41. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Nutter) to the Chairman of the Senior Review Group (Kissinger)1


  • NSSM–63—U.S. Policy on Current Sino-Soviet Differences


I am enclosing 25 copies of the “DOD Supplementary Paper on NSSM–63,” as revised since the Review Group Meeting on September 25.2 I request that this revised DOD paper be submitted to the Review Group concurrently with the NSSM–63 Report forwarded to you by Mr. Cargo on October 23.3

As you know, the Secretary of Defense has directed the various elements of the Department to make a special effort to ensure that DOD views are brought to the attention of the NSC whenever these views differ from those of other agencies, as is the case with the NSSM–63 Report. The Report forwarded by Mr. Cargo reflects none of those DOD views that diverge despite our repeated efforts to incorporate them for NSC consideration.

In addition, the NSSM–63 Report includes a summary statement that neither OSD nor the OJCS representatives were given a chance to read prior to dissemination of the Report to the NSC Staff. I should also note that a DOD footnote that has been incorporated in the final draft submitted for inter-agency consideration calling attention to the DOD Supplementary Paper was omitted from the final NSSM–63 Report without the knowledge or concurrence of the DOD representatives.

We believe that the revised version of the NSSM–63 Report is fully responsive neither to the original NSSM nor to the Review Group’s request at the end of the September 25 Meeting that the original Report be revised to cover certain points relating to major and prolonged Sino- Soviet hostilities.4 In our view, there are additional issues that must be considered in connection with alternative outcomes to the current differences between the two governments and their ruling communist parties.

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We also regard as a main issue the possibility that dynamic political change could occur in China and that hostilities, or Sino-Soviet “reconciliation” under Soviet dominance, however improbable either event may appear at this moment, would seriously affect events in and outside China. We believe that the Soviets desire a political change in China and might be willing in certain circumstances to undertake military action to help promote such change.

We believe that such courses of events, whatever their apparent likelihood at the present time, deserve greater attention because of the significance of their possible impact on the world and on U.S. interests and policy, and that they should not be overlooked solely on the ground of seeming improbability. For this reason DOD is submitting the enclosed “DOD Supplementary Paper on NSSM–63,” dated 8 October 1969.

G. Warren Nutter 5
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–040, Review Group Meeting, Sino Soviet Differences, 11/20/69. Secret.
  2. The 9-page report is attached but not printed. See also footnote 6, Document 36.
  3. Document 40.
  4. A handwritten note in the margin reads: “Not so.”
  5. Printed from a copy that indicates Nutter signed the original.