136. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for Legislative Affairs (Korologos) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) and the White House Counselor (Marsh)1


  • DOD Appropriations

The Defense Department Appropriations Bill is in trouble in the Senate. (Subcommittee markup begins Tuesday)2

The budget request was for $87 (b) billion.

The House cut $3.7 (b) billion out of it.

The Senate Appropriations Committee wants to come out with about a $5.2 (b) billion total cut.

The doves want to put a spending ceiling on it of $81 (b) billion when it gets to the Floor.

McClellan and the Committee also want to cut 25,000 overseas troops. Cranston has a 75,000 and 50,000 cut ready on the Floor.

Atop all this there is virtually no chance to restore the $300 (m) million MASF money for South Vietnam—indeed there will be an attempt to cut that total down to $500 (m) million when it gets to the Senate Floor. We will be lucky to hold to the House figure of $700 (m) million.3

The point of all this doggerel is that the President tonight might should make a fervent plea not to handcuff him with massive Defense and troop cuts—in his first week in Office.4 My concern is that if we go for a cut of some kind the Senate not only will take the President’s recommendation, but raise it a few billion, really hurting us.

Schlesinger and I both have talked with McClellan and Committee members and it looks gloomy.

I pass all this on for your information.

  1. Source: Ford Library, NSC Files, Box 6, Agency Files, Department of Defense, August 1974. Confidential. Sent through Timmons. A copy was sent to McFarlane.
  2. August 13.
  3. It was reported on August 14 that the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, headed by Senator McClellan, reduced appropriations for the Department of Defense by $5.1 billion to $81.9 billion. Economic aid to South Vietnam was capped at $1.28 billion; the total figure for Cambodia was set at $347 million. (The New York Times, August 14, 1974)
  4. President Ford addressed a joint session of Congress the evening of August 12; for text of his speech, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Gerald R. Ford, 1974, pp. 6–13.