49. Memorandum From Marshall Wright of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Revised Drafts of African and UN papers for Annual Report2

Here are the latest versions of these two papers, revised to reflect your comments as relayed by Dick Kennedy.

In connection with these drafts I want to remind you that both in Africa and in the UN our policy is essentially defensive. Neither is central in any way to US foreign policy operations or interests. We deal with them because they are there, not because we hope to get great things out of our participation. We aim at minimizing the attention and resources which must be addressed to them. What we really want from both is no trouble. Our policy is therefore directed at damage limiting, rather than at accomplishing anything in particular.

That being true, there is (or at least, I can find) no broad and positive conceptual base which can credibly be put forward to explain why we do what we do in Africa and the UN. The real base we cannot mention. The task then is to put the best possible face upon essentially negative roles, and to try to make them sound more positive and more integrated than they actually are.

I call this to your attention so that you will be under no illusions that I consider the attached drafts to be what you asked for.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Secretariat Files, Box 1303, Richard M. Nixon Annual Review 1970-1974, Annual Review 1970. Secret.
  2. Attached are an 8-page paper outlining the Nixon administration’s policy toward Africa and a 7-page paper which addressed the administration’s view of the United Nations. Neither draft is dated nor is drafting information provided. Regarding the annual report to Congress, see Document 60.