[Page 683]

205. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Ford 1

SUBJECT

  • Functions and Membership of NSC Sub-Groups

You have expressed an interest in reviewing the composition and chairmanship of the various committees of the NSC system. There follows a short description of each committee together with its make-up and possible alternative arrangements.

Interdepartmental Groups (IG’s)

There are six geographic Interdepartmental Groups, each responsible for the preparation of regional policy studies. There is also a politico-military group responsible for the study of political and military issues which transcend regional boundaries. These groups draft the basic papers defining the issues, the U.S. objectives, and alternative courses of action, with the advantages and disadvantages of each, which serve as the basis for subsequent discussion of the issue. Each group is chaired by the appropriate Assistant Secretary or Bureau chief at State and comprises representatives of the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Central Intelligence Agency, the NSC Staff, and of any other agency with an interest in the particular subject to be discussed by the group.

Recommend continued chairing by appropriate Assistant Secretary/Bureau Chief at State

Other2

Senior Review Group (SRG)

The Senior Review Group is the penultimate destination of all foreign policy planning in the US Government except on arms control [Page 684]matters. It reviews the work of the Assistant Secretary-level Interdepartmental Groups to ensure that the issues, options and agency views are represented fully and fairly before submission of an issue to the President for decision. It was created by NSDM 85, September 14, 1970.3

  • Chairman: Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Members: Deputy Secretary of State
  • Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • Director of Central Intelligence
  • Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Representatives of other agencies as appropriate for the subject to be discussed.

Recommend changing Chairmanship to the Secretary of State

Alternatively, continue Chairmanship of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

Other4

Verification Panel (VP)

The panel is responsible for dealing with arms limitation issues. It has played the major role in preparation for the SALT talks with the Soviet Union and in consideration of Mutual Balanced Force Reductions in Europe (MBFR) and nuclear testing policies. It was created by White House memorandum of July 21, 1969.5

  • Chairman: Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Members: Deputy Secretary of State
  • Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Director of Central Intelligence
  • Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
[Page 685]

In order to avoid disrupting current negotiations; to preserve the benefits of personal relationships already established; to recognize the fundamentally diplomatic responsibility for negotiating treaties; and to give greater prominence to the role of the Arms Control Agency (a component of the State Department):

Recommend assigning Chairmanship to the Secretary of State

Alternatively, continue Chairmanship of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Alternatively, change Chairmanship to Secretary of Defense

Other6

Defense Program Review Committee (DPRC)

Reviews major defense policy and program issues which have strategic, political, diplomatic and economic implications in relation to overall national priorities. Created by NSDM 26, October 11, 1969.7

  • Chairman: Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Members: Deputy Secretary of State
  • Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors
  • Director, Office of Management and Budget
  • Director of Central Intelligence
  • Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

Recommend changing Chairmanship to the Secretary of Defense

Alternatively, continue Chairmanship of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs8

[Page 686]

Intelligence Committee (NSCIC)

Determines the Intelligence needs of the top policy makers and provides guidance to the intelligence community concerning them. Evaluates the quality, scope and timeliness of the intelligence input to Presidential decisions and advises on steps to improve it. Created by Presidential Memorandum, November 5, 1971;9 amended by NSDM 253, April 24, 1974.10

  • Chairman: Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Members: Deputy Secretary of State
  • Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • Director of Central Intelligence
  • Under Secretary of the Treasury for Monetary Affairs
  • Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
[Page 687]

Recommend continue Chairmanship of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Other11

(BEGIN SECRET)

40 Committee

Responsible for policy review of all major and/or politically sensitive covert action programs, including missions of the National Reconnaissance Organization, [less than 1 line not declassified] and the Joint Reconnaissance Center. Created by NSDM 40, February 17, 1970.12

  • Chairman: Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Members: Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
  • Director of Central Intelligence
  • Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

Recommend continue Chairmanship of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Alternatively, assign Chairmanship to Secretary of State

Other13

(END SECRET)

Washington Special Actions Group (WSAG)

Responsible for coordination of political, military and economic factors in crisis situations. Acts as a high-level crisis management group. Created by White House memorandum, May 16, 1969.14

  • Chairman: Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Members: Deputy Secretary of State
  • Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Director of Central Intelligence

Recommend continue Chairmanship of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Alternatively, assign Chairmanship to Secretary of State

Other15

Under Secretaries Committee (USC)

Responsible for overseeing implementation of the President’s decisions and for developing operational recommendations and programs. Occasionally is assigned responsibility for preparation of a basic study when the subject is of such importance or complexity that it requires consideration at a higher level than that of the Assistant Secretary-level Interdepartmental Group or when it does not fall within the competence of any one of the Interdepartmental Groups. Created by NSDM 2, January 20, 1969.16

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  • Chairman: Deputy Secretary of State
  • Members: Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • Director of Central Intelligence
  • Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

Other agency representatives attend at the invitation of the Chairman (other agency representatives usually attend, with specific representation depending on the subject matter).

Recommend continue Chairmanship of Deputy Secretary of State

Other17

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 65, National Security Decision Memoranda, NSDM 326—Functions and Organization of National Security Council Sub-Groups (2). Administratively Confidential (Secret Section on Pages 4 and 5). Drafted by McFarlane. Printed from a copy that Scowcroft did not initial.
  2. Neither option is initialed. An undated draft NSDM reflecting the President’s decisions, circulated by the NSC Staff on February 26, 1976, states that the five geographic Interdepartmental Groups would remain under the chairmanship of the appropriate Assistant Secretary of State while the Interdepartmental Group for Politico-Military Affairs would be chaired by a “representative of the Secretary of Defense.” (Ibid.) In a March 3 memorandum to Scowcroft, Rumsfeld suggested specifying the Deputy Secretary of Defense as chairman of the Politico-Military Group. (Ibid.) NSDM 326, however, retained the original phrasing. See Document 208.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 121.
  4. None of the options is initialed. However, in both the draft and final NSDM, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs remained as Chairman of the SRG. In a March 5, 1976, memorandum to James Connor, Marsh, and Scowcroft, Buchen recommended ending the SRG’s authorization to submit a paper directly to the President. (Ford Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 65, National Security Decision Memorandums, NSDM 326—Functions and Organization of National Security Council Sub-Groups (2)) Scowcroft incorporated the suggestion into a new draft of the NSDM sent to Connor under an April 9 covering memorandum. (Ibid.)
  5. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 65.
  6. None of the four options is initialed, although the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs remained as chairman in both the draft and final version of NSDM 326.
  7. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 79.
  8. Neither option is initialed. In his March 3 memorandum to Scowcroft, Rumsfeld proposed transferring the chairmanship of the new DRP to the Secretary of Defense in his capacity as a member of the NSC, a proposal ultimately reflected in NSDM 326. Moreover, he suggested reconstituting the group’s membership to include the Secretaries of State and Defense in place of their deputies; the Chairman of the JCS, the DCI, the OMB Director, and the ACDA Director would attend DRP meetings only at the request of the President or Chairman. NSDM 326 did not include these recommendations.
  9. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 242.
  10. Document 13.
  11. Neither option is initialed. A January 31, 1976, memorandum from Davis to Scowcroft indicates that the Attorney General was proposed as a member of the NSCIC. (Ford Library, National Security Council Institutional Files, Box 65, National Security Decision Memoranda, NSDM 326—Functions and Organization of National Security Council Sub-Groups (1)) However, the draft and final version of NSDM 326 abolished this organization.
  12. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 203.
  13. None of the options is initialed. Davis’ January 31, 1976, memorandum to Scowcroft also indicates that the Attorney General was proposed as a member of the 40 Committee. Under Executive Order 11905, signed by Ford on February 18, 1976, this body was abolished and replaced by the Operations Advisory Group. See Document 70.
  14. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 45.
  15. None of the options is initialed. NSDM 326 named the Secretary of State as chairman.
  16. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 11.
  17. Neither option is initialed. NSDM 326 retained the Deputy Secretary of State as chairman.