February 5, 1974 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SEN ATE
"GIANT PATRIOT"-MINUTEMAN II
OPERATIONAL BABE LAUNCH
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, I ask
unanimous consent to have printed In the
RECORD a letter to Secretary of Defense
James R. Schlesinger and signed by Senators
METCALF, CHURCH, HATFIELD, and
There being no objection, the letter
was ordered to be printed in the REcORD,
JANUARY 31, 1974.
Hon. JAMES R. ScHLESINGER,
Department of Defense,
DEAR MR. SECRETARY: As United States
Senators representing the Pacl11c Northwest,
we share a great concern about the Department
or the Air Force's plan to proceed with
the testing of Minuteman Illntercontlnental
balllstlc missiles from operational Bllos ln
the Malmstrom Air Force Base complex and
several other sites. We belleve benefits from
such a test w111 not be commensurate with
potential dangers to llves. properties, and International
The Minuteman II reportedly has performed
very well d uring a series of tests at
the Vandenbe.rg Air Force Base In Call!ornla.
What more can be learned !rom the proposed
launches in Montana? Publlclty associated
with these tests and the extensive
safety precautions would not contribute to
a renllstlc combat situation. We doubt that
data provided by such tests would oontrlbute
anything that has not already been determined
!rom the heavily Instrumented test
range In Callfornla. Based on Information
available, we find It difficult to justify an expenditure
of $26.9 m1111on for this purpose.
In addition, our constltutents have expressed
grave cancer n wl th regard to ll ves
and property. We recognize that, as envisioned.
the danger would be relatively small
and It would be limited to sparsely populated
and Natlonnl Forest areas. Should
something go wrong, however, the risks
would be far rnpr-e serious In one or more of
our states. A diSaster or this nature would
have severe repercussions for domestic attitudes
toward tlle mllitary. Also, there Is no
guarantee that the chartered course of the
mlsslles Is firm. Newspaper accounts Indicate
that In several tests our U.S. missile• have
gone off course and crashed ln Mexico and as
far a way as Brazil.
Presentations made In behal! of these tests
have Indicated that they may be an Important
part In our International negotiations.
The need for a show of strength Is questionable
and, should the Inland test !all, It would
erode United States confidence In, and reduce
Soviet respect for, the United States
nuclear deterrent. At the present time, the
Minuteman MlssUe System Is considered to
be very reliable and we question the need
for additional test sites.
The budget for F'lscal Year,1975 contalnlng
funds for the Minuteman ll testing proposal
wlll be scrutinized ln great detail and we
ask that your otftce review thJs matter 1n
11ght of the concerns exnressed a.bove and
wtthdra.w your budget request for the Mlr
utem.a.n ll Operational Base Launch .
U .S. Senators.
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 49, Folder 48, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
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