179. Memorandum From President Nixon to Secretary of Defense Laird 1

SUBJECT

  • Special Operations Report of Progress

I appreciate your efforts, as expressed in your memorandum of 16 September, to find ways to conduct our programs in Laos within the $375 million FY–1973 ceiling set by Congress. I certainly share your view that we must treat this ceiling as a serious matter.

However, I am convinced that we cannot forego undertaking any reasonable steps to make certain that Laos is well prepared and able to meet the possible enemy threat against Laos in the coming months. Therefore, I request that you do not foreclose now the possibility of moving to support 30 Thai SGU battalions once the existing units are filled out and replacements to keep them up to 80% strength are assured.

In the meantime, I am sure that you will do whatever you can to find ways to make economies that will not in any way diminish our ability to provide the assistance which the Government will need to successfully defend against enemy attack during the coming year.

Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 565, Country Files, Far East, Thailand, Vol. IX. Secret; Sensitive.