The Doomsday Blueprints

How times change. Though the Soviet Union is gone, Washington was once convinced that World War III could break out without warning. Children practiced hiding under desks, parents built bomb shelters, and in case of nuclear attack the U.S. government hoped to save the President and keep the country running by relying on . . . THE DOOMSDAY BLUEPRINTS

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Much planning has also gone into salvaging the economy after a nuclear attack. Treasury Department rules would require banks to remain open during regular hours but allow them to limit withdrawals to prevent hoarding. Treasury would also oversee price stabilization for post-attack salaries and rent. A 1972 regulation notes that prior arrangements have been made with companies in "noncritical target areas" for printing checks. The Department of Labor and New York State signed an agreement in 1971 providing "nuclear attack economic stabilization preparedness and operating responsibilities." The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation would require "bank examiners to report in a post-attack situation to the nearest surviving Federal Reserve Bank where they can assist in the reconstruction of the banking system."

In fact the Federal Reserve Board has its own 140,000-sq.-ft. radiation- proof relocation center in Culpeper, Va. Well into the 1980s the center's gigantic vault still held a fortune in cash to be used to jump-start the U.S. economy in the aftermath of a nuclear war. A solid wall of bills stacked 9 ft. high and held in shrink-wrapped packages filled the vault. A forklift stood ready to move the wooden pallets buried beneath tons of 5s, 10s, 50s and 100s. Desks at the facility feature the names of Federal Reserve officers to be evacuated. A 30-day menu of freeze-dried food had been prepared to be served on plain white china. There is even a cold-storage tunnel for bodies that could not be buried until radiation had subsided. Last month the center's administrators were informed the facility's mission will no longer be needed.

The Department of Agriculture has drafted a post-nuclear-attack food- rationing program, setting a civilian ration level of between 2,000 and 2,500 calories a day for each person. Among the weekly ration limits: seven pints of milk and six eggs. The Federal Highway Administration would try to protect motorists "from fallout resulting from a nuclear attack." The Department of Housing and Urban Development, in regulations code-named "Asp," "Bear," "Cat" and "Dog," spell out the agency's approach for housing millions of refugees displaced by a nuclear attack. "Our mission would be carried over into the holocaust," says HUD emergency coordinator Terrence Monihan.

U.S. doomsday strategists also coordinated their relocation and post-attack production plans with private industry considered vital to national survival. In April 1970, for example, White House emergency planners joined Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey executives in a mock nuclear war exercise. Standard Oil's senior management withdrew to its emergency operating center, buried 300 ft. below the ground at what was once called Iron Mountain Atomic Storage, near Hudson, N.Y. The well-protected facility had vaults, dining halls and more than 50 sleeping rooms for key company officials and their families. Vital company records were stored at the facility and updated monthly.

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