235. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to Secretary of Energy Schlesinger1


  • CTB Enhanced Test Program (U)

This is in response to your memorandum of May 42 concerning the CTB Enhanced Test Program. I recommended development of this program to the President3 to redress the growing asymmetry in US and Soviet testing rates, and to investigate some of the uncertainties involved in maintaining reliability without testing. The President directed me to proceed on this basis but was concerned that the additional tests should support a CTB—e.g., the program should investigate reliability problems rather than generate “new” warhead development needs. Subsequently, the President reaffirmed his support for this effort in the context of his review of the Quicksilver II testing plan.4 (S)

In light of this support, the preliminary incremental amounts you mentioned do not appear unreasonable and I am optimistic that the Administration will support such a request. I understand that the FY 81 figure is in fact consistent with the preliminary request DOE has already submitted to OMB.5 We need to move quickly, however, since the Committee mark-up of the FY 80 budget is in progress and we are losing valuable time for carrying out additional tests prior to the advent of a CTB. Consequently, it is requested that you facilitate participation by your staff and the lab directors in the ad hoc NSC Working Group to ensure prompt completion of the Enhanced Test Program for review by the President. (S)

In this regard, Assistant Secretary Sewell of your staff has previously submitted a list of prospective members6 and Frank plans to draw from this list in establishing the panel. Frank also tells me he would welcome an opportunity to discuss with you any further sug[Page 578]gestions you might have regarding the composition or activities of the review group.

Zbigniew Brzezinski7
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 13, Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB), 1/79–9/80. Secret. Copies sent to Vance, Brown, Jones, Seignious, and Press.
  2. See Document 230.
  3. Not found.
  4. Not found.
  5. Not found.
  6. Not found.
  7. Aaron signed the memorandum for Brzezinski.