Foreign Relations of the United States 1969-1976
Government Printing Office, 2001 - 808 sivua
Chapter one focuses on the Nixon administration's handling of national security policy. Distracted by the unfolding Watergate scandal, neither Nixon nor Kissinger took as active an interest in this area as they had during Nixon's first term in office. The President nevertheless began his second term by outlining-- in meetings with Elliot L. Richardson, Secretary of Defense from January to May 1973; the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Department of State and administration officials; and various lawmakers--his views on the importance of maintaining a strong defense -posture, primarily to provide him with bargaining chips in arms control negotiations with Soviet premier Leonid I. Brezhnev. As the documents indicate, the Nixon administration reached a number of major decisions, including ones to overhaul U.S. Asian and nuclear strategies, the latter moving from massive retaliation toward limited nuclear employment options, as specified in National Security Decision Memorandum 242, January 17, 1974.
The second and third chapters examine national security policy under the Ford administration, whose activities in this area accelerated during the presidential election year of 1976. The United States' defense posture relative to that of the Soviet Union became a resonant issue during President Ford's quest for the Republican presidential nomination against former California Governor Ronald Reagan, his closest competitor, who charged that the administration had allowed the nation to slip behind while focusing on detente. As the documents show, Ford adopted a tough public stance on defense, declaring that, under his watch, "the United States will never become second to anybody, period," and submitting increased defense budgets to Congress. Once Ford secured the nomination, his administration initiated major studies of the nation's civil defense posture and its overall military strategy. To handle such defense issues, the administration created the Defense Review Panel (DRP), a National Security Council subcommittee chaired by Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense from November 1975 until
January 1977. The DRP was a reconstituted version of the Defense Program Review Committee, which had become moribund after being highly involved in national security matters throughout the first Nixon administration and into early 1973. Just before leaving office in January 1977, the Ford administration reached several important policy decisions, including one regarding naval shipbuilding, a topic under review since early 1973. Also, on January 20--the day of incoming President Jimmy Carter's inauguration--President Ford signed National Security Decision Memorandum 348, the first major overhaul of U.S. defense policy and military posture since 1969.
The fourth chapter deals with a closely related topic: the U.S. intelligence community's estimation of Soviet and, to a lesser extent, Chinese military capabilities. Since the mid-1960s, the Soviet Union had greatly increased its capabilities, narrowing the once-large strategic gap between it and the United States. A decade later, Soviet capabilities had increased to the point that the question became whether Moscow sought strategic parity or superiority relative to the United States. As the documents show, a debate raged within both the Nixon and Ford
administrations regarding Soviet intentions, the accepted assessment of which would go a long way toward determining the appropriate U.S. defense posture. The CIA's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) 11-318-74, November 14, 1974, reiterated earlier estimates that the Soviets probably sought no less than equality with the United States plus "some degree of strategic advantage," if possible. Critics charged that the CIA's estimates, including NIE 11-318-74, consistently underestimated Soviet capabilities and misinterpreted Soviet intentions. According to the documents, the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) led the charge, recommending to President Ford in August 1975 that an experiment in competitive analysis be undertaken to subject the intelligence community's methodology and assumptions to rigorous examination. PFIAB's proposal called for a team of outside experts--subsequently nicknamed "Team B"--to produce its own "competitive" Soviet estimate based upon the same data used by national intelligence officers--"Team A"--in reaching their official one. Each team released its report at the very end of 1976, both of which are printed herein. In addition to finished intelligence, previously classified records generated by the White House, PFIAB, CIA, and the
United States Intelligence Board (USIB) illuminate this important and controversial episode in intelligence history. In addition to the Team A/Team B controversy, a number of other important issues are documented in this chapter, including national net assessment, estimates of Soviet defense spending, and their attendant methodological challenges.
Chapter five documents the Ford administration's efforts to improve the security of U.S. telecommunications in the wake of reports that the Soviets were intercepting the calls of key Washington officials. PFIAB took an especial interest in this episode, concerned that classified and/or sensitive information would be further compromised. The Ford administration issued a number of decision memoranda instituting short- and longer-term measures to rectify the problem.
The sixth chapter documents the "Hughes Glomar Explorer"'s secret mission to raise a sunken Soviet submarine, documented by previously classified records of the CIA, the USIB, the White House, and the 40 Committee, the National Security Council subcommittee responsible for covert operations. In March 1968, a Soviet Golf 11-class submarine suffered an internal explosion and sank on a routine patrol mission in the Pacific Ocean. The Soviet Union subsequently conducted a fruitless search for the downed submarine. The United States located it in August 1968 and surveyed the crash site. In 1970, USIB Chairman Richard Helms made raising the submarine a high priority because the ballistic missiles, nuclear warheads, and cipher materials that it contained would provide valuable insights into Soviet military technology and cryptography. The 40 Committee charged the CIA with the mission to recover the entire submarine. It took several years to develop the sophisticated technology required, a process overseen by the CIA'S Office of Science and Technology. As the documents show, firms owned by billionaire industrialist Howard Hughes and a defense contractor actually built the hardware: a ship, the "Hughes Glomar Explorer"; an enormous barge to hold the recovered submarine; and a capture vehicle, which consisted of gigantic claws designed to descend below the water's surface and to raise the vessel from its great depth. The cover story developed was that the "Hughes Glomar Explorer "was being built for Hughes' private commercial venture to mine manganese nodules located on the ocean floor. The ship's first mission, approved by President Nixon on June 7, 1974, was only partially successful. Amidst preparations for a second mission, press reports in March 1975 exposed the operation and blew its cover. As a result, the Soviet Union became aware of the "Hughes Glomar Explorer"'s actual purpose, a factor that weighed on Ford administration officials' minds as they considered whether or not to proceed with the planned second mission. On March 28, 1975, Director of Central Intelligence William Colby argued that it was "inadvisable to undertake a second mission" due to the operation's exposure. On June 5, the 40 Committee met and concluded that the program should be terminated. On June 16, President Ford officially approved the committee's recommendation to discontinue the operation.
Like all recent "Foreign Relations "volumes in the Nixon-Ford subseries, the emphasis of this volume is on the formulation of policy, rather than its implementation. Regarding national security policy, the key players in the policymaking process were the White House, the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Central Intelligence Agency, with input from the Department of State; on certain issues, the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and the United States Intelligence Board also played important roles.
This comprehensive volume will appeal to high school students through graduate school scholars and historical researchers interested in the U.S. National Security decisions and implementation with Russia (Soviet Union) during the Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations. This volume also explores U.S. defense and foreign relations with China as well as the role of the US Central Intelligence Agency during this era. Academic and Public libraries will want to add this volume to their foreign policy resource collections. Special libraries that specialize in national defense and foreign affairs or relations will also want to have a copy of this resource for their historical collections.
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