244. Memorandum From Robert M. Behr of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2


  • Space Cooperation with the USSR

Peter Flanigan sent you a memorandum (Tab B) calling your attention to the imminent (26-27 October 70) visit to the USSR of a NASA team of experts who will discuss common space docking possibilities.

Mr. Flanigan suggests that you may wish to review the desirability of such an exchange “in light of our other relations with the Russians” and seeks your thoughts on the matter so he can counsel NASA.

In NSDM 70 (Tab C) you announced the President’s decision that space cooperation with the Soviet Union should be pursued simultaneously through high-level diplomatic and technical agency channels.

The President noted and approved the scope of a US-USSR cooperative space program (Tab D) as forwarded by the NSC Under Secretaries Committee. Among the possible areas of cooperation identified in the report were “… projects looking toward improved safety, and desirable commonality in instrumentation and operating procedures (e.g. development of compatible docking equipment and communications arrangements for reciprocal space rescue).”

Since it is desirable (to the extent possible) to keep international scientific cooperation insulated from current political circumstances, I believe that we should proceed with this Presidentially approved initiative.

At Tab A is a draft reply to Peter Flanigan which states your conviction that the NASA visit should take place as scheduled.


That you sign the memorandum at Tab A.

Helmut Sonnenfeldt concurs.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 392, Subject Files, Space Programs, 1970. Official Use Only. Sent for action. In Tab A, an attached October 22 memorandum to Flanigan, Kissinger stated: “While I, too, am sensitive to the character of our present relations with the Russians, I believe that international scientific cooperation is an area where we can operate effectively in furtherance of long-term objectives.” Attached but not published was Tab B, an October 7 memorandum from Flanigan to Kissinger. Tab C is Document 237. For Tab D, see Document 236.
  2. Behr reported that a team of NASA experts was traveling to Moscow to discuss common docking possibilities. He suggested that the United States should keep scientific cooperation with the Soviet Union insulated from current political circumstances.