8. Memorandum From President Nixon to Secretary of State Rogers1


  • Planning for Southeast Asia

I have read your memorandum of July 27 containing your appraisal of ongoing interdepartmental planning efforts concerning Southeast Asia.2 I fully agree that an overall interdepartmental planning mechanism at the Under Secretary level should be established to synthesize the multitude of efforts now under way and to draw up a comprehensive long-range political, military and economic policy document for the area.

However, I believe that the planning framework should be analogous to those other special groups, such as the Special Review Group for the Middle East, with chairmanship under the Assistant for National Security Affairs. This will allow for equal participation by Defense and other agencies where they have a major interest. This system also contemplates that appropriate interdepartmental working groups be established under a Special Review Group for Southeast Asia with chairmanship delegated to representatives of the Department of State where political considerations are paramount.

A Decision Memorandum implementing this conceptual approach will be disseminated in the immediate future.

Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27–14 ASIA SE. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. Kissinger forwarded Rogers’ July 27 memorandum to Nixon under a covering memorandum, August 3, explaining that it “deals with the criticism made by your Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board concerning the lack of overall military, economic, and political plan for Southeast Asia.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS–65, Memoranda to the President, 1969–1974, August 1970) Nixon met with the PFIAB on July 18 after four members of the board visited Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and CINCPAC in early June 1970. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume VI, Vietnam, January 1969–July 1970, Document 344.