30. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon 1


  • State Department Position on Military Assistance and Foreign Military Sales

I understand that Secretary Laird, in a recent memorandum to you commenting on the Peterson Task Force Report,2 takes issue with the proposal that all security assistance be funded in a single International Security Cooperation Act. Secretary Laird recommends that the Military Assistance and Foreign Military Sales portions of security assistance be funded within the Defense Department. He also proposes that exploratory consultations be initiated with Congressional leaders to determine their receptivity to this approach.

I have reservations concerning Secretary Laird’s funding recommendation and urge that no Congressional consultations be launched at this time. The intent of the Peterson Task Force recommendations was to create an integrated approach to security assistance. To this end the Task Force felt it desirable that all security assistance be funded in a single International Security Cooperation Act, that such security assistance be tied firmly to our foreign policy objectives and priorities, and that, in line with the Secretary of State’s responsibility for the overall direction, coordination and supervision of the US Government’s activities overseas, the responsibility for setting our security assistance policies and directing and coordinating these programs be assigned to the Department of State. As you know, I believe that these recommendations are right.

In a period of change, when we shall want to look closely at the allocation of our national resources and in any event must expect continued Congressional scrutiny of all foreign aid programs, it becomes a [Page 70] matter of considerable importance to be able to develop a coherent rationale for these programs. We must make an effort to integrate all aspects of security assistance into a comprehensive plan for each recipient country.3 This is the one way, I believe, we shall be able to make a strong case for Congressional support and to insure coordination between foreign policy and its implementation. To fund the Military Assistance and Foreign Military Sales Programs in the Defense budget would run counter to such an effort and undoubtedly make the foreign policy direction and coordination of these programs quite difficult.

The principal reason advanced by Secretary Laird in support of the proposal to separate MAP and FMS from other security assistance is that by so doing it would be possible to gain Congressional support for eliminating the plethora of legislative restrictions attached to MAP and FMS.4 I agree with Secretary Laird that it would be highly desirable to eliminate these restrictions, but I wonder if the proposed separation might not have the opposite effect. Indeed, it seems clear that the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees are likely to resist the funding transfer proposal.5 These two Committees have in the past amply indicated their strong determination to maintain jurisdiction over Foreign Aid programs. If overridden, they should be expected to provide formidable opposition to these programs, and perhaps attach even more restrictive legislation.

For the preceding reasons I continue to believe that the recommendation which I made last April supporting the Peterson Task Force proposal for combining MAP, FMS, Public Safety and supporting assistance in one budget program remains our soundest course of action.6

William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AID (US) 1. Confidential. According to an August 3 memorandum from Spiers to the Secretary, the memorandum was prepared at the Secretary’s request. The original memorandum with Secretary Rogers’ signature is ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 193, AID, Volume II 1/70-8/10/70, attached to an August 5 memorandum from Bergsten to Kissinger that reads: “Since your memorandum on the issue is already with the President, and since on balance you support Secretary Rogers’ position, I send this to you only for information. Nevertheless, if the President has not yet made his decision on the issue, you may wish to mention it to him or have it included in his package.” Kissinger’s memorandum on the issue is Document 135.
  2. Presumably a reference to Laird’s May 6 memorandum to the President; see footnote 11, Document 134. See also Document 135. For the Peterson Report, see Document 128.
  3. See NSDM 10, April 11, 1969, Document 7.
  4. Reference is to the so-called “barnacles.” See Documents 8, 9, 31, and 135.
  5. Rogers wrote in the margin: “Doc Morgan will fight it vigorously.” Thomas “Doc” Morgan was Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
  6. See Document 133.