24. National Security Study Memorandum 831


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense


  • U.S. Approach to Current Issues of European Security

In connection with developments in the field of European security, the President wishes to have a meeting of the National Security Council early in the New Year. At that time he wishes to consider the status of our own and NATO actions on this subject and the range of options open to us in the light of East-West diplomatic exchanges and of pertinent strategic issues. As a result of the identification and discussion of the major issues involved, the President will provide guidance for further U.S. actions.

[Page 74]

A paper providing the basis for this NSC meeting should be prepared by the Interdepartmental Group for Europe and should be submitted for consideration by the NSC Review Group by January 15, 1970.

In the interim, the President’s approach to the proposal for a European Security Conference remains as stated in the directive of April 9, 1969.2 Pending the NSC meeting, the President wishes to have specific U.S. negotiating proposals in this area held in abeyance.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, National Security Study Memoranda (NSSM’s)—Nos. 43–103. Secret. Copies were sent to the Director of Central Intelligence and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. For further analysis of European security issues including documentation on the European Security Conference, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIX, European Security.
  2. This refers to Kissinger’s memorandum to Rogers detailing the U.S. approach to a conference on European security, which reads in part:

    “I believe that we could accept the principle of an eventual conference on European problems but that the actual convening of such a meeting must await signs of progress on concrete European issues. Without such progress, a conference would probably find the East European countries closely aligned with a rigid Soviet position, while the western participants would be competing with each other to find ways to ‘break the deadlock.’ The net result might well be frustration and western disunity, both of which would tend to set back prospects for an eventual resolution of European issues.

    “Consequently, our emphasis should be on the need for talks on concrete issues and for consultations within NATO designed to develop coherent western positions on such issues.” (National Archives, RG 59, Executive Secretariat, Files on Select National Security Study Memorandums, 1969–70, Lot 80D212, NSSM 83)