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207. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1

SUBJECT

  • Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB)

PARTICIPANTS

  • State
  • Secretary Cyrus Vance
  • Les Gelb Director, Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs
  • Defense
  • Secretary Harold Brown
  • David McGiffert Asst Secretary for International Security Affairs
  • Energy
  • Secretary James Schlesinger
  • Donald Kerr Acting Asst Secretary for Defense Programs
  • JCS
  • General David Jones
  • Lt General William Y. Smith
  • ACDA
  • Paul Warnke
  • Spurgeon Keeny, Deputy Director
  • Thomas Davies, Asst Director for Multilateral Affairs
  • White House
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • David Aaron
  • NSC
  • Reginald Bartholomew
  • Benjamin Huberman
  • OSTP
  • Frank Press
  • John Marcum
  • CIA
  • Admiral Stansfield Turner
  • [name not declassified] Chief, Nuclear Energy Division

The purpose of the meeting was to review our CTB policy on duration, permitted experiments and verification in light of recent meetings and deliberations by the President and to briefly discuss the CTB Safeguards Plan which the Working Group is preparing.

In beginning the meeting, Dr. Brzezinski observed that these were highly interrelated issues and suggested that we begin with duration and permitted experiments. He pointed out that after meeting with the laboratory directors, the President continued to rule out kiloton-level testing, but had more flexibility in considering a shorter duration with very low level permitted experiments.

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The discussion then focused on the implications of shortening the duration to three years with permitted experiments restricted to a few pounds or somewhat higher as in PD/NSC–38. There was general agreement that this would be a useful step in further limiting military risks and maintaining laboratory capabilities, and that the treaty would still be worthwhile from the non-proliferation and political standpoint. Dave Jones agreed that the shorter duration would be helpful, but stated he would have to meet with the Chiefs to determine whether they could support this approach.

With regard to ratification, Harold Brown stressed that the support of both the Chiefs and the laboratory directors would be essential and argued that in this context it would be important to retain the PD/NSC–382 language on intention to resume testing at the end of the treaty duration. Dave Jones agreed with this view and suggested that it would be useful if the testing resumption were not limited to safety and reliability purposes. All agreed with this recommendation.

The permitted experiments level was then discussed in detail and it was agreed that this level should be raised slightly from the “few pounds or somewhat higher” of PD/NSC–38 to “less than one hundred pounds” in order to permit some benefit in maintaining design skills and checking calculations while minimizing adverse non-proliferation impacts.

The impact of the shorter duration on internal seismic stations was also discussed. Frank Press pointed out that military risks would be limited by the three year duration and we would probably not be able to completely install our proposed 12 to 15 station network in just three years. He suggested a two-step approach of proposing seven stations during the three year treaty (the Soviets have informally indicated they might accept this many) with the larger network deferred for consideration in the context of a replacement treaty. A consensus was reached in favor of authorizing the Delegation to propose this approach following the Soviet response to our 12 to 15 station proposal.

Dr. Brzezinski adjourned the meeting by reviewing the changes that would be in PD/NSC–38 under this approach—e.g., duration of three instead of five years, deletion from the intention to resume testing clause of the restriction to reliability and safety purposes, and raising the level of permitted experiments to less than one hundred pounds instead of a “few pounds or somewhat higher.” He asked that the views of the Chiefs and the lab directors on this approach be submitted by Thursday3 evening so that a decision memorandum could be sub[Page 511]mitted to the President on Friday. At Jim Schlesinger’s request it was agreed that the decision memorandum would include each agency’s preferred position as well as their view on the acceptability of this approach.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 95, SCC 084, CTB Verification, Seismic Station Network: 6/12/78. Secret. The meeting occurred in the White House Situation Room. The memorandum was originally dated June 26, and an unknown hand wrote “7” over the 6.
  2. See Document 200.
  3. June 29.