231. Memorandum From Richard Kennedy of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, January 16, 1973.1 2


January 16, 1973


Much to our amazement, Habib has drafted a proposed policy paper which, among other things, proposes that we be planning a reduction of U.S. forces in FY 1974 and an internal study looking to their total withdrawal in the FY 75-76 period (Tab B). He also wants to consider seriously phasing out all grant assistance in the FY 76-77 period.

We think this should be turned off firmly now before it leaks out (which it most certainly will — given the wishful thinking on the part of some elements in State). Otherwise, we are headed for a disaster in our relations with the ROK at this critical juncture. We will be handling this firmly in the bureaucracy but believe that the attached backchannel to Habib (Tab A) can put things in focus and get him personally lined up.

Recommend you approve the attached message.
Approve [HK initialed]

R.T. Kennedy


  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 544, Country Files, Far East, Korea, Volume 6, January 1973–October 1973. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for action. A notation near the bottom reads, “John Holdridge concurs.” Kissinger initialed his approval of the recommendation. Habib’s proposed policy paper enclosed in A–432 from Seoul, December 10, 1972 and the draft backchannel telegram are attached but not published. Backchannel telegram 30190 from Kissinger to Habib, January 24, is ibid., Box 411, Backchannel Messages, Southeast Asia, vol. 1.
  2. Kennedy recommended that Kissinger approve a cable informing Habib of U.S. policy toward Korean security and development issues.