48. National Security Decision Memorandum 2301


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense


  • U.S. Strategy and Forces for Asia

Based on a review of the NSSM 171 study,2 the President has decided that the following guidance should govern our future military planning for Asia.

Strategic Planning

The basic strategic guidance for Asia as originally defined by NSDM 273 shall remain in force. U.S. forces should be planned so that U.S. and Allied forces would be capable of conducting a combined conventional defense against a joint PRC/Communist ally attack in either Northeast or Southeast Asia as well as a non-PRC attack in the other [Page 316] Asian theater. The U.S. should continue to plan for an adequate capability to reinforce our Allies in support of this strategy, including the full range of land, naval, and tactical air forces.

Tactical nuclear forces should be planned in Asia as a hedge against the failure of a conventional defense. [1½ lines not declassified]

Security Assistance planning will continue to focus on assisting our Allies to meet indigenous and non-PRC communist nation threats. Planning will not be based on building Allied self-sufficiency in meeting major threats from the PRC. However, improvements in Allied capabilities to enhance a joint U.S./Allied defense will be planned as a lower priority goal.

U.S. Deployments

U.S. planning for the next five years should include Asian baseline deployments at essentially current levels in Korea, Japan/Okinawa, and the Philippines. Normal minor adjustments in manning and support forces would be made, but any proposed changes in combat force levels or major changes in manpower levels should be submitted to the President for approval. Deployments on Taiwan and in Thailand will be kept under continuous review. There will be no increases in forces or manpower on Taiwan without prior Presidential approval.

The Department of State should develop a scenario for informing the governments of Korea, Philippines, and Japan and other governments they believe appropriate of our deployment plans for FY 74. This scenario should be submitted to the President for approval by August 15, 1973.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 364, Subject Files, National Security Decision Memoranda Nos. 145–264. Top Secret. Copies were sent to the Director of ACDA, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Chairman of the JCS, and the Director of OMB.
  2. NSSM 171, February 13, “directed that in the aftermath of the Vietnamese conflict, current U.S. strategy for Asia should be reviewed” with particular emphasis on proper force levels and requirements, basing postures, security assistance programs, and the diplomatic ramifications of changes in these areas. (Ibid., NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 365, National Security Study Memoranda, Nos. 104–206) A committee chaired by a representative of the Department of Defense and composed of representatives from the Departments of Defense and State, the CIA, and ACDA performed the review requested in NSSM 171 and produced a paper which is ibid., NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–196, National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 171 [1 of 2]. NSSM 171 and the response study are scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–12.
  3. Scheduled for publication ibid., vol. XXXIV.