97. Minutes of Meeting of the Washington Special Actions Group1


  • Berlin, Sino-Soviet Hostilities, and the Middle East
[Page 292]


  • Henry A. Kissinger—Chairman
  • State
    • U. Alexis Johnson
    • Martin Hillenbrand
    • William Cargo
    • Rodger Davies
    • Defense
    • G. Warren Nutter
  • CIA
    • Thomas H. Karamessines
  • JCS
    • Vice Admiral Nels C. Johnson
  • NSC Staff
    • Harold H. Saunders
    • Helmut Sonnenfeldt
    • William G. Hyland
    • Col. Robert M. Behr


A briefing on Berlin contingency planning will be prepared for the President.
Unilateral and quadripartite plans for Berlin contingencies will be reviewed with special emphasis on establishing priorities among alternative courses of action.
A summary of recommended actions is needed for the Sino-Soviet Hostilities paper. When the summary is completed and minor revisions made within the body of the paper, it will stand approved by the WSAG. State is charged with keeping the paper current.
The Joint Staff will prepare a paper on rules of engagement for WSAG review.
The next WSAG meeting will be devoted to further review of the Middle East paper.

The Group then turned to the Sino-Soviet Hostilities paper.2 Secretary Johnson said that, with the exception of a few minor changes which Cargo would cover with the Group, he considered the Sino-Soviet paper to be a finished product.3

Cargo then went over the recommended changes. (1) The paper will be modified to convey the idea that a Soviet “victory” over mainland [Page 293] China does not imply acquisition and absolute control over Chinese territory—but, instead, an extension of Soviet influence over a compliant CPR government. (2) With respect to U.S. actions in Vietnam (as related to Sino-Soviet hostilities), the paper will avoid the impression that a U.S. blockade of Haiphong would serve as a retaliatory measure against a Soviet blockade of Hong Kong (although that may give the U.S. a pretext). The central idea should be that we will use a blockade on the basis of what it would do for us in Vietnam, independent of its relationship to a situation of Sino-Soviet hostilities.

Kissinger asked for a summary of recommended actions to be put at the front of the paper, and then wondered if the whole paper could be incorporated in the NSSM 63 report. Cargo agreed to provide a summary but demurred in the idea of integrating the paper with the NSSM 63 report, saying that consistency between the two would suffice. Kissinger agreed on the basis that Cargo would insure consistency on a continuing basis.

[Omitted here is discussion of Berlin contingency planning.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–114, WSAG Minutes, Originals, 1969 and 1970. Top Secret; Sensitive. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room.
  2. See Document 79.
  3. On October 20, Behr sent Kissinger a memorandum written by John Holdridge about the NSSM 63 study: “This paper has met our needs for a fast survey of what U.S. reactions should be in the event that the Sino-Soviet dispute moved into a situation involving hostilities. At the time it was begun, the prospects of a clash between Moscow and Peking seemed greater than they are today—perhaps the Soviets were actively considering taking some form of action, but now have resolved not to do so, or to defer pending the outcome of the talks in Peking.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–114, WSAG Minutes, Originals, 1969 and 1970)