153. National Security Decision Memorandum 1031


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense


  • Military Cooperation with France

The President has considered the questions studied in NSSM 100 and discussed by the Senior Review Group concerning certain areas of possible military cooperation with the French Government.2 He has made the following decisions:

Advanced Computer Export Restrictions

1. The Secretary of State is directed to inform the French Government in reply to the request of Foreign Minister Schumann, that we cannot rescind entirely our restrictions on the export of advanced computers for use in French nuclear weapons laboratories. However, we will redefine “advanced computers” so that in practice some of the models currently falling under the restrictions on end-use will become available without any restrictions. Pending such a redefinition, which will be completed expeditiously, current restrictions will continue in force.

2. The Under Secretaries Committee is directed to prepare by April 7, 1971 for the President’s approval a recommended new definition of advanced computers.3 In practice the new definition should permit, without special letter of assurance, the export to or assembly in France of all computers whose strength is rated below that of the IBM 370/165. For the export to France of the latter computer, as well as more powerful machines, a special letter of assurance will continue to be required. This new definition will meet the special circumstances of France, and it is not intended to apply to export controls in general.

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Missile Assistance

3. The Secretary of Defense is directed to continue discussions concerning assistance to the French ballistic missile program. We will provide assistance but limited to those items which the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, determines will not jeopardize the security of our own weapons programs or provide France with a distinct new capability in such areas as guidance systems, missile accuracies, or re-entry vehicle hardening.

4. The French Government should be informed that there will be definite limits to our technical assistance.

5. Should issues arise that are not covered by this memorandum, the Secretary of Defense will submit them with his recommendations to the President for decision.

6. The Secretary of Defense will submit to the President periodic reports on the status of missile assistance to France.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 678, Country Files—Europe, France, Vol. VIII. Top Secret; Sensitive. Copies were sent to the Director of Central Intelligence, the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  2. See Document 150.
  3. The Under Secretaries Committee forwarded a draft paper, “Redefinition of Advanced Computers,” on April 7. A final version of the paper was sent to the President on April 15. Copies of both papers are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–222, National Security Decision Memoranda, NSDM 103.