292. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

    • Chinese Initiative

At Tab A is the overview written by Sonnenfeldt on the implications of the Peking visit.2 It is an excellent piece of work, although I am not sure I would accept all of the analyses. At Tab B is a paper written by Dr. Kraemer which also addresses some of the implications of the Peking visit.3 I understand you are lunching with him tomorrow and you should therefore take time to read his views beforehand.4

Unquestionably Dr. Kraemer has greeted the Peking trip with the greatest alarm. Unfortunately much of his argumentation is exceptionally well taken. It is also unfortunate, however, that he has no way of understanding or accepting the lack of vigor which characterizes the environment at the core. Nevertheless, the points he has made, though somewhat overdrawn, hit the nail on the head precisely. The only way that we can sustain the dangerous game we are about without incalculable loss is to maintain the strongest position conceivable in Asia and, perhaps even more importantly, in Europe between now and the time the scenario spins out.

Some of our current problems impinge directly on the psychology of the problem. Included among them are:

The overall level of defense expenditures. As you know, Laird has come in with a dissent on the $79-plus billion level worked out [Page 867] between OMB and Dave Packard.5 We must be absolutely sure that our next budget is adequate and supported by all.
Laird is now talking about additional troop reductions in Korea and OMB is unhappy with the $1.5 billion five-year modernization commitment. We should now consider giving the Koreans not only the $1.5 billion five-year program but a parallel guarantee to maintain our force levels in Korea for the period. This might be combined with the Kennedy exercise6 so that we could get the kind of deal he is pressing for on textiles. I have asked staff (Dick Kennedy) to prepare such a proposal since the President told Peterson to work with me in an effort to find some kind of an incentive for the Koreans on textiles and then to discuss the proposal with you. This plan should be ready by tomorrow night.
MBFR is a nightmare which was worrisome enough before the Mansfield fiasco on the Hill but which has subsequently become a compulsion within our own bureaucracy. I can visualize nothing more self-defeating than to proceed with this exercise at anything but the most deliberate pace and in such a way that our allies understand that we have no intention of propelling this action.
Force levels in Europe. There is no question that our European allies, as Dr. Kraemer points out, are convinced that sizeable reductions will soon be made. Here again, an inter-departmental shoring is essential.

The foregoing are just typical examples of the kind of problems that we have got to reassess in the light of the China initiative. As I mentioned this morning, I believe it is essential that our allies in Asia receive the kind of personal Presidential assurance needed to keep them on the track. Over time the real implications of the China initiative cannot but become more worrisome to the Thais, the ROKs, the South Vietnamese, the Cambodians, Indonesians, Japanese, et al. Some [Page 868] consideration should be given to reassuring them at an early date, perhaps during the month of August or September, but certainly before an announcement is made of your next visit.

With respect to the Soviets, I believe we should move very slowly on the Presidential visit and instead insist on the toughest kind of bargaining in Vienna, on the Berlin issue, and with the full range of bridge-building exercises now underway.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 522, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. VIII. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. Printed as Document 290.
  3. Attached at Tab B is a July 21 memorandum from Dr. Fritz G.A. Kraemer, Special Adviser to the Secretary of the General Staff of the U.S. Army, to Major General Douglas V. Bennett, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. A nearly identical “blind” version of the memorandum is printed as an attachment to Document 294.
  4. According to his Record of Schedule, Kissinger met Kraemer, his (and Haig’s) former mentor, for lunch on July 22 from 12:57 to 2:32 p.m. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–76) No record of the conversation has been found.
  5. Laird submitted his proposal for the FY 1973 Defense budget in a July 16 memorandum to the President. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 227, Agency Files, Dept. of Defense, Vol. 12, Chronological File) The memorandum is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIV, National Security Policy, 1969–1972.
  6. Reference is to the mission of Ambassador at Large David Kennedy to negotiate a textile agreement with Japan. Kennedy met Japanese Prime Minister Sato in Tokyo on July 24 to discuss the negotiations. Sato, however, began by expressing concern about Nixon’s plans to visit China, fearing that the United States might “drop her ‘little friends’ by the wayside in order to take up a relationship with the ‘big boys.’” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, Staff Member and Office Files, Peter G. Peterson, Box 1, Subject Files, Textile Negotiations, April–July 1971)