3. National Security Study Memorandum 961


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Director, Control Intelligence Agency


  • U. S. Policy Toward a Peace Initiative in Laos

The President has requested a study on an urgent basis of the courses of action open to the U.S. in the event of a peace initiative related to Laos which might be proposed by the Laotian Government, the Pathet Lao, or North Vietnam.

The study should consider likely forms of settlement which such an initiative might propose and their effects on U.S. interests. The study also should consider the relationship of such proposals to the U.S. position vis-à-vis Cambodia and South Vietnam. The anticipated roles of other states such as the Soviet Union, Communist China, North Vietnam, the U.K., and the ICC members2 should be considered where appropriate. The full range of options open to the U.S. in respect to each possible peace proposal pertaining to Laos should be examined and the pros and cons of each fully discussed.

The study should be conducted by an ad hoc group comprising representatives of the addressees and the staff of the National Security Council, and chaired by the representative of the Secretary of State. The President has asked that this study be completed not later than August 7, 1970.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–51, SRG Meeting, Laos (NSSM 96), January 15, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive. A copy was sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  2. The International Control Commission (ICC), established under the Geneva Accords of 1954, was comprised of India, Canada, and Poland.