37. Memorandum From the Military Assistant (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Staff Meeting2

At the staff meeting on April 30, I discussed the following issues:

Requirement to think ahead on problem areas;
Requirement to keep close and intimate contact with what is occurring in the departments and agencies and to flag difficult problems for Mr. Kissinger at an early date;
Format, content and responsiveness of staff papers; and
Improvement of coordination among the staff.

The following items were raised by the staff:

Difficulty in reaching Haig and Eagleburger on the telephone due to limited lines.
General consensus that the bureaucracy was getting overloaded with NSC requirements.
Heavy press of work and short deadlines were precluding the type of reflective planning which staff members felt was essential to forecast the problem areas.
Complaint that response to NSSM’s involved such heavy work for operations officers that deadlines set by Osgood could not be met.
Halperin’s complaint that many of his memoranda are never answered.
Uniform feeling of most of substantive staff that they need more face-to-face contact with Mr. Kissinger.
Bob Osgood’s suggestion of periodic staff meetings to discuss planning issues.
Hal Sonnenfeldt’s recommendation that we forward more correspondence to the Departments for preparation of replies for Presidential signature.
Hal Sonnenfeldt’s belief that staff needs more feedback on what happens to their papers.
Consensus of staff that they need more access to intelligence reports and on a more timely basis.
Comment by several operations officers that they need more time to prepare analyses for President’s Daily Report if substantive analyses are required.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 334, Items to Discuss with the President 2/5–7/14/1969. No classification marking.
  2. Kissinger held his first NSC staff meeting on January 21. Talking points prepared for the meeting are in the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 314, Staff Meetings. The same folder includes minutes of 44 NSC staff meetings from November 1969 to February 1971, many of them meetings of the NSC Operations staff. Minutes for three NSC staff meetings during September and October 1970 are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, Staff Member and Office Files, Young Files, Chronological File, Box 1. Minutes for seven NSC staff meetings during 1971, all but one of them titled Senior Staff Meeting, are ibid., NSC Files, Saunders Files, Box 1272, NSC Operations Staff Meetings, 1971.