17. Minutes of Meeting Among the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Packard), and Other Department of Defense Officials1

HAK: Explain Minuteman defense.

Foster: 2 stages: 1st stage provides 1st level of protection. Reason for change is protection of Minuteman sites. McNamara didn’t want Sprints where they weren’t absolutely needed.

Packard: Two goals: Change emphasis; not spend more money.

Selin: New deployment will protect 100–150 more MM because radars are defended.

HAK: Clear rationale for new deployment.

What old did.

What new does.

Explain growth options.

Foster: Have made no attempt to design so it could be moved to cities. Sitings depend on bomber fields, which in turn may be near cities.

HAK: President wouldn’t be heart broken if we had a cities defense option.

Packard: Let’s get facts down. I have decided to reorient to protect retaliatory capacity. We need a map.

HAK—map of old vs. new.

HAK: Will military tell a different story?

Packard: Moorer will support. Westy [Westmoreland] wants to expand to cities. McConnell is the problem. He won’t say bombers need any protection.

I will have to take an understanding with him. Wheeler will support it.

HAK: Next Monday2 or Tuesday he [Nixon] wants to go on TV with a 10 minute statement of general rationale.

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Say he had choice of 4 approaches, choose least provocative one consistent with our interests.

Then he wants to put into a general context of talks, U.S. posture.

He is determined to have parallel progress in political and military issues.

He isn’t going to promise starting arms control talks.

We ought to try to play for political progress for 3–4 months.

He shouldn’t pledge to give this up. He should say it will be part of discussion.

HAK: I see the division of labor as follows:

Larry [Lynn] do 10 minute statement.
DOD do toughest set of questions, develop answers.
DOD to do a backgrounder the same day or day after.
Packard work on background material.
President should put his prestige behind the program. Show he has mastered it. He will work with your paper,3 paper we did,4 before he gets your book.5

HAK said he would check who will take care of Congress. President wants it to be his decision.

Tomorrow night—exchange materials; get together on Friday.6 Packard brief on Wednesday. Fryklund says shouldn’t wait for opposition to build up. We want open, on the record press conference.

HAK: We should see the background briefing.

Nixon would probably prefer Omaha, Colorado Springs be included. Suggest Colorado Springs.

NATO/Canada—HAK says DOD do it after President’s OK. Foster go up there.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–109, NSC Meetings Minutes, Originals, 1969. Top Secret; Sensitive. No drafting information appears on the minutes. Also attending were Lynn, Haig, Ralph Earle, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Systems Analysis) Ivan Selin, Deputy Director of the Nuclear Monitoring Research Office Verne Charles Fryklund, Jr., and Director of Defense Research and Engineering John S. Foster, Jr.
  2. March 10.
  3. Document 14.
  4. Document 18.
  5. Not further identified.
  6. March 7.