86. Presidential Review Memorandum/NSC–371


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


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


  • Chemical Weapons (U)

The President has directed that the Special Coordination Committee undertake a review of the United States chemical weapons (CW) posture incorporating information acquired over the past year and covering the following:

1. An update on the CW threat, U.S. protective posture and U.S. retaliatory capability.

2. An assessment of the current bilateral negotiations with the USSR aimed at the preparation of a joint CW initiative for presentation to the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament (CCD) including:

—Key elements on which some degree of agreement has been reached with the USSR.

—Key elements on which agreement has not been reached, and possible approaches for resolution.

—Prospects for agreement on a joint initiative consistent with the current U.S. negotiating instructions.

—Consideration of extent of implementation of past decrease regarding U.S. CW stocks.

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3. In light of the assessment per Paragraph 2, a review of the PD–15 decision2 “that U.S. chemical warfare forces be maintained without force improvement” including a discussion of possible steps to modernize or restructure the U.S. CW posture.

The review should be completed by July 14, 1978.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 12, Chemical Weapons, 5/78–11/80. Secret.
  2. See Document 70.