226. Directive Issued by the Senior Interdepartmental Group1

SIG DIRECTIVE

At its 48th meeting on December 19, 1968, the Senior Interdepartmental Group received a report on the results of the overseas base study undertaken by the joint State/Defense Study Group.2

The SIG agreed that the Political-Military Group should be charged with responsibility for:

a)
coordination of the interdepartmental review of the Study;
b)
the preparation of appropriate recommendations to the SIG.

To this end, the five IRGs are requested to review appropriate sections of the Study and submit their conclusions and recommendations to the Political-Military Group. Taking these views and recommendations into account, the Political-Military Group is requested to submit its recommendations on further action to the SIG by March 1, 1969.

These should, to the extent feasible, include recommendations regarding (1) working assumptions on the strategies which should guide future base planning; (2) bases in which significant changes could be made in the near future (two years); (3) bases in which significant changes could be foreseen in the 1970s; (4) bases in which no significant changes can be foreseen; and (5) any steps that should be taken to improve the examination of future base problems in the United States Government.

A special sub-group with appropriate membership shall be established to review the intelligence chapter and submit appropriate recommendations.

Additionally, it is understood that the PMG may ask the State/Defense Study Group to reconstitute the special sub-group that prepared Annex J to cost out additional alternative base structures for strategies in various regions.

To ensure a systematic unified review of the Study’s findings, the SIG noted the desirability that the Political-Military Group be free to [Page 784]pose specific issues for the IRGs to consider. Review of the Study by the IRGs would not, however, be restricted to these specific issues; rather the IRGs should be free to comment on any other points pertinent to their jurisdiction. The Political-Military Group’s final report should discuss remaining differences on conclusions and recommendations between the IRGs and the Political-Military Group.

The SIG also agreed that the Study not be distributed further at this time pending:

a)
a review of the arrangements for disposition of the Study by the new Administration; and,
b)
some progress by the Political-Military Group in defining facts and issues requiring review by the IRGs, the constituent agencies, and the field.

In this connection, SIG members are requested to take responsibility for the handling of this sensitive document within their respective agencies. No field distribution is contemplated pending additional guidance from the new Administration. The SIG Staff Director should be consulted on such limited additional distributions as may be necessary in the several agencies to commence review of the report.

The SIG also agreed that, as a general principle, access to the document in the agencies should be restricted to a need-to-know basis. Furthermore, access by staffs should be limited to those portions of the Study actually required for review purposes.

The SIG also considered the question of Congressional briefings and consultations. It noted that the existence of the Study had received considerable attention in the press, and that Congressional inquiries might be expected from time to time. The SIG agreed that it would be premature to brief members of the Congress on the contents of the report inasmuch as:

a)
evaluation of the Study is still under way; and,
b)
the Study is a technical document, setting forth basic data for policy options, rather than a document advocating specific lines of action.

Approved guidance for handling press inquiries is attached.

Attachment

PRESS GUIDANCE

In the event recipients are queried by the press or others about the base study, the following guidance is provided. (Recipients may also [Page 785]draw upon earlier guidance provided in State 211289 (African posts only), 211290, and 261970.)3

The long-range study on the overseas bases has been completed. It is one of a number of classified studies undertaken by the joint State/Defense Study Group. The results have been submitted to the SIG on 19 December and contain no specific recommendations, but are simply designed to aid those who will face future policy decisions. It would not be appropriate to discuss the content of the report or to release it.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 70 D 263, SIG/DOC: #49—12/17/68—U.S. Overseas Base Requirements in the 1970s. Confidential; Restricted Distribution. Attached to a January 2, 1969, covering memorandum from Hartman to the SIG members indicating that Chairman Katzenbach had approved the directive.
  2. See Document 225 and footnote 2 thereto.
  3. Circular telegram 211289, July 30, was sent to ten African posts; circular telegram 211290, July 30, was sent to all posts except those in Africa; and circular telegram 261970, October 25, was sent to ten African posts and all non-African posts. All three telegrams reproduced newspaper articles about the Special State-Defense Study Group Base Study. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 15 US)