142. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1

SUBJECT

  • Follow-up Actions on Military Cooperation with the French

I have taken steps in three areas to implement your wish to move ahead on military cooperation with the French. Subject to your approval, I would propose to do the following:

1. Convey to Andy Goodpaster, in his capacity as USCINCEUR, a directive instructing him to contact the French Chief of Staff for the purpose of exploring expanded practical cooperation between our theater, naval and strategic forces. Arrangements made at the military [Page 513]level would then be subject to review and approval by yourself and President Pompidou. (Tab A)

2. Direct Secretary Laird to activate promptly the dormant US-French R & D Steering Committee, about which President Pompidou spoke to you.2 This body, which has not met since 1966, deals with military technology applicable to weapons and matériel below the strategic missile level. (Tab B)

3. Direct Secretary Laird to submit promptly for your approval a course of action responsive to a number of pending French requests for assistance for their missile development, other than nuclear components (Tab C). This will run up against the terms of a Johnson Administration directive (NSAM 294 of 1964)3 prohibiting all forms of cooperation in this area. The directive to Secretary Laird stipulates that this old NSAM should be set aside in the present instance. Its formal revocation at this time is likely to provoke a bureaucratic battle, leaks and Congressional (Joint Committee) opposition. This matter can be handled later.

4. To meet your commitments to Prime Minister Wilson to keep him informed if anything should develop in the area of US-French military preparation, I have prepared a communication to him on the Pompidou visit. It is couched in very general language and I would convey it orally to Ambassador Freeman (Tab D).

Recommendation4

That you approve the directive to General Goodpaster (Tab A).

That you approve the directive to Secretary Laird on the US-French R & D Steering Group (Tab B).

That you approve the directive to Secretary Laird on missile cooperation (Tab C).

That you approve the contents of a communication to Prime Minister Wilson, along the lines of the paper at Tab D, on the basis of which I will talk to Ambassador Freeman.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 676, Country Files—Europe, France, Vol. IV. Secret; Sensitive; Nodis. Sent for action. The tabs are not printed.
  2. The two Presidents discussed U.S.-French military cooperation on February 26. A memorandum of conversation is ibid., Box 1023, Presidential/HAK MemCons.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XII, Western Europe, Document 30.
  4. Nixon approved all four recommendations on March 16.