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


  • Items to Discuss with Elliot Richardson at Luncheon Meeting, Wednesday, April 15, 1970

1. Raise the issue posed by the joint State–Defense message (Enclosure #1, Tab A)2 on European Security which we received late yesterday afternoon for clearance after approval by Secretary Rogers. This action constitutes a most serious challenge to the President’s established [Page 230] system for handling policy issues within the National Security Council system. The fact that two Cabinet officers would join in imposing the White House with a locked policy paper of this type is absolutely unacceptable. In this instance it is especially bad because State was completely aware of ongoing actions within the NSC system designed to address the issues explicitly covered in the message. We had, in fact, even gone so far as to move the date of the Review Group consideration of these problems forward to assist State’s time problem. An additional and perhaps more troublesome feature is that State has gotten Defense to go along with them on fundamental policy issues which have not been considered appropriately within the NSC framework and which may be completely at odds with what the President wants. In effect, dispatch of this message would cause us to scrap NSSM 83. I recommend that you ask Elliot to speak with the Secretary in order to have this message considered in the Review Group on Thursday.3 Hal Sonnenfeldt assures me that this would provide adequate time to meet Ellsworth’s requirements. An additional nettling fact about this operation is the extensive interdepartmental coordination that was done without the responsible authors at State having had the courtesy of notifying our staff that the exercise was under way.4 These are the kinds of action which shatter what have been up to now improving State-NSC relationships. I believe you should pull no punches in informing Elliot of this problem.5

I have discussed this with Mr. Richardson:




[Omitted here are items #2–#12.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 339, HAK/Richardson Meetings April–May 1970. Secret; Nodis; Eyes Only. In the right-hand margin near the top of the first page: Kissinger wrote: “1. Development of a Reduction plan for IRBM. 2. Elaboration of on-site inspection proposal. 3. Limits on size of mobile IRBM’s.”
  2. At Tab A is an April 14 memorandum from Sonnenfeldt to Kissinger which asserts that “State has sent for clearance a massive cable giving the coordinated State, Defense, ACDA views on several major questions: our approach to an ESC [European Security Conference]; how to handle MBFR [Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions], and the question of East-West cooperation. The cable effectively preempts most of the questions and decisions contained in the NSSM 83 study which the Review Group is to consider on Thursday and the NSC on April 29.” (Ibid.) NSSM 83, “U.S. Approach to European Security Issues,” November 21, 1969, and follow-up studies are ibid., NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–166, National Security Study Memoranda.
  3. April 16.
  4. In the left margin next to this and the following sentence, Kissinger wrote: “similarly State Defense on ME.”
  5. No record of the Kissinger–Richardson luncheon discussion has been found.
  6. Neither option is marked and nothing is written after “Comments.”