204. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs (Ehrlichman) to President Nixon1 2


  • Actions to Combat International Terrorism

Secretary Rogers has submitted a report (Tab A) informing you of actions taken by the Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism since his initial report to you on 7 November 1972.

On the domestic front the following additional measures have been taken:

An agreement of understanding was concluded between Justice and DOD to delineate how DOD will assist the FBI with equipment or troops in a terrorist emergency.
Procedures have been established to implement PL 92–539 which provides for federal protection of specified foreign officials. State is continuing to work with the Israeli, Yugoslav, German, and other diplomatic missions vulnerable to terrorist attacks to ensure their adequate protection.
The transit-without-visa practice has been extended until 1 July 1973 and the visa applications of possible terrorists continue to be screened carefully.
Procedures have been updated—conforming with DOT’s stiffened anti-hijacking program—for handling international skyjacking activities that involve U.S. carriers flying abroad and foreign carriers using U.S. airports.
CIA compiles a weekly report summarizing and evaluating intelligence on international terrorism from all sources (including FBI and Secret Service).

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Internationally, although most governments deplore terrorism, many are unwilling to take constructive action against it. This attitude was exemplified in the UNGA on 12 December when our strong resolution against terrorism was voted down 74 to 36 in favor of one to study its “underlying causes”—thereby in effect burying the matter. There are encouraging developments:

In response to our initiative, 50 experts from the U.S. and other NATO nations consulted at Brussels in December—with constructive results—on ways to expand cooperation in the exchange of intelligence and methodology in preventing or coping with terrorist acts. Since then there has been a particularly useful follow-up talk with Canadian officials in Ottawa to establish procedures for handling hijacking cases involving both countries.
South American interest in cooperation against international terrorism was reflected in their positive attitude at UNGA. We are encouraging regional efforts against terrorism through our discussions with the Inter-American Defense Board and, in prospect, an ad hoc committee of the OAS.
U.S. -Cuban negotiations toward an agreement on hijacking are proceeding and, in themselves, may be having a deterrent effect on hijacking.
We will press for an aviation security enforcement convention with teeth a the meeting of the Legal Committee of the International Civil Air Organization (ICAO) now taking place in Montreal.

Although our efforts in the UNGA against terrorism have been abortive, healthy progress has been made with regional groupings such as NATO. We have refined procedures for collecting and analyzing information on terrorism worldwide and for sharing this information with other nations.

Formidable problems still exist in preventing terrorist acts and even in getting all—or the great majority—of nations to join in the fight against terrorism and to devise sanctions against offending nations. The present ICAO meeting offers some—but not great—hope of a start in this direction.

We believe the Cabinet Committee has performed well, although much work remains to be done. The government agencies represented have implemented procedures for quick and effective cooperation to prevent or cope with terrorism should it occur. We are now considerably better set up to protect foreign dignitaries in the U.S. though we can never presume to have a foolproof system.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 310, Subject Files, Cabinet Committee on Terrorism, September 72–July 73, 1 of 1. Confidential. Sent for information. The attached NSC correspondence profile indicates that Nixon noted the memorandum on January 24.
  2. The memorandum summarized and attached an update from Rogers to Nixon about domestic and international activities to combat terrorism.