4. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1 2


  • Study of Trends in North Africa

As you know, there has been a series of disturbing developments in North Africa over the past year. Most conspicuous has been the coup in Libya. But we also have President Bourguiba’s declining health in Tunisia. Morocco seems calm on the surface, but there has long been dissatisfaction with the government of young King Hassan. Algeria seems to be steering a course of its own with a combination of private American and official French and Soviet aid and it seems to have improved its relations with Morocco and Tunisia recently. But it is the potential power in North Africa, and we have as a government not paid as much attention to it perhaps as we could have.

I propose a modest review of our programs in North Africa as they stack up against the trend of events there. This would involve a CIA estimate of the prospects and a paper in the NSC process reviewing our options in relation to the trends. I would bring this paper at least as far as the NSC Review Group and leave open the judgment on whether it would need to come to the NSC. You have expressed a desire to discuss Libya there at some point, but it may be that the purpose of focusing bureaucratic attention on the problem more actively could be accomplished by this exercise, leaving the results for your study outside of the NSC along with any action decisions that might need to be made.

Recommendation: That you approve the attached National Security Study Memorandum.

Approve [RN initialed 1–21–70]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-169, NSSM Files, NSSM 87. Secret. Sent for action. The President approved the recommendation on January 21.
  2. In light of recent regional developments, Kissinger recommended that the President authorize a review of U.S. programs in North Africa.