8. National Security Decision Memorandum 61 2


  • The Vice President
  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • The Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission


  • Presidential Decision to Ratify Non-Proliferation Treaty

The President has decided to go forward with U.S. ratification of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Until this decision is reported in a Presidential message to Congress, the Government’s public position should be that the Non-Proliferation Treaty is still under consideration by the President and the National Security Council.

The President directed that, associated with the decision to proceed with U.S. ratification of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, there should be no efforts by the U.S. Government to pressure other nations, in particular the Federal Republic of Germany, to follow suit. The Government in its public posture should reflect a tone of optimism that other countries will sign or ratify, while clearly dissociating itself from any plan to bring pressure on these countries to sign or ratify.

The President directed that the Government in its public posture should make clear that the Non-Proliferation Treaty does not create any new U.S. commitments abroad and that it does not broaden or modify any existing U.S. commitments abroad. The President desires that the nature of U.S. commitments abroad be decided when the need arises, based on the circumstances at the time.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 363, Subject Files, NSDM’s (1–50). Secret. The President submitted the treaty to the Senate for ratification the same day. For text of his message to the Senate, see Public Papers: Nixon, 1969, p. 62. The Senate gave its consent on March 13 by a vote of 83–15. For text of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, see Documents on Disarmament, 1969, pp. 78–97.
  2. This memorandum announced President Nixon’s decision to go forward with ratification of the NPT. Although the U.S. would ratify the agreement, Nixon directed that no efforts be made to pressure other nations, specifically the FRG, to follow suit. Instead the U.S. Government “should reflect a tone of optimism that other countries will sign or ratify,” and emphasize that the Treaty would not “broaden or modify U.S. commitments abroad.”