92. Editorial Note

On October 7, 1969, President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger sent President Nixon a paper entitled, “The Modern World, A Single ‘Strategic Theater,’” dated September 29, 1969. The paper was written by Fritz Kraemer, whom Kissinger described as “an acquaintance of mine.” Kissinger’s covering memorandum explained that, “Although I do not agree with its every last word, it does define the problem we face—the generally deteriorating strategic position of the United States during the past decade.” The paper, printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume I, Foundations of Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 39, was read with great interest by Nixon, who wrote numerous marginal comments. Next to the section on U.S.-Soviet relations, Nixon wrote “good analysis.” The section examines the triangular relationship among the United States, the Soviet Union, and China as follows:

“You will not expect in this sketch any analysis of the complex issue of US/USSR relations. But one comment deserves to be made in the general context I have chosen: The Soviets are developing some genuine fear of Red China and its intractable leaders. They might, therefore, feel impelled by self-restraint to seek a genuine Kremlin/Washington détente, and even make certain concessions to the US as a conceivable future ally, semi-ally or at least friendly ‘neutral’ in a Soviet-Chinese confrontation. The entire Soviet assessment, however, of the weight and value of the United States as a friend or foe, will depend very largely on their considering us either strong-willed or else weak in purpose and resolve. The realists in the Kremlin may now be ‘taking our measure,’ and a US yielding, and reluctant to act on all fronts, will appear less interesting and important to them as a factor in the international power struggle than a super power obviously able and willing to use its strength.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 397, Subject Files, A Strategic Overview)

On October 14, 1969, Special Assistant to the President Kenneth Cole returned Kissinger’s memorandum and the strategic overview paper under a covering note that read: “Please note that the President wants you to send this, together with a note from the President to Secretary Laird, Secretary Rogers and Attorney General Mitchell. They should be asked to comment on it and have their comments to the President within a two-week period, due date November 6.” Kissinger sent copies of the paper with the President’s instruction for their comments on October 16. In addition, on October 22, Kissinger sent Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms a copy of the Kraemer paper. (Ibid.) No record of comments from the four recipients of the strategic overview essay has been found.