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Letter to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services About United States Troops in Europe.

November 23, 1971

Dear John:

This week the Senate will once again consider a proposal to make a substantial unilateral reduction in United States Armed Forces maintained in Europe for the common defense. I believe passage of such a measure would be a great mistake.

The manifest Congressional concern for a more equitable sharing of defense burdens in Europe and elsewhere has been a significant factor in the formulation of our national policy. We are currently in the final stages of talks to establish improved arrangements for the sharing of the defense burden in Europe, including an agreement with West Germany to offset nearly two billion dollars of United States costs, and the second phase of the European Defense Improvement Program, to be finalized at the NATO meeting beginning December 8.

In the area of East-West relations, we expect that Mr. Brosio will be received in Moscow next week to begin discussions on basic issues in Mutual Balanced Force Reductions. At the same time, the Berlin negotiations have entered the final and most difficult stage. As you know, we are also making significant progress in the SALT negotiations.

Passage of the proposed troop cut would, with one stroke, diminish Western military capability in Europe and signal to friend and adversary alike a disarray and weakness of purpose in the American Government.

We are now preparing to undertake vitally important new initiatives for peace in two great capitals of the world. If these initiatives are to gain positive results in the months and years ahead, I must be able to rely on the firm support and the substantial and creative contribution of a bipartisan Congress. I believe that this ill-timed measure should be rejected, and that our efforts should be directed toward the positive tasks and the great opportunities for achieving a real peace that lie before us.

With best wishes,



[Honorable John C. Stennis, United States Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510]

Richard Nixon, Letter to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services About United States Troops in Europe. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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