The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. Those regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George H. W. Bush on October 28, 1991, established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series must include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purpose of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This electronic-only volume is part of the subseries of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important decisions and actions of the foreign policy of the administrations of Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. This is the seventh Foreign Relations volume to be published in a new format, that of electronic-only publication. Approximately 25 percent of the volumes scheduled for publication for the 1969–1976 subseries will be in this format. The decision to institute this change was taken in full consultation with the Department’s Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, which was established under the Foreign Relations statute. The advantages of this new method of presenting documentation are evident in this volume: the format enables convenient access to more key documentation on a broader range of issues, all or any portion of which can be easily downloaded. Annotation—the value added element of documentary editing—is still present in limited form, but not to the scale of a Foreign Relations print volume. This electronic-only publication results in substantial savings in cost and time of production, thus allowing the series to present a fuller range of documentation, on a wider range of topics, sooner than would have been possible under a print-only format. These advantages compensate for the fact that this Foreign Relations volume is not an actual book bound in traditional ruby buckram. The Department of State, the Historian, the General Editor, and the Historical Advisory Committee are all dedicated to publishing the great majority of the volumes in the Foreign Relations series in print form; these are also posted in electronic format on the Department of State’s website. While the future of research in documentary publications is increasingly tied to the ease of use and availability of the Internet, the Department of State will continue to use both print and electronic-only versions to make the Foreign Relations series available to the widest audience possible. In that sense, this innovation is in keeping with the general principles of the series begun by President Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward and continued by subsequent presidents and secretaries of state for more than 145 years.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume E–2

This volume documents the Nixon administration’s primarily multilateral arms control policy between 1969 and 1972. It does not cover the high profile Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) with the Soviet Union, culminating in the signing of the SALT agreements in May 1972. These negotiations are covered in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Vol. XXXII, SALT I, 1969–1972. While the Nixon administration’s arms control policies have become synonymous with SALT, the SALT negotiations were actually just one of a panoply of historic arms control and disarmament initiatives that the Nixon administration pursued between 1969 and 1972. This volume focuses on the administration’s multilateral arms control policies, most notably its review of biological and chemical warfare policies, ratification of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, negotiation of the Seabed Arms Control Treaty, approach to nuclear testing and test-ban proposals, and ratification of the Geneva Protocol. Most of these negotiations were played out in international arenas such as the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee (ENDC) and its successor, the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament (CCD), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the United Nations, but the documents here show they were fundamentally U.S.-Soviet dialogues, part of the cold war superpower struggle that underlay much of United States diplomacy at the time.

The Johnson administration had submitted the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to Congress, but the Senate ratification vote was cancelled following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. The first major arms control decision documented in the volume is the Nixon administration’s support for a new effort to gain Senate ratification of the NPT. A complicating factor documented in the volume was whether the Europeans, especially the Federal Republic of Germany, should be pressured to also sign the treaty. The second theme of the volume is a possible arms control treaty to protect the seabeds, and the documents presented here depict a spirited inter-agency debate over the value of such a treaty. This deliberation is part of the larger discussion of the use of the seabeds that is covered in volume Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Vol. E–1, Documents on Global Issues, 1969–1972. The next theme of the volume is the internal debate within the Nixon administration that resulted in the President’s unilateral decision to renounce the use of biological weapons early in his administration. This dramatic announcement was supposed to pave the way for Senate ratification of the 1925 Geneva Protocol outlawing all chemical and biological weapons and a United Nations Convention prohibiting biological weapons. Neither treaty was ratified by the Senate during Nixon’s first term.

These principal themes of the volume–biological and chemical weapons, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and seabed arms control–are supplemented by documents on other issues, such as nuclear testing, test-ban proposals, safeguards to ensure that peaceful nuclear programs were not turned into weapons programs, and the response to Soviet initiatives for disarmament and non-use of force agreements.

The volume is predominantly composed of two types of documents. The first set of documents reflects the internal debate within the U.S. Government on arms control issues. In this set, the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency play a significant role, along with the Department of State. The second set of documents reflects discussions with allies, neutrals, and the Soviet Union on arms control and disarmament in both bilateral and multilateral forums–including the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee, the Conference Committee on Disarmament, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the United Nations. In this set of documents the Department of State took the lead. The volume demonstrates that, notwithstanding their focus on larger issues–such as Vietnam, China, the Soviet Union, and later the Middle East–both President Nixon and his Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger, played a more significant role in arms control policy than they are generally given credit for. Although sometimes reluctant proponents of arms control, they reacted mostly favorably—with occasional grumbling as evidenced by transcripts of the presidential tapes—to consensus proposals from the arms control and military bureaucracies.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the date and time of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations electronic-only volumes follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor. The original text is reproduced exactly, including marginalia or other notations, which are both visible on the facsimile copy of the document and described in the source note. There is also a text version of the document. The editors have supplied a heading, a summary, and a source note with additional relevant information as required, for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected in the text file. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the text, and a list of abbreviations, persons, and sources accompanies the volume.

Bracketed insertions in roman type are used on the facsimile copy and in the text file to indicate text omitted by the editors because it deals with an unrelated subject. Text that remains classified after declassification review is blacked-out on the facsimile copy and a bracketed insertion (in italic type) appears in the text file. Entire documents selected for publication but withheld because they must remain classified are accounted for by a heading, a source note, and a bracketed note indicating the number of pages not declassified. These denied documents are listed in their chronological place in the volume.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Historical Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Historical Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes, as it deems necessary, to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 U.S.C. 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review these materials for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and related implementing public access regulations require NARA to notify formally the Nixon Estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon Estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they were a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return private and personal materials to the creator of the files. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials Project are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of all the documents published in this volume. The review was undertaken in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958, as amended, on Classified National Security Information, and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State and other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government. The declassification review of this volume, which began in 2002 and was completed in 2007, resulted in the decision to withhold no documents in full, to excise a paragraph or more in 12 documents, and to make minor excisions in 5 documents. The editors are confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that this volume is an accurate record of the arms control policy of the first Nixon administration, 1969–1972.


The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland; Sandra Meagher of the Department of Defense, who facilitated access to Defense records; and historians at the Center for the Study of Intelligence, who assisted in access to relevant records of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The editors also wish to acknowledge the RICHARD Nixon Estate for allowing access to the Nixon Presidential recordings, and the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace for facilitating that access.

David I. Goldman did the research, initial selection, and initial annotation of the volume before the Office of the Historian decided upon the format and style for electronic-only volumes (E-volumes). David C. Humphrey revised the volume and reorganized it to make it conform to the approved new electronic-only format. Edward C. Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, reviewed the volume.

Dean Weatherhead and Chris Tudda coordinated the declassification review, under the supervision of Susan C. Weetman, Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division. Keri Lewis performed the copy and technical editing. Bonnie Sue Kim compiled the list of sources. Carl Ashley, Stephanie Hurter, and Chris Tudda assisted with the scanning, proofreading, and electronic publication of the volume.

Marc J. Susser
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
September 2007