146. Memorandum From Richard Kennedy of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger 1


  • Foreign Aid Bill Strategy

Developments on the Hill during the past two days indicate we are soon likely to see the Senate Foreign Relations Committee version of the Foreign Assistance Act reach the Senate floor. Moreover, in the House we may be facing attempts to amend the CRA to add restrictions. We will have to take a position on a number of objectionable amendments, the two worst being the elimination of the President’s authority to drawdown DOD stocks and the elimination of the President’s waiver authority under Section 614. I believe it essential that we marshal all the influence we have at our disposal to defeat these two proposals.

There are, in addition, several other amendments that we should push to have introduced and actions we may take on the floor that, while of a lesser priority, are nonetheless of great importance to our management of the overall program.

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The extremely adverse consequences of the Bill as it now stands make it imperative that we put up the strongest fight we can muster—even if we lose. I believe it absolutely essential that the record clearly indicate where we stand on these issues. (A complete list of all of the restrictions and other undesirable amendments is at Tab B.)2

In this regard, I am requesting your approval to provide the positions as indicated in the attachment (Tab A) as guidance for an interagency unified position on the Foreign Assistance Act.

Tab A

1. Indochina:

  • —increase the IPR authorization to $700M (from $550M) to provide more for South Vietnam and Cambodia;
  • —increase the ceiling on total aid to Vietnam from $1,280M to $1,390M;
  • —increase the ceiling on total aid to Cambodia to $600M (from $347M);
  • —eliminate all specific program ceilings within the overall country ceilings for both countries.

These positions are essential to prevent a serious deterioration of the economic and security situations in both Vietnam and Cambodia.3

2. MAP Phaseout in Three Years:

We oppose this amendment. This position is essential if we are to retain this valuable instrument of foreign policy influence.

3. MAP Level:

We want an increase to $700 million. (Senate calls for only $550 million.) This level is essential if we are to meet any basic commitments and have any margin of flexibility.

4. The President’s Waiver Authority (Section 614):

We oppose the repeal of this authority. This authority is absolutely essential to give the President the ability to respond to very real and urgent security and foreign policy needs (Cambodia and Israel are examples. Without this authority, the President’s hands would be tied in a crisis.

[Omitted here are recommendations unrelated to Indochina.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Subject Files, Box 6, Foreign Assistance, Military Assistance Fund (2). Confidential. Sent for urgent action.
  2. Not attached. A copy is ibid.
  3. Kissinger initialed his approval under each of the four recommendations.