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


  • FY 1972 Security Assistance Shortfall

Congressional action cut your FY 1972 Security Assistance requests by $205 million for MAP and $75 million for credit sales. We have had to cut back our security assistance programs accordingly. This action has had an especially unfavorable impact given our emphasis on the need for increased self-reliance by our friends and allies and our commitment to help them achieve it.

Of special concern are a $90 million shortfall in funds for our Korea program under the Five Year Modernization Program (Korea will get $150 million rather than the $239 million requested) and a $40 million shortfall in our MAP program for Turkey ($60 million available rather than $100 million requested). We have had clear indications of Turkish concern at this 40% cut.

Secretary Rogers has submitted a memorandum (Tab A)2 presenting four options for dealing with the shortfall:

  • FY 72 Supplemental. Request for $200 million in MAP grant aid and $75 million for credit sales.
  • —A Presidential determination under Section 506 of the Foreign Assistance Act that it is “vital to the security of the United States” for you to use up to $300 million of DOD stocks and services for MAP, with reimbursement by a supplemental later.
  • —Amendment of the FY 73 request.
  • FY 73 Supplemental later.

There is no question about the need for more security assistance funds. The issue is how best to obtain them. We have been pushing hard to move the FY 73 authorization and appropriations bills quickly and have support on the Hill for this. We want to complete action, if possible, before the summer recess and to minimize the chance of a major confrontation in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in this politically charged year. The pros and cons are as follows: [Page 217]

FY 72 Supplemental. Secretary Laird strongly favors this course on the grounds that it would be the most appropriate and direct means of dramatizing to both the Congress and our allies our determination to press for an adequate program. He further argues that if we do not request an FY 72 supplemental, it will be charged that we have simply included amounts in your FY 73 request to offset the FY 72 cuts. State opposes because this would involve going back again to both Congressional authorization and appropriation committees, thereby running the risk of damage to our FY 73 request, and increasing the risk of crippling amendments. An FY 72 supplemental would be my preference if it were not for the serious risks in having two bills before the SFRC at the same time. Bill Timmons points out that Fulbright could use the supplemental as an excuse to delay action on our FY 73 request. George Shultz expresses no opinion on legislative strategy but would agree to an FY 72 supplemental only if Defense can guarantee (as it says it can) to manage outlays in a way which would not affect your FY 73 expenditure ceiling.
Section 506 Action. State favors this approach on the grounds that it would provide immediate relief from the shortfall, avoid going through the authorization committees, and dramatize your commitment to adequate security assistance. Defense strongly opposes, and I agree, on the grounds that Section 506 was not designed for this purpose and its use to make up past Congressional cuts could provoke Congress to deduct the funds from our FY 73 request, and even to eliminate Section 506 authority altogether from future legislation. Moreover, it would merely be borrowing against the future.
Amendment of the FY 73 Request. You could seek an amendment increasing your FY 73 request at an appropriate time during this session of Congress. This tactic would avoid straining a tight legislative calendar and enable us to press hard for quick and affirmative action on your FY 73 request. However, it would offer no immediate relief in the Turkey and Korea contexts, and it would—like an FY 72 supplemental—break the expenditure ceiling unless compensating reductions were made elsewhere.
FY 73 Supplemental Later. We could plan to request an FY 73 supplemental later (either just after the November elections or early in January), to make up the combined FY 72-73 shortfalls. This strategy would enhance the likelihood of early favorable action on your FY 73 request. The difference between this and the preceding option is principally in timing—the supplemental request would come later. Either approach would be fully consistent with the legislative strategy of moving the FY 73 legislation as quickly as possible. You could keep open the choice between them until the Congressional climate can be better measured. On the other hand, neither approach would meet Secretary Laird’s [Page 218] argument that Congressional critics may act on the assumption that our FY 73 request compensates for the 1972 shortfall. Moreover, neither offers immediate relief in the Turkish and Korean contexts. Bill Timmons favors either an FY 73 amendment or a supplemental. George Shultz prefers that, if you choose this course, you make no commitment as to timing, composition, or amounts at this time, but wait to see how the FY 73 bill fares and what the Congressional climate is later in the year before deciding how to proceed.

Your decisions is between approving Secretary Laird’s FY 72 supplemental proposal now or attempting to get the FY 73 program increased later either by a budget amendment or a supplemental. Secretary Rogers and all of your Congressional Relations staff are opposed to Secretary Laird’s FY 1972 supplemental proposal. Nevertheless, I am reluctant to recommend that you decide against Mr. Laird’s judgment of the realities on the Hill. I believe that before deciding you should convene the Republican leadership to test their reactions. Secretary Rogers recommends that you do this in any event, and George Shultz and Bill Timmons agree. You also should discuss this in your meeting with Senator Stennis.


That this issue be put on top of your agenda for the next meeting with the Republican leadership, and discussed in your meeting with Stennis.3

Approve (discuss with leadership before making decision—Secretary Rogers, Bill Timmons, and my recommendation)4

Prefer an FY 1972 supplemental now (Secretary Laird’s recommendation)


  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 324, Foreign Aid, Volume II 1972. Secret. The notation “The President Has Seen” is stamped on the memorandum, which is attached to an undated, handwritten note from Haig to Kissinger that reads: “This is the hot Laird issue on the supplemental.” Kissinger wrote on the note: “Make sure he understands what I recommended.”
  2. Document 87.
  3. The President met with the Republican Congressional leadership to discuss current legislation on the morning of March 28. No officials from State, Defense, or AID participated; among those present were Shultz, MacGregor, Timmons, and Stein. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) No record of the discussion was found.
  4. The President signed this option and wrote: “Inform Laird—Possibly—if they agree we go his way.”