351. National Security Decision Memorandum 2691


  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Deputy Secretary of State
  • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • The Chairman, U.S. MBFR Delegation


  • Instructions for the Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction Talks, Vienna, September 16, 1974

The President has approved the following instructions for the U.S. MBFR Delegation. These instructions supplement those contained in NSDM 241.2

After agreement has been reached with the NATO Allies, the Delegation is authorized to begin a discussion with the Soviet and other Warsaw Pact delegations on the definition of force categories and exchange of data, subject to the following considerations:
  • —A single package of redefinition measures should not be proposed; rather, individual anomalies and possible solutions should be discussed.
  • —Numerical data may be given to the Pact delegations only on a reciprocal basis, except that Alliance agreed revisions to data already released may be given without exchange.
  • —The Delegation shall not agree to any final definition of force categories without prior agreement on related data. The Delegation should seek guidance from Washington before committing the U.S. to any specific redefinition proposals.
The Delegation is authorized to begin discussion of the role of air manpower in the negotiations. In this connection, after agreement [Page 1031] has been reached with the NATO Allies, the Delegation is authorized to inform the Pact delegations that the U.S. and its Allies are prepared to take the following actions:
  • —Exchange data on air manpower.
  • —Discuss inclusion of air manpower in the data base for computing U.S. and Soviet Phase I ground force reductions.
  • —Consider inclusion of air manpower in the proposed “no increase” agreement which would limit Alliance and Warsaw Pact manpower between phases.
  • —Discuss the possibility of withdrawing up to 15% of U.S. and Soviet air manpower in Phase I.
  • —Consider inclusion of air manpower within a manpower common ceiling, provided the Pact delegations agree to the common ceiling concept.

The President has approved these additional elements of the U.S. MBFR position:

U.S. Phase I reductions may be in the form of units, designated in advance.
No U.S. forces in Berlin will be included in the U.S. reduction package.
Both U.S. and Soviet forces should participate in Phase II reductions.
Phase I post-reduction manpower levels may be exceeded for military exercises by up to 20,000 men for up to sixty days once each year.

The President has approved in principle the introduction into the negotiations of a nuclear proposal along the lines of that included in Option III described in the paper titled “U.S. Approach to MBFR,” approved by NSDM 2113 and presented to NATO in May 1973. The proposed reduction package should include 1000 nuclear warheads, 48 F–4 nuclear capable aircraft, and 27 Pershing surface-to-surface missile launchers. While approving the use of this package in principle, the President has decided to defer its introduction for the present time. Therefore, Option III and the use of nuclear elements in MBFR should not be discussed with either the Allies or the Soviet and Warsaw Pact delegations without further guidance.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: Ford Library, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–040, NSDM/NSSM Originals, NSDMs 251–306. Secret. Copies were sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of Central Intelligence. Lodal and Sonnenfeldt forwarded a draft of the NSDM to Kissinger on September 6 as an attachment to a memorandum about an upcoming Verification Panel meeting on September 7; both ibid., Verification Panel Meeting, 9–7–74, MBFR. No minutes of the meeting have been found. Lodal forwarded a revised version of the NSDM to Kissinger on September 19. In a covering memorandum, he wrote: “I have attached a revised MBFR NSDM (Tab A), reflecting your comments on the earlier draft—i.e., that the NSDM should approve the option III air and nuclear reductions in principle, but defer use of the package until further notice.” (Ibid., NSDM 269) Telegram 211141 to USNATO, September 25, transmitted the instructions to the U.S. delegation to the MBFR talks in Vienna. (Ibid., Presidential Agency Files, Box 15, NATO, NATO from S/S, Exdis)
  2. Document 346.
  3. Document 137.