[Page 693]

208. National Security Decision Memorandum 3261

TO

  • The Vice President
  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Attorney General
  • The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • The Director of Central Intelligence
  • The Director, Office of Management and Budget
  • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

SUBJECT

  • Functions and Organizations of National Security Council Sub-Groups

I have reviewed the organization and functions of the various sub-groups of the National Security Council and have made the following determinations:

The functions of the Senior Review Group will remain as described in the second and third paragraphs of National Security Decision Memorandum 85.2 It will continue to be chaired by the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and its membership will include:

[Page 694]
  • The Deputy Secretary of State
  • The Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • The Director of Central Intelligence
  • The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

Depending on the issue under consideration, other agencies shall be represented at the discretion of the Chairman.

The Verification Panel will continue to perform the basic technical analysis to help develop choices and proposals for strategic arms limitation, approaches to mutual and balanced force reductions in Europe, and other major arms control subjects. This analysis will include the verification requirements which must accompany arms limitations and the capabilities of weapons systems whose limitation is being considered. It will be chaired by the Secretary of State in his capacity as a member of the National Security Council. Its membership will include:

  • The Deputy Secretary of State
  • The Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • The Director of Central Intelligence
  • The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Those portions of the Memorandum of July 21, 1969,3 signed by the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and of National Security Study Memoranda 92 and 1284 which relate to the organization or functions of the Verification Panel are superseded by this Decision Memorandum.

The Defense Program Review Committee, established by National Security Council [Decision] Memorandum 26,5 shall be reconstituted as the Defense Review Panel. The Panel will review major defense policy and program issues which have strategic, political, diplomatic and economic implications in relation to overall national priorities. The Defense Review Panel will be chaired by the Secretary of Defense in his capacity as a member of the National Security Council. Its membership will include:

  • The Deputy Secretary of State
  • The Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • The Director of Central Intelligence
  • The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • The Director, Office of Management and Budget6
  • The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Depending on the issue under consideration, other agencies shall be represented at the discretion of the Chairman.

National Security Decision Memorandum 26 is hereby superseded by this Decision Memorandum.

The Washington Special Actions Group will continue to develop options for implementation of decisions during crises and for integrating the political and military requirements of crisis action. It will be chaired by the Secretary of State in his capacity as a member of the National Security Council. Its membership will consist of:

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

That portion of the Memorandum of May 16, 1969,7 signed by the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, which relates to the organization and functions of the Group is superseded by this Decision Memorandum.

The 40 Committee, is hereby abolished. It is replaced by the Operations Advisory Group, established by Executive Order 11905 of February 18, 1976.8

This group will review and advise the President on covert operations and certain sensitive foreign intelligence collection missions. It will be chaired by the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and its membership will be as follows:

  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Director of Central Intelligence
  • The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Observers:
  • The Attorney General
  • The Director, Office of Management and Budget

The Intelligence Committee, established by the President’s Memorandum of November 5, 1971,9 is hereby abolished.

The Committee on Foreign Intelligence was established by Executive Order 11905 and its duties are as described in the Executive Order.

It is chaired by the Director of Central Intelligence and its membership consists of:

  • The Deputy Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
  • The Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

The functions and membership of the Under Secretaries Committee will remain as described in National Security Decision [Page 696]Memoranda 2 and 8.10 It will be chaired by the Deputy Secretary of State.

The functions and membership of the six standing Interdepartmental Groups will remain as described in National Security Decision Memorandum 2. The five geographic Groups will be chaired by the appropriate geographic Assistant Secretary of State. The Interdepartmental Group for Political-Military Affairs will be chaired by a representative of the Secretary of Defense.

Gerald R. Ford
  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). Confidential.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 121.
  3. See ibid., Document 65.
  4. NSSMs 92 and 128 and related documentation are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–171, National Security Study Memorandums, NSSM 92 (5 folders) and Boxes H–184 and H–185, National Security Study Memorandums, NSSM 128 (8 folders), respectively.
  5. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 79.
  6. For consideration of matters having budgetary implications. [Footnote in the original.]
  7. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 45.
  8. Document 70.
  9. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 242.
  10. See ibid., Documents 11 and 31, respectively.