237. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bator) to President Johnson1


  • Agenda for Meeting of U.S. Position in Trilateral Negotiations 12:30 PM, Friday, February 24, 1967 (Messrs. Rusk, McNamara, Deming, Eugene Rostow, Bator)
[Page 535]

At Tab I is my memorandum laying out the issues. At Tab II (inside the attached book) is a long and important joint paper from Rusk, McNamara and Fowler; you will want to read it before making a final decision. At Tab III (also in the book) is McCloy’s comment on the joint paper.2


At the meeting tomorrow you might open by asking Rusk and McNamara to summarize for you the three alternatives:

No cut (McCloy’s preference);
Rotation of 1 division and 3 air wings (Rusk’s recommendation);
Rotation of 2 divisions and 6 air wings (McNamara’s recommendation).

You might then want to ask for comment from both Rusk and McNamara with respect to consequences for:

military security;
possible troop reduction bargain with the Russians;
alliance politics and our relations with the Germans;
balance of payments and international money;
the UK-German problem.

My memorandum at Tab I has a section on each of these, as well as a section on the domestic political consequences.

At the end of the meeting, you may or may not want to give us a decision, especially since you will have had so little time to study the papers.

If you decide in favor of no cut or a cut of 1 division (Rusk), you may want to have a further talk alone with McNamara. If you decide for a 2-division cut, you may want to do the same with Rusk. In either case, it will be important for Rusk to bring McCloy over for a private session with you before your decision is absolutely final. This is important whether or not we want McCloy to continue as the U.S. negotiator. (As you know, he is ready to carry on if you decide on a 1-division cut. If you decide in favor of cutting 2, I believe he will want quietly to withdraw. If we manage that gently, I do not think his possible withdrawal should be a serious consideration in your decision.)

I am sorry my Tab I memo is on the longish side. (I also apologize for the papers being this late; the joint memorandum was literally not finished and agreed on until early evening.) However, I believe this decision will cast a very long shadow on our relations with Germany and Europe, with consequences for domestic politics. It is a tough apples-or- [Page 536] oranges Presidential decision, on which your advisors can only give you their honest judgment and stand by for your instructions.3

Francis M. Bator 4
  1. Source: Johnson Library, Papers of Francis M. Bator, Box 17, 2/24/67 Meeting with the President. Secret.
  2. None of the Tabs nor the attached book was found with the source text. A copy of Bator’s 8-page memorandum is ibid. No copy of Tab II has been found. A copy of Tab III is ibid., Box 18, Trilaterals with LBJ.
  3. Other than notations in the President’s Daily Diary and Rusk’s Appointment Books, and some indecipherable notes by Bator (ibid., Box 17, 2/24/67 Meeting with the President), no record of the meeting at noon on February 24 has been found.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.