140. National Security Decision Memorandum 981


The Secretary of State

The Secretary of Defense

The Director, Office of Management and Budget

The Director, United States Information Agency

The Director of Central Intelligence

The Director, Arms Control & Disarmament Agency


  • Coordination of Foreign Affairs Research Sponsored by the Federal Government

The President has reviewed the report of the Ad Hoc Committee set up under the authority of the memorandum of May 28, 1969, to review present procedures for coordinating foreign affairs research sponsored by the Federal Government.2 He considers that the report underscores the necessity for closer coordination of foreign affairs research to avoid duplication of effort and to enhance the quality and utility of the research project.

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The President has directed that the Under Secretaries Committee assume the responsibility for assuring interagency coordination of the external foreign affairs research sponsored by the departments and agencies in receipt of this Memorandum.3 In this connection, the Under Secretaries Committee is charged with coordinating the preparation of an annual foreign affairs consolidated research plan to be submitted for approval by the President. This plan should state group-wide and individual agency research goals and priorities, present a multi-year plan for regional and functional areas indicating agency responsibilities, and suggest joint funding of particular activities. It should be designed to avoid duplication and assure maximum interagency utility of the end product in terms of both content and availability. The Under Secretaries Committee also should make recommendations on related matters, including the state of in-house research programs and capabilities.

The Chairman of the Under Secretaries Committee may establish an interagency subcommittee or working group, including representatives of the addressees of this memorandum as appropriate, to assist the Under Secretaries Committee in the discharge of this responsibility.

Those parts of the terms of reference proposed by the Ad Hoc Committee dealing with the purpose, scope, membership, and functions of a coordinating body should be drawn upon by the Under Secretaries Committee as appropriate in carrying out its responsibilities.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–222, National Security Decision Memoranda, NSDM 98. Limited Official Use. Copies were sent to the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, HEW, and the Treasury; the Directors NSF, NASA, OEP, and OST; the Chairmen of AEC and the JCS; and the Administrator of AID.
  2. The May 28, 1969, memorandum and the Ad Hoc Committee report, forwarded to Kissinger by Cline under cover of an August 14, 1970, memorandum, are ibid. The committee recommended establishment of a new Interdepartmental Group for Foreign Affairs Research. In a 4-page memorandum to Kissinger, December 1, 1970, Smith and Kennedy summarized and evaluated the report, including DOD and ACDA dissent, and recommended that the President assign responsibility for interagency coordination of foreign affairs research to the Under Secretaries Committee, not a new IG. (Ibid.)
  3. In response to a comment by Kissinger on their December 1 memorandum, Smith and Kennedy added the latter part of this sentence to the NSDM “to make clear that NSC-sponsored research in not included within the Under Secretaries Committee’s scope of authority.” (Memorandum from Smith and Kennedy to Kissinger, February 5; ibid.)