was in fundamental concurrence on the paper, Chairman Henry Kissinger directed that the paper, together with NSSM #13, be placed before the Under Secretaries Committee. At present it is not contemplated that NSSM #13 will go before tbe NSC but will be resolved by the Under Secretaries Committee.
The discussion concerning preparations for the ENDC session was divided into three parts: (a) issues related to a comprehensive test ban: (b) issues related to a cut-off of production of fissionable materials for weapons; and (c) possible arms control measures for the seabeds.
During the discussion of the comprehensive test ban, the consensus appeared to be that favoring this measure is like favoring motherhood—without any of the attendant risks. It was pointed out that the U.S. has favored this position for years while the Soviets have steadily been negative because of its accompanying implications of an international inspection system. The JCS view, however, is that a comprehensive test ban is not in the US interest at the present time and will and will not be for several years to come. It was agreed that the whole position of the US needs to be reviewed by the NSC. The NSC staff was directed by Kissinger to boil NSSM #20 down so that it could be ussd as a basis for NSC discussion.
The discussion of the cut-off of production issues was fairly prolonged. Here again the JCS took a negative position regarding the desirability of the proposal. From this discussion emerged the view that it might be desirable to revamp the 1966 US cut-off proposal in the light of more recent considerations. The NSC staff was given the task of laying out a paper which would explore the pros and cons of continuing with the present proposal or setting up a new one. It was also agreed that a briefing would be presented before the NSC on this issue, the participants to be JCS and ACDA. I contracted to provide lnformation on CIA estimates of the Soviet nuclear production between 1966 and the present and a projection into the future.
The discussion of the seabeds control measures was fairly brief. Again the JCS took a basically negative view, saying that the JCS believes that not enough information is available at present to determine whether or not such control measures world be in our national interest. Other participants [Page 3] in the discussion agreed that a great deal remains unknown about the technology and utility of seabed nuclear weapons. It was agreed that the basic question to be decided by the NSC is whether negotiations can begin on this subject before eseïtial study is completed. It was agreed that intial discussions could conceivably be held by the disarmament committtee on what are the essential elements of a seabed arms control measure. This issue will be presented to the NSC in a paper from the NSC staff, possibly augmented by a briefing at the meeting.
At the outset of the meeting Kissinger announced that the Review Group will meet regularly henceforth at 2:00 pm on each Thursday. He also said that in a recent conversation, the President told him that he likes the options format for NSC papers. He wishes, however, that obviously absurd options be removed and wants the Review Group to indicate which options appear to be the more logical or “respectable”.
R.J. Smith
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 80–B01086A, Director of Central Intelligence, ER Subject File, Box 7, NSC Review Group. Secret. Prepared by R.J. Smith.
  2. The memorandum summarized the discussion at the March 6 NSC Review Group Meeting. The Review Group conducted a brief discussion of the accuracy of the paper “Positions of Key Countries on the Non Proliferation Treaty” and a more complete analysis of the preparations made for the upcoming ENDC.