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The September 11th Sourcebooks

THE NIXON ADMINISTRATION'S DECISION TO END
U.S. BIOLOGICAL WARFARE PROGRAMS
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 58
Edited by Dr. Robert A. Wampler
October 25, 2001; Updated December 7, 2001
The September 11th Sourcebooks - Index
In the coming days the Archive will release subsequent volumes on lessons from the Soviet war in Afghanistan, U.S. policy and planning for "Low-Intensity Conflict," CIA guidelines on the recruitment of inteligence "assets," and the use of assassination in U.S. foreign policy.
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Perhaps the most troubling and terrifying development in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11th is the emergence of biological warfare as a real, instead of a potential, threat for our government and the public to confront. To provide the historical context for this new threat, the National Security Archive published on October 25, 2001 key declassified documents on President Richard Nixon's decision to halt the U.S. biological warfare program. In this updated briefing book, the Archive is making available the official history of the U.S. Army's activities in the U.S. biological weapons program (see Document No. 26). New revelations in the news now make this history even more vital to understand, since the mailed anthrax that has killed five Americans in recent weeks may have come from the U.S. program, not from foreign sources. According to William Broad in The New York Times (December 3, 2001),

     "The dry powder used in the anthrax attacks is virtually indistinguishable in critical technical aspects from that produced by the United States military before it shut down its biowarfare program, according to federal scientists and a report prepared for a military contractor.
     The preliminary analysis of the powder shows that it has the same extraordinarily high concentration of deadly spores as the anthrax produced in the American weapons program. While it is still possible that the anthrax could have a foreign source, the concentration is higher than any stock publicly known to be produced by other governments.
     The similarity to the levels achieved by the United States military lends support to the idea that someone with ties to the old program may be behind the attacks that killed five people."(1)

The threat of biological attack is placing new strains upon the public health system, posing new challenges for those responsible for protecting against new threats, and fostering both public fear and uncertainty about personal safety and the risks of exposure to new terrorist biological attacks. The possibility that terrorists may obtain access to far more virulent biological agents, such as smallpox, eradicated decades earlier as a public health menace, but still existent in U.S. and Russian laboratories, further compounds the concerns and the challenge, as the possible U.S. source for the anthrax attacks underscores.

Even before the terrorist attacks of September 11th, international efforts to cage the biological warfare threat had made news in the U.S. and abroad. The Bush administration this past July decided not to sign the protocol to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention by providing monitoring and compliance provisions, citing the administration's doubts about the ability to verify compliance with the treaty and its concerns about the impact both on the ability to continue work on biological warfare studies deemed defensive, and on confidential business information. This decision elicited extensive criticism among scientists and arms control analysts.(2) Public attention was also drawn to the threat posed by biological warfare and the hidden history of U.S. efforts in this line by the publication of Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War by New York Times journalists, whose findings were first given widespread publicity in an article published in the Times just one week before the terrorist attacks.(3)

The documents included in this briefing book shed light upon the decision made by President Richard M. Nixon in 1969 to end all U.S. offensive biological (and chemical) weapons programs, as well as upon the history of the U.S. program. Remarkably, neither Nixon nor Henry A. Kissinger, his National Security Advisor at the time, makes any mention of this decision in their memoirs. But at the time, the administration felt an urgent need to do something to address growing public criticism of U.S. biological warfare programs, fueled by the Vietnam War. One key critic was Kissinger's former Harvard colleague, biologist Matthew Meselson, who provided Kissinger with studies demonstrating the high risk and limited utility of biological weapons as part of the American arsenal.(4) The range of experimentation on human subjects carried out by the U.S. biological weapons program, as summarized by Jeanne Guillemin, a Boston College sociologist and the wife of Matthew Meselson, makes for chilling reading:

    "The entire experimental legacy is dismaying, from the hundreds of dead monkeys at Fort Detrick to the spectacle of Seventh Day Adventist soldiers, the vaccinated volunteers in Project Whitecoat, strapped to chairs amid cages of animals in the Utah sunlight as Q fever aerosols are blown over them. Most chilling are the mock scenarios played out in urban areas: light bulbs filled with simulated BW agents being dropped in New York subways, men in Washington National Airport spraying pseudo-BW from briefcases, and similar tests in California and Texas and over the Florida Keys."(5)

    Thinking was progressing along similar lines within the administration, as the documents reveal. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird recommended an NSC study of U.S. biological and chemical warfare programs in April 1969, again in light of anticipated criticisms of these programs (see Documents 1-3). Kissinger and his staff were equally convinced of the need, so May 28, 1969, studies were initiated to provide the basis for a new statement of U.S. policy. Throughout the summer and into the fall, the NSC worked on the study, submitted on November 10th (see Documents 6a and 6b), which presented the key policy issues and options for consideration. Soon after, Nixon would approve the recommended end of all U.S. offensive biological and chemical weapons programs, as set down in NSDM 35 of November 25, 1969 (see Document 8), though making provision for continued research aimed at defending against foreign biological warfare threats. With this decision, the administration also agreed to submit the 1925 Geneva Protocol banning biological and chemical weapons to the Senate for ratification (see Documents 10-11, 21), and in 1972 joined over 100 other nations in signing the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which banned the possession of biological weapons except for defensive research. Acting to maximize the anticipated favorable publicity and portray himself as a peacemaker, Nixon made the public announcement on November 25th at Ft. Detrick, and the next day had Kissinger brief the White House staff on this and other recent accomplishments to drive home the point that former president Lyndon Johnson "couldn't have gotten ... CBW," or other arms control accomplishments such as the nuclear non-proliferation treaty "because [he] didn't have the confidence of the people or the world leaders. [Nixon] Thinks this gives our house liberals something to think about."(6)

    Nixon made a similar decision ending the U.S. toxins program in February 1970 (see Documents 16, 19 and 20). Pursuant to these decisions, the Department of Defense developed plans to destroy all the existing stocks of U.S. biological and toxin weapons, which at the time included over 200 pounds of anthrax (see Document 22). A subsequent report, the first in a series of annual reports on the U.S. chemical weapon and biological research programs, detailed the steps taken to implement Nixon's decisions (see Documents 24a and 24b).

    As the discussions leading up to Nixon's decision and the initial annual report reveal, one important issue was the extent of continued defensive research that would still be required to maintain U.S. defenses against such weapons, and to what degree such research should remain classified. Within Kissinger's staff, concern was expressed early on about the need to obtain detailed information on the classified programs (see Document 23). As subsequent revelations made clear, continued classified biological warfare programs did continue, and the ordered destruction of biological and toxin agents was not as thorough as first believed. The book by the New York Times journalists details the subsequent history of U.S. classified research on biological warfare agents, one critical piece of which was provided by the Church Committee investigations into the activities of the CIA in 1975. As detailed in the committee hearings (see Document 25) and discussed in Germs, these hearings revealed that the CIA had long been involved in stockpiling biological agents for use in assassination attempts on foreign leaders, most notably Cuba's Fidel Castro, and had worked closely with Ft. Detrick in this program between 1952 and 1970. Equally troubling was the evidence that the CIA had maintained a small stockpile of biological agents and toxins in violation of Nixon's ban that were capable of sickening or killing millions of people. Among this stockpile was 100 grams of anthrax, as well as smallpox, Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis virus, salmonella, and clostridium botulinum, or botulism germs.(7)

    Such revelations likely played a role as one important motivation for the Cold War biological warfare programs of the former Soviet Union, whose legacy is still creating problems for Russia and the world equal to or even greater than those posed by control of the Russian nuclear weapon stockpile.(8) Taken with earlier statements, such as that made in 1964 by the retired head of the U.S. biological warfare program, General J.H. Rochschild, that a Soviet conventional attack on Western Europe could be effectively stopped by disseminating aerosolized brucellosis bacteria over the USSR, and the difficulties surrounding a defensive program that left room for investigating offensive uses, these pieces of the biowarfare puzzle led Soviets to suspect the U.S. never gave up its biological weapons program.(9) As will be documented in another briefing book, the Soviet program produced the most deadly accident in biological warfare programs during the Cold War, the anthrax release at Sverdlovsk in 1979.




Note: The following documents are in PDF format.
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Document 1
Memorandum, Secretary of Defense Laird to National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, April 30, 1969. Confidential, 1 p.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
In this memorandum, Laird recommends that, in light of anticipated growing criticism of the Nixon administration's policies and programs relating to chemical and biological warfare, the National Security Council should initiate studies immediately on this subject. 
Document 2
Memorandum, Morton H. Halperin To National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, Subject: Memorandum to Secretary Laird on CBW Study, May 7, 1969. Confidential, 1 p. 
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
In this document, Morton Halperin, a member of Kissinger's NSC staff, forwards a draft reply to Laird's April 30 memorandum, and in his cover memorandum, adds his voice in support of the need for an "early study" on CBW, adding that a draft NSSM (National Security Study Memorandum) was in preparation.
Document 3
Memorandum, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger to Secretary of Defense Laird, Subject: CBW Study, May 9, 1969. Confidential, 1 p.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
Replying to Laird's April 30 memorandum, Kissinger states he shares the concern over U.S. chemical and biological warfare policies and programs, and says a NSC study will be started soon. 
Document 4
National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 59, U.S. Policy on Chemical and Biological Warfare and Agents, from National Security Advisor Henry A. Kissinger to the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Director of Central Intelligence, the Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and the Director, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. 5/28/69. Secret, 2 pp.
Source: Freedom of Information Act Request
This NSSM initiates the studies of U.S. chemical and biological warfare programs authorized by President Nixon, including examinations of the threat to the U.S. and its allies from such weapons, their utility and the operational concepts relating to their use, testing and stockpiling, R&D objectives, the approaches to distinguishing lethal and non-lethal CBW agents, and the issue of U.S. ratification of the Geneva Protocol of 1925 that outlaws chemical and biological weapons.
Document 5
Memorandum, Presidential Science Advisor Lee A. DuBridge to National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, October 22, 1969. Top Secret, 3 pp.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
Here, DuBridge, a member of the PSAC, writes to Kissinger to underscore the findings of a PSAC study concluded the previous summer which recommended that the U.S. renounce all offensive BW, stop completely the procurement of material for offensive BW, and destroy its existing stockpiles of BW agents, with no new stockpiles maintained in the future. Stating his agreement with these recommendations, DuBridge urges that the new review be completed as quickly as possible and, if the President decides to end the U.S. offensive BW program, give extensive publicity to this decision to counteract the "large reservoir of skepticism, cynicism, and incredulity" that DuBridge feels has resulted from prior lack of policy and consistency in U.S. policy on this subject.
Document 6a
Report to the National Security Council, "US Policy on Chemical and Biological Warfare and Agents," submitted by the Interdepartmental Political-Military Group in response to NSSM 59, November 10, 1969. Top Secret, 52 pp.
Source: Freedom of Information Act Request
Document 6b
[Same as 6a, but with different excisions, 53 pp.]
Source: Freedom of Information Act Request
(Note: There are two versions of this document, released with different excisions. To provide the fullest possible text, both versions are provided. Document 6a, released on 4/25/96, is 52 pages; 6b, released on 8/15/97, is 53 pages. To facilitate comparison of the two versions, readers should open both documents in the Adobe Acrobat Reader, then go to the Window command on the toolbar and choose Tile-Vertically, to display the documents side by side. The size command in the upper right-hand corner can be used to increase the text size as needed.)

This report provides the key findings of the review of U.S. chemical and biological warfare policies and programs initiated by NSSM 59 (See Document No. 4 above). Part I provides background information on U.S. policies and programs relevant to the policy issues under review, while Part II examines these policy issues and options, summarizing the pros and cons of each option and indicating where needed the differing agency viewpoints. The background information includes information on the Soviet biological and chemical warfare programs, the lack of an existing clear U.S. policy on the subject, current U.S. capabilities, stockpiles and R&D efforts, military considerations, and current arms control initiatives.

    Part II lays out the policy issues and options, which for biological weapons include such questions as

 1) Should the U.S. maintain a lethal biological capability?
 2) Should the U.S. maintain a capability for the use of incapacitating biologicals?
 3) Should the U.S. maintain only an R&D program either in both offensive and defensive weapons, or just in defensive areas?
    Extensive consideration is given to the question of whether the U.S. should ratify the Geneva Protocol of 1925 prohibiting the use in war of chemical and biological weapons, and if so, with what reservations.
 Among the points of agreement are the need to continue R&D on defensive programs, to develop and improve controls and safety measures for chemical and biological programs, to obtain better intelligence on other nations' CBW capabilities, and that U.S. declaratory policy regarding lethal chemical and biological agents should remain one of "no first use."
Document 7
Memorandum, Ronald I. Spiers to Secretary of State William Rogers, Subject: US Policy on Chemical and Biological Warfare, November 17, 1969. Secret, 5 pp. 
Source: Freedom of Information Act Request
With reference to the NSC meeting scheduled for November 18 on NSSM 59, this memorandum lays out the key policy issues to be decided, following the presentation found in Document No. 6, above. With respect to the biological warfare issues, Spiers indicates that the State Department's recommended position is that Rogers support the Secretary of Defense's position that the U.S. maintain a biological R&D and testing program only for defense purposes and to guard against technological surprise.
Document 8
National Security Decision Memorandum (NSDM) 35, United States Policy on Chemical Warfare Program and Bacteriological/Biological Research Program, from National Security Advisory Henry A. Kissinger to the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, etc., November 25, 1969. Top Secret/Nodis, 3 pp. 
Source: Freedom of Information Act Request
This NSC document states the decisions of President Nixon, based on the studies undertaken in response to NSSM 59, regarding the U.S. chemical and biological warfare programs. First, Nixon decided that henceforth, there would be two distinct programs, chemical and biological, rather than one combined program, given the important differences between the two. Regarding biological weapons, Nixon agreed that the U.S. would renounce the use of lethal as well as all other types of biological warfare. Future U.S. biological programs would be limited to R&D for defensive purposes, though this did not foreclose work on offensive uses necessary to develop defensive measures. The Secretary of Defense was instructed to make recommendations for disposal of existing U.S. stocks of biological weapons. An annual review would be conducted of U.S. biological research programs, and the Secretary of Defense would work with the Director of the Office of Science and Technology to develop controls and safety measures for all such programs. Though excised from this copy, the next document [Document 9] indicates that the Director of the CIA would continue to monitor the biological warfare capabilities of other nations. Finally, the U.S. would support the principles and goals of the Draft Convention Prohibiting the Use of Biological Methods of Warfare presented by the U.K. at the Geneva Disarmament Conference. (It is interesting to note that the version of this document released to the Church Committee contains different deletions; see Document No. 25, pages 207-209, original pagination.)
Document 9
Draft NSDM re United States Policy on Chemical Warfare Program and Bacteriological/Biological Research Program [ca. November 1969] Top Secret/Nodis, 4 pp.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
This is an earlier draft version of NSDM 35 [Document 8 above], providing additional details that were excised from the signed document released under the FOIA.
Document 10
The President's Talking Points – Congressional Leadership Meeting [Tuesday, November 25, 1969] re the results of the review of US chemical and biological warfare programs and policies. Top Secret/Nodis, 5 pp.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
These talking points provide background on Nixon administration's review of CBW policies and the key decisions, as laid down in NSDM 35. The document also lays out the administration's reasons for deciding to submit the Geneva Protocol of 1925 to the Senate for ratification. 
Document 11
HAK [National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger] Talking Points – Briefings for Congressional Leadership and Press [re administration decisions on biological and chemical warfare], ca. November 25, 1969. Top Secret/Nodis, 9 pp.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
This document provides the key talking points for Kissinger's remarks to the Congressional leadership after President Nixon's remarks (outlined in Document No. 10). These provide more detail on the policy issues and key considerations that drove the administration's decisions. The presentation of the pros and cons on the two principal questions surrounding biological weapons – what should be the nature and scope of U.S. policy and programs, and what position should the U.S. take toward the British draft convention banning biological warfare – mirror those found in Document Nos. 6a-b, as does the discussion of the factors surrounding the decision to seek ratification of the Geneva Protocol. 
Document 12
Memorandum to Secretary of State, et al. from Secretary of Defense Laird re Chemical Warfare and Biological Research—Terminology, December 9, 1969. Secret, 2 pp. 
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
This document spells out in greater detail the reasons why the U.S. government needs to carefully distinguish between chemical warfare and biological research, instead of combining the two as chemical/biological warfare, or CBW. The memorandum outlines the key differences between the two programs in terms of the strategic concept, the deterrent value, the tactical aspects of retaliation, and the "potential humanitarian dividends" to be secured from referring to them separately. Furthermore, Laird argues that it is not possible to conceive of joint chemical/biological warfare, as the CBW term would seem to suggest.
Document 13
Memorandum to National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger from Michael A. Guhin, Subject: The Toxins Issue, December 18, 1969. Top Secret, Nodis, 3 pp.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
This memorandum provides background information for Kissinger on the policy issue raised by toxins, which are chemicals produced by biological processes, and so straddle the divide between chemical and biological weapons. The memorandum goes on to describe the current U.S. toxins program as not large – the stockpile included 23,000 cartridges of a lethal botulinum toxin, a few hundred pounds of staphylococcal enterotoxin, an incapacitant, and very small research quantities of shellfish poison and snake venom – of which the JCS finds only the incapacitant worthy of R&D. After laying out the pros and cons for keeping a complete toxin program, or confining it to R&D for defensive purposes, Buhin recommends that the U.S. affirm the definition of toxins as chemicals and decide on the future of the program based on their utility as chemical weapons.
Document 14
Basic Chronology of Chemical Warfare and Biological Research Issues (ca. January 1970). Secret, 2 pp.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
This document provides a good overview of the decision-making process and key documents leading to the Nixon administration's decisions on biological and chemical weapons.
Document 15
Memorandum, PSAC Member Lee DuBridge to National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, re next steps in U.S. chemical and biological weapons policy, December 22, 1969. No Classification, 2 pp. 
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
Here, DuBridge recommends that the administration take steps to address two issues that he believes are needed to build upon the favorable public response to the renunciation of chemical and biological warfare programs. The first is to find some policy that will answer critics of the U.S. use of tear gas and herbicides in Vietnam, and the second is to arrange for good publicity for the planned destruction of U.S. biological weapons stockpiles, in order to preserve the world's belief that the new policies will be implemented. Finally, DuBridge states his agreement with the decision to classify toxins as chemical agents, despite their biological origin, holding that the key distinction for biological agents is their ability to replicate.
Document 16
National Security Study Memorandum No. 85, Subject: U.S. Policy on Toxins, December 31, 1969. Secret, 1 p.
Source: Freedom of Information Act Request
This memorandum from National Security Advisor Henry A. Kissinger to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Director, Office of Science and Technology, and the Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, requests a review of U.S. policies on toxins, as a follow-up to NSSM 59 and in light of the decisions in NSDM 35. 
Document 17
Memorandum, Michael A. Guhin to National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, Subject: Memorandum from Secretary of Defense Laird re Chemical Warfare and Biological Research Terminology and Our Request for White House Review of Statements for Senate and House Hearings, January 2, 1970. Secret, 2 pp.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
This memorandum states the NSC Staff agreement with Laird's arguments [see Document No. 12 above] for carefully distinguishing between chemical warfare and biological research programs, and forwards an attached draft memorandum [not reproduced] to the addressees of NSDM 35 emphasizing the need to make these distinctions in reference to other nations' programs. The draft memorandum also asks agencies to submit draft statements and question and answer guidelines for Congressional hearings on the Geneva Protocol or on the chemical warfare and biological research program for review.
Document 18
Memorandum, Michael A. Guhin to National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, Subject: Dr. DuBridge's Comments on Reactions to the President's Chemical Warfare and Biological Research Announcement, January 5, 1970. Official Use Only, 2 pp.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
This memorandum summarizes the main points in the DuBridge memorandum of December 22 [see Document No. 10 above], and notes that NSSM 85 on toxins and a draft NSSM on U.S. policy on tear gas and herbicides are both underway, which would initiate studies on both issues.
Document 19
Memorandum for the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs from Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard, Subject: Program Options on Toxins, February 12, 1970, with cover Memorandum, Alexander Haig to National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, Subject: Defense Position on Toxins, February 12, 1970. Secret, 4 pp.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. I.
This memorandum lays out the rationale of the Secretary of Defense on U.S. policy regarding toxins. This memorandum notes that the U.S. currently lacked the technical ability to produce toxins by chemical, as opposed to biological, means, and suggests that the Secretary of Defense's position supports maintaining a research program to develop such means. The memorandum also notes the differing views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and attaches the rationale for their position, which focuses on the military implications and stresses the need to reserve the option to develop and stockpile toxins produced by either biological processes or chemical synthesis.
Document 20
National Security Decision Memorandum No. 44, Subject: United States Policy on Toxins, February 20, 1970. Secret, 1 p.
Source: Freedom of Information Act Request
This document states President Nixon's decision to renounce the production for operational purposes, stockpiling and use in retaliation of toxins produced by bacteriological or biological processes, or by chemical synthesis. Any future military program for toxins would be confined to R&D for defensive purposes only. It also asks the Secretary of Defense to prepare recommendations for destruction of the existing stockpiles of toxin weapons and/or agents.
Document 21
Memorandum for the President from National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, Subject: Issues for Decision re Submission of the Geneva Protocol to the Senate for Its Advice and Consent to Ratification, July 3, 1970. Secret/Sensitive, 6 pp.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. II.
Here, Kissinger summarizes for President Nixon the key issues surrounding the decision to submit the Geneva Protocol to the Senate for ratification, based on a joint assessment by the State Department, Defense Department and ACDA, and provides his recommendations among the options offered. As Kissinger stresses, the most complex issue is how to handle the administration's view that that Protocol does not prohibit the use of tear gas and herbicides in war, as this is directly related to the U.S. war effort in Vietnam. After noting recent developments in this area regarding decisions to suspend the agricultural use of herbicide 2,4,5-T as well as by U.S. forces pending further evaluation, and expressions of Senate and House concerns on this issue, Kissinger recommends that the administration advise the Senate of its interpretation on this point, but neither include this in the proposed Senate resolution on the Protocol nor communicate it to other Parties as part of the U.S. instrument of ratification, which would serve to avoid explicit statements inviting opposition.
Document 22
Memorandum for the President from Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, Subject: National Security Decision Memoranda 35 and 44, July 6, 1970. Secret, 3 pp.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. II.
This memorandum provides information on the Defense Department's plans to destroy all biological agents, toxins and associated weapons. For the future, Defense plans to reduce the biological R&D program from around $20 million per year to $10 million. As part of this reduction, the U.S. Army Biological Laboratories at Fort Detrick and the production facility at Pine Bluff Arsenal would not longer be required by the Defense Department, and would be transferred to HEW. An attached inventory of the biological warfare stocks to be destroyed indicates that the U.S. stockpile included 220 pounds of anthrax.
Document 23
Memorandum, Michael A. Guhin to National Security Advisor Henry A. Kissinger, Subject: Further Explanation of Proposed Review re Necessity of Classified Biological Research Program, July 17, 1970. Secret/Sensitive, 2 pp.
Source: NARA, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Chemical, Biological Warfare (Toxins, etc.), Vol. II.
This memorandum provides a response to Kissinger's request for further explanation of the proposal to review  whether the U.S. requires classified biological research programs under the administration's new policies, and if so, where such programs should best be located within the government. The memorandum provides evidence of a lack of clear understanding on this issue, as seen in statements by Kissinger himself, as well as numerous requests from Congress for information and clarification. There is also no information regarding the Defense Department's views on the need for classified research. In order to secure ongoing information on this issue, Guhin recommends that the annual review of U.S. chemical warfare, toxin and biological research programs include any classified programs.
Document 24a
Memorandum for the President from John Irwin (NSC Under Secretaries Committee), Subject:  Annual Review of US Chemical Warfare and Biological Research Program, February 4, 1971, with attached report (Document 24b – best available copy). Both Secret, 79 pp. total.
Source: Freedom of Information Act Request
This document is the first annual review of U.S. chemical warfare and biological research programs, including riot control agents (RCAs) and chemical herbicides, mandated by NSDM 35. Among the points noted by the cover memorandum, the report recommends that the U.S. give greater attention and priority to the collection and analysis of chemical and biological warfare intelligence, noting the inadequacy of current intelligence on the Soviet and Chinese programs, and that an Ad Hoc Interagency Committee be formed to define more precisely the biological and toxin research program and determine which areas should be classified. The key issues raise by the review all revolved around the use of riot control agents and herbicides in Vietnam. The report itself provides details on the destruction of the U.S. biological warfare and toxin stockpiles. The one program which the report identifies as possibly requiring classification concerned the characteristics of warning systems, which is public might enable enemies to circumvent U.S. defensive measures.
Document 25
Hearings before the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities of the United States Senate [Church Committee], Ninety-fourth Congress, First Session, Volume I: Unauthorized Storage of Toxic Agents, September 16, 17 and 18, 1975 (U.S. GPO, 1976). 125 pp.
This document provides the full text of the hearings and related exhibits relating to the Church Committee's hearings in September 1975 into the CIA's unauthorized storage and attempted use of toxins, in apparent violation of the Nixon administration's decisions in 1969 and 1970. In addition to testimony from then-CIA Director William E. Colby and former director Richard Helms, the committee questioned Nathan Gordon, the former Chief of the CIA's Chemistry Branch, Technical Services Division, and Charles A. Senseney, a Defense Department employee who formerly worked in the Special Operations Division of Ft. Detrick, Maryland, which was a key Defense Department biological and toxin research facility. Among the exhibits are excerpts from a CIA inventory of lethal and incapacitating agents found at a CIA building (including 100 grams of anthrax), and papers found at a CIA building listing shellfish toxins presumably held by the agency.
Document 26
U.S. Army Activity in the U.S. Biological Warfare Programs (Volumes I and II), U.S. Department of the Army, February 24, 1977, reprinted in Biological Testing Involving Human Subjects by the Department of Defense, 1977, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, March 8 and May 23, 1977, United States Senate, 95th Congress, First Session (U.S. GPO, 1977), 107 pp.
[Note: Readers will need to use the image rotate button on the Adobe Reader to orient some of the images, starting with the first 2-page image.]
This official U.S. Army history of its involvement in the U.S. biological warfare program provides a detailed account of its activities from the early Cold War through the end of the U.S. biological warfare program in 1969. Supplementing this history (found in Volume I) is supporting documentation in Volume II, which include information on biowarfare research and development contracts between Fort Detrick and U.S. universities and private industry, biological field testing of potential biowarfare agents, safety concerns regarding open air tests with pathogens, and testing on human volunteers. 
 


Notes

1.  William J. Broad, "Terror Anthrax Linked to Type Made by U.S.," The New York Times, December 3, 2001.

2.  There are a number of useful Internet sites providing a wealth of detail on the current debate over the Bush administration's decision. See for example the Federation of American Scientists collection of documents on the biological weapons convention at http://www.fas.org/bwc/bio.htm, its links to commentary and official reports at http://www.fas.org/bwc/news.htm, and its background information on biological weapons at http://www.fas.org/nuke/intro/bw/intro.htm; the Stimson Center's Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project at http://www.stimson.org/cwc/index.html; and the Arms Control Association's biological weapons webpage found at http://www.armscontrol.org/subject/bw/default.asp.

3.  Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg and William Broad, Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War, Simon & Schuster, 2001. The three published "U.S. Germ Warfare Research Pushes Treaty Limits" in the Times on September 4, 2001. This article described a series of secret U.S. biological warfare experiments and programs conducted under the Clinton and Bush administrations, including a Pentagon plan to engineer genetically a potentially more deadly version of anthrax, and concerns within the government that these programs might violate the 1972 treaty banning the development or acquisition of biological weapons.

4.  Miller, et al., Germs, p. 62.

5.  Quoted from Jeanne Guillemin, Anthrax: The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak, University of California Press, 1999, pp. 176-177.

6.  On the announcement at Ft. Detrick, see Miller, et al., Germs, p. 63. The staff meeting is recalled by H.R. Haldeman in his November 25, 1969 diary entry; see H.R. Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House, Berkley Books, 1995, p. 133.

7.  See Miller, et al., Germs, pp. 72-73, and Exhibit No. 2, page 192 (original pagination), Document 25.

8.  See Alan Sipress, "U.S. to Help Uzbekistan Clean Up Anthrax Site," The Washington Post, October 23, 2001, p. A2, and Judith Miller, "U.S. Agrees to Clean Up Anthrax Site in Uzbekistan," The New York Times, October 23, 2001, page B1.

9.  Guillemin, Anthrax, p. 186-187.
 

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