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3. National Security Study Memorandum 91


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Secretary of the Treasury
  • The Director of Central Intelligence


  • Review of the International Situation

The President has directed the preparation of an “inventory” of the international situation as of January 20, 1969. He wishes the review to provide a current assessment of the political, economic and security situation and the major problems relevant to U.S. security interests and U.S. bilateral and multilateral relations. In order to put this review into effect he wishes to consider responses to the attached set of questions along with other material considered relevant. The review should include a discussion, where appropriate, of the data upon which judgments are based, uncertainties regarding the data, and alternative possible interpretations of the data.

The responses should be forwarded to the President by February 20, 1969.

Henry A. Kissinger


[Omitted here are sections not related to Western Europe and NATO.]

West Europe—General Economic

1. What are the most likely courses of development of the European Communities over the next 1–3–5 years? Identify (a) what political and economic circumstances in individual member countries and in the communities as a whole, (b) what policy decisions or actions on the parts of which member governments, and (c) the possible external [Page 15](i.e., outside the member states) events, which will most affect these courses of development?

2. What possible developments in the European communities over the next 1–3–5 years would be most likely to come into conflict with the interests and aims of the United States? With those of Japan? With those of the various East European members of COMECON? With those of the USSR?

3. What are the prospects for British entry into the communities over the next 1–3–5 years? For the entry of other states? For some sort of relationship short of full membership for the UK and/or other non-member states? How will these various contingencies affect US interests? How will they affect the interests of other non-European developed industrial states?

4. What is the state of West European relations (including EEC) with the USSR and Eastern Europe? Do these pose any problems for us? What is the state of consultations between us and the West Europeans on these matters?


1. What are the most likely causes of an outbreak of hostilities in Europe between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces? What are the circumstances that might surround an actual outbreak? What less likely contingencies are nevertheless planned for by NATO? How capable are NATO forces judged to be in meeting this spectrum of contingencies?

2. What is the state of readiness of the various national contingents assigned to NATO? What endurance would they have? What are their reinforcement capabilities?

3. How effectively could NATO’s command structure cope with various likely contingencies of hostilities? What are the areas of most significant weakness?

4. How has the Alliance been affected by the non-participation of France in the affairs of the Military Organization? To what extent do NATO plans assume the participation of French Forces and the common use of French facilities in the event of hostilities? How realistic are these assumptions?

5. What problems does NATO face regarding planning for, deployment, and use of nuclear weapons? In what manner, and how seriously do these problems impair the military efficiency or the political cohesion of the Alliance?

6. Is the Nuclear Planning Group an adequate mechanism of response to NATO’s nuclear problems? What are its deficiencies? What are the prospects for Anglo-French, or Anglo-French-FRG nuclear cooperation?

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7. How weak are NATO’s flanks? What sorts of contingencies might be affected by their weakness? Are these likely contingencies?

8. Is the Greek junta still a divisive issue within NATO? How is the Alliance affected by it?

9. To what extent does the Alliance retain popular political support in its member nations? In what manner is this support likely to change over the next five years? Which nations, if any, might withdraw from the Alliance during this period?

10. How much agreement is there, in fact, regarding NATO’s present strategy? To what extent does it contribute actual operational guidance and to what extent is it primarily a general statement of desiderata?

11. What alternative modes of political organization for Western defense have attracted significant support within the governments or informed publics of any of the members of the Alliance?

12. What are the prospects for increased US-European cooperation in weapons development and production? For increased inter-European cooperation?

13. What are the prospects for effective Alliance cooperation and coordination in the handling of extra-European crisis situations such as (a) renewed hostilities in the Middle East, (b) post-Vietnam-war hostilities in South or Southeast Asia, (c) racial conflict in Southern Africa, (d) communist-supported insurgency in tropical Africa?

14. Are major Soviet initiatives in the European security field likely? To what extent do intra-Warsaw-Pact problems inhibit the Soviets in this regard?

15. How much pressure is there for a European security conference?

16. What is the political role of NATO; what is the state of consultations within NATO on political questions?


1. What are the prospects for significant economic and political instability in France? What are the primary sources of likely instability? What are the implications of various kinds of instability for French foreign and defense policies?

2. What is the present status (size, effectiveness, patterns of deployment, doctrines for employment) of French nuclear forces? What is their likely course of development over the next 1–3–5–10 years?

3. What sorts of US assistance for the development of French nuclear forces are desired by various groups within France? What would be the effect on the French military nuclear program of US assistance comparable to that which we have given the UK?

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4. What Western defense arrangements would be likely to receive what sorts and what degrees of French cooperation? What are the prospects over the next five years for greater French participation in existing NATO military arrangements?

5. What measures to ease the international monetary situation would be most acceptable to the French government and public? Less acceptable? Unacceptable?

6. What is the present state of French relations with the USSR? With the CPR? With the various communist states of Eastern Europe? How are these relations likely to develop over the next five years?

7. To what degree were de Gaulle’s world-view—and French policy—affected by the events of May 1968 in France and those of August 1968 in Czechoslovakia?

8. How strong is the commitment of the French Government to a pro-Arab, anti-Israeli Middle-Eastern policy? Is such a policy likely to survive de Gaulle?

9. What will be the effect on US–French relations of various possible outcomes of the Vietnam war?

United Kingdom

1. What is the present status of US–UK military nuclear cooperation? What forms does it take?

2. What is the present status (size, effectiveness, patterns of deployment, doctrines for employment) of UK nuclear forces? What is their likely course of development over the next 1–3–5–10 years, assuming (a) continuation of present levels and types of US–UK military nuclear cooperation, (b) increased cooperation, and (c) reduced, or discontinued, cooperation?

3. What are present deployments of UK military forces outside Europe and the UK itself? What are they likely to be over the next five years? Are they likely to be affected by a change of government in the UK? What actions or policies on the part of the US might induce the UK to alter these deployments? Is it likely that the UK will develop an effective strategic mobility capability? What role is the UK likely to play over the next five years in extra-European security arrangements?

4. What are the prospects over the next 1–3–5–10 years for the UK economy? What are the implications of these prospects for UK foreign and defense policies?


1. What are the prospects for significant political and/or economic instability in Spain over the next 1–3–5 years? What would be the most [Page 18]likely sources of instability? In what manner might US interests be affected?

2. Are changes in the regime likely to affect U.S. base tenure?

3. What is the current status of negotiations on renewal of the base agreement?

4. What is the status of Spanish-UK negotiations regarding Gibraltar?


1. What is the Portuguese goal in re-opening the question of US base rights in the Azores in December 1968? Is there any evidence that the Portuguese wish to transfer US air bases to the mainland (Beja) and phase out the US presence in the Azores? Should the Portuguese initiative be viewed as an attempt to capitalize on the current unsettled status of US-Spanish base negotiations?


1. What are the prospects for significant political or economic instability in Canada over the next 1–3–5 years?

2. What is the present strength of the Quebec separatist movement? Is it likely to increase over the above time spans? What factors will affect its strength?

3. Over the next 1–3–5 years will Canada (a) withdraw from the Atlantic Alliance? (b) cease participating in its military organization?

4. What are the most salient problems in present US-Canadian relations? What additional matters of contention are likely to arise over the next 1–3–5 years?


1. What is the likely course of Greek political development over the next 1–3–5 years? Is it likely that Greece will experience serious political and/or economic instability? Civil War?

2. What are the likely trends in Greek foreign policy over the above time span?

3. Can the U.S. count on unimpeded use of its bases in Greece to respond to non-NATO contingencies?

4. What are the prospects for Greece’s full-scale economic integration into the Western European economic community?


1. What are the prospects for U.S.-Turkish relations in the next four years?

2. What are the prospects for continued democratic government in Turkey?

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3. What are the prospects for economic growth?

[Omitted here are sections not related to Western Europe and NATO.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–129, National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 9 (1 of 6). Secret. This NSSM covered all regions of the world. The eight-volume response, forwarded to Kissinger by Walsh on February 19, which included 117 pages on the countries of NATO and Western Europe in volume III, is ibid.