256. Memorandum From Richard Smyser of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger, Washington, undated.1 2


FROM: W.R. Smyser [WRS initialed]
SUBJECT: Telling the Koreans our Aid Plans

Deputy Secretary Clements will meet with South Korean representatives at the US-ROK Security Consultative Meeting next month in Hawaii. He has sent you a memorandum (Tab B) proposing certain things he wishes to tell the Koreans at that time. They are:

  • — That we are planning to phase out grant aid with the exception of training and some minor programs by the end of FY 1976 and that we will compensate by trying to expand FMS, but that they should plan to move rapidly to cash and commercial sales arrangements. Secretary Clements says the Koreans recognize that our grant aid will continue to decline and that this will help their planning.
  • — That, as the Koreans become more self-sufficient and acquire improved weapon systems, elements of the U.S. military presence can be expected to decline.

Secretary Clements knows that any terminal date for grant aid goes against the prohibition in NSDM 227 of July, 1973 (Tab C).

We do not yet have State’s views but Ambassador Habib has told me that he opposes telling the Koreans we will reduce our forces as the Koreans improve theirs. He opposes telling the Koreans that we will phase out grant aid by the end of FY 1976; he prefers giving the end of FY 1977 as the terminal date, adding the provision that this depends on the levels of aid before that date. He also believes it would be useful to give the Koreans a date because it would make it easier for them to conduct their planning if they know when our aid will stop.

As for the date, I am reluctant to change a NSDM without more thorough consideration than we have been able to give this problem in time for Mr. Clements’ meeting. I would also like to get Korean views and the judgments of some other agencies before we decide.

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Like Habib, I think we should not create a disincentive for the Koreans by telling them that we will pull out our forces as they improve their own.

We also need to calculate the possible impact of these changes on the President’s visit. Ambassador Habib says that the changes in aid plans will have no effect: the Koreans even expect them. He says that the troop presence is much more sensitive.


That you sign the attached memorandum (Tab A).

Richard T. Kennedy [RTK initialed]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–241, NSDMs, NSDM 227, folder 6. Secret. Sent for urgent action. Concurred in by Kennedy. Attached but not published are Tab A the undated draft memorandum from Kissinger to the Secretary of Defense and the Deputy Secretary of State; and Tab B, the memorandum from Clements to Kissinger. Tab C, NSDM 227, is attached and published as Document 243. Kissinger did not sign Tab A. An attached note from Scowcroft indicates that the matter was instead handled by phone on September 23.
  2. Smyser sent Kissinger a memorandum about informing the South Korean government of U.S. aid plans.