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


  • National Stockpile Objectives

When reviewing the National Stockpile of Critical Materials last December, you directed that the stockpile be reduced from its $7 billion present level by at least $4 billion in the next few years,2 and that disposals of excesses be accelerated in order to increase revenues in FY 71 and later.

[Page 1055]

Since then, in conjunction with OEP, I have initiated an “in-house” staff review of the stockpile objectives. Most of the questions can be and are being dealt with at the staff level:

  • —they are technical in nature;
  • —they lie within the authority delegated to OEP and other executive agencies; and
  • —they can be decided in a way consistent with your guidance to maximize stockpile disposals.

For example, on the basis of an evaluation of risks and accessibility of supplies, OEP is changing several assumptions on which stockpile calculations are based:

  • —Indonesia will be reinstated as a foreign source of supply, as recommended by Defense and State.3 (This will reduce present stockpile objectives by about $110 million.)
  • —Rhodesia will be considered a potential source of supply in a period of true national emergency, despite national policy supporting the present UN sanctions.4 (This will reduce present objectives by about $25 million.)
  • —Discounting for concentration of supply within the United States and Canada will generally be discontinued. (This will reduce present objectives by about $500 million.)

These actions reduced stockpile objectives from $4.0 billion to $3.4 billion.

Other agencies are also being requested, in a low key manner, to review and to update technical inputs which are the basis for calculating specific stockpile objectives:

  • —Defense and the JCS have been asked to update their accessibility listings for foreign sources of supply and their estimates of transportation losses. Their replies are expected on 1 April 1970.
  • —State has been asked to update its listings of the reliability of foreign sources. This reply is also expected at the beginning of April.

Defense will also be asked to update its estimate of military requirements. OEP wants to delay making this request for several weeks, until the DOD logistics guidance memorandum is finalized, so that the request can be framed in terms consistent with that Defense document. In this updating, account will be taken of the recent NSDM 27 military posture decisions.5

At least two issues may eventually require a Presidential decision: [Page 1056]

  • —Should we continue to stockpile for a three-year emergency, or should the period be reduced to one or two years? Both the second and third year each account for about $1.3 billion of the present value of the stockpile ($4 billion).
  • —Should we consider all foreign sources of supply, other than North America and the Caribbean area, unavailable during the first year of a war? This factor accounts for approximately $1.2 billion of the present value of the stockpile.

As it stands now, we should have an “in-house” study discussing these two issues, as well as any others requiring Presidential determination, in June. It could be used as a basis for decisions or for an NSC discussion. OEP would prefer to have these issues resolved through NSC channels. They were previously dealt with in the NSC: In NSC 5810 in the Eisenhower Administration, and in an NSC meeting which resulted in an October 31, 1968, memorandum from President Johnson.6 General Lincoln believes that when we defend these decisions before Congress, we would be in a stronger position if the NSC process had been used to reach them, as before.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 396, Stockpile. Confidential; Sensitive. Attached to a March 17 letter from Kissinger to Laird responding to the latter’s February 20 memorandum regarding possible excess holdings in the stockpile that might be reduced without jeopardizing national security. Laird’s memorandum, Kissinger’s proposed reply, and the memorandum printed here were forwarded to Kissinger under cover of a March 13 memorandum from Lynn. Lynn indicated that the information on the “in-house” review, which Kissinger mentioned to Laird, was “presented as a memorandum for the President, should you choose to send it forward.”
  2. See Documents 420 and 421.
  3. Not further identified.
  4. Imports of chrome and other items from Rhodesia were embargoed for foreign policy purposes.
  5. See footnote 2, Document 415.
  6. Documentation on NSC 5810, “Basic National Security Policy,” April 15, 1958, and its revision, NSC 5810/1, May 5, 1958, are printed in Foreign Relations, 1958–1960, vol. III, pp. 79 ff. The record of the NSC meeting is printed ibid., 1964–1968, vol. IX, Document 374.