77. Information Memorandum From Richard T. Kennedy and Robert D. Hormats of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
- Funding Security Assistance Programs
On November 24, 1971, Secretary Laird wrote Director Shultz recommending that “Security Assistance, including FMS requests for FY 73, be restructured as Defense Authorization and Appropriation bills,” (Tab A).2 Thus the Secretary has reopened the thorny question of the most desirable arrangement for security assistance programs. The difficulty of the problem derives from its several interlocking facets: managerial, bureaucratic, and political. George Shultz will be wanting to discuss this with you.
Our security assistance effort has long been criticized for diffuse management and consequent lack of control. The number of possible [Page 179] arrangements designed to address those problems is extensive, but the following three seem to be the range of reasonable options.
- The DOD budget could be expanded to include MAP, FMS credit, all Supporting Assistance, and the Public Safety program. State/AID would not have any security assistance appropriations but would provide policy direction and manage the public safety and supporting assistance programs.
- The Defense appropriation could cover MAP, FMS credit, and security-related (SEA and Jordan) Supporting Assistance. The State/AID appropriation would include Public Safety, Economic (non-security) Supporting Assistance, and the Contingency Fund.
Some lesser change such as (a) moving only
Cambodia to MASF or (b) moving
MAP and Supporting Assistance
for all the forward defense MAP
countries (Greece, Turkey, Cambodia, Taiwan, and Korea) to the
- —The first option would bring together all security assistance funding in a single budget and centralize control in Defense. Regardless of legal provisions, in practical terms State’s role would be considerably reduced. Also, DOD would fund for economic programs not related to security assistance and for Public Safety, which has at most a marginal relationship to security assistance. A similar proposal was earlier rejected in decisions leading up to the Administration’s April 1971 proposal based upon a judgment that we probably could not succeed in an effort to move all MAP, FMS, or supporting assistance into the Defense budget. Today the situation may be different.
- —The second alternative leaves Public Safety and non-security economic Supporting Assistance under State/AID. Thus it would not saddle DOD with ancillary programs of little interest to it, would preserve a more active State/AID role, and would still provide a meaningful basis for the Nixon Doctrine’s rationale of a trade-off between (a) allied efforts with U.S. support and (b) direct U.S. security efforts. Some might object that by taking Security Assistance out of the Foreign Assistance Act the existing flexibility between Development Assistance and Supporting Assistance would be lost. But by moving all security-related programs to the Defense budget, the flexibility to shift between Supporting Assistance and MAP would be preserved and with careful drafting substantial additional flexibility could be assured within the Defense budget—including reliance on the Service budgets for long lead-time support.
- —The third choice would be essentially a half-measure which would still give the HFAC/SFRC a slice of the pie and would leave funding for [Page 180] Latin American and African internal security programs under State/AID. Funding would be badly split, and the advantages of moving one or a few country programs would not compensate for the adverse Congressional reactions. Moreover, this would provide a wedge in both the bureaucracy and the Congress for moving items piecemeal to the State side and would leave management of security assistance programs divided.
- —Problem. Moving all security assistance programs to the DOD budget would mean that the total Security Assistance budget under Defense would approximate $4.5 billion. Consequently, those who seek increases in the regular Defense budget might find the increases received illusory since an additional $2 billion in costs would have been accepted.
Structural decisions regarding budgetary legislation have obvious impacts upon the roles of the agencies concerned. Any of the above alternatives would reduce the basis for charges that security assistance is diffuse and uncontrolled; however, they would produce anguished cries of increased DOD influence and downgrading the State Department. This would, of course, be true. Provisions of law notwithstanding, any of the above would decrease State’s policy influence in security assistance.
The Congressional Problem
Regardless of all the possible debate about good management, the crux of the matter lies in the Executive-Legislative relationship and the impact of any attempt to change committee jurisdictions upon security assistance funding, restrictions on the President’s flexibility, the DOD budget, and even on domestic programs.
- —If a change of jurisdiction could be achieved without rousing resentment, there is no doubt it would be desirable. But this may not be possible. The GOP members of the HFAC and Chairman Morgan wrote President Nixon expressing strong opposition to any such move last December and January.3 Thus we might manage to shift jurisdiction only to find that on the floor we faced more intensive opposition on aid, and the war and foreign policy powers of the Executive Branch.
- —Therefore, the major question is whether the inevitable resentment of and major risks attendant upon the attempt are outweighed by the probability of success and potential benefits if successful. The judgment is subjective; no one can answer with assurance.
- —The Executive cannot control committee jurisdictions. The Congress could extract security assistance from the DOD budget and place it before the HFAC and SFRC. However, this could be prevented to a large extent by intermingling security assistance funds within the Defense budget.
- —Personalities come and go and change. We could find we had taken the lumps of making shift, only a year or so later to find the HFAC/SFRC the preferable forum. (One wonders, for example, whether an Armed Services Committee chaired by Senator Symington would be helpful to our security assistance program.)
Ways to Mitigate Resentment
Presumably we would attempt to reduce criticism, if the President decides to make the change. One way could be to acknowledge Congressional concern, cast the effort in terms of cancelling old programs and introducing new ones, emphasize managerial/control reasons for the change, maintain that altering committee jurisdiction was not our purpose, and structure the security assistance position of the Defense budget so that it could easily be broken out for separate committee attention. The disadvantageous possibility is that the Congress might take us up on it, especially if security assistance items were not intermingled in the DOD budget, and keep security assistance before the HFAC/SFRC. The primary advantage would be that this course leaves the decision more clearly up to Congress and appeals more to the self-interest of the Armed Services Committees. Any struggle would be more (not entirely) intralegislative rather than completely executive vs. legislative.
Burying security assistance funds within the Defense budget could make it extremely hard to pull supporting assistance out to place it under the HFAC/SFRC for authorization. On the other hand, such obscuration would weaken our stance that a change of jurisdiction was not our primary purpose.
In short, this change is feasible, and there are advantages even beyond the possibility of friendlier forums on the Hill. Defense is now developing alternative methods for making such a move of supporting assistance funds as well as for dealing structurally in the budget with some of the strategy questions which will arise in the presentation. But they have not yet completed this effort.
What we need now is an assessment from the congressional side of the prospects for success. This should be first undertaken by Secretary Laird, but if the President elects to go in this direction, given the nature of the committee prerogatives involved, the President himself should discuss the effort with Senator Stennis.[Page 182]
A conception for putting security assistance in the Defense budget is at Tab B. This is generally in accord with planning now underway in Defense.
A paper prepared for Director Shultz by the OMB staff outlining their reservations, which hinge almost entirely on congressional considerations, is at Tab C, covered by a brief summary we have prepared.
An internal State memo, which also focuses on congressional reactions, is at Tab D.