83. Editorial Note
In an October 27, 1969, memorandum, President’s Assistant John Ehrlichman informed President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger that President Nixon had suggested moving ahead with removing the Director of the Office of Emergency Planning from the National Security Council. Kissinger jotted on the memorandum: [Page 175] “John—Let’s talk. I don’t think he is the worst villain.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 267, Office of Emergency Preparedness—through 11/69, Vol. I) Kissinger responded formally to Ehrlichman in a November 12 memorandum in which he stated that he saw no national security objection to removing OEP from statutory membership in the NSC but deferred to Ehrlichman with respect to domestic and Congressional aspects of the issue. Under cover of his memorandum, Kissinger forwarded a brief study which discussed some of the issues involved in removing OEP from the NSC. (Ibid.)
Kenneth BeLieu, President’s Deputy Assistant for Senate Relations, discussed the issue in late December with Senator Henry Jackson (D–Washington) and Bryce Harlow, Counselor to the President. BeLieu reported in a December 29 memorandum to Egil Krogh, the President’s Deputy Assistant for Domestic Affairs, that Jackson felt the issue should not be taken up at that time “because it will give some in Congress an opportunity to ‘open up’ on NSC matters far beyond the intended action. That during an election year with many critical matters under NSC consideration foes of the Administration could seize the opportunity to hold expanded hearings and perhaps embarrass us.” Harlow also felt “it may not be to our advantage to expose NSC procedures to Congress next session.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–299, NSC System, National Security Council Vol. III, 6/1/69–12/31/69) In a January 20, 1970, memorandum to Ehrlichman, Krogh recommended deferring removal “until more propitious political times arrive.” (Ibid.) Ehrlichman advised the President in a January 22 memorandum that a reorganization plan removing OEP from the NSC be prepared but held “in abeyance until such time as it is politically easier to enact in Congress.” Nixon approved. (Ibid.)
On December 14, 1970, at 4:47 p.m. Arnold Weber of the Office of Management and Budget and Kissinger had the following telephone conversation:
“W: I was asked to call you to inform you that the President has apparently indicated we should go ahead with plans for abolishing OEP, which is one of the members of the NSC or certainly in your area of interest. The purpose of this call is to inform you, and if you or your staff have any comments … This recommendation was made by the Ash Council.
“K: That’s one way to get a man off the NSC.
“W: I believe it’s in the interest of economy.
“K: I have no immediate view. I will see if any of my colleagues do.
“W: This is confidential—General Lincoln is not aware of it. Knowing how these things work, we can’t say with assurance whether this will happen, but we thought you should be aware of it.[Page 176]
“K: All right.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 366, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)
OEP’s Director remained a statutory member of the National Security Council, however, until the agency was abolished by Reorganization Plan 1 of 1973.