5. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary of Defense Laird1
- Black Sea and Baltic Sea Operations
- Secretary of Defense Memorandum of October 10 re above subject
In light of recent changes in the factors favoring such action, the President has approved your recommendation that the United States Government not go ahead with a Baltic Sea operation. For the same reason, the President has also decided that you should not modify regularly scheduled and normally configured Black Sea operations.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 405, Subject Files, USSR US Ships in the Black Sea (Silver Fox). Top Secret. According to an attached copy, Kissinger and Haig drafted the memorandum; a “blind copy” was sent to Eliot.↩
- Kissinger initialed the memorandum and wrote: “OK.”↩
- No record of the request from Kissinger to Laird, either in writing or by telephone, has been found. The two men, however, discussed the proposal by telephone at 4:15 p.m. on October 13. Laird reported that he had just sent Kissinger a memorandum on the proposed Black Sea and Baltic Sea operations. Although he had not yet seen the memorandum, Kissinger agreed to postpone the latter and modify the former. According to a transcript, the conversation included the following exchange: “K: I wouldn’t increase the force in the Black Sea now. L: No, some time we may want to do that for a good reason and we don’t have one now. Should we even go ahead with the two destroyers? K: Yes, that’s regular. L: And just go ahead on a regular basis. K: Good. L: I was worried about the memo. K: No, I agree with you. But I wouldn’t weasel on what happened in Cuba. I’d take the position that it was damned serious. L: Oh I have.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 7, Chronological File)↩
- The Convention Regarding the Regime of the Turkish Straits signed at Montreux, Switzerland, on July 20, 1936, by the so-called Black Sea powers, Turkey, Great Britain, France, Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Greece, Germany, and Yugoslavia, as well as several other nations, provided for free passage of the Dardanelles and Bosporus in peacetime, but allowed Turkey to close the Straits in time of war. For the text, see League of Nations Treaty Series, Vol. CLXXIII, p. 213.↩