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35. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1

SUBJECT

  • Renewal of US Passport Restrictions
[Page 91]

Secretary Rogers has set forth his reasons for continuing the present restrictions making US passports invalid for travel to Cuba, mainland China, North Korea and North Vietnam (Tab A).2

Secretary Rogers notes that the restrictions are ineffective because court decisions have eliminated any sanctions. He has decided to extend the rules for another six months because their elimination at this time could be misconstrued in view of the General Assembly meeting and of measures we may be taking on Vietnam. Removing the remaining restrictions at this time would also have undermined the effect of the limited easing of restrictions undertaken last July with respect to Communist China.

Secretary Rogers believes that “we should look toward the elimination of these restrictions at the earliest possible time.” The question is one of timing, and he promises to recommend their removal when he thinks the moment is appropriate.

I agree with Secretary Rogers’ decision to make this extension, and with his desire to eliminate the restrictions as soon as we appropriately can.3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 337, Subject Files, HAK/Richardson Meetings, May 1969–December 1969. Confidential. Sent for information.
  2. Attached at Tab A but not printed is a September 15 memorandum from Rogers to Nixon. Kissinger restates the contents of the Rogers memorandum. A record of a September 13 telephone conversation indicates that Richardson drafted the memorandum to the President for Rogers’ signature. Richardson also noted that Barbara Watson, Administrator of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs, forwarded a memorandum to Rogers calling for the immediate lifting of travel restrictions. Rogers and Richardson decided to delay any change for the time being. (Record of a telephone conversation between Richardson and Rogers, September 13; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division. Richardson Papers, Under Secretary of State, Telephone Conversations, September 1969)
  3. Nixon drew a line bracketing the final paragraph and wrote below it: “I agree. Soon—but not now but never to Cuba until I decide it.