200. Presidential Directive/NSC–381


  • The Vice President
  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense


  • The Secretary of Energy
  • The Director, Arms Control & Disarmament Agency
  • The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • The Director of Central Intelligence
  • The Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy


  • Comprehensive Test Ban (C)

The President has reviewed the recent deliberations of the SCC on the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) issues, and has reached the following conclusions.

a. In view of the importance of maintaining confidence in safety and reliability of our stockpiled nuclear weapons, the US should propose in the CTB negotiations that the treaty have a fixed, five year duration. The treaty would automatically terminate at the end of five years. During the fifth year there would be a review conference to determine whether to negotiate a replacement treaty.

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b. In forwarding the treaty to the Senate for ratification the President has decided to state his intention to resume testing at the end of the five years limited only to weapons safety and reliability purposes unless a vigorous safeguards program and studies in the interim indicate that this is not necessary. He has also decided that any further agreement on testing limitations after the five year treaty would be presented to the Senate for ratification.

c. The President has decided that nuclear weapons experiments at minimal yield levels (a few pounds or somewhat higher) should be permitted under the CTB in addition to experiments in laser fusion and other related areas for civil energy purposes. He has also directed that the precise nature and yields of such experiments be detailed in a CTB Safeguards Plan by the SCC and forwarded for his review by June 30, 1978.

In connection with these decisions, the President has asked that the Soviets be informed of his desire to expedite the CTB negotiations. In this regard, the US Delegation should state that the fixed duration treaty proposal, coupled with our earlier historic shift on on-site inspection, represents major movement on the part of the US on issues of Soviet concern and that in return we expect Soviet movement in the direction of our positions on the remaining CTB verification issues.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–81–0202, Box 53, A–400.112 TEST BAN (Apr–5 June) 1978. Secret. The Department of State forwarded the memorandum to the Mission in Geneva in telegram 134357, May 26; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840128–2355.