81. Memorandum From the Senior Military Assistant, National Security Council Staff (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

  • SUBJECT
    • Items to Discuss with the President, October 14

1. Inform the President of Mel Laird’s reluctance to proceed with the alert measures because of the conflict in exercise High Heels2 and [Page 278]the view of General Goodpaster3 that consultation with allies should precede the stand-down of military training flights. Tell the President that you are convinced that these objections are not overriding and that you will meet with Laird and Wheeler this morning to make the necessary adjustments in both High Heels and alert measures to ensure that the alerts are carried out this week. Emphasize to the President that evidence of reluctance in Defense may require some “tail twisting” which you are prepared to do providing you can rely on strong support from the President.4

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 334, Subject Files, Items to Discuss with the President 8/13/69–12/30/69. Secret. Printed from an uninitialed copy.
  2. In an October 14 memorandum to Laird, Wheeler wrote that the “overriding consideration is the fact that Exercise High Heels is conducted but once a year. We have put a great deal of effort into this exercise and to forego it now would impair our knowledge of command and control procedures as well as waste money and man hours.” (Ibid., RG 218, Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Records of the Chairman, General Wheeler, Box 111, 381, World-Wide Increased Readiness Posture (Oct. 69))
  3. See Document 78 and footnote 9, Document 80.
  4. According to Haldeman’s diary, on October 15, Nixon “had Rogers and Laird in after [that morning’s] NSC [meeting regarding Latin America] to try to get them in line about Vietnam and November 3 speech. Apparently this uncovered all their problems with K[issinger], because P[resident] called me in to discuss it. Says he’ll have to bring Mitchell in more because K can’t deal with Rogers and Laird, has problem of communicating with them, and has become an issue.” The underlying problem, according to Haldeman, was that Kissinger “injects himself too much into everything, between P and Cabinet officers, and they just won’t buy it, so he becomes ineffective even at getting them to do what they already were ready to do.” (Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries, p. 100)