116. Memorandum From the Director of the Program Analysis Staff, National Security Council Staff (Odeen) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Defense Attaché System

Bill Clements has forwarded a memorandum (Tab B) expressing his concern, as well as that of Admiral Moorer’s over the continuing reductions in the number of men assigned to the Defense Attaché System.2 He asks that you send a memorandum to the Secretary of State calling for an end to personnel reductions, allowing for increases where they are justified, and referring all disputes to you for resolution.3

Admiral George Anderson has also written to you expressing concern over problems of establishing and manning attaché posts abroad (Tab C).4


In 1965 the Defense Attaché System was authorized 1,880 personnel. As a result of efforts by both Presidents Johnson and Nixon to reduce our overseas manning, the Defense Attaché System was reduced to 1,024 by mid-1970. At that time Dave Packard5 requested that no more reductions be made and in a memo signed by you on May 26, 1970 you stated that the President agreed to suspend further reductions in the military attaché system (Tab D).6

On the other hand the President has charged the Under Secretaries Committee with controlling U.S. overseas presence and has directed them among other tasks to:

“Review ongoing programs to identify marginal and obsolete activities and supervise the implementation of appropriate reduction programs.”

[Page 417]

So, despite the ban against reductions, the State Department has continued to evaluate individual positions, especially those viewed as surplus by their mission chiefs, for possible elimination. Also the State Department has taken a fairly rigid stance against agreeing to new positions. Defense cites nine reductions that have been forced on them since 1970 and six requested new positions that have been turned down.

In July 1971 the Chairman (Under Secretary of State) of the Under Secretaries Committee approved formation of an Ad Hoc Senior Management Review Group to help resolve interagency disputes concerning positions within Diplomatic Missions. This group was to develop a recommendation for the Under Secretaries Committee. No disputes have been referred to this committee by Defense because they feel it is controlled and dominated by State and any recommendations would be a rubber stamping of the State position. The committee consists of five members—one each from State (Chairman), Defense, JCS, CIA, and OMB.


It is clear that both State and Defense are looking at the problem from different perspectives. State feels responsible for minimizing U.S. overseas representation and DOD feels responsible for military intelligence. Even worse it appears that a bureaucratic tug of war has developed and the substance of any dispute is subsumed in the battle for jurisdiction. State and DOD have been reviewing and re-reviewing the need for one naval attaché in Tunis for two years.


I don’t think we want to set up a system whereby you or the President has to decide whether or not we need to replace a Staff Sergeant in Prague (one of the actual cases in dispute). Yet we need to be able to increase or decrease our attaché representation as conditions change and take less than two years to decide what to do.

Rather than try to dictate the procedures for resolving disputes I recommend you send a memorandum to the Chairman of the Under Secretaries Committee asking him to review the procedures used for resolving such disputes to insure they are fair and responsive (Tab A).7

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 232, Agency Files, Defense—May–Dec. 73, Vol. 20. Secret. Sent for action.
  2. Clements’s June 8 memorandum is attached but not printed.
  3. A draft is attached but not printed. No memorandum was apparently sent.
  4. The June 27 letter from Anderson, Chairman of the President’s Foreign Advisory Board, is attached but not printed.
  5. Deputy Secretary of Defense, 1969–1971.
  6. Not found attached.
  7. An unsigned and undated draft is attached but not printed. A signed copy of the memorandum has not been found.