82. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler) to Secretary of Defense Laird1
- Additional Actions for US Military Readiness Tests—Worldwide
- (TS) As a follow-on to actions currently underway to comply with the desires of higher authorities to test our military readiness, attached at Tabs2 are proposed actions which will continue the operation through 30 October 1969.
- (TS) The proposed actions incorporate recommendations received from the CINCs and remain in the parameters directed (discernible to the Soviets but not threatening).
- (TS) With your concurrence we are prepared to start implementing actions phased over the next 15 days. These actions will be initiated so as to reflect an increase in intensity of signals received by the Soviets.
- (TS) These proposed actions will be subject to continued review for budgetary implications, cumulative impact and relation to detected reactions.
- (TS) Detailed timing and coordination of the several actions delineated in this paper are being developed and will be forwarded.3
- 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. 69). Top Secret; Noforn.↩
- The attachment below combines eight separate tabs.↩
Laird forwarded Wheeler’s package of proposed additional military actions to Kissinger. According to his covering memorandum, Laird concurred with Wheeler’s proposal. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 222, Agency Files, Department of Defense, Vol. IV) In an October 17 memorandum, Haig advised Kissinger to inform Nixon, during that day’s scheduled meeting with the President, of the additional “worldwide alert measures designed to signal increased U.S. readiness. These measures will increase in intensity up to October 30 and will be monitored carefully for readout.” (Ibid., Box 334, Subject Files, Items to Discuss with the President 8/13/69–12/30/69) Wheeler received a memorandum later that day from a member of his staff informing him “that the White House has approved the execution of all of the additional actions for U.S. Military Readiness Tests—Worldwide.” (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))
During an October 18 telephone conversation with Laird, “K[issinger] said the President asked him to thank L[aird] for the plan. K said it’s a little early to tell, but maybe there will be a little payoff.” Kissinger handicapped the gambit’s likelihood of success during separate October 20 telephone conversations with New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller and Fritz Kraemer, Kissinger’s intellectual mentor. At 11:10 a.m., Kissinger told Rockefeller, “the thing they discussed the other day—it’s gotten down to producing little twitches. K said there’s now a 30 percent chance—it would be sheer gold if we could get away with it.” At 12:30 p.m., he cryptically told Kraemer that “something we are doing” had a 10 percent chance of succeeding. “It has no business succeeding, but it may.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)↩