47. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Reduction in U.S. Presence in Korea

You requested that a plan for reducing the U.S. presence in Korea by half be presented to you soon.2 I have scheduled an NSC meeting on Korea for January 213 and an overall plan for U.S. policy and programs in Korea will be ready for your consideration then.

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Preparation for a Korea Decision

We have had a comprehensive study of U.S. policy toward Korea underway for some time. You reviewed the preliminary results in the NSC meeting on Korea in August.4

I think that this report will provide an excellent framework for you to use in making known your decision on your policy toward Korea and the U.S. presence there for the next five years. It will lay out the principal policy and program alternatives toward Korea in the following areas:

  • —U.S. force and presence levels in Korea,
  • —U.S. military and economic assistance packages consistent with each U.S. presence,
  • —U.S./ROK burden sharing in both military and economic matters.

The scope and thoroughness of this report should enable you to formulate an overall policy toward Korea and to adjust the U.S. programs in Korea accordingly.

This Korea plan is now being revised on the basis of agency comments. It will be ready for your consideration by late December. I have scheduled an NSC meeting on Korea for January 21.

The implementation of your decision to reduce the U.S. presence in Korea will require a sound approach to consultations with the ROK so that we can minimize the likelihood of a confrontation with President Park or a pullout of ROK troops from Vietnam.

Fortunately, State and DOD have already started to work out approaches to these problems without any knowledge of your decision. As a result, the implementation of U.S. presence reduction following the NSC meeting on Korea can probably be carried out smoothly and rapidly.

If you approve, I will proceed with preparation of a Korea plan for an NSC meeting on January 21 and ensure that work on the implementation of your decision is completed shortly afterwards.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 541, Country Files, Far East, Korea, Vol. II, 10/69–5/70. Top Secret; Sensitive. Sent for action.
  2. See Document 45.
  3. The NSC meeting on Korea was delayed and did not take place until March 4, 1970. See Document 55.
  4. See Document 34.
  5. Nixon initialed the “Approve of Korea Schedule” line on December 16.