49. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1

    • US Ships in the Black Sea

It is currently planned for two US destroyers to conduct a regularly scheduled three day mission in the Black Sea on November 27, 1970 following the track shown at Tab A.2 Although the ships will approach within 47 nautical miles of the Soviet Union, the penetration in a northerly direction is not particularly deep and follows the general pattern of Black Sea visits in recent years.

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Last month the possibility of extending the track in a more northerly direction and adding an additional ship was considered because of Soviet activity in Cuba. However, this concept was dropped when the Soviet ships left Cienfuegos.3 Since the Soviet submarine tender has returned to Cienfuegos it would appear that a mission which varies from the normal configuration for Black Sea operations should again be considered. A map showing a revised mission is at Tab B.4 Although the three destroyers would approach no closer than 39 nautical miles to the Soviet Union the track, length of mission and number of ships would represent a significant change from routine Black Sea visits.


That you approve modifying the Black Sea visit scheduled to commence on November 27 along the lines outlined on the map at Tab B.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 405, Subject Files, USSR, US Ships in the Black Sea (Silver Fox). Secret; Sensitive. According to another copy, Kissinger, Haig, and Howe drafted the memorandum. (Ibid.)
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. See Document 5.
  4. Attached but not printed.
  5. Nixon initialed his approval of this recommendation. As Haig reported in an attached note to Kissinger dated November 19: “The President has approved the expanded Black Sea patrols. This will cause considerable problems in State and especially with the Turkish Desk who will insist that the Turks will oppose this. The only appropriate way to do it is to raise it at this afternoon’s 40 Committee Meeting, point out to the group that the President wants it done and that you will have the proposal circulated tomorrow for a telephone vote and prompt interdepartmental coordination.” In another attached note, Haig instructed Chapin on November 20 to “hold pending tender answer & Moorer reply.”