Press Release

Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
United States Department of State

September 19, 2007

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume E–2, Documents on Arms Control and Nonproliferation, 1969–1972. This electronic-only volume is available on the Department of State,’s website. Part of the ongoing official documentary history of U.S. foreign policy, this volume presents the record of U.S. policies towards multilateral arms control and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons during President Richard Nixon’s first administration.

The Nixon administration’s arms control policies have become equated with the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), which will be covered in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXXII, scheduled for publication in 2008. SALT, however, was only one of a series of arms control and nonproliferation policies that the administration pursued between 1969 and 1972. This volume focuses on the administration’s 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 of 1925.

U.S. foreign policy has had a long association with multilateral arms control efforts, especially during the early part of the twentieth century. Many of the arms control efforts documented in this volume began in several earlier presidential administrations, and involved negotiations and consultations with numerous countries. One of the Nixon administration’s most important contributions to the effort was the decision in November 1969 to unilaterally end the U.S. biological weapons program, terminating all research on offensive use of biological weapons, and beginning the process of the destruction of existing U.S. stocks of weapons. In 1972, the administration signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, joining other nations in a promise not to produce or use biological weapons or toxins. Another important arms control decision of the Nixon presidency was its support for the Senate’s ratification in 1969 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and its campaign to encourage other countries to sign and ratify the treaty.

This volume incorporates a wide range of documents and focuses on a broad group of actors in the policy process. While it relies on documentation generated by Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger and the NSC staff, it also includes key documentation from the Department of State, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Kissinger papers, and the Nixon Presidential tape recordings.

The text of the volume, the summary, and this press release are available on the Department of State’s website ( http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/Nixon/e2). For further information, contact Edward C. Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series at (202) 663-1131, or by e-mail to history@state.gov.