275. National Security Study Memorandum 1561 2


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


  • Indian Nuclear Developments

The President has directed an analysis of the implications for U.S. policy of an Indian nuclear test and an examination of possible positions the U.S. might adopt toward such a development.

As background, the study should consider:

  • —the likely impacts of a possible test on the policies and actions of—India’s neighbors in South Asia, of the USSR, of the PRC, and of other key states, both in regard to their political-military policies and in regard to their positions toward the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Test Ban Agreement;
  • —the likely political, military, and economic implications for India’s other policies and programs of a possible decision to develop nuclear weapons and delivery systems;
  • —an intelligence estimate of the likely time frame of these developments.

Based upon this analysis the study should examine the implications of an Indian nuclear test for U.S. interests and the policy options open to the United States in these circumstances with respect to India, India’s sub-continent neighbors, and other affected states.

The President has requested that this study be prepared on a need-to-know basis by an Ad Hoc Group comprising representatives of the addressees and the NSC Staff under the chairmanship of the Chairman of the NSC Interdepartmental Group for the Near East and South Asia. It should be submitted for consideration by the NSC Senior Review Group by August 18, 1972.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, National Security Study Memoranda (NSSMs), Nos. 104–206. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. A copy was sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  2. On behalf of the President, the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger directed that an analysis of the implications for U.S. policy of a nuclear test by India be prepared.