45. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Supplemental
  • —The Supplemental is being held up by Senator Fulbright through the device of refusing to convene a conference with House conferees.
  • —Senator Church has pledged to break the impasse if Secretary Rogers will give him a letter which in effect will express the Administration intention to conform to the restrictions on ground troops or advisors in Cambodia contained in Section 6 of the appropriation bill (at Tab B).2
  • —Church and Fulbright fear the Administration will take advantage of the broader language contained in the DOD appropriations bill (at Tab C).3
  • —Assistant Secretary Abshire believes such a letter is essential to passage of the Supplemental. (Draft language at Tab A.)4
  • —Bill Timmons believes it may be essential.
  • —It is State’s position that such a letter merely confirms what you told Senator Church at the reception last Tuesday, and what you stated at your press conference.5
  • —The colloquy referred to in the letter (at Tab D)6 contains the following “concerns”:
  • —That you would seek congressional consent before undertaking a full-scale invasion of Cambodia.
  • —That the President’s powers and responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief not be interfered with.
  • —That an “incursion” would be within the President’s power to act without Congress.
  • —That an incursion on the scale undertaken last spring would be prohibited under the new language.


The draft language is approved7

The draft language is disapproved

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 318, Cooper-Church Amendment. No classification marking. The NSC Correspondence Profile sheet indicates the memorandum was logged in on December 21.
  2. Not printed. The Cooper-Church Amendment would restrict U.S. military activities in Cambodia. See Document 28.
  3. Not printed.
  4. The draft language, dated December 19, reads as follows: “Dear Senator Church: Confirming Assistant Secretary Abshire’s conversation with you, I should like to affirm that the Administration’s programs, policies and intentions in Cambodia in no way conflict with Section 6 of HR 19911, or with the concerns expressed in the colloquy on the floor of the Senate on 15th December.”
  5. Not further identified.
  6. Not found.
  7. The President initialed this option. The correspondence profile sheet contains a December 28 notation from Lehman that reads: “Language OKd by Pres, sent by Rogers to Cooper & Church, deal made. Supplemental sprung from Conf and passed Senate Wednesday 23rd. Hurrah!”