305. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, May 3, 1973.1 2


May 3, 1973

SUBJECT: Negotiating Instructions on the Future Status of the Marianas District of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Micronesia)

At Tab B is a memorandum to you from the Chairman of the Under Secretaries Committee asking your approval on their proposed instructions to your Personal Representative for Micronesian Status Negotiations, Ambassador F. Haydn Williams, for negotiations on the future status of the Marianas District of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI). As you will recall, our negotiating with the Marianas separately from the other five TTPI districts resulted from the request of the Marianas, who have long wanted a closer permanent relationship with us than the other districts.

The only controversial aspect of the USC recommendations is the question of our military land requirements in the Mariana Islands. The USC recommends that Ambassador Williams first try to secure our maximum land requirements: the purchase or lease of the entire island of Tinian, relocating its 800 inhabitants to Saipan, plus the acquisition of certain facilities and areas on Saipan and of the small uninhabited island of Farrallon de Medinilla (which is to be used as a bombing range). The USC fallback on Tinian — the potentially serious sticking point — would be first to modify or withdraw our requirements on Saipan, second to leave Tinian’s population on the island but still to acquire the entire island (leasing back about 7,000 acres to the Tinianese), and last to acquire only three-quarters of the island (which the USC memorandum calls the “minimum and essential requirement”).

We have serious doubts about taking all of Tinian, and a recent report from the State Department Political Adviser in the TTPI, whose past assessments have proved largely accurate, confirms these doubts as to the advisability of even trying to secure the Mariana’s agreement to vacate Tinian’s population to Saipan. The report arrived after the USC memorandum was submitted. Our Political Advisor and others began focusing on this aspect of Tinianese attitudes only recently because Defense only about two months [Page 2] ago shifted to the position that we definitely should press for exclusive use of the whole of Tinian. Previously, Defense had held only that this would be desirable.

The report (Tab C) confirms that such a negotiating request would be a complete surprise to the Marianas, would scotch Tinian’s hopes to benefit economically from the U.S. military presence and by greatly stimulating suspicions would set the Marianas negotiations back seriously from the outset. Ambassador Williams’ subsequent conversation with the Marianas chief negotiator strongly supports this estimate. An informal survey of the USC members, in light of the Political Advisers report, shows that State arid Justice agree with that estimate, as do OMB and Ambassador Williams. Defense and Interior dissent, with the latter considerably weaker in its disagreement with the estimate than the former.

I believe we should not risk upsetting the negotiations at the outset. This would endanger our major immediate objective of concluding the negotiations expeditiously for the impact it would have on our stalled negotiations with the other five districts. This risk would seem to outweigh the potential gain of avoiding the usual possible off-base relations problems, the 7,000 additional acres of military maneuver area, and the added increment of negotiating leverage inherent in opening with a stiffer demand on the Marianas.

Therefore, I recommend that Ambassador Williams begin by trying to acquire (a) the whole of Tinian through purchase or lease, but offer to lease back the southeast corner for the relocation of the island’s population, (b) certain facilities and areas on Saipan and (c) the whole Farralion de Medinilla. His fallback would be to acquire only three-fourths of Tinian — requirements on Saipan if necessary to do so — and to acquire the whole of Farralion de Medinilla.

Approve [RN initialed]

The other aspects of the USC-recommended negotiating package — with which I agree — are:

  • - Negotiating objectives. In the main, to seek a close, permanent political relationship with the Marianas that will bring them under U.S. sovereignty and will satisfy our security requirements; and to conclude negotiations expeditiously and in a manner that will have the maximum beneficial effort on the temporarily stalled negotiations with the other five districts.
  • — Political status. To offer the Marianas a commonwealth arrangement, which they favor on the grounds that this will give them maximum internal political control and will confer greater prestige. However if the Marianas wanted to shift to any of the other three options — integration with Guam, integration with Guam but with safeguards against Guam’s domination of the less developed Marianas, or unincorporated territorial status — Ambassador Williams would be authorized to negotiate these. If the Marianas wanted a looser form of association, however, Ambassador Williams would be required to return for new instructions.
  • — Financial arrangements. Offer direct grants of up to $12 million for the first five years (after which our normal budgetary procedures would apply), a range of Federal programs and services which we would expect would be in excess of the approximately $2.5 million the Marianas now receive in this form, short-term assistance to cover transitional costs, and land acquisition and relocation costs. OMB recommends that direct grants be held to the minimum consistent with mutual agreement on program needs, and that any specific amount be approved by the Director of OMB. I believe that overly stringent financial restrictions would contradict the impression of generosity that we are trying to create: your approval of the over-all level would cover OMB’s second point.
  • — Interim arrangements. Ambassador Williams would be authorized to negotiate with the Marianas on the implementation of the agreement as soon as possible, and prior to the termination of the Trusteeship, as a whole if necessary and feasible.
  • — Congressional consultations. Ambassador Williams would be instructed to consult with Congress on the substance and implementation of this agreement.

I recommend that you approve the USC recommendations on the foregoing five points.

Approve [RN initialed]

At Tab A is a draft instruction from you to Ambassador Williams which includes our recommended change on military land requirements. The original draft instruction prepared by the USC is at pages xxi-xxvi of Tab B.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, NSC East Asian and Pacific Affairs Staff: Files, (1969) 1973–1977, Box 36, Marianas (Working Files) [7]. Secret. Sent for action. The President initialed his approval of the first recommendation, which concerned the acquisition of Tinian, and the second recommendation, which approved the positions advocated by the USC. Tab A, draft instructions to Williams, is not attached. Tab B, the April 13 memorandum from Rush, the Chairman of the USC, to the President, is at National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-276, Under Secretaries Decision Memorandums, U/DM 98 [1 of 5]. Tab C, a report from the DOS Political Advisor in the TTPI, is not attached.
  2. Kissinger reported on the Under Secretaries Committee’s proposed instructions to Williams and asked Nixon to decide on the U.S. negotiating position toward Tinian.