70. Telegram From President Nixon to Secretary of State Rogers, Secretary of Defense Laird, and Director of Central Intelligence Helms1

CSWH 90020. I have been disturbed in recent days by the lack of teamwork in the conduct of national security affairs.2 Consequently, I am reaffirming my policies with respect to this matter.

Public statements and press releases: Prior to release, all public communications on matters of known or potential Presidential interest must be carefully cleared by the White House (Assistant to the President for National Security) for consistency with Presidential policy and for coordination with the Departments and agencies who share overlapping interests and responsibilities. Should there be any uncertainty as to Presidential or inter-departmental interest, it will be resolved in favor of clearance.
Official communications: All official communications with policy implications must be cleared by the White House. When in doubt, the rule is that messages will be so cleared. This procedure requires close and confidential staff relationships at all levels between the White House and your Department as well as among Departments.3
Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 148, State/WH Relationship, Vol. 1. Secret; Nodis; Eyes Only. The President flew to Colorado Springs, Colorado, from San Clemente on September 1 to attend the National Governors Conference.
  2. In an undated memorandum to Mitchell that was prepared at San Clemente in August and sent forward about September 2, Kissinger detailed “a series of incidents in which the bureaucracy [including DOD and CIA as well as State] was either unresponsive to the President’s desires or displayed an extraordinary inability to coordinate matters within itself. These problems have too often been due to a failure to clear public statements and policy cables with the White House.” In addition, Kissinger continued, “we must now face the question of the Secretary of State’s working relationship with me. If not, what seems to be an increasingly serious sort of bureaucratic guerrilla war may have very serious consequences for the management of our foreign affairs.” (Ibid.)
  3. Helms responded in a September 2 telegram: “You may rest assured of total compliance in the Central Intelligence Agency. I shall be in touch with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense on this matter.” (Ibid., Agency Files, Box 207, CIA, Vol. I)