According to newly revealed government documents, obtained by the National Security Archive in Washington after a freedom of information request, describe the plan codenamed Freedom Drop, as calling for "pre-coordinated options for the selective use of tactical nuclear weapons against North Korea".
A June 1969 memo from then US Defense Secretary, Melvin Laird, to Nixon's national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, outlined a number of options for a conventional and nuclear response to what were perceived as growing provocations by North Korea.
These included a plan to "conduct strikes against military targets in North Korea employing one nuclear weapon on each target".
According to The Guardian, the memo suggests a "punitive attack" against 12 targets listed as command centers, airfields and naval bases.
But in what appeared to be an acknowledgement that the use of smaller scale nuclear weapons of less than 10 kilotonnes would prompt North Korean retaliation, a second option of striking 16 North Korean airfields was added.
According to Robert Wampler, who uncovered the documents, the Nixon administration saw the North Koreans as an "imminent threat".
He said planners concluded that the consequence of any such strike was likely to be all-out war and so if the US were to attack North Korea it would have to be with overwhelming force. (ANI)