1. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs-Designate (Kissinger) to President-Elect Nixon1
- Memorandum on a New NSC System
The attached memo (Tab A) outlines my ideas for organizing the NSC and my own staff. It is based on extensive conversations with a number of people —particularly General Goodpaster, who agrees with my recommendations.2
I apologize for its length, but the decisions you make on the issues raised here will have an important effect on how we function in the field of foreign affairs in the years ahead. I thought, therefore, that [Page 2] it would be best for you to have as full a description as possible of what General Goodpaster and I have in mind.
We would like a chance to discuss the memo with you after you have gone over it.
At Tab B are outline summaries, plus action recommendations, covering each of the subsections of the basic paper.3
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, Subject Files, Executive FG 6–6. No classification marking. A handwritten annotation on page one of the memorandum reads: “12–27–68 (Taken by HAK to Florida for 12/30 meeting with RMN), approved by RMN 12/30/68.” In White House Years, pp. 41–47, Kissinger recounted the formulation of this memorandum, the subsequent debate over its merits, and Nixon’s hesitation at implementing it. Kissinger stated that Nixon approved the memorandum on December 27, before meeting with Rogers, Laird, and Kissinger to discuss it on December 28 at Key Biscayne. (Ibid., p. 44) Roger Morris, an NSC staff member from 1967 to 1970, discussed how the memorandum took shape in Uncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), pp. 77–90. Morris credited Morton Halperin with drafting the plan proposed in the memorandum. The Department of State drafted revisions in the memorandum which, in addition to Document 4, are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–209, National Security Decision Memoranda, NSDM 1; and in the National Archives, RG 59, Pedersen Files: Lot 75 D 229, NSC.↩
- Four memoranda on national security organization prepared by Goodpaster and forwarded to Kissinger on December 15 are ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 1, Gen Goodpaster.↩
- Attached but not printed. Nixon indicated his approval of each of the action recommendations, but he crossed out the listing of the DCI as member of the NSC Review Group and wrote “no” next to it. In White House Years, p. 44, Kissinger stated that Nixon’s only change was to remove the DCI from the National Security Council. The original action recommendations with Nixon’s markings and initials in blue ink are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–209, National Security Decision Memoranda, NSDM 1.↩
- Attendance has varied, but recently the membership has included the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- In a conversation with three journalists on July 29, 1971, Kissinger commented that the Johnson administration “had a different style from ours. They were a raucous group: fighting, lively, quite a contrast to the order in our Administration. Their Tuesday lunches were chaos.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1025, President/HAK Memcons, Memcon—Henry Kissinger, Henry Grunwald, Hugh Sidney, and Jerry Schecter, Jul. 29, 1971)↩
- A Presidential Commission, chaired by James Perkins, has just completed a report based on a year’s study. [Footnote in source text. Regarding this report, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume IX, International Development and Economic Defense Policy; Commodities, Documents 79 and 145.]↩