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67. Presidential Review Memorandum/NSC–271

TO

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

ALSO

  • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • The Director of Central Intelligence

SUBJECT

  • Chemical Warfare

The President has directed that the Special Coordination Committee undertake a review of the US chemical warfare (CW) posture with a view toward developing CW arms limitation options.

The review shall include:

1. An assessment of the nature and trends of the CW threat, to be prepared by the Intelligence Community.

2. A definition of alternative military strategies for deterring CW, and limiting its effect if deterrence fails. Each strategy description shall include an evaluation of:

—supporting force postures and programs, including costs.

—associated military risks

US and allied technological capabilities, and military and social constraints

—impact on US allies

—effect of use on military operation including incentives for first use of chemicals

3. An evaluation of arms limitation options. Analysis shall include consideration of:

—net effect on US security, including impact on US Allies

—contribution to US-Soviet relations and to other foreign policy interests

—verification and compliance requirements

—possibilities for successful negotiation

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The review shall be completed by June 1 and shall not exceed 25 pages.2

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Harold Brown Papers, Box 61, Chemical/Biological Weapons. Secret. Sent for action. Carter wrote “ok, J” in the upper right corner of the memorandum. Underneath, Brown wrote “5/20. ISA—Since our military are so concerned about the CW threat, we should look carefully at the possibility reducing the threat by CW arms limitation. HB.”
  2. “Response to PRM/NSC–27: Chemical Warfare” was submitted to the SCC on June 1 and is available in Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–80–0017, 370.64 CBR (June) 1977.