357. National Security Decision Memorandum 2841


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


  • U.S. Position on the Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions Talks (MBFR), Vienna, January 30, 1975

The President has decided that the U.S. position on MBFR as reflected in NSDM 2692 should be modified as follows:


As part of a Phase I agreement, the U.S. would be willing to withdraw the following U.S. nuclear forces from the NATO Guidelines Area:

  • —1,000 nuclear warheads;
  • —54 nuclear-capable F–4 aircraft;
  • —36 Pershing surface-to-surface missile launchers.

The three elements of this proposal should be presented to the Warsaw Pact at one time as an addition to the current NATO Phase I proposal. The objectives of the current Phase I proposal should remain unchanged.

The President has directed that full consultation concerning this decision be undertaken with the British and German governments before this proposal is presented to NATO. Until these consultations are completed, the proposal should not be discussed with any of the other NATO Allies.
When presented to NATO, the proposal should be accompanied by an explanation of the reasoning leading up to this decision and an analysis of the issues associated with the introduction of nuclear elements.
The U.S. air manpower proposals authorized in NSDM 269 do not require Allied air manpower reductions in Phase II and no such reductions should be proposed by the U.S. While the U.S. would be willing to include air manpower in its Phase I reductions, no commitment to the specific size of the U.S. air manpower reduction should be made at this time.
Combined air/ground manpower totals for U.S., Soviet, NATO, and Pact forces may be presented in support of an Alliance proposal to include air manpower in the common ceiling. However, additional force strength data should be provided to the Warsaw Pact only on a reciprocal basis, where the Pact has agreed to present comparable figures.
In light of the modifications in the U.S. position concerning inclusion of air manpower in the common ceiling, no further proposals should be made at this time concerning the redefinition of ground force categories.
No proposal concerning exceptions to post-reduction ground manpower levels, other than that authorized by NSDM 269, should be made at this time. While normal Pact rotations could be permitted under the final agreement, the terms of an exception for these rotations should be negotiated only after the Pact has explicitly proposed the exceptions it desires.
Until full consultations have been completed with the NATO Allies, all negotiations and discussions should be conducted within the guidance contained in NSDM 269, as modified by paragraphs 4 through 7 above.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: Ford Library, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–131, NSDM/NSSM Originals, NSDM 284. Secret; Sensitive. Copies were sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of Central Intelligence. Lodal drafted the NSDM, forwarded it to Kissinger on January 27, and Kissinger sent it to Ford for his approval on February 1. According to an attached routing memorandum, Ford approved it on February 4. The text was then sent as telegram 26621 to the delegation to the MBFR talks in Vienna, February 5. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 221, Geopolitical File, Soviet Union, Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions, 1973–75)
  2. Document 351.