84. Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt and David D. Elliott of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2


  • Schedule Proposal (European Participants in the Post-Apollo Space Agreement)

NASA Administrator Fletcher reports that the U.S. and nine European countries (Germany, France, U.K., Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, and Denmark) will conclude an agreement to participate jointly in our post-Apollo space program. The two most important projects are the Europeans funding (at nearly $400 million) and development of the laboratory to be carried in the space shuttle and the use of European astronauts to conduct their experiments in the laboratory.

Dr. Fletcher seeks the President’s participation in the initialing ceremony in Washington on September 24. In addition to the ambassadors of the nine countries, the President of the minister-level European Space Conference and the chief officers of the European Space Research Organization will attend. The White House scheduling office has asked for the NSC’s views on Dr. Fletcher’s proposal (Tab A).

There are two important considerations: 1) US-European Space Relations and 2) The Year of Europe.


Space Relations

This agreement is the culmination of four years of discussion and negotiation undertaken at the President’s direction, and supports his often stated desire to obtain greater international participation, burden sharing, and derivation of the benefits of space activities. It is precedential both to us and the Europeans because of the size of the commitment, the implications for further future integration of our space programs, and the sheer number of partners involved. It would, therefore, seem altogether appropriate for the President to participate in the initiation of this joint program and would indicate the high level of U.S. support, and would be commensurate with the activities of Chancellor Brandt and other top European officials whose intercession helped bring this cooperation to fruition.


Year of Europe

As we are now in a very fluid tactical period with regard to the awaited results of European consultations and the subsequent decision on the President’s trip to Europe, we run the risk of giving the Europeans an erroneous signal should the President participated in the space agreement initialing ceremony. The Europeans might conclude that the President is in fact eager for any new US-European agreements, that the US is not, in fact, as resolute on its insistence that the President’s visit must produce important results.

In summary, US-European space relations point to Presidential participation. However, in terms of our Year of Europe timing and tactics such participation is questionable. May we please have your guidance?


That you indicate whether you believe the President should participate in the US-European Post-Apollo Space Agreement initialing ceremony.

Yes, Concur in Presidential Participation [HK initialed]
No, Recommend against Presidential Participation

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 393, Subject Files, Space Programs Foreign Cooperation, (1 of 1), (1972–). Secret. Sent for action. Kissinger initialed his approval on September 10. The signing ceremony initiated the Memorandum of Understanding Between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the European Space Research Organisation for a Cooperative Programme Concerning the Development, Procurement, and Use of a Space Laboratory in Conjunction with the Space Shuttle System, signed at Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, on August 14.
  2. Kissinger approved the memorandum’s recommendation that President Nixon attend a ceremony to formalize an agreement for nine Western European nations to participate jointly in U.S. post-Apollo space programs.