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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS,
AND SCIENTIFIC AFFAIRS,
Washington, D.C., December 1, 1975. Hon. THOMAS E. MORGAN, Chairman, Committee on International Relations, , U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: The Subcommittee on International Security and Scientific Affairs will open hearings on pending legislation dealing with the issue of first use of nuclear weapons. Involved are complex and significant questions of U.S. policy with far-reaching implications.
The legislative proposals introduced in this session of Congress approach the matter in various ways.
In fact, the entire subject is replete with many preconceived notions and assumptions.
It is obvious that there is the need to establish certain clear bases of discussion as a means of enhancing the effectiveness of the hearings. Foremost among the many factors clouded by potential confusion and uncertainty and therefore requiring clarification is the central issue of what are the prevailing circumstances surrounding any decision to
nuclear weapons in each of the nuclear weapons states. In other words, what are the bases of authority by which the momentous decision to use nuclear weapons may be made.
Therefore, I requested the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress to review that question as it applied to the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Soviet Union, and the People's Republic of China.
Because I believe this information will prove helpful to the mem bers of the committee and the subcommittee, I respectfully request that the resulting studies be made available in the form of a committee print. As always, please be assured that your favorable consideration will be appreciated. With best wishes, I am, Sincerely yours,
CLEMENT J. ZABLOCKI,
Security and Scientific Affairs.
MEMORANDUM ACCOMPANYING BACKGROUND PAPERS
ON THE AUTHORITY TO ORDER THE USE OF NUCLEAR
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS,
Washington, D.C., October 16, 1975.
ation DEAR MR. ZABLOCKI: In accordance with your request of July 25 and our subsequent discussions, I am forwarding herewith five papers dealing with the locus of authority to order the use of nuclear weapons in the United Kingdom, France, the Soviet Union, and the People's Republic of China. The paper dealing with the situation in the United States includes some discussion of the President's authority in relation to the U.S. wartime role in NATO.
For the Western democracies (the United States, United Kingdom and France) the authority of the heads of government to order the use of nuclear weapons is relatively clear. In the case of the Soviet Union and China, our information is not so clear. In all cases, however, the pertinent directives and contingency plans to implement this authority are highly classified and very closely held, involving as they do considerations of national security and, possibly, national survival.
Since the papers being transmitted are based only upon what we could find in the open literature and on our own logical inferences, they do not provide full and authoritative descriptions of the policies and practices of the governments concerned. They may serve, however, to indicate the dearth of public information concerning these very sensitive questions and to indicate lines of inquiry to be explored further by the subcommittee.
CHARLES R. GELLNER, Chief, Foreign Affairs Division.