75. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler) to Secretary of Defense Laird1
Washington, October 10, 1969.
- Significant Military Actions
- In accordance with instructions from higher authority,2 an outline plan for testing military readiness of selected forces world-wide has been prepared (Tab A).
- This plan calls for the standdown of flying training activities in selected commands, and for the development of increased readiness. Activities which require prior consultation with our Allies, the degradation of current essential missions, or increased funding requirements have been avoided. Commanders concerned have been requested to provide recommendations for additional actions to be taken during the 13–25 October period. These additional actions will be discernible to the Soviets but not threatening.
- I have dispatched the messages to the commanders concerned, as indicated.
- I recommend the President be informed of our planning and actions taken with the attached draft memorandum (Tab B).3
Earle G. Wheeler
- Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Records of the Chairman, General Wheeler, Box 111, 381, World-Wide Increased Readiness Posture (Oct. 1969). Top Secret; Sensitive. A handwritten note indicates the memorandum was handcarried to Pursley at 7:15 p.m., October 10.↩
- Wheeler received a memorandum on October 9 from Lemnitzer informing him that Kissinger had “requested an integrated plan of military actions to demonstrate convincingly to the Soviet Union that the United States is getting ready for any eventuality on or about 1 November 1969.” Lemnitzer added, “Rather than threatening a confrontation (which may or may not occur), the objective of these actions would be a demonstration of improving or confirming readiness to react should a confrontation occur.” (Ibid.) Later that day, Wheeler sent a memorandum directing the Joint Staff “to prepare an integrated plan of actions which will physically test our military readiness in selected areas worldwide to respond to possible confrontation by the Soviet Union. These actions should be discernible to the Soviets but not threatening in themselves.” (Ibid.) More informally, Lemnitzer, in a handwritten memorandum dated October 9, informed Wheeler “that the President has directed the execution of the five major actions” that Kissinger recommended in his memorandum, Document 73.↩
- Attached but not printed is Tab B, an undated draft memorandum to President Nixon informing him that “actions have been taken and are being planned to test the readiness posture of selected U.S. forces.” The memorandum was not sent to Nixon.↩
- Top Secret. Lemnitzer’s handwritten memorandum to Wheeler of October 9 indicates that Laird saw this plan and approved its “execution as directed by the White House.”↩