97. National Security Decision Memorandum 2661 2

The President has been informed of the opportunities for Soviet interception of critical unencrypted Government telephone conversations which may be carried on Washington area microwave links. He has directed that immediate defensive steps be taken to counter this situation.

In that connection, he has directed that you develop, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Director of the Office of Telecommunications Policy, a specific program designed to reduce significantly the opportunities for such interception.

The program should include near term interim measures including steps to route critical Government communications on cables or wire lines until well out of the Washington area. It also should propose more comprehensive long term measures including but not limited to expansion of the availability of secure telephones useable over standard telephone lines, and alternative programs for securing the microwave links in the Washington area. Program definition for both near term and longer term proposals should include technical descriptions, costs, and scheduling information assuring highest priorities.

Details as to specific near term interim measures which can be or are being instituted and the specific dates on which they will become effective should be submitted to the President for his consideration not later than October 1, 1974. Details of longer term measures for this program should be submitted for the President’s consideration not later than January 1, 1975.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 54, NSDM 266, Long Term Washington Communications Security (5). Top Secret; Sensitive. Copies were sent to the Deputy Secretary of State, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Director of Central Intelligence, and the Director of the Office of Telecommunications Policy.
  2. President Ford directed Secretary of Defense Schlesinger to take immediate steps to counter Soviet interception of government communications.