103. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Brown to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Binary Chemical Munitions Facility

My memorandum of May 24, 19792 pointed out the concern felt by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and myself regarding the need to maintain effective means of monitoring compliance with any agreement which is reached with the Soviets to ban chemical weapons. It also requested review of the 1978 decision to defer funding for the binary munitions facility. Your response suggested we examine this decision in connection with the FY 1981 budget review process.

We have been participating in the bilateral negotiations with the Soviets since 1976 and see little or no movement on their part to resolve critical differences. In view of the continuing degradation of our deterrent stockpile and the serious asymmetry of capabilities in this area, I directed that the binary chemical munitions facility be included in the Department of the Army basic budget submission in the amount of $19 [Page 227] million. I believe this action will provide the Soviets a clear indication of our dissatisfaction with the negotiations, and will signal the increasing difficulty of exercising restraint in our own chemical warfare capabilities while negotiations toward a comprehensive ban continue without progress.

Please inform the other concerned agencies of this action and solicit their views. If any agency forwards a nonconcurrence, then the SCC should resolve the issue in time to insure a decision prior to forwarding the FY 1981 budget to the President.

Harold Brown
  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harold Brown Papers, Box 61, Chemical/Biological Weapons. Secret.
  2. See Document 100.