100. Memorandum From the President’s Military Assistant (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


Attached on the right flap is Lynn’s comprehensive analysis of the future work of the DPRC.2 On the left flap are two memoranda just received from Secretary Laird3 which in my view constitute a major assault on the approach we are currently using for DPRC work. Laird in [Page 221] effect is stating keep out of force structure and force program decisions and focus your attention on the allocation of national resources for defense and competing enterprises, sort out major doctrinal and strategic issues and I will worry about individual programs.

As I told you earlier, I think Laird is more right than we are, and that in a gut fight it will be difficult to muster support for the individual program approach. What has to be done is to clearly enunciate the cut-off point by a detailed discussion of how individual programs and force structure dictates the larger questions and therefore why there must be some minimum investigation of costly programs and force structure as preliminary work before addressing the larger questions.

I am convinced that Secretary Laird would not have written these two memoranda, the language of which has been very carefully chosen, if he did not intend to go to the mat with you on this issue. I know that although this may be distasteful to you, you want my best judgment. Personally, I think you are on very weak ground for two reasons. One is in principle Laird is more correct than we are. The second reason is because we have apparently failed to communicate with him on the entire issue. By this, I mean he does not understand because we have failed to convince him that certain costly programs must be investigated by the DPRC as the building blocks to the more important discussions on resource allocation at the highest level. I would suggest that you meet with Secretary Laird at the first opportunity and arrive at a more acceptable solution rather than to continue to add to the kind of tensions which must have spawned these two memoranda. As I told you earlier, I am also concerned that we have not looked at the very questions that Laird is asking us to solve nor have we given him a sympathetic reception when he has raised them. For better or worse, I believe that our domestic spending has been totally out of balance with our security spending and that this is the responsibility of your office to rectify it. If the President were to overrule that judgment, then his actions should be based on consideration of all the facts none of which have been brought to his attention to the best of my knowledge.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–098, Defense Program Review Committee Meetings, DPRC General 1969–Feb. 1970. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. Memorandum from Lynn to Kissinger, March 13; not printed.
  3. Documents 98 and 99.