Special Collection:
Some Key Documents on Nuclear Policy Issues, 1945-1990

Edited by William Burr

Posted - June 15, 2007

Right: Photo prepared by U.S. Air Intelligence for analytical work on destructiveness of atomic weapons. The total area devastated by the atomic strike on Hiroshima is shown in the darkened area (within the circle) of the photo. The numbered items are military and industrial installations with the percentages of total destruction. (Photo from U.S. National Archives, RG 77-AEC) - From "The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II: A Collection of Primary Sources," National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 162.


The millions of pages of classified and declassified documents on U.S. nuclear policy during and after the Cold War are beyond the comprehension of any one individual, even any U.S. government organization. Some documents may never be publicly available because they disclose so much about nuclear weapons technology; nevertheless, important and revealing material on nuclear policy issues and their history has been declassified, as is evident on this and other Web sites. Many documents are about routine operations, such as nuclear weapons production and deployments, and some, of course, are more important than others because they illuminate, or exemplify, major events and developments, trends of thinking, and policy-making. The following documents, some published for the first time, address a number of key problems, such as the first use of nuclear weapons, effects of nuclear weapons, early Cold War preventive war thinking, constraints on nuclear weapons use, and possible outcomes of nuclear war. This collection focuses on the first decades of the nuclear era; future offerings will move the collection forward chronologically.


1. Targets for the First Atomic Bombs
"Notes of the Interim Committee Meeting Thursday, 31 May 1945, 10:00 A.M. to 1:15 P.M. - 2:15 P.M. to 4:15 P.M.," n.d., Top Secret
Source: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Record Group 77, Manhattan Engineering District Records (RG 77), H-B files, folder no. 100 (copy from microfilm)

A few months before the end of World War II, Secretary of War Henry Stimson and members of the top level "Interim Committee" heard reports on important Manhattan Project issues, including the status of the weapons program, problems of secrecy, the possibility of informing the Soviet Union, cooperation with "like-minded" powers, the military impact of the bomb on Japan (including radiation effects), and the problem of "undesirable scientists." Determined to use the bomb to produce the "greatest psychological effect" so as to bring about an early end to the war, the Committee agreed that the "most desirable target would be a vital war plant employing a large number of workers and closely surrounded by workers' houses." Some weeks before this meeting, Hiroshima, a city in western Honshu, had been nominated as one of the most suitable urban targets that Army Air Force conventional bombing operations had left untouched. (Note 1)


2. The Impact of the Bombing of Nagasaki
Cable CAX 51948 from Commander in Chief Army Forces Pacific Advance Yokohoma Japan to Commander in Chief Army Forces Pacific Administration, September 14, 1945, Secret
Source: RG 77, Tinian Files, April-December 1945, box 17, Envelope B

The devastating fire and blast effects of the attack on Nagasaki, with muted references to radiation poisoning (the reference to deaths of "unwounded" people), are described in grim detail by a U.S. military observer on the scene a month after the attack. While blast effects would prominently enter into the calculations of Cold War and post-Colds War nuclear war planners when they selected weapons for targets, those same planners would generally ignore the impact of mass fires in urban-industrial area that nuclear explosions would cause.


3. The Air Force War Plan and Air Force Preventive War Thinking, April 1950
a. Proceedings, Commanders Conference, April 25, 26, & 27, 1950, Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico, Top Secret, Excerpts - 1 of 2

b. Proceedings, Commanders Conference, April 25, 26, & 27, 1950, Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico, Top Secret, Excerpts - 2 of 2

c. Presentation by the Strategic Air Command, Commanders Conference, Ramey Air Force Base, 25-26-27 April 1950, Top Secret -- (Note 2)
Source for above items: NARA, Record Group 341, RG 341, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Office of the Chief of Staff, Vice Chief of Staff Executive Service Division, General Files 1950-1953, box 1 (Thanks to Matthew Aid for bringing these documents to my attention)

d. Letter from General George C. Kenney, Air University, to Air Force Chief of Staff General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, 29 April 1950, Top Secret
Source: Record Group 341, Records of Headquarters, United States Air Force (RG 341). Entry 214, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, Director of Intelligence Office of Administrative Management, July 1945-Dec 1954, Box 49, 2-12900 to 2-12999.

With the Soviet Union replacing Japan and Germany as an adversary, the newly-formed U.S. Strategic Air Command began developing plans for nuclear war with the Soviet Union in the event that a diplomatic crisis with Moscow turned into a military confrontation. Reproduced here are excerpts of an Air Force commander's conference in April 1950, which included detailed discussions of the nuclear war plan "Offtackle" and the military implications of the Soviet Union's new atomic arsenal. Briefings included an intelligence overview by General Charles P. Cabell, who painted an extremely dark view of Soviet intentions and capabilities. Epitomizing the Air Force's organizational tendency toward a worst-case analysis, Cabell (who later became CIA Deputy Director) complained that the CIA "fails to identify correctly the military character of the Soviet threat," because it did not understand that "Soviet Union is now preparing for a military show-down with the United States."

Generals Samuel E. Anderson provided a briefing on the Air Force war plan "Offtackle", while Commander-in-Chief, Strategic Air Command (CINCSAC) General Curtis LeMay and SAC operations chief General John B. Montgomery reviewed SAC's role in the plan. (Note 3) Based on World War II concepts of mass attacks on urban-industrial targets, "Offtackle" posited a several month air offensive, launched mainly from British bases, targeting 123 cities with nuclear but also conventional bombs. While SAC planners believed that air attacks would "kill," or at least "collapse," the Soviet Union's industrial system, insider critics-from the Navy, Army, and Air Force itself--cast doubt on the assumption that atomic attacks would prove decisive. Air Force Chief of Staff Vandenberg wondered "what good is it going to do to knock out the Russian industry if all of [of Europe is] overrun." Even the SAC presentations cited numerous "soft spots", such as intelligence gaps, the complete dependence on overseas bases (until SAC had a truly intercontinental force), and electronic counter-measures that could prevent a successful outcome. (Note 4) What was especially worrisome to the commanders, however, was the lack of target intelligence on key Soviet nuclear sites, because it would be impossible to initiate preemptive strikes if U.S. intelligence gleaned a strategic warning of an impending Soviet attack. As General Montgomery put it, "if we are to strike the enemy's atomic forces before they can hit us, we have to know were they are before actual hostilities commence."

Some of the senior commanders, moving beyond preemption, sought an early confrontation with Moscow. General George Kenney, the commandant at the Air University (and LeMay's predecessor as CINCSAC), spoke about "going on the offensive" and in a letter to Chief of Staff Hoyt Vandenberg, advocated what amounted to a first strike. Arguing that it was inaccurate to speak of "preventive war" because a "state of war" already existed, he declared that "the only way we can be certain of winning is to take the offensive as soon as possible and hit Russia hard enough to at least prevent her from taking over Europe." Kenney kept his extreme views about the necessity for a U.S. surprise attack more or less private (Note 5), but his less careful superior, Air War College Commandant General Orvil A. Anderson, was fired a few months later for his flamboyant public exposition of the preventive-war argument ("Give me the order to do it and I can break up Russia's five a-bomb nests in a week? And when I went up to Christ-I think I could explain to him that I had saved civilization"). While representing a tendency in Air Force thinking, Kenney's views may have had limited impact on Vandenberg, who had fired him as CINCSAC because of his poor record in leading the Command. By the mid-1950s, preventive-war thinking was more and more marginal to discourse inside the U.S. government, but the Air Force would not easily drop worst-case thinking (and preventive action thinking would re-emerge in the early 1960s when U.S. officials started to worry about China's nuclear program). (Note 6)


4. Anglo-American Relations: Conflicting Perspectives on the Danger of War
Memorandum of Conversation, "United States-United Kingdom Politico-Military Meeting on Report by United Kingdom's Chiefs of Staff re: 'Defense Policy and Global Strategy,'" 31 July 1952, Top Secret, Excerpt, FOIA release
Source: Record Group 59, Department of State Records (RG 59), Records of Policy Planning Staff, 1947-1953, box 17, Great Britain 1952-1953

While SAC war plans depended on access to British air bases to launch a war against the Soviet Union, British leaders lacked the equanimity that had Air Force officers had about nuclear war. As Cold War tensions increased during the Korean War, the British worried and wondered whether Washington might act recklessly and start a catastrophic war. These concerns surfaced during many high-level meetings of Anglo-American diplomats and military leaders, including the July 1952 discussions recorded in this document. Confident that that the Soviets would avoid risks that could bring on nuclear war the British argued that nuclear deterrence would make the "continuation of a cold war" possible. While U.S. officials acknowledged that British view that cold war could be a continuing reality, Policy Planning Staff director Paul Nitze dismissed the implication in British thinking that "war might be brought on by some rash action on the part of the United States." What Nitze and his colleagues saw as a greater problem was the "danger lay in the possibility that Soviet action might be of such a grave danger as to leave the West with no alternative but war." Showing more willingness to take risks than the British, Nitze argued that "we are still faced with grave risks of either having to accept defeat piecemeal without war or taking counteractions to communist moves which involve a risk of war." Subsequent discussion of Indochina and the possibility of Chinese intervention and conflict escalation there elicited a statement by Ambassador Oliver Franks that the "use of atomic weapons would have grave political repercussions and that the effect throughout Asia would be most adverse."


5. Learning about Nuclear Weapons Effects
Memorandum for the File, "Discussion with the Secretary," by Gerard C. Smith,
Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Atomic Energy, 16 March 1955, Top Secret

Source: RG 59, Records of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs, Subject Files of Special Assistant for Atomic Energy and Aerospace, 1950-1966, box 6, II.3.B Weapons Effects - 1955-57

That senior Eisenhower administration officials, in this instance, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, required education on the effects of nuclear weapons is apparent in this report by one of his close advisers, Gerard C. Smith. Dulles had disputed Smith's claim that nuclear weapons with megaton (one million tons of TNT) yields would cause "tremendous destruction of life and property," which led Smith to request a private meeting with Dulles on nuclear weapons effects. Having the appropriate "Q" clearances for nuclear weapons information, Smith could tell Dulles some of the facts of life in the nuclear age, for example, that nuclear weapons produced "substantial over-pressure" (the source of blast damage). Moreover, if "SAC strikes were successful ? Russian casualties would be in the tens of millions."


6. "Dragging Feet" on French Request for Nuclear Aid
Memorandum of Conversation, "Atomic Energy Items: 1) French Request, 2) Test Limitations," 23 March 1957
Source: RG 59, Executive Secretariat Conference Files, 1949-1972, box 127, CF 861 Bermuda Memcons

The problem of nuclear proliferation had been central to U.S. nuclear policy since 1945, when proposals for international control of atomic energy began to be publicly broached. Yet, by the early 1950s, there were three nuclear powers and later in the decade the question was, which would be the "fourth country" to acquire the bomb. While the Eisenhower administration supported disarmament negotiations as a way to control proliferation, by early 1957, it had become evident to senior U.S. and British officials that Paris was making decisions to go ahead. (Note 7) This fascinating record of a conversation between John Foster Dulles and British Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd on the French nuclear program was cited in a footnote in the State Department's Foreign Relations of the United States series, but security reviewers apparently deemed it unfit for declassification. Instead, the FRUS editors published the agreement reached by Dulles and Lloyd: to consult with each other on the French problem, to "do very little by way of encouraging or assisting" it, but to avoid taking an unfriendly posture, publicly or in their dealings with Paris, because that "might arouse nationalistic feelings and create political difficulties." (Note 8) As the memcon shows, Dulles and Lloyd agreed that, in light of French requests for nuclear assistance, e.g., for supplies of highly enriched uranium and for help with a gaseous diffusion plant, it was appropriate, as Lloyd put it, to "drag their feet" in response. While some of the British thought that aiding the French gaseous diffusion project was less objectionable ("it did not involve important weapons data"), Dulles opposed even that. Yet Dulles, Lloyd, and their associates understood that French nuclear ambitions could not be easily checked: France had enough uranium for a "small program" and building a simple uranium "gun-type" weapon was relatively inexpensive. The rest of the meeting focused on the problem of limiting nuclear tests, in response to growing world pressure, and the doubtful possibility of reducing fall-out from future tests.


7. John Foster Dulles's Changing Thought on Nuclear War and Weapons Effects
Memorandum of Conversation, 7 April 1958, with 20 June 1969 cover letter from Gerard C. Smith, Top Secret
Source: FOIA release

During a long discussion of nuclear strategy with top Defense officials and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Dulles showed that he had learned enough about weapons effects to declare that a "nuclear exchange between the US and the USSR could result not only in the destruction of the Soviet Union but could make all of the Northern hemisphere uninhabitable or, in any event, risk to inhabit." That Dulles saw the problem as one involving the survival of both East and West was evident when he spoke of the "bitter choice that a President would have to make authorizing all-out nuclear war." Dulles "emphasized the responsibility 'before one's God' of taking this action and the risk of a policy of putting so grave a responsibility on the President." The notion of a "nuclear taboo," that nuclear weapons were unlike any other weapon, and could not be used without impunity, had become part of Dulles's thinking. Yet, recognizing that threats of massive nuclear attack were losing credibility, Dulles, like many Cold War policymakers, still wanted to find ways to make nuclear threats and nuclear strategy politically and militarily more believable: "Could we not consider a doctrine permitting of local defense against local attack? He recalled that in Korea we believed that the use of nuclear artillery would add greatly to defense capabilities and the same situation may exist in Italy and Iran."

8. "A Period of Nuclear Stalemate"
U.S. National Security Council, Net Evaluation Subcommittee, "Oral Report," 27 August 1963, Top Secret, Excised Copy, FOIA release
Source: NARA, Record Group 218. Joint Chiefs of Staff Records (RG 218), Chairman's Files, Records of Maxwell Taylor, Box 25, 381 Net Evaluation

The National Security Council's Net Evaluation Subcommittee was a highly secret body, created during the Eisenhower administration, whose task was to prepare annual studies of the "net" effect of a U.S.-Soviet nuclear exchange, in terms losses of people, military assets, and industrial resources. While the NESC based its reports on existing war plans and participated in war-planning exercises, it did not make recommendations about when to go to war, as some have argued. (Note 9) Numerous documents about NESC have been declassified, but, so far as this writer knows, none of its reports have been substantially disclosed before 2006. Summarizing the longer report, this document--the text of the oral presentation prepared for an NSC meeting-analyzed several nuclear wars during 1964-1968; in each one of the superpowers initiated a preemptive strike and the other retaliated. The NESC's conclusions were grim: for "the years of this study ? neither the US nor the USSR can emerge from a full nuclear exchange without suffering very severe damage and high casualties."

Soon after the report was completed, the National Security Council received a briefing by the NESC's director, General Leon Johnson. The judgment that the United States could not suffer less damage than the Soviet Union in a nuclear war led President Kennedy to the conclusion that the superpowers were in a "nuclear stalemate." According to Kennedy, "Preemption was not possible for us." Both sides would have to be even more careful than they had in the past if they were to avoid catastrophe. Nevertheless, the U.S. war plan would continue to include pre-emptive options in the unlikely event that decision-makers had "strategic warning" of an impending Soviet attack. (Note 10)


9. Action against the Chinese Nuclear Program
Walt W. Rostow, Chairman, Policy Planning Council, to McGeorge Bundy, "The Bases for Direct Action Against Chinese Nuclear Facilities," 22 April 1964, attached to Policy Planning Council study, "An Exploration of the Possible Bases for Action Against the Chinese Communist Nuclear Facilities," 14 April 1964, Top Secret, Mandatory Review release
Source: Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, National Security Files, box 237, China Memos Vol. I 12/63-9/64 [2 of 2]

China's drive toward a nuclear weapons capability produced considerable anxiety in the U.S. government during the early 1960s to the point that President Kennedy and his advisers considered the possibility of taking preventive military action. Discussions and planning during the Kennedy and early Johnson administration on such action has been much discussed (Note 11), but one of the key studies on the issue, an April 1964 Policy Planning Council report, has never been fully declassified until recently. (Note 12) This report, prepared by the late Robert H. Johnson, a Policy Planning Council staffer, may have been a damper on the planning. It looked dispassionately at the problem of a Chinese nuclear capability and the extent to which it was possible, desirable, or necessary for the United States or its Taiwan allies to take overt or covert action to destroy key facilities. Seeing grave liabilities in any overt or covert surprise attack scenarios, including the risk of a conflict spreading to include the Soviet Union, Johnson suggested that even covert action against nuclear facilities by an air-dropped team could lead Beijing to attack Taiwan. In the end, Johnson suggested that it would be more feasible to take covert action in the unlikely event of "major Chinese aggression" in the region. Johnson noted that the CIA and other agencies were developing preparing contingency plans for the air-dropped team option, but how far the planning went will remain secret until such time as the CIA declassifies relevant documents.


10. "Toward the Ultimate Elimination of Ultimate Destruction"
"Remarks in Seattle on the Control of Nuclear Weapons," 16 September 1964
Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson Containing the Public Messages, Speeches, and Statements of the President 1963-1964, Book II (Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1965), 1078-1081

During the 1964 president campaign, Barry Goldwater versus Lyndon B. Johnson, the problem of nuclear weapons became central to the debate, after Goldwater asserted 1) that he would use low-yield nuclear weapons for defoliation purposes in South Vietnam, and 2) that senior NATO commanders should have predelegated authority to use tactical nuclear weapons in an emergency. (Note 13) Johnson was in an awkward spot on "predelegation" (see document 11 below), but Goldwater's statement on Vietnam provided an easy target, enabling Johnson to present himself as the responsible alternative. In a major speech on nuclear weapons policy, he emphasized the danger of their use, the disaster of nuclear war, the necessity for presidential control, and the need to check proliferation. This speech, and an earlier one at Detroit, was on a straight line from the concern that John Foster Dulles showed about nuclear weapons use; as Johnson argued at Detroit. In this instance, however, Johnson showed far broader concern-it was not just all-out war that terrified him, it was any use of nuclear weapons. Showing that he shared the developing post-war consensus against nuclear weapons use-the "nuclear taboo," Johnson stated: "Make no mistake. There is no such thing as a conventional nuclear weapon ? For 19 peril-filled years, no nation has loosed the atom against another. To do so now is a political decision of the highest order. And it would lead us down an uncertain path of blows and counterblows whose outcome none may know. No President of the United States can divest himself of the responsibility for such a decision." (Note 14)

Like his predecessor, John F. Kennedy, Johnson treated the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons as a worthy national goal. He observed that a various U.S. policies, including more reliance on conventional arms ("flexible response"), steps to counter proliferation, cutbacks of fissile materials production, and other arms control measures, all pointed in the direction of a nuclear-free world: "These are only first steps. But they point toward the elimination of ultimate destruction."


11. Predelegation
McGeorge Bundy for the President, "Summary of the Existing Plans for Emergency Use of Nuclear Weapons," 23 September 1964, Top Secret, Mandatory Review release
Source: Lyndon B. Johnson Library, National Security File, Intelligence File, box 9, Meetings, Records Memoranda on Use of Nuclear Weapons

The controversy over nuclear use authority during the 1964 campaign led President Johnson (and his speechmakers) to take a strong position on the importance of presidential control. In his Seattle speech, he declared that the "responsibility for the control of U.S. nuclear weapons rests solely with the President, who exercises the control of their use in all foreseeable circumstances. This has been the case since 1945 ? and will continue to be the case as long as I am President." Johnson's national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy recognized that that this sweeping statement was "open to the charge of deception," and could easily be attacked by former President Eisenhower," who had approved instructions to top military commanders delegating the use of nuclear weapons in circumstances when the President and the civilian chain of command were incapacitated (e.g., if Washington had been destroyed by nuclear attack). President Kennedy had let the orders stand and President Johnson had already approved their modification.

On September 23, Goldwater tacitly criticized Johnson's statement by flatly declaring that "standby arrangements," approved by the President were already in effect. That same day, Bundy, no doubt still worried about Eisenhower, gave the President a brief summary of the instructions, tacitly showing that Goldwater was factually correct. Yet, Johnson did not have to worry because soon Eisenhower publicly insisted that nuclear weapons should not be an issue in the campaign. (Note 15)


12. China, Nuclear Weapons, and the Vietnam War
U.S. State Department, Office of Politico-Military Affairs, Memorandum for the Record, "Discussion with Mr. Rice on Far East Problems," 26 April 1966
Source: RG 59, Records of Ambassador-At-Large Llewellyn E. Thompson, 1961-1970, box 4, China

During the hot wars of the Cold War-Korea and Vietnam-and Cold War crises, such as Taiwan Strait (1954 and 1958), among others--civilian policymakers and military leaders thought about the possibility of using nuclear weapons to settle the conflicts. The "nuclear taboo," among other considerations, would shape those discussions, but senior officials would continue to look into the possibility that nuclear weapons might be relevant to conflict resolution. During the early years of the Vietnam War, the risk that the fighting might extend to China, one of Hanoi's patrons, had already been the subject of at least one major study. (Note 16) With many in the Pentagon high command chaffing under President Johnson's and Secretary of State McNamara's tight controls on the bombing of North Vietnam-designed to avoid conflict with China--Joint Staff and State Department officials quizzed Edward Rice, a senior China-watcher at the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong. Wary of the risks of escalation, Rice counseled his audience that "the more we do in North Vietnam ? the more risk we run of Chinese intervention." Mao's regime, Rice argued, had enough domestic support to make China "unconquerable on [its] own territory." If the United States used nuclear weapons in a war with China, Beijing was likely to accept "extensive industrial losses rather than capitulate." Taking into account the risk that the Soviets might "respond positively" to Chinese requests for aid, Rice "did not consider Southeast Asia worth getting the US into a nuclear war." In the event his message had not fully sunk in, Rice declared that "the most succinct advice he could give regarding waging war with China is don't."



1. For more documents on the atomic bombings of Japan, see National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 162, "The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II: A Collection of Primary Sources."

2. This is the material used by General J. B. Montgomery during the commanders' conference; see pages 203-231 of the transcript.

3. General Montgomery was SAC's Director of Operations during 1948-1953. General Samuel E. Anderson was Director of Plans and Operations at the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at U.S. Air Force Headquarters during 1948-1950, going on to become commander of the Eighth Air Force.

4. For the late 1940s debates on the atomic war offensive and the development of "Offtackle," see David Rosenberg, "Origins of Overkill: Nuclear Weapons and American Strategy, 1945-1960," in Steven Miller, ed., Strategy and Nuclear Deterrence (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984): 124-127, and Walton Moody, Building a Strategic Air Force (Washington, D.C., Air Force History and Museums Program, 1996), 308-312.

5. Kenney spoke frequently in public speaking about the certainty of war and the dangers of a Soviet air attack. For example, see "Kenney Sees Peril to U.S. War Effort," The New York Times, June 6, 1950.

6. For a detailed account of the preventive war issue in U.S. policy during the early Cold War, see Marc Trachtenberg, "A 'Wasting Asset': American Strategy and the Shifting Nuclear Balance, 1949-1954," History and Strategy (Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1991): 100-152. At page 106, Trachtenberg cites a variety of evidence suggesting that Kenney was an exponent of preventive war; so far, this is the only document that has surfaced showing him on record. For Kenney's problems as SAC commander, see Moody, Building a Strategic Air Force, 219-221 and 226-229, and Philip S. Meilinger, Hoyt S. Vandenberg, The Life of a General ([Washington, D.C., Air Force History and Museums Program, 2000, reprint of 1989 Indiana University Press edition). 105-106, which also cites Kenney's letter at page 250, note 72.

7. The possibility of a French nuclear weapons program had been of long-standing concern; see National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 184, edited by Jeffrey Richelson, "U.S. Intelligence and the French Nuclear Weapons Program."

8. U. S. State Department, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, Vol. XXVII, Western Europe and Canada (Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1992), 766, as cited in Constantine A. Pagadas, Anglo-American Strategic Relations and the French Problem, 1960-1963: A Troubled Partnership (London, Frank Cass, 2000), 17.

9. Heather A. Purcell and James K. Galbraith, "Did the U.S. Military Plan a Nuclear Strike for 1963?," The American Prospect, Fall 1994. An exception was the NESC's 1958-1959 target systems study, which led to the creation of the first Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP).

10. For pre-emption as a SIOP option, see National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Books Nos. 130 and 173.

11. William Burr and Jeffrey T. Richelson, "Whether to 'Strangle the Baby in the Cradle': The United States and the Chinese Nuclear Program, 1960-64," International Security, Vol. 25, (2000) No. 3, 54-99. See also Lyle Goldstein, "When China was a Rogue State: Nuclear Weapons and U.S.-China Relations in the 1960s," Journal of Contemporary China 12 (November 2003): 739-764.

12. The report was published in part, but in massively excised form, in U.S. State Department, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, Volume XXX, China (Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1998), 39-40; also at http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/vol_xxx/21_26.html, document 25.

13. "G.O.P. Nominee's Views, in His Own Words, on Major Issues of Campaign," and "Goldwater Plan Opposed to NATO'S; Alliance Has Long Let U.S. Hold Nuclear Reins," The New York Times, 11 and 18 July 1964.

14. Remarks in Cadillac Square, Detroit, 7 September 1964, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson Containing the Public Messages, Speeches, and Statements of the President 1963-1964, Book II (Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1965), 1051. For thoughtful explorations of the notion of "nuclear taboo" see Thomas Schelling, "The Role of Nuclear Weapons," in L. Benjamin Ederington and Michael J. Mazar, Turning Point: The Gulf War and U.S. Military Strategy (Boulder, Westview Press,1994), 105-115; Peter Gizewski, "From Winning Weapon to Destroyer of Worlds: The Nuclear Taboo in International Politics," International Journal LI (Summer 1996):397-418; and Nina Tannenwald, "Stigmatizing the Bomb: Origins of the Nuclear Taboo," International Security 29 (Spring 2005): 5-49.

15. McGeorge Bundy, memorandum for President Johnson, 22 September 1964; Goldwater Says Generals Have a Nuclear Authority; Goldwater Notes Atomic Authority," and "Ike Opposes GOP Report on A-Policy; Objects to Arms Use as '64 Issues," The New York Times, 23 September and 6 October 1964

16. For example, see Memorandum from Acting Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Llewellyn Thompson to Secretary of State Rusk, "China Study," 15 July 1965, U. S. State Department, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, Vol. XXX, China (Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1998), 183-190; also at http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/vol_xxx/90_99.html, document number 94.