139. Summary of Conclusions of a Mini-SCC Meeting1


  • Chemical Warfare (U)


  • State
  • Reginald Bartholomew, Director, Political-Military Affairs
  • Mark Palmer, Director, Disarm. & Arms Control
  • Charles Thomas, Dir., Off. of Eur. Aff. & Eur. Security
  • Robert Pace, Political-Military Officer
  • OSD
  • Walter Slocombe, Dep. Undersec. for Policy Planning
  • Thomas Dashiell, Staff Specialist for Chemical Technology
  • OSTP
  • Ben Huberman, Asso. Dir., Natl. Security, Intl. & Space Aff.
  • Margaret Finarelli, Senior Policy Analyst
  • JCS
  • Gen John Pustay, Assistant to the Chairman
  • Col. John A. Tengler, Chemical Staff Planner
  • DCI
  • [name not declassified]
  • [name not declassified]
  • OMB
  • Edward Sanders, Asso. Dir., Natl. Security & Intl. Affairs
  • Robert Howard, AF Branch Chief, Natl. Security Division
  • ACDA
  • George Ashworth, Asst. Dir., Weapons Eval. & Control
  • Robert Mikulak, Staff Member
  • White House
  • David Aaron (chaired)
  • NSC
  • Victor Utgoff
  • Gen Jasper Welch
  • Jerry Oplinger

The meeting began with a discussion of the basic objectives of the proposed binary chemical weapons program, as currently seen. This discussion included the following points: (1) The case for the $2B 30,000 agent tons JCS CW munitions requirement for Central Europe remains to be made; (2) A more modest stockpile of several thousand agent tons might cost a total of $300–400M to produce; (3) The binary CW program would accommodate a shift to a better mix of CW munitions, particularly more air-delivered weapons; and (4) Binary munitions offer the possibility of multipurpose artillery shells that could be normally configured as smoke or HE rounds, but with a quick change of inserts converted to CW munitions. (S)

The Chair noted that the value of the binary CW program seems to depend significantly on forward-deploying some of these weapons in Europe and in particular, in Germany. Defense generally agreed, but stated that the binary program would probably be worth pursuing even if forward-deployment of binaries were to prove impossible. The Chair stated that the question still seems to be: Will we be able to deploy binaries in Europe? (S)

State (after noting that the CW issue has not yet been addressed by the Secretary), argued that the problem of deploying binaries in Europe is manageable if approached correctly. State argued that presenting a major new CW program all at one time to our Allies wouldn’t work. On the other hand, a phased approach beginning with deployment of air-delivered CW munitions in the UK, and then leading to replacement of stocks in the FRG, perhaps using the multipurpose shell idea, could be worked out. (S)

The Chair stated that if the value of binaries is strongly dependent on forward-deployment, we must know Allied—particularly FRG—attitudes. Defense argued that we should not ask the Allies to participate in this decision. State agreed, but said that the US should discuss the management of the CW problem with the Allies. JCS noted that we might point out the changed importance of a credible CW deterrent, given changes in the nuclear balance. State said any suggestion of a changed role for CW weapons would doom any hopes we have for modernizing the forward-deployed CW stockpile. State then argued that the program of improvements we are discussing involves a long [Page 306] series of actions and consultations that should probably be carried out by the next administration. (S)

The Chair argued that we need to make a decision on the program for the ’82 DOD budget, and that we are likely to create a major problem for the next administration if we simply include funds for the binary plant without consulting with the FRG. Chancellor Schmidt would likely be pressed at home for his reaction to our decision, and his reaction might very well be to say binary weapons will never be deployed in Germany. (S)

After a short discussion of the specific decisions that must be made, the mini-SCC agreed to recommend the following course of action:

(1) Do nothing to oppose the Congressional initiatives to fund the binary plant in 1981.

(2) Sign the appropriations bill without comment and place whatever funds the Congress provides for 1981 on the deferred list, pending decision by the new administration.

(3) Make our final decision on the binary CW plant in the course of the President’s ’82 DOD budget review.

(4) If the Congress’ actions lead to a need for significant funding in 1982, and if the President decides to fund the program, consult with Chancellor Schmidt to give him advance warning of our intentions.

(5) Let the next administration decide how to complete the required restructuring of the binary program. (S)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 183, SCM 153, Mini-SCC Chemical Warfare, 11/26/80. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room.