304. Memorandum From President Nixon to his Assistant (Haldeman)1

I am not satisfied with the progress that has been made with regard to the cuts in personnel. Before the Inauguration I ordered a one-third cut in USIA, AID, military personnel except in combat zones like Vietnam and Korea and Western Europe. Nothing whatever has been done to carry this out except paper work. I want you to put a man on it, perhaps Butterfield, and to give me a report in a week as to what has happened. I do not consider anything more important that I will be doing from an administrative standpoint than this. I know that everybody on the staff disagrees with my approach here but this is something I feel very strongly about and I want action on it immediately. I shall expect a report on my desk by Monday of next week.2 As [Page 683]a matter of fact, I don’t want a report, I simply want to know what has been done to carry out my directives that a one-third cut is to be made in personnel in these areas in every mission abroad. I think the only way to do it is for a directive signed by me to each of the agencies ordering such a cut. You are going to get strong resistance from Shakespeare, Hannah, Rogers and also from Defense on this. But I know what I am talking about and even if I didn’t I have such strong feelings about it I have made the decision and I want it carried out immediately.3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, Staff Member and Office Files, Butterfield Files, Box 8, Memoranda Received. No classification marking. The President wrote “Re: Personnel Cuts” at the top of the memorandum.
  2. The President underlined the last 10 words of this sentence.
  3. Haldeman forwarded the memorandum to Butterfield under cover of a June 17 memorandum in which he asked Butterfield to check with Flanigan, Ehrlichman, and anyone else involved, pull together a status report, and “lay out a plan of action to get the President’s directives carried out. This is going to be tough but he is deadly serious about the necessity of getting it done and done quickly.” Butterfield forwarded a 9-page status report and action plan to the President on June 24. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, Staff Member and Office Files, Butterfield Files, Box 1, Alexander Butterfield (June 1969))