10. National Security Study Memorandum 241

  • TO
    • The Secretary of Defense
    • The Secretary of State
    • The Director of Central Intelligence
    • U.S. Military Posture Review

As a result of the NSC meeting on February 14, 1969, the President has directed that the strategic portion of the U.S. Military Posture Review directed by NSSM 3 be completed and forwarded to the NSC Review Group by May 1, 1969.

As part of the strategic study, the President has directed an analysis of how the Soviets view the strategic balance. Specifically, he would like the study to address the following question: based on Soviet estimates of U.S. strategic plans and programs, and their implications for the strategic balance, how might the Soviets react?2

The President has also directed a full reappraisal of our conventional and tactical nuclear strategies in light of the strategic balance and its implications concerning the likelihood of non-nuclear war, especially with regard to Europe. This reappraisal should be conducted as part of the U.S. Military Posture Review and submitted on July 1, 1969.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, NSSMs, Nos. 1–42. Secret.
  2. In May 1969, the NSSM 24 Interagency Working Group, chaired by a representative from the CIA, submitted its report, entitled “How the Soviets View the Strategic Balance.” The 15–page report, which concluded that Soviet leaders sought strategic equivalence rather than superiority vis-à-vis the United States, included three sections: “Moscow’s Assessment of the Strategic Relationship,” “Other Factors Behind the Soviet View of the Strategic Relationship,” and “Institutional Factors Affecting Soviet Assessments of the Strategic Balance.” (Ibid., NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–137, NSSM 24) The study, forwarded by Packard to Kissinger under a covering memorandum dated May 12, was Tab E to the response to NSSM 3, which included as Tab C an analysis of likely foreign reactions to various U.S. strategic postures. (Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–75–103, 320.2, Strategic) A summary of the NSSM 3 response is Document 34.