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144. Memorandum from the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary of State Rogers and Attorney General Mitchell1 2

SUBJECT:

  • Study of Means to Stop International Traffic in Heroin

The President is convinced that the problem of narcotics addiction in the U.S. has reached proportions constituting a threat to our national stability. Most narcotics are grown and processed in foreign countries and smuggled into the U.S.; this is particularly true of heroin. Under these circumstances, the President considers that any country facilitating, or in any way contributing to, international traffic in heroin is committing an act inimical to the United States.

He has directed that you study this problem on an urgent basis and recommend as soon as possible an action program that will make emphatically clear to those countries growing opium poppies that their non-medicinal cultivation must be stopped; and to those countries manufacturing finished heroin that their illicit laboratories must be closed. It would appear that the chief offenders in each category are Turkey and France, respectively.

In your study you should consider methods of positive persuasion, including financial incentives for cooperation on the control of heroin traffic, as well as those of retaliation, in the event that any country refuses to cooperate in this program. You may assume that the action program you recommend, if approved, will be implemented with the full authority of the President.

You should constitute an ad hoc working group to fulfill this directive immediately. Your recommendations should be submitted to the President no later than October 15, 1969.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, SOC 12-5 US. Confidential. In a September 30 memorandum to Kissinger, the President’s Assistant Ehrlichman stated: “The President has decided to fully implement Pat Moynihan’s proposal to attack the heroin problem. This means taking a hard line with France and Turkey.” (Ibid.)
  2. The President directed Rogers and Mitchell to study the problem of international trafficking in heroin.