164. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Aaron) to Vice President Mondale, Secretary of State Vance, and Secretary of Defense Brown1


  • SCC Work Program for Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Discussions

The SCC Working Group should continue its review of verification issues, taking into account developments in the ongoing trilateral CTB discussions, with the following specific tasks:

—By August 1, prepare an analysis of the incremental contribution of unmanned seismic stations to our national technical means, beginning with an analysis of the cost, location and contribution of one station or array, and including increasingly larger numbers of stations and arrays as appropriate.

—By August 1, prepare an analysis of the technical feasibility, utility, risks and costs of CTB evasion scenarios. This analysis should include an evaluation of the implications of the improved method for estimating the yield of nuclear explosions from seismic data.

At the request of the President, Frank Press will establish an ad hoc scientific group to review and evaluate the responses to the above tasks prior to their consideration by SCC.

In addition, the SCC Working Group should:

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—By August 15, prepare a safeguards plan concerning measures that could be taken under a CTB to adequately maintain our nuclear weapons design capability and the reliability of our stockpiled weapons, and to ensure readiness to resume nuclear weapons testing, if necessary. This should include an analysis of the facility and test site maintenance that would be required, and the types of experiments that might be conducted under a CTB.

—By August 15, review our current and planned national technical means, including options for further improvements, and develop a proposed interagency management plan to ensure the effective utilization of all government resources in monitoring a CTB agreement.

David Aaron
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Agency File, Box 1, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency: 1–7/77. Secret. Copies were sent to Press, Warnke, George Brown, Turner, and Fri.