106. Editorial Note

The Defense Review Panel (DRP) met on November 5, 1976 to review the response to National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 246, which is printed as Document 102. Attendees included: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld (the Panel’s Chairman), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) General George S. Brown, the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Brent Scowcroft, Director of the Office of Management and Budget James T. Lynn, Deputy Secretary of State Charles W. Robinson, Deputy Secretary of Defense William P. Clements, Jr., Deputy Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency John F. Lehman, Jr., the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs William G. Hyland, the Counselor of the Department of State Helmut Sonnenfeldt, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense James P. Wade, Jr. Only a handwritten, largely illegible record of the meeting, held in the White House Situation Room from 10:04 to 10:53 a.m., was found in the Ford Library, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box 26, Meeting Materials—Defense Review Panel Meeting, 11/5/76 (1).

On November 19, George S. Vest, Director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs, Department of State, sent Robinson a memorandum that, in part, reviewed the results of the meeting. Vest wrote: “As you may recall, the question of whether or not the NSSM response should be a document for Presidential decision was discussed at the last DRP meeting on NSSM 246 on November 5. There was disagreement among the participants over this question, with Mr. Lynn taking the strongest line in favor of using the NSSM 246 study as a vehicle for Presidential decisions in the context of the FY 1978 budget. The question was left unresolved at that meeting. We know, however, that the JCS is adamantly opposed to the notion of using this study as a decision document, and know that many elements in OSD also share this view. However, we do not have any indication of Secretary Rumsfeld’s position.

“Finally, you may recall that at the November 5 DRP meeting on this subject, the question of whether or not the NSSM study should put forward alternative foreign policies was discussed, with Mr. Lynn and Secretary Rumsfeld arguing in favor of the idea, and yourself opposed. The issue was not resolved at that meeting, but in fact we consider it to be closed.” A handwritten note on the memorandum reads: “Closed by Rumsfeld!” Vest continued, “The latest draft of the study does not include alternative foreign policies, and we do not believe it to be feasible to undertake such a major revision of the paper at this late stage.” Vest’s memorandum is in the National Archives, RG 59, Robinson Records, Lot File 77D117, Box 8, NSSM 246.