6. National Security Decision Memorandum 2041


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Secretary of Commerce


  • Sale of Inertial Navigation Systems to the People’s Republic of China

The President has considered your memoranda on this subject2 and has decided that the United States should approve the export of eight inertial navigational systems to be included on four Boeing 707 aircraft, as well as that number of INS required for the three Concordes sold to the People’s Republic of China. He has disapproved transferring inertial guidance systems from the U.S. Munitions Control List.

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Approval of the sale of INS in this specific case is subject to the following conditions:

  • —The manufacturer shall retain control by means of serial numbers and shall report annually to the Department of Commerce on maintenance and supply of spares for each unit.
  • —The equipment should be of the technology level of the Delco Carousel IV or the Litton LTN–51.
  • —Maintenance and repair standards should be of a Delco “level 0.”
  • —The Boeing sale shall provide only eight extra INS units.

Future export of INS shall continue to be decided on the merits of each case.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H–Files), Box H–238, National Security Decision Memoranda, NSDM 204. Secret. Robert Hormats, with the concurrence of Executive Director of the Council for International Economic Policy Peter Flanigan, sent a January 22 memorandum to Kissinger recommending approval of the sale and disapproval of the transfer of civil inertial navigational systems to the Commodity Control List. (Ibid.) On January 30, Hormats sent Kissinger a memorandum recommending the approval of the draft NSDM which Kissinger initialed and forwarded to the President, who also approved it. (Ibid.)
  2. Acting Secretary of State U. Alexis Johnson sent Nixon a November 24, 1972, memorandum supporting the sale of inertial navigation systems to China and advocating the transfer of civil INS from the U.S. Munitions List, overseen by the Department of State, to the Commodity Control List, administered by the Department of Commerce. Johnson noted, “the Departments of Commerce and State and the Federal Aviation Administration are satisfied that separate definitions can be found to distinguish civil from military INS equipment for purposes of export control safeguards.” (Ibid.) On January 4, 1973, Laird sent the President a memorandum opposing both the sale of INS to China and the proposed transfer of INS to the Commodity Control List. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330–78-0001, Box 66, China Reds, 452, 1973)