193. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Packard) and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
[Omitted here is conversation unrelated to national security policy.]
K: As long as I have you on the phone, what the President would like to do is on the Defense budget he will not make a decision tomorrow. He would like you, Shultz, and I to get together next week and tell you what he wants in capabilities and you work it out. If army can get two divisions out of [$]500 million and if they are important if we can get more divisions by _____ other things.
P: The air sorties level to the requirements. On presentation, yesterday Mel and I talked and he thinks he should make the presentation tomorrow. Broader strokes than I outlined to you. If you and George and I could get together after that. We can lower figures after force level [is determined]. Budget scrub and shifting we can do from first of year to ? ? ? ? ? .2 We ought to come out at the level we start from in terms of planning for (about) [$]79.6 [billion]. Get it below. Not 75 but perhaps 77.
K: I think the President will go along with 79.6. With _____3 George has of 2 billion he can move from one year to the other.
P: Where we should come out in terms of force levels or 79.6 or 80 or 81. Make adjustments with 79.6.
[Omitted here is a brief closing exchange unrelated to national security policy.]