14. Editorial Note

At the first meeting of the National Security Council, held on January 21, 1969, the President directed that regular attendance at NSC meetings be limited to statutory members, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Under Secretary of State, and, on an ad hoc basis, the Secretary of the Treasury (see Document 15). In a February 3 letter to Nixon, the U.S. Advisory Commission on Information requested that U.S. Information Agency Director Frank Shakespeare be included on a regular basis at NSC meetings. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, Subject Files, FG 6–6) In his February 23 reply, Nixon stated that Shakespeare would be invited to “all meetings in which matters of particular concern to USIA are under discussion” but that to use the NSC forum effectively he must limit regular attendance to statutory members. (Ibid.)

In a telephone conversation between Kissinger and Attorney General John Mitchell, January 23 at 2:35 p.m.:

“Mr. Mitchell noted his exclusion from NSC meetings, ‘which was wonderful for him.’ HAK said it is the President’s intention to bring [Page 37] him in gradually, and wants him to be fully briefed, but reason he hasn’t been at the meetings up to now is that the Pres wants to exclude some of the Cabinet members who are not statutory members, and in order to have a basis to do that, he has confined the list to statutory members. HAK will make sure Mr. Mitchell is kept informed—for example, there is some by-play in Paris which doesn’t appear in reports and when it jells he will be in touch.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 359, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)

On April 28, however, H.R. Haldeman notified Henry Kissinger that the President had directed that henceforth Attorney General John Mitchell be automatically included in all Council meetings. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–299, NSC System, National Security Council Vol. II, 4/1/69–5/30/69)

Secretary of the Treasury David Kennedy expressed dismay over his limited participation in NSC meetings in a January 20, 1970, letter to Kissinger, and Kissinger admitted in response that at times they may have been overzealous in restricting attendance. (See Document 94 and footnote 2 thereto) A year and a half later, in National Security Decision Memorandum 123, July 27, 1971, the President directed that the Secretary of the Treasury (John Connally, who had replaced Kennedy in February 1971) as well as the Attorney General participate in all regular NSC meetings. Upon Attorney General Mitchell’s resignation in February 1972, however, it was determined that his successor, Richard Kleindienst, would be not be invited to NSC meetings. (Memorandum from Davis to Haig, March 2, 1972; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–299, NSC System, National Security Council Vol. I, 1/20/69–3/31/69) On the other hand, it was decided to invite Connally’s successor at Treasury, George Shultz, to NSC meetings, but Connally’s proposal in May 1972, on the eve of his departure, that the Secretary of the Treasury be made a statutory NSC member was ignored. (Memorandum from Davis to Kissinger, June 4, 1972; ibid., Vol. III, 6/1/69–12/31/69)