13. Letter From the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson) to the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Packard)1

Dear Dave:

Attached is a slightly expanded version of the paper that I showed you last Wednesday. It is an effort to reduce to writing some of the more critical foreign policy assumptions that, in my view, should govern military planning in the next several years. We have not tried to be comprehensive, but rather to pick out points which we think are particularly relevant for military planning. We do not intend that this paper substitute for other policy guidance which has emerged from completed NSC studies, such as the FIDP, or to preempt guidance that may flow from future studies. I understand that your staff is working on strategic guidance for the FY–72 budget. This paper should be of some use to them.

I hope that the question of foreign policy assumptions for Defense planning could be pursued by Ron Spiers and Warren Nutter and their staffs as we discussed last week. In particular, I want them to discuss how such guidance might be improved in the future and how State and Defense can jointly develop the strategic guidance that will form the basis for future defense budgets. It seems to me this should be a continuing process so that when Defense feels the need of guidance or assessment in a specific area of foreign policy, it can be provided promptly.

I am sending a copy of this letter and the attachment to Henry Kissinger.





Despite the absence of formal security treaties with non-NATO powers in the Mediterranean Basin, four US administrations have made clear that the US has a special interest in the security of Israel.
In the Persian Gulf, current American oil and other activities which return some $1.5 billion annually to the US balance of payments, are likely to expand.
The requirement for US forces for this area has never been well defined, but air and naval forces appear to be considerably more important, at least from a political standpoint, than ground forces.
Restrictions on US base use (e.g., Greece, Turkey, Spain) if not outright denial (we must regard Wheelus as lost now) will continue to be a significant factor in any contingency involving the Arabs and Israelis. Soviet involvement in such a contingency may relax these restrictions somewhat, but it should not be assumed that they will remove them. Ways to reduce dependence on these bases should be examined.
Reopening of the Suez Canal cannot be counted upon for the next two years, or even longer. Therefore, the importance of Diego Garcia and COMIDEASTFOR increases.
Soviet naval presence in the Mediterranean will not diminish and may expand further. There is a good possibility that the Soviets will gain access to air bases in the Mediterranean area.
With the British departure from Aden and the Persian Gulf, the Soviets will continue to manifest increasing naval and other activity in the Arabian Sea region.
Any major changes in the Sixth fleet will have important political implications in the Mediterranean Basin and would have to be preceded by careful political-military consultations with allied and friendly governments.
While we have no intention of replacing the British in the Persian Gulf area after their withdrawal in 1971, we have no plans to terminate our naval presence there and believe we can maintain our home porting arrangements on Bahrain over the next few years.

[Omitted here are sections on Europe, East Asia, Weapons System, and MAP.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1251, Saunders Files, Basic Policy—Middle East 1/1/70–12/31/70. Secret. A copy was sent to Kissinger.