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


  • Cambodia Strategy

The issue of the most appropriate FY 1971 U.S. strategy toward Cambodia has been thoroughly examined within the NSC framework. This study (NSSM 99)2 contained some first rate analysis that when placed before the Senior Review Group produced a consensus as to the course we should follow.3

The analysis showed that the emergence of a friendly Cambodia has benefited Vietnamization:

  • —Whereas in South Vietnam the friendly to enemy force ratio is 2.1 to 1.0, in Cambodia RVNAF to NVA/VC ratio is 1.4 to 1.0. This means that proportionally almost twice as many enemy forces as friendly forces have been diverted to Cambodia in comparison with their relationship in South Vietnam. These diversions have helped boost pacification in South Vietnam by 11% in MR 3 and 7% in MR 4 since May 1, 1970.
  • —The enemy is no longer able to use Sihanoukville to supply his forces in MR’s 2, 3, and 4. As you know, recently available evidence has shown that practically all the weapons and ammunition used by NVA/VC forces in MR’s 2, 3, and 4 from 1966 to 1970 was shipped through Sihanoukville.4 Moreover, much of the enemy’s food and other consumables was purchased on the Cambodian economy and shipped into South Vietnam and South Laos. The enemy must build a whole new logistics network, a task that will occupy many of his resources over the coming dry season. He must also distribute these supplies into South Vietnam, a task now greatly complicated by ARVN cross-border operations.

The analysis concluded that the preservation of a Cambodian government on as much territory as possible will continue to bring [Page 151] substantial benefits to Vietnamization, not to mention the obvious political significance of the survival of a non-communist Cambodian government.

Given this urgency it was necessary to make immediate funding arrangements to meet 2nd quarter FY 1971 military requirements and ship long-lead time items needed in the 3rd quarter. The SRG recommends approval of several interim funding measures:

  • —$49 million transfer of supporting assistance from AID to MAP.
  • —initiation of a $20 million PL 480 program.
  • —the commitment of $11 million in AID contingency funds to Cambodia after submission of the supplemental request.

Favorable Congressional action on the Administration’s forthcoming supplemental would permit these funds to be paid back.

I recommend you approve these SRG recommendations.5

If you will approve I will issue the NSDM to this effect at Tab A.6

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–219, NSDMs, NSDM 89. Top Secret. Sent for action. K. Wayne Smith sent a copy of this memorandum to Kissinger on October 21, recommending that he sign it. (Ibid., Box 511, Country Files, Far East, Cambodia, Vol. X)
  2. The response to NSSM 99, “U.S. Strategy Option for Cambodia,” prepared by the VSSG Working Group for the SRG, September 13, is summarized in Document 39. NSSM 99 is Document 25.
  3. See Document 51.
  4. See Document 42.
  5. Nixon initialed his approval on October 26.
  6. Tab A as approved is NSDM 89, Document 61.