7. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs-Designate (Kissinger) to President-Elect Nixon1


  • Additional Provisions Concerning the Conduct of National Security Affairs
Through further discussions on organization and procedures for National Security Affairs, Secretary-designate Rogers and I have worked out the proposed provisions which follow. I believe they are consistent with your determination to restore and revitalize the NSC structure, and with the overall plan of organization and method of operating you wish to employ. I recommend that you approve them.
In general, the arrangements seek to provide a means by which Presidential leadership and broad perspective will be applied in the guiding, shaping, and policy direction of security affairs, while a maximum of operating responsibility for operational activities—responsive to policy and conforming to its guidelines—will be exercised at departmental and interdepartmental levels.
The Secretary of State is the President’s principal foreign policy adviser. He is responsible, in accordance with approved policy, for the execution of foreign policy, for foreign policy decisions not requiring specific Presidential supervision, to the full extent permitted by [Page 25] law, of interdepartmental activities of the US Government overseas. (Military forces operating in the field are specifically excluded from such activities.)
The determination whether to treat a security matter as a “policy” question or an “operational” question should be made by the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Secretary of State in consultation, insofar as interdepartmental activities of the US Government overseas are concerned.
The Secretary of State should have authority and responsibility to refer operational questions involving interdepartmental activities of the US Government overseas, not settled through discussion and decision in the IRGs, for timely consideration by the Under Secretaries Committee.
The NSC Review Group will function as a planning board in the final preparation of policy papers to be considered by the NSC. The Group will receive papers directly from the IRGs, from Departments, from ad hoc groups, or, on occasion, from other sources.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 2, Memo for President-Elect. Secret. The memorandum is marked in hand at the top: “Never sent.”