97. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Weinberger) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • 1974 Planning Ceiling for Military Assistance

I believe it useful to remove any misunderstanding about the 1974 planning ceiling for the Military Assistance Program (MAP) and the Foreign Military Sales Program (FMS).

Mel Laird refers to the budget authority amounts of $580 million for MAP and $570 million for FMS as inadequate.2 The appropriate measure is program level; budget authority is a derivative number arrived at by subtracting from the program level estimates of financing items such as receipts, reimbursements, and recoupments of prior-year obligations. Program level figures were not transmitted officially to State and Defense along with the figures for budget authority and outlays.

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Using the proper measure of program level gives this picture:

1974 Budget Ceiling
($ millions)
MAP 552 820 658
FMS 550 629 773
Total 1102 1449 1431

A total program level in 1974 which is $329 million higher than the actual level in 1972 and about the same as that in the President’s 1973 Budget is not, on the face of it, inadequate. Moreover, the implication in Mel Laird’s August 4 memorandum to the President that amounts equal to prior congressional cuts should be added to budget requests for future years is a novel, not to say disturbing, approach to budgeting.

Whether or not the planning ceiling, and more particularly the allocation between MAP and FMS, will meet the President’s foreign policy needs will best be determined during this fall’s budget review process. Obviously, much depends on the situation and prospects in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

As I am sure you know, Curtis Tarr will be conducting detailed and extensive country-by-country reviews during September and early October, in which Defense, AID, and NSC and OMB staffs will be involved. Full participation and cooperation by Defense will be essential, for these reviews will form the basis of the Secretary of State’s budget recommendations for the 1974 Security Assistance programs.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 324, Foreign Aid, Volume II 1972. No classification marking. Attached to an August 16 memorandum from Kennedy to Kissinger suggesting the memorandum was a follow-up to Kissinger’s budget discussion with Laird. Kennedy called Kissinger’s attention to Weinberger’s focus on the total level of the program and noted that some countries could not afford additional debt and that most had limited abilities to replace MAP grants with FMS loans. He thought the increase in FMS at the expense of MAP could be problematic and also doubted that the unusually large recoupments and reimbursements in MAP and private credit in FMS could be realized. Regarding Kissinger’s budget discussion with Laird, see footnote 1, Document 95 and Document 96.
  2. Document 95.