227. Memorandum From President Nixon to Director of Central Intelligence Helms1

Dear Dick:

You and the entire intelligence community are to be commended for NIE 11–8–70, “Soviet Forces for Intercontinental Attack.”2 It is a considerable improvement over last year’s version and reflects the large and imaginative effort which all of you have obviously put into it. I find particularly useful:

  • —The frequent sharply-defined, clearly argued discussions of various contested issues.
  • —The attempt to incorporate a wide range of sources, such as clandestine reports and Soviet SALT statements.
  • —The alternative force models based on explicit differences in underlying assumptions and the attempt to define which were the more likely models.
  • —The quantitative detail for each model which illustrates the differences between the models and gives an operational meaning to some of the general statements.

Again, my congratulations to you and those in the intelligence agencies who worked on NIE 11–8–70 for a job well done.


  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 360, National Intelligence Estimates. Secret.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 226.