187. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Ford1


  • US-Iceland Defense Negotiations

In compliance with the instructions set forth in National Security Decision Memorandum 234 of October 2, 1973, “US-Icelandic Defense Negotiations,” the senior negotiator—Under Secretary of State Joseph Sisco—has submitted a report (at Tab A) on the negotiations for your review. In brief, the negotiations have been successfully concluded assuring the continued operations of the US-manned NATO Icelandic Defense Force at Keflavik, Iceland.

The Under Secretary’s report states that the negotiations were concluded ad referendum on September 26 in Washington and that the resulting understandings were signed in Iceland by Foreign Minister Einar Agustsson and our Ambassador to Iceland, Frederick Irving, on October 22. The understandings are not subject to Congressional approval in either country, although the Department of State will send a report to the Congress for its information.

Under Secretary Sisco informs you that the results of the negotiations are embodied in three documents (at Tab B) which conform ex[Typeset Page 601]actly to guidelines contained in NSDM 234. The Exchange of Notes concludes the review of the 1951 Defense Agreement, requested by Iceland in 1973 under Article VII of that Agreement, by stating that the present situation in world affairs calls for the continuation, without formal modification, of the Defense Agreement. The first objective outlined in NSDM 234 was thus attained.

The other documents, a Memorandum of Understanding and an Agreed Minute, provide that the United States will undertake to phase out 420 of its current military personnel in Iceland as fully-trained Icelanders become available to replace them in what are basically technical and administrative positions. In addition, the United States has undertaken to seek appropriations over the next three fiscal years to construct on-base housing for all U.S. military personnel stationed in Iceland. We have also agreed to cooperate with Iceland in the construction of a new civilian air terminal complex (not including a new civilian terminal building), which will separate military and civilian activities at Keflavik Airfield.

The Under Secretary’s report concludes that, as a result of the negotiations, we have obtained the agreement of the new Icelandic Government that the US-manned NATO facilities will remain in Iceland for an indefinite period. In this regard, the new Government has announced as its stated policy that it will remain a member of NATO.

This memorandum is forwarded for your information to advise you that the negotiations, of importance to NATO’s North Atlantic operations, have been successfully concluded. We have expressed your appreciation to Under Secretary Sisco for his report.

  1. Summary: Kissinger discussed the successful conclusion of the U.S.-Iceland defense negotiations.

    Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada, Box 7, Iceland. Confidential. Sent for information. Attached but not published is Tab A, an October 24 memorandum from Sisco to Kissinger; and Tab B. Scowcroft initialed the memorandum on Kissinger’s behalf. Ford initialed the memorandum.