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


  • FY 1972 Military Assistance Funds Shortfall

The Congress has severely reduced appropriations for FY 1972 grant military assistance and foreign military sales and, in so doing, has affected the credibility of both the program and the Nixon Doctrine. This Congressional action has compelled us to place budgetary and program constraints on most military assistance recipients, a number of which have received your personal assurances that the United States would do everything possible to bolster their self-defense capabilities. The principal countries affected are: (a) Turkey—reduced from $99.8 million to $60 million; and (b) the Republic of Korea—reduced from $239.4 million to $150 million. In addition, program levels for the Philippines, the Republic of China, and other countries have suffered significant reduction. Our allies will be seriously disturbed by these actions.

You have asked that we provide you by March 10 with information on the major issues that are likely to arise during the visit to Washington of Prime Minister Erim.2 We have clear indications that the Prime Minister is concerned principally with the proposed reduction of our grant military assistance to Turkey. A cut of 40 percent will likely be regarded by Erim as a weakening of United States support for Turkey’s role in NATO; it also threatens to erode support in Turkey for the opium ban. As you recall, in your statement of June 30, 1971, in praise of the Turkish announcement on opium,3 you included, at the request of Prime Minister Erim, a statement of continued United States support for Turkey’s defense efforts. Since Erim will probably raise the question of the level of U.S. military assistance, you will wish to be in a position to advise him of your intentions.

[Page 212]

The proposed allocation for Korea falls $90 million short of the amount requested from the Congress, and is commensurate with funding levels prior to our agreement to support a five-year modernization program for Korea’s armed forces. Coming at the time of your China initiative and United States force reductions in this region, this reduction has been greeted with deep disappointment and concern by the Government of President Park, and only a restoration of the funding levels will serve to allay the uncertainties in Seoul. Our efforts in behalf of the Republic of Korea also could influence its future posture on the stationing of Korean forces in Vietnam.

To meet the situation that has resulted from Congressional action, we have four courses of action available to us. They are:

FY 1972 Supplemental: The Department of Defense feels that this would be the most appropriate and direct means for dramatizing our needs. Defense would seek an across the board restoration, which would involve a request for approximately $200 million in additional funding for grant aid and $75 million for credit sales. Since this would involve both the Congressional authorization and appropriation committees, the Department of State feels that this approach would seriously prejudice our efforts to expedite Congressional action on the FY 1973 security assistance request and could provoke Congress to introduce crippling amendments.

Section 506 Action: Section 506 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, provides special authority, if you determine it to be “vital to the security of the United States,” to order the use of Defense Department stocks and services not to exceed $300 million for grant military assistance, with subsequent reimbursement through a request for supplementary funds. It is possible that a portion of the more urgent requirements for Turkey and Korea could be met by the use of this authority. The State Department believes this to be the preferable course in that: (a) early relief, including a positive statement to Prime Minister Erim, could be provided; (b) reimbursement for the Defense Department would be limited to the appropriation process since Section 506 contains authorization for such reimbursement; and (c) it would provide dramatic underscoring to your statement that the FY 1972 funds voted were below acceptable minimum levels. The Defense Department, however, noting that Section 506 is intended to enable you to meet contingencies that arise from unpredictable events that occur from time-to-time and to provide flexibility in meeting Communist pressure, believes that it should not be invoked. The Defense Department also believes this course could lead the Congress to deduct these funds from the FY 1973 request and to eliminate Section 506 from future legislation.

[Page 213]

If Section 506 authority is used for Korea and Turkey, it is possible that the Congress will reduce the FY 1973 appropriations by the amount drawn down for these countries. In addition, we understand that Congressional Committee staff members, in their initial redraft of the basic foreign aid legislation, are dropping Section 506 on the grounds that the Section grants too much authority to the President.4

Amendment of the FY 1973 Authorization: This approach would amend during this session of Congress the FY 1973 security assistance budget request to increase the overall amount for military assistance. It would simplify the process during this session, an important consideration in view of the tight legislative calendar resulting from an election year, and would enable us to seek the funds we need to fulfill our commitments. The principal deficiencies of this approach are that they do not meet the urgent political needs posed by the Erim visit and our commitment to the five-year Korean force modernization program.
No Action at this Time: In view of the high priority assigned to early Congressional passage of the FY 1973 security assistance budget request, it might prove more prudent at this time not to press for relief to meet the FY 1972 reductions during this session of Congress. Instead, the Administration, through its witnesses appearing before Congressional Committees on the FY 1973 program, would stress problems resulting from FY 1972 funding and underline the essentiality of Congressional support for the full FY 1973 program. Depending on the outcome of Congressional action on the FY 1973 fund request, consideration would then be given to seeking supplemental funds later this year or in the January session to offset combined shortfalls in the FY 1972-3 programs. This approach does not meet the foreign policy problems previously described.

The Defense Department supports option (a). The State Department favors option (b). Both agree that the Congress must be consulted and that you should take a strong lead in implementing any decision with the Congress.


I recommend that you meet on an urgent basis with the Congressional leadership to discuss the problem and to decide on the most appropriate course to be followed.

William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 324, Foreign Aid, Volume II 1972. Secret. Attached to Document 91. An advance copy of Rogers’ memorandum, which was not cleared by the Secretary, was provided to the NSC under cover of a March 14 memorandum from Deputy Executive Secretary Curran to Davis. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 286, State Volume 16)
  2. Erim visited March 21-22. The March 10 request has not been further identified.
  3. Printed in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1971, pp. 788-789.
  4. This paragraph was not in the advance copy that Curran sent to Davis (see footnote 1 above).