74. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the Council on International Economic Policy (Flanigan) to President Nixon1 2


  • International Space Cooperation—Technology and Launch Assistance

The Acting Chairman of the Under Secretaries Committee has forwarded to you the third in a series of four studies on international space cooperation—this one on technology and launch assistance.

The study considers three issues:

  • —A need for a clear and explicit statement of our objectives in international space cooperation;
  • —Our policy in providing advance assurance that we will launch other countries’ payloads; and
  • —Our policy for transferring space technology abroad as part of such cooperation.

As to our objectives, in the past there have been frequent interagency disputes because of different perceptions of the goal of international space cooperation. In fact, we are motivated by a variety of considerations, often conflicting. A clear statement of our objectives will not only clarify what our objectives are, but will show their conflicting nature, so that individual cases can be considered by balancing objectives rather than by polarizing among them. The study recommends, and all interested agencies support, a statement of objectives whose main categories are: advancement of science and technology, furtherance of our foreign policy; enhancing national security; and obtaining economic advantage.

We have already adopted a liberal policy of assuring launch assistance for members of the European Space Community, whereby we agree to provide launch services for any payload consistent with our obligations under relevant international agreements. (This constraint refers to communications satellites which might compete with Intelsat.) The study [Page 2] recommends extending such assurances to all friendly countries both as a gesture of cooperation and to encourage others to invest resources in cooperative programs rather than in launcher development. Only the Executive Secretary of the National Aeronautics and Space Council disagrees with this recommendation. He believes that its implications have not been adequately considered. We believe that this proposal, having been examined by the Under Secretaries Committee, has in fact been adequately considered.

U.S. policies on the export of space technology have generally been based on national security considerations. The study recognizes the importance of other factors, particularly economic interests such as release of commercial know-how, implications for the competitive position of the U.S. aerospace industry, return on American investment in space technology, and possible effects on domestic employment and balance of payments. The study recommends and all interested agencies support a policy which distinguishes between the export of hardware and the export of know-how, and which establishes criteria generally using the former to satisfy requests for technology assistance.

We recommend that you approve the policies recommended by the study.

The draft NSDM at Tab A (1) approves the proposed policies, some of which enter into force when the Intelsat agreements do, (2) rescinds policy statements which are superseded, and (3) establishes an Executive Office committee to oversee policy implementation.


That you approve promulgation of the NSDM at Tab A.

APPROVE [RN initialed]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–236, NSDM 187 (1 of 2). Confidential; Noforn. Sent for action. Nixon approved the recommendation. A stamped notation indicates the President saw it.
  2. The memorandum summarized the arguments in favor of a proposed National Security Decision Memorandum concerning technology and launch assistance.