27. Memorandum for the Record1


  • NSC Review Group Meeting on 13 February
The NSC Review Group met on 13 February on NSSM 10, “East-West Relations.”2
This was a precedent-making meeting, marking the first time that there has been a full-scale confrontation between Henry Kissinger—representing the new concepts of NSC procedures—and the European Affairs Bureau of the Department of State—representing the traditional procedures of policy formulation. The paper presented to the Review Group was not a paper setting forth a range of options which would enable the NSC principals to engage fundamental and opposing issues and arrive at a new and more precise consensus. It was instead an advocacy paper designed to advance only one basic policy toward East-West relations. The paper contained some halfhearted gestures toward meeting the options format which Kissinger had requested, but these alternate options were patently straw men, lacking both internal logic and conviction.
During the discussion that ensued the paper was attacked by a majority of the Review Group and defended mildly by a minority. The State Department view was that whatever faults the paper had could be blamed on the overlay of “options” which had been forced on it by the NSC Staff. In reality, it was said, there is only one view which “responsible people” can hold regarding policy toward East-West relations, and that view is set forth as Option 3, “Strong Deterrent with Flexible Approach.” Gradually during the course of this discussion agreement was reached that Option 3 as stated was so broad that it needed to be articulated in a series of sub-options. As Kissinger put it, “Surely there is divergence between the attitudes expressed by the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency on the one hand, and those of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the other. Somewhere between these two outer wings are other defensible positions. The President and the NSC should be given the opportunity to discuss this range.” Kissinger then [Page 65] directed the NSC Staff to prepare a new draft of the paper to be ready for consideration of the NSC at its scheduled 19 February meeting.
During this discussion, Henry Kissinger set forth some views regarding the much discussed “linkage” proposition which I found useful and may be illuminating to others. Linkage, he said, means to him and to the President only that some political progress should take place side by side with progress on arms control and related discussions. This does not mean that one expects the Soviets to give up essential positions to satisfy this linkage. One would not expect them to agree to the unification of Germany in order to facilitate arms control and discussions, but one can expect them not to exacerbate the Berlin problem or other such problems when it is within their power to refrain from doing so.
The next meeting of the Review Group is scheduled for 18 February. Presumably the revised draft on East-West relations will be the principal, if not the sole, topic.
R. J. Smith
Deputy Director for Intelligence
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry Files, Job 80–B01086A, Box 7, Folder 223, NSC Review Group Meeting. Secret. Drafted by Smith on February 15.
  2. Copies of NSSM 10, January 27, and the resulting paper are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–133, National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 10.