95. Editorial Note

In response to memoranda from the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry A. Kissinger (see Document 92 and footnote 3 thereto), the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, General George A. Lincoln, submitted a November 11 study entitled “National Security Aspects of Alaskan Oil.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 367, Subject Files, Oil 1971) National Security Council staff member Helmut Sonnenfeldt summarized the study as follows:

“In the study, OEP and State agree: 1) that there is a national security need for Alaskan North Slope oil, and 2) that there is a national security need to transport that oil to the lower 48 states as soon as possible. Defense agrees that there is a national security need for the oil, but finds no preference from a national security standpoint for transport of the oil. The study notes that State has reviewed the possibilities of building a Canadian pipeline, that the Canadian government is not yet able to say when its studies on the feasibility of such a line will be completed, and that the Canadians thus cannot say when or if such a line would be approved. Accordingly, General Lincoln advises the [Page 223] Secretary of the Interior that: The Alaskan pipeline gives promise of bringing a significant quantity of North Slope oil to the lower 48 states by 1975—at least three years earlier than any of the alternatives to the Alaskan pipeline which have been discussed. And, early completion of the Alaskan pipeline must be considered an important national security objective.

Sonnenfeldt recommended that the study be released to the public, provided that all references to the NSC were removed (as NSC played no role in preparing the study), and that a second letter from Lincoln to Secretary of the Interior Rogers C. B. Morton remain classified. (Memorandum from Sonnenfeldt to Kissinger, November 16; ibid.)

In Lincoln’s second November 11 letter sent to Morton, he noted that while the United States could count on Canada in time of war, he was doubtful that Canada could be counted on to view future energy crisis situations in exactly the same way as the United States. Therefore he concluded that U.S. national security interests might best be met by moving Alaskan oil to the United States under U.S. control. (Ibid.)