166. Letter From the Senior Member of the Military Installations and Facilities Subcommittee, House of Representatives (Bennett) to Secretary of State Kissinger1 2

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I am Chairman of the subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee which handles stockpiles for our national defense. The Committee has been under great pressure from legitimate drug concerns in the United States to release the opium in the stockpiles for domestic use in the production of drugs issued on prescription.

It is very doubtful that there is any real surplus of opium in the stockpile over and above what the national defense stockpiles require. There is a problem with Turkey producing opium because it finds its way into illegal traffic in the United States or addicts and illicit drug trade in the United States.

The question I am asking you is: isn’t there a way that an arrangement could be made with Turkey that the opium that they are producing against the desires of the United States because it may find its way into illicit trade in the United States, could be instead channeled into the needs of the proper use of the drugs the United States for purely medicinal purposes? Why do we not take an initiative to bring this about instead of allowing the pressure to continue to mount against the defense stockpiles of opium to a danger point? I would appreciate your advice in this matter so I can advise the drug concerns that are constantly putting pressure on me in this matter of drawing down defense stockpiles.

With kind regards, I am


Charles E. Bennett
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P740116–1715. No classification marking.
  2. Bennett queried Kissinger about alternatives to depleting the stockpile of opium reserved for national defense purposes.