114. Memorandum From Richard Kennedy of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2


  • Status of USG Actions Against Terrorism

This memo will bring you up to date on action taken since the Presidential September 25th directive to mount an all-out campaign against politically motivated international terrorism. In addition to the Cabinet Committee chaired by Secretary Rogers and its supporting Working Group headed by Armin Meyer, three other interagency action groups are refining plans to protect against, or react quickly to, acts of terrorism.

  • -- All of our diplomatic missions abroad have been given detailed guidance on how to protect our personnel and missions from terrorist acts.
  • -- Jurisdictional responsibilities within the USG are being worked out so that government agencies can respond quickly, effectively, and in full cooperation should an act of terrorism occur in the U.S.
    • The FBI will play the predominant role in immediately assuming responsibility. 75 FBI agents recently met at Quantico to review methods for forestalling and reacting to acts of terrorism,
  • -- Procedures have been devised to give foreign diplomats and special guests added protection while in the United States. The recently passed H.R. 15883 makes acts of terrorism against foreign diplomats and specified guests a federal offense, thereby strengthening the Government’s hand to deal with such acts.
    • 10-day transit visas have been suspended and visa applicants are very carefully screened against lists of known or suspected terrorists. Several have been spotted by this process and kept out of the country.
  • -- Intelligence collection—in cooperation with other governments—has increased dramatically and has been instrumental in anticipating and forestalling acts of terrorism.
  • -- Contingency plans are being developed and improved, in consultation with foreign governments, for meeting acts of terrorism:
    • U.S. Government agencies have developed practical procedures to be informed immediately and coordinate immediately in a swift response to acts of terrorism involving the USG here and abroad.
    • State has been in touch with foreign Embassies (including those of Israel, West Germany, and Jordan) vulnerable to terrorist attack to plan how our governments can react quickly together should acts of terrorism occur.

There are areas where progress has been disappointing:

  • -- The response in the UN to our efforts against terrorism has generally been poor due to the opposition of the Arab states and the African states which oppose any action that will inhibit African liberation movements.
  • -- Also, little progress has been made in devising workable sanctions against states which do not cooperate in checking terrorism, although there is a possibility that ICAO, now meeting, can develop machinery for air boycotts against non-cooperating states.

Secretary Rogers will shortly report to the President on the Cabinet Committee’s programs and progress. Though the Senior Working Group has met six times, the Cabinet Committee has met only once in a kick-off session.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 310, Cabinet Committee on Terrorism. Secret. Sent for information. A notation on the first page of the memorandum reads: “OBE.”
  2. Kennedy brought Kissinger up-to-date on all anti-terrorism action taken since the President’s directive of September 25th.