60. Memorandum From the Assistant for Programs, National Security Council Staff (Halperin) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • WSAG Meeting, July 11, 1969
[Page 128]

I. Procedures

Before considering the substance of the contingency plan for Korea I believe that it would be useful to spend a few minutes at the WSAG meeting clarifying the procedures which the WSAG will use. The issues which you might wish to raise are:


What should be the end-product of WSAG deliberation?

What I believe is needed is a relatively short contingency plan which:

States the likely contingencies which might arise.
Summarizes the available courses of military action and their pros and cons.
Provide a real time scenario of military and diplomatic moves to implement some or all of the courses of action.

This paper would be kept on file in the Situation Room and periodically updated. Neither the political/military plans as they emerge from the IG or the military plans from the Pentagon will fit this bill. Both plans are needed: the military plan for obvious reasons and the IG plan to guide the task force in the State Department in supporting the WSAG during a crisis. These papers should be consistent with the WSAG Contingency Plans.

The WSAG should be asked to agree on format for this paper as indicated above.

How should these WSAG Contingency Plans be prepared?

I do not believe that the IGs or Task Forces should be charged with preparing the WSAG Contingency Plans. This is true for several reasons: (1) the IG chairman simply will not give priority to this task, (2) JCS will be unwilling to release the operations plans to these groups, (3) there is great value in having the same individuals prepare each of these Contingency Plans, (4) the review of the IG paper should not be done by those who draft it.

This line of reasoning leads to the conclusion that a special ad hoc working group should be created to draft the WSAG Contingency Plans. This group should be chaired by the NSC Staff. It could be either at the Senior Staff or working level. I believe that the latter has great advantages and suggest that Col. Behr chair the group.

If you accept this approach the procedure might work as follows:

IGs submit contingency papers to the WSAG.
The WSAG Working Group examines the plan and reaches a preliminary judgment as to whether the contingency merits a WSAG Contingency Plan.
These recommendations go to the WSAG.
If the WSAG determines that a Plan is needed the Working Group examines the IG paper and the military operations plan and provides the WSAG with a means of possible contingencies and military responses.
The WSAG discusses this menu and directs the Working Group to prepare a Contingency Plan.
The Working Group drafts the Plan working in the Situation Room.
The WSAG approves the Plan.
The IG paper and the military planning is then altered to conform with the WSAG Contingency Plan.
The Working Group periodically examines the Plan and updates as necessary calling major changes to the attention of the WSAG.

II. Korea

If this approach is to be followed the WSAG at this meeting should discuss which contingencies and which possible military responses should be covered in the Contingency Plan. A menu based on the IG paper and the military operations plan should be distributed at the meeting for discussion.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–070, Washington Special Actions Group Meetings, 7/11/69 Korea. Secret. Another copy of the memorandum indicates that it was drafted by Colonel Robert Behr. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS 76, WSAG, July–Aug. 1969)