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.
- Source: Ford Library, NSC Files, Box 6, Agency Files, Department of Defense, August 1974. Confidential. Sent through Timmons. A copy was sent to McFarlane.↩
- August 13.↩
- 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)↩
- 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.↩