227. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler) to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow)1



  • FY ′70 Budget Discussion
This memorandum responds to our telecon on the evening of 24 December.2
The JCS decided that, in view of the complexity of the FY ′70 budget problem and the numerous hard decisions which had to be made, it would be profitable to focus our discussion with the President3 on the impact of FY ′70 budget decisions on our present and future military capabilities. As you will recognize, this is a departure from the past practice of having each Chief in effect reclama the decisions made in certain specific programs.
Accordingly, I will lead off for the JCS by discussing the Soviet threat, our capabilities in the strategic area relative to the Soviets, the capabilities of our general purpose forces, and the trends seen by us. [Page 786] Thereafter, the other Chiefs in turn will illustrate our concerns by addressing one or two specific items in their particular areas of professional interest. We propose the following sequence and subjects:
Gen Palmer—Low manning levels in Europe and Korea, and Strategic Army Force structure and manning level problems;
Adm Moorer—Shortages of personnel, and budget constraints related to capability and staying power of naval forces;
Gen McConnell—Reductions in strategic bomber and air defense forces;
Gen Chapman—Degradation of amphibious assault capability.
We will, of course, be prepared to discuss other subjects as desired by the President; for example, questions raised by him at lunch-eon on Tuesday4 regarding Sentinel, ammunition procurement, the F–14, etc.
Earle G. Wheeler
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, JCS, Filed by the LBJ Library, Box 29. Secret. A copy was sent to Secretary Clifford.
  2. No record of this telephone conversation has been found.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 224.
  4. December 31; no record of this luncheon meeting has been found.