66. National Security Decision Memorandum 3181 2


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of the Treasury
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Secretary of Interior
  • The Secretary of Commerce
  • The Secretary of Transportation
  • The Administrator, Federal Energy Administration
  • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • Director of National Science Foundation
  • Chairman, Council on Environmental Quality


  • U.S. Policy for Antarctica

The President has reviewed the memorandum forwarded by the Chairman of the NSC Under Secretaries Committee on November 29, 1975, which deals with funding levels and management arrangements for the U.S. Antarctic Program.

The President reaffirms the importance of maintaining an active and influential United States presence in the Antarctic. Under present budget constraints, the President has decided that the level of U.S. activity should be maintained at least at the present level. This is generally described in the report as Level III.

The President reaffirms NSDM 71, in particular the requirements that the National Science Foundation:

Budget for and manage the entire United States national program in Antarctica, including the funding of logistic support activities so that the program may be managed as a single package.
Continue to fund university research and federal agency programs related to Antarctica;
Draw upon logistic support capabilities of government agencies on a cost reimbursable basis; and
With approval of the Antarctic Policy Group, use commercial support and management facilities, in lieu of logistic support from government agencies, where these are determined by the National Science Foundation to be cost effective, and by the Antarctic Policy Group not to be detrimental to the national interest.

The President notes that United States national interests in Antarctic go well beyond the normal range of responsibilities of the National Science Foundation and directs that NSF funding for the U.S. Antarctic Program should not be at the expense of other NSF programs. The funds made available to NSF for the Antarctic are not to be utilized for other purposes.

The President agrees that the use of logistic support by the Department of Defense—assisted by the Coast Guard—gives the U.S. an important flexibility and reach to operate in that area. The DOD and DOT are to maintain the capability to provide the logistic support requested by the National Science Foundation, and are to develop in collaboration with the Foundation, the logistic arrangements and cost structure required to ensure effective and responsive program support at minimum cost.

Brent Scowcroft
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, National Security Decision Memoranda and Study Memoranda, Box 1, NSDM 318. Confidential. Copies were sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Chairman of the Under Secretaries Committee, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
  2. The President approved continuation of an active U.S. presence in the Antarctic and directed federal agencies to support NSF programs.