37. Action Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1

SUBJECT

  • Supplemental FY 1971 Foreign Aid Requests

Secretary Laird has sent you a memorandum (Tab A) which refers to your decision to proceed immediately with supplemental FY 1971 Foreign Aid requests.2 Secretary Laird proposes a supplemental request of $990 million broken out as follows:

Military Assistance:
Korea $150 million
Cambodia 60 million
Turkey 25 million
Republic of China 15 million
Greece 10 million
$260 million
—Supporting Assistance:
Vietnam $100 million
Cambodia 130 million
$230 million
—Credit Sales for Israel: $500 million

There is disagreement both with some of the amounts he proposes and with the inclusion of some countries in the justification for the request. I believe, however, that all of the issues relating to the composition are minor and can be resolved providing we can resolve the tactical issue of when the request should be submitted.

The State Department’s position is that the request should be submitted after the elections when the Congress reconvenes. Since we will [Page 85]have to request new authorization through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, we face a new round of debate on your foreign policy which could well have an adverse impact on the election if the request is submitted immediately. Moreover, the Foreign Aid appropriation is still before the Congress and requesting a supplemental now could well affect its outcome.

Bill Timmons also opposes making the request immediately for essentially the same domestic political and pending legislation reasons outlined above. Timmons also points out that Congress is scheduled to adjourn on October 15 and we would face an extremely tight schedule even if little opposition was expected.

The Office of Management and Budget also believes that submission should be delayed both because of timing and because OMB has some difficulties with the current composition of the request. (Weinberger’s memorandum is at Tab B.)3

My own view is that the risks in requesting a supplemental at this time are quite high. It is almost certain that we will get considerable criticism both on the issue of military spending and, as mentioned previously, on your foreign policy. While these criticisms will be leveled whenever we make the request, their intensity (and political effect) will be less after the elections. Finally, our analysis indicates that we can carry out our essential program without an immediate supplemental.4

Recommendation:

That you discuss the issue of timing of the request with Secretary Laird and Secretary Rogers and myself at your first convenience. When that issue is resolved, we can move to resolve the issues regarding composition and implement your decision.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 195, AID 10/7/70-12/31/70. Top Secret. Drafted by K. Wayne Smith who forwarded an earlier draft to Kissinger under cover of a September 27 memorandum that reviewed the issues.
  2. In his September 21 memorandum, not printed, Laird referred back to his September 11 memorandum to Kissinger ( Document 32). He wrote at the bottom: “Mr. President, I have included the Cambodian MAP at my 11 Sept. Memo level in accordance with my understanding of your tentative decision. If the later decision of the Senior Review Group is adopted an increase would be required.” An SRG meeting on Cambodia was held September 15. The President’s decision to proceed immediately with a supplemental request has not been further identified.
  3. Document 35.
  4. In reference to the italicized text, which is underscored on the source text, the President wrote, “I agree,” below which is the handwritten date of October 8. The President also crossed through the Recommendation section and the Approve and Disapprove options.