The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series which was signed by President George H.W. Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded. The editors are convinced that this volume meets all regulatory, statutory, and scholarly standards of selection and editing.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the administrations of Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. This volume documents the Organization and Management of Foreign Policy of the Nixon administration, 1969–1972. In effect, this volume is a prologue to the rest of the volumes for the first Nixon administration. It [Page IV] documents how the Nixon administration came to office determined to institute a major reorganization of the foreign policy decision making process, and how it proceeded to undertake that task. The volume also documents the Nixon administration’s attempt to reorganize the overall management of intelligence activities, and its attempts to manage the Department of State and the Foreign Service, establish a new bureaucratic structure for foreign economic policy, and fight off a Congressional challenge to the control of foreign policy by the executive branch through war powers legislation.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume II

The focus of this volume is the organization and management of the foreign policy process. This theme runs throughout the volume, but is most clearly evident in the first chapter, “The NSC System.” This chapter documents the Nixon administration’s foreign policy process as it was conceived by President Nixon, his Special Assistant Henry Kissinger, and other key advisers. The chapter shows how the foreign policy decision making process was supposed to work in theory, and then documents how the system worked in reality. A primary concern of Nixon and Kissinger was that the President retain control over the foreign policy process through his National Security Council (NSC) Staff, and that the White House oversee the implementation of presidential decisions. The NSC system of generating National Security Study Memoranda (NSSMs), discussion of options papers in response to a NSSM in NSC interagency policy groups (primarily the Senor Review Group), and then Presidential Decision Memoranda (NSDMs), was designed to concentrate decision making in the President’s hands. It was a reaction to a belief by Nixon and his key advisers that the decision making process of the Johnson administration had been chaotic and too informal, and that the system for following up on bureaucratic implementation of Presidential decisions was too weak. As the documents indicate, the Nixon administration believed that it was fighting an ongoing battle to retain Presidential and White House control of the foreign policy decision making process against the bureaucratic forces of the Departments of State and Defense. The creation of later NSC interagency groups, such as the Vietnam Special Studies Group and the Defense Program Review Committee, were attempts by the Nixon White House to assume control of strategic planning in Vietnam and the policy considerations of the Defense Budget from the Department of Defense. The first chapter of this volume documents how this struggle for control caused friction between the White House and the Departments of State and Defense, as well as a certain amount of personal rivalry and tension between Kissinger, Secretary of State William Rogers, and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird.

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The second chapter of the volume focuses on the related issue of reorganization and revitalization of the Intelligence Community. This reform was driven by President Nixon’s and the White House Staff’s view that they were not getting the right intelligence and that the United States was spending too much on intelligence for the product it was receiving. In addition, Nixon and the White House were concerned that covert operations, which they believed had a tendency to go on indefinitely, were not properly supportive of larger U.S. foreign policy objectives. Finally, the second chapter documents a formal reorganization of the intelligence function at the Department of Defense, where it was widely held that the intelligence function was too diffuse and not properly coordinated. The documents selected cover both the attitudes of Nixon and the White House, the formal reorganization process primarily through the White House’s perspective, and many internal Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency documents relating to intelligence reorganization.

The third chapter deals with the administration and management of the Department of State by the Department’s principal officers and by President Nixon and the White House. The documents indicate that the President was determined to appoint his own people to key positions in the Department and ambassadorships, but he also wished to push forward younger Foreign Service officers to ambassadorial posts. Because of balance of payment problems, Nixon was also determined to cut overseas personnel, which would naturally affect Department of State overseas operations. The President also wished to upgrade the Department’s Latin American Bureau, but needed Congressional approval. This chapter deals with the question of the loyalty of the Foreign Service officers to the President, the role—or, more accurately, the lack of a role—for professional women in the Department of State and foreign affairs bureaucracy, and the question of Foreign Service spouses (then called wives, since the Foreign Service consisted overwhelmingly of men). Like the documents on intelligence, this chapter combines informal documents about attitudes and personalities with more formal bureaucratic documentation on the administration of the Department and the Foreign Service. The penultimate chapter on foreign economic policy focuses on three main themes: the dispute about whether the Office of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations should be in the White House or the Department of Commerce; the conflict between the Departments of State and Commerce over control of U.S. foreign economic policy and the commercial function; and the establishment of the Council on International Economic Policy in the White House. A final, brief chapter, documents the challenge posed to President Nixon’s control over foreign policy by Congress’s pending war powers legislation, an issue that would take on far greater significance in the second Nixon–Ford administration, 1973–1976.

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Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the date and time of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The documents are reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents within the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the documents are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the original text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount and, where possible, the nature of the material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed with headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the original text are so identified in footnotes. All ellipses are in the original document.

The first footnote to each document indicates the source of the document, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

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The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Historical Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Historical Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes as it deems necessary to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 USC 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to formally notify the Nixon Estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon Estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they were a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials Project are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, conducted the declassification review for the Department of State of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958, as amended, on Classified National Security Information and other applicable laws.

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The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments. The declassification review of this volume, which began in 2001 and was completed in 2005, resulted in the decision to withhold 2 documents in full, excise a paragraph or more in 2 documents, and make minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 26 documents.

The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the documentation and editorial notes presented here provide an accurate and comprehensive—given limitations of space—account of the Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972.


The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland. The editors wish to acknowledge the Richard Nixon Estate for allowing access to the Nixon Presidential recordings and the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace for facilitating that access. Special thanks are due to the Historical Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency, who were extremely helpful in arranging full access to the files of the Central Intelligence Agency. John Haynes of the Library of Congress was responsible for expediting access to the Kissinger Papers, including the transcripts of Henry Kissinger’s telephone conversations. The editors were able to use the Kissinger Papers, including the transcripts of telephone conversations, with the kind permission of Henry Kissinger. The editors would like to also thank Sandy Meagher for her valuable assistance in expediting the use of files of the Department of Defense.

This volume was researched, selected, and annotated by David C. Humphrey under the supervision of the former General Editor, David Patterson. General Editor Edward C. Keefer supervised the final production of the volume. Susan C. Weetman coordinated the declassification review. Kristin L. Ahlberg, Carl Ashley, and Aaron W. Marrs did the copy and technical editing. Max Franke prepared the index.

Marc J. Susser
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs

November 2006