98. Memorandum From the Chairman of the National Security Council Under Secretaries Committee (Irwin) to President Nixon1


  • Republic of Korea Force Structure and Modernization Program

NSDM 482 and follow-on directives instructed the Under Secretaries Committee to coordinate discussions with the Republic of Korea [Page 251] on a five-year force structure and modernization plan for the Korean armed forces.


The Committee has reviewed the enclosed plan (Tab A)3 and recommends:

  • —that you approve this plan as setting the major objectives for our military assistance program in FY 71–75, subject to annual review to evaluate program changes, cost factors, resource availabilities, and the evolving situation on the Korean peninsula.
  • —that you authorize a military assistance and sales program totalling $1.5 billion in FY 71–75, comprised of a combination of grant military assistance (MAP), excess defense articles, and other U.S. military equipment transferred to the Republic of Korea at no cost; and including a maximum of $1.25 billion in new obligational authority (NOA), this amount to be reduced to the maximum extent practicable through foreign military credit and cash sales, provision of excess defense articles and other “no cost” U.S. equipment transfers.
  • —that you authorize Vice President Agnew during his visit to Seoul June 30–July 3 to convey to President Park your approval of the objectives plan, subject to annual review as stated above.4


On February 10 we and the Koreans jointly announced the satisfactory completion of talks on the modernization of the Korean armed forces and the reduction of U.S. forces in Korea.5 Our troops have since been replaced on the DMZ by Korean forces. At the end of this month our force level in Korea will have been reduced by 20,000 men.

At the time of our joint statement we told the Koreans that the modernization plan provided an acceptable framework but that the specifics of the plan required further study in Washington. We now request authorization to inform the Korean Government that this plan has your approval and that we are prepared to move forward with its implementation.

As you recall, the Vice President was directly involved in the negotiations concerning our troop reduction and modernization plan during his earlier visit to Seoul. We still have difficult bridges to cross with [Page 252] the Koreans in regard to our future force levels, and we would profit from the good will created if the Vice President could personally convey your decision.

John N. Irwin II
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files:FRC 330 76 197, Korea, 000.1–292. Secret; Noforn. A June 28 covering memorandum from Arthur Hartman, Staff Director for the NSC Under Secretaries Committee, indicates that this memorandum was sent to the President.
  2. Document 56.
  3. Attached but not printed. On May 20, Winthrop Brown sent Irwin a draft of the NSDM 48 Steering Group Report. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files, FRC 330 76 197, Korea, 000.1–292)
  4. Neither the approve nor disapprove option was initialed. The full text of Agnew’s public statements made in Seoul during a round-the-world trip undertaken at Nixon’s request is printed in Department of State Bulletin, August 30, 1971, p. 229.
  5. See Document 88.