317. Presidential Review Memorandum/NSC–151


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


  • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • The Administrator, Energy Research and Development Administration
  • The Chairman, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • The Director of Central Intelligence
  • The Assistant to the President for Energy Policy


  • Nuclear Proliferation

The President has directed that the Policy Review Committee, under the chairmanship of the Department of State, undertake a thorough review of U.S. policy concerning nuclear proliferation. The review should develop policy options for the United States—both near and long term—for achieving its non-proliferation goals. The review should:

1. Assess the current status of U.S. nuclear fuel assurance policies, reprocessing policy including alternatives to reprocessing, and possibilities for the handling and disposal of nuclear wastes.

[Page 783]

2. Review the decisions announced by President Ford in the statement of October 28,2 and identify the policy options required to implement those decisions.

3. Provide a review of the current status of major ongoing negotiations with and among foreign nations concerning proliferation.

4. Assess options for formal and informal international coordination of incentives, controls and sanctions throughout the nuclear fuel cycle in order to limit nuclear proliferation.

5. Analyze the strengths and liabilities of bilateral negotiations, the London Suppliers Group,3 and the IAEA, as institutions for implementing U.S. non-proliferation goals.

6. Identify current U.S. nuclear export requirements, and examine what new requirements might be applied to current and future export agreements, and what measures must be taken to insure U.S. credibility as a nuclear supplier state.

7. Review current estimates of energy demand outside the United States, and assess the potential of non-nuclear alternatives to meet those needs.

8. Review congressional initiatives and suggest strategies for coordination of executive and legislative branch policies concerning nuclear export and non-proliferation.

The review should be completed by February 28, 1977.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 383, Records of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Office of the Director, Subject Files Pertaining to Presidential Review Memoranda and Directives, MEMCONS with Foreign Officials, and National Security Decision and Study Memoranda, May 1963–October 1980, Accession #383–98–0053, Box 1, Presidential Review Memorandum/NSC–15—Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy, January–March 1977. Secret; Exdis.
  2. Ford stated on October 28 that in order to reduce the proliferation of nuclear materials, the “reprocessing and recycling of plutonium should not proceed, unless there is a sound reason to conclude that the world community can effectively overcome the associated risks of proliferation.” He promised that the United States would “greatly accelerate its diplomatic initiatives, in conjunction with nuclear supplier and consumer nations, to control the spread of plutonium and technologies for separating plutonium” and align its domestic and international positions by working “closely with other nations.” He concluded by calling for “all nations to recognize that their individual and collective interests are best served by internationally assured and safeguarded nuclear fuel supply, services, and storage” and to end their pursuit of “nuclear capabilities which are of doubtful economic value and have ominous implications for nuclear proliferation and instability in the world.” (Public Papers: Ford, 1976–77, pp. 2763–2778)
  3. The London Suppliers Group, or the Nuclear Supplier Group, founded in 1974 after India’s successful nuclear test, included the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, and Japan. It met several times from 1974 to 1977 to set guidelines for the export of nuclear material to states that did not possess nuclear weapons.