189. Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Italy and the Redcoste Program

State and Defense have now reached an agreed position on how to handle Prime Minister Rumor’s request that the Redcoste program be held in abeyance (my memoranda of January 13 and 20—Log # 4970).2 The instruction to Ambassador Martin, attached at Tab A,3 has been sent here for clearance. The cable accepts Martin’s earlier recommendation,4 and makes the following points (pp 2–3 and 7–9):

—Italian employees at Verona and Vicenza (Rumor’s home district) will not be issued dismissal notices until May 1, although the dismissals at Livorno will begin on schedule (February 2);

—American departures at these locations will proceed on schedule, but will be carried out as quietly and routinely as possible;

—to counter some of the psychological/political problems of charges of US disengagement from Italy, we will stress the current increased Air Force training program at Aviano (this is an interim measure, until arrangements are made to replace the Wheelus facility), and the planned deployment from Wheelus to Livorno of headquarters materials;

—finally, the Italians will be urged to take initiative within NATO to have the proposed Mediterranean training center located in Italy.

I do not know whether you have had an opportunity to focus again on my previous memoranda and I assume there has not yet been a chance to review this problem with the President. There is now no agency support for either extreme alternatives of cancelling the Redcoste program or ramming it through according to its original schedule. The agreed recommendation contained in the cable strikes me as permitting most of the financial goals of Redcoste to be achieved with the minimum political danger. To go any further would require a [Page 645] major effort with Secretary Laird since it would reopen Fiscal ’71 Defense Budget issues.

I shall be sending you a separate memo for the President concerning the Italian political scene and his most recent request for an NSC meeting within 30 days.5


1. That you approve the dispatch of the cable at Tab A.6

2. That you ask7 State to add to the cable the point that in view of Rumor’s special plea to the President on this matter, the adjustments in the program have been carefully reviewed by and have the approval of the White House.8

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 694, Country Files—Europe, Italy, Vol. I. Secret. Sent for urgent action.
  2. The memoranda are ibid.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Martin’s recommendation for a “disguised” withdrawal of U.S. personnel was transmitted in telegram 140 from Rome, January 12. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 695, Country Files—Europe, Italy, Vol. II)
  5. Sonnenfeldt’s memorandum for the President, which was subject to frequent redrafting due to political changes in Italy, was forwarded to the President on February 12. It is printed as Document 191.
  6. Kissinger initialed the Approve option.
  7. Here “consider asking” was crossed out to leave “ask.”
  8. Kissinger initialed the Approve option. The date “1–24–70” is handwritten below this approval. A note on the first page initialed by Kissinger reads: “Sonnenfeldt action. Hal—Please transmit changes via Jeanne Davis to Eliot, to keep their Secretariat happy.” A final note by Jeanne Davis, written below the Approve option, reads: “State (Dirk Gleysteen) informed 1/24, 12:40.”