306. National Security Study Memorandum 1751


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense


  • U.S. Nuclear Defense Policy Toward France

1. The President has directed that a study be prepared to review all aspects of the present and alternative U.S. nuclear defense relationships with France. The study should be conducted in two parts.

Part I. This part of the study should include:

a. A concise description of accomplishments under NSDMs 103 and 104, together with a statement of practical and substantive difficulties encountered due to the constraints included in the NSDMs.

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b. A report on the items of current interest to France in the missile area now precluded by the NSDMs, and an analysis of the pros and cons of expanding the assistance into these areas, including:

—an evaluation of the benefits to France and the impact on the effectiveness of French strategic forces;

—an evaluation of the security risks inherent in furnishing assistance on each of the items in question; and

—an analysis of changes in legislation, if any, necessary to carry out such assistance, and the likely reactions of the Congress.

c. An examination of the feasibility of a U.S. offer to France to conduct future French nuclear tests at U.S. underground nuclear test facilities in Nevada.

d. An evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of renewing the nuclear information exchange agreement with France to permit transmission of RD/FRD information.

Part II. This part of the study should include:

a. An evaluation of the potential reactions of the Soviet Union in the SALT II context to expanded U.S. missile assistance to France, and an evaluation of UK, FRG and other European reactions to such expanded assistance.

b. An analysis of overall defense policy alternatives available to the U.S. within which U.S.-French nuclear defense relations might develop, as well as the political objectives appropriate to each, including:

—the preservation of the UK “special relationship” as the main vehicle for U.S.-European nuclear relations;

—the development of roughly equivalent nuclear relationships with the UK and France on a bilateral basis;

—the development of new U.S. nuclear relationships with both countries based on their agreement to pursue their nuclear development efforts in concert.

2. In view of the sensitivity of this subject, participation in the work of the study must be strictly limited and the entire subject handled on a highly classified, restricted access basis.

3. This study will be prepared by ad hoc groups comprising representatives of the addressees and the NSC staff. The ad hoc group for Part I of the study should be chaired by the representative of the Department of Defense; the ad hoc group for Part II of the study should be chaired by the representative of the Secretary of State. The completed studies should be forwarded not later than April 15, 1973 to the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs for consideration by the NSC Senior Review Group.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Summary: The President directed a review of U.S. nuclear defense policy toward France.

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–198, Study Memorandums, 1969–1974, NSSM–175. Top Secret; Sensitive. Copies were sent to the DCI and the Chairman of the JCS. For NSDM 103, Military Cooperation with France, and NSDM 104, Cooperation with France on Nuclear Safety, see Documents 153 and 154, Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XLI, Western Europe; NATO, 1969–1972.