173. National Security Decision Memorandum 971

  • TO
    • The Members of the National Security Council
    • The Attorney General
    • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
    • The Director of Central Intelligence
    • Safeguard Review

As a result of the review of the Safeguard program conducted by the National Security Council, I have decided on the following Safeguard Program subject to Congressional authorization where required: [Page 702]

Continue construction at the sites at Grand Forks, North Dakota and Malmstrom, Montana.
Commence (in 1971) the construction already authorized for the site at Whiteman, Missouri.
Begin (in 1972) advance preparation on the National Command Authority defense at Washington, D.C. or construction on the site at Warren, Wyoming. I will decide between these alternatives based upon a review of developments in SALT.

To insure a clear and coherent presentation of my decision in connection with the budget I direct that an interagency coordinating committee be formed under the direction of a representative of the Secretary of Defense2 with membership composed of representatives from appropriate agencies and appropriate elements of the Executive Office of the President.3

Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 364, Subject Files, NSDMs, Nos. 97–144. Top Secret. Copies were sent to Moorer and to Senior Members of the U.S. SALT Delegation.
  2. Laird submitted a “Rationale for the FY 72 Safeguard Program” to President Nixon under a covering memorandum, March 1. (Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–76–207, 337, White House)
  3. During a telephone conversation on April 14, Nixon and Haldeman discussed the administration’s strategy for obtaining Congressional approval of this phase of Safeguard. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Record of Conversation between Nixon and Haldeman, Oval Office, Conversation No. 479–3) A conference of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees limited the administration’s plans, however, when it adopted the Senate committee’s plan to limit deployment of Safeguard to only two of the four previously authorized sites: Grand Forks and Malmstrom. The full Congress passed the defense procurement authorization bill (P.L. 92–156), which contained provisions for the two-site ABM system, on November 11. (Congress and the Nation, Vol. 3, 1969–1972, pp. 212–213)