Orchestrating the Instruments of Power:

A Critical Examination of the
U.S. National Security System

Cold War Strategies

As of 12 October 2015

Supplemental Material for Chapter 5

The State Department is methodically digitizing old policy statements for presentation in the online version of Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS). My original photocopies are speckled, redacted, and huge. I will replace speckled photocopies (pdf or jpg) with links to FRUS (html) as they become available.

Early Cold War

Truman (1945-1949)


Kennan Long Telegram 1946,02,22 pdf

NSC-20/4 National Security Strategy 1948,11,23 (Kennan) pdf

Covert Operations

Worthy of note is that the first term of the Truman administration established the framework for covert operations and intelligence infrastructure. For a focused collection of documents provided in FRUS, see Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment 1945-1950 html and its subset on Psychological and Political Warfare html. See also NSC Intelligence Directives 1947-1950 html.

NSC 1/1 Position of the United States with Respect to Italy 1947,11,14 html

The record on Italy (97mb) pdf

NSC 4 Covert Operations 1947,12,09 html, 1947,12,12 html

NSC 4-A Covert Operations 1947,12,17 html

NSC 1/2 Position of the United States with Respect to Italy 1948,02,10 html

NSC 1/3 Position of the United States with Respect to Italy 1948,03,08 html

NSC 10/2 Covert Operations 1948,06,18 html

Cold War

Truman (1949-1953)

A FRUS index of historical documents from the Truman administration html


Truman initially rejected the aggressive NSC 68 (Nitze) over budgetary concerns but adopted it soon after the invasion of South Korea. It was rescinded toward the end of the administration having been found to be too expensive to sustain and was replaced by a more political than military strategy (Kennan).

NSC 68 National Security Strategy 1950,04,07 (Nitze) pdf

Bohlen on review of NSC 68 and 114, basis of Soviet action 1952,03,27 html

Kennan Dispatch 1952,09,08 (NATO effects on USSR) pdf

Nitze on draft Reappraisal of Objectives and Strategy 1952,07,14 html

Nitze on Reappraisal of Objectives and Strategy 1952,07,30 html

NSC 135/3 National Security Strategy replaces NSC 68 1952,09,25 html

NSC 141 Reexamination of US National Security Programs 1953,01,19 html

NSC 153/1 Restatement of Basic National Security Policy 1953,06,10 html

Psychological Operations

NSC 59/1 The Foreign Information Program and Psychological Warfare Planning 1950,03,09 pdf

Presidential directive establishing the Psychological Strategy Board 1951,04,04 html

Low-Intensity Conflict

NSC 90 on guerrilla warfare 1950,05,26 html

Memo on NSC 90 1951,05,23 html

Economic Warfare, Covert Preclusive Buying

From the earliest Cold War, covert preclusive buying was considered to prevent certain materials from falling into the wrong hands. Over the years, materials included Congolese uranium, Chilean copper, and Cambodian rice.

Report on preclusive buying 1952,06,12 html


Eisenhower’s New Look (1953-1961)

Perhaps what is most noticeable in the Eisenhower administration is the perpetual, cyclic review of national security policy to keep up with continuously changing geopolitical conditions. It’s all part of the “policy hill” process.

Also noteworthy is the attention paid by the administration to development of the information instrument and the US Information Agency. The record is thoroughly presented in a FRUS compendium html and html.

National Intelligence Estimate

NIE 100-5-55 (nuclear) 1955,06,05 html

NIE 100-7-55 (general) 1955,11,01 html

NIE 100-4-11 (Soviet) 1957,11,12 html

Basic National Security Policy

NSC 149/2 Reexamination of US National Security Programs 1953,04,29 html

NSC memo Directing Review of Basic National Security Policy (Solarium) 1953,06,01 html

NSC 153/1 Basic National Security Policy 1953,06,10 html

NSC notes on first meeting of Solarium with good summary of task force reports 1953,06,26 html

NSC Memo summarizing Solarium Task Force Reports 1953,07,22 html

NSC Memo distributing Solarium, Task Force Reports 1953,08,12 html (full reports and additional Solarium documents html)

NSC 162 Draft Basic National Security Policy 1953,09,30 html

NSC 162/2 Basic National Security Policy 1953,10,30 pdf, html

NSC 5422 Tentative Guidelines updating NSC 162 1954,06,14 html

NSC 5422 Agency Annexes updating NSC 162 1954,06,14 html

NSC 5422/2 Basic National Security Policy 1954,08,07 html

NSC 5440 Basic National Security Policy 1954,12,13 draft html

NSC 5501 Basic National Security Policy 1955,01,07 html

NSC 5602/1 Basic National Security Policy 1956,03,15 html

NSC 5707/8 Basic National Security Policy 1957,06,03 html

NSC 5810/1 Basic National Security Policy 1958,05,05 html

NSC 5906/1 Basic National Security Policy 1959,08,05 html

Covert Operations and Psychological Operations

The Intelligence Community, 1950-1955, a FRUS compendium html

Psychological Warfare Plan for General War 1951,04,09 pdf (caution 100MB with only 8 pages)

NSC 5412 Covert Operations 1954,03,15 html

NSC 5412/1 Covert Operations 1955,03,12 html

NSC 5412/2 Covert Operations 1955,12,28 html, from The Intelligence Community 1950-1955 pdf

NSC 5812/1 Wartime Psychological Operations 1958,05,16 (not yet found)

Overseas Internal Defense (Mutual Security Program)

NSC 5425/1 Organization for Internal Security yyyy,mm,dd (not yet found)

Annual Report on Overseas Internal Security Program 1958,03,11 pdf


Kennedy-Johnson’s Flexible Response (1961-1969)

National Intelligence Estimate: Estimate of the World Situation

NIE 1-61, 1961,01,17 pdf

Basic National Security Policy

From FRUS overviewLeading Kennedy administration policymakers in the White House, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense, but not the President himself, worked to frame a basic national security policy (BNSP), which would replace NSC 5906/1 of July 1959, the last such statement of policy in the preceding administration. While he had little interest in an umbrella BNSP paper, President Kennedy did from time to time set forth a multi-subject overview of U.S. policy, either in the full NSC meetings or with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” The links below are to photocopies of BNSP drafts that were circulated but never signed into policy by the president.

Memo conveying and including draft BNSP (85pp), FRUS summary, 1961,12,05 pdf

INR comments on draft BNSP, 1962,03,06 pdf

Draft BNSP (185pp), 1962,06,22 pdf

Draft BNSP (best available copy), (recreation), 1963,11,08

Counterinsurgency Policy

NSAM 2 directing Development of Counter-Guerrilla Forces, 1961,02,03 jpg

JCS Development of Counter-Guerrilla Forces memo, 1961,03,11 pdf

Counter-Guerrilla Warfare Task Force report, 1961,12,11 pdf

CIA on Counter-Guerrilla Warfare Task Force report, 1962,02,02 pdf

NSAM 182 promulgating Overseas Internal Defense Policy, 1962,08,24 html

Overseas Internal Defense Policy, 1962,09 (redacted photocopy)

Overseas Internal Defense Policy, 1962,09 (recreation)

Nixon-Ford’s Détente (1969-1977)

The world Nixon inherited as president differed considerably from the one he experienced as vice president under Eisenhower. Eisenhower had a near nuclear monopoly and planned accordingly. A major issue for the Kennedy administration was counterinsurgency policy, and the Johnson NSC was consumed by counterinsurgency in Vietnam. During the JFK/LBJ era, the Soviets reached nuclear parity and China began to look like a nuclear threat as well. The Nixon NSC spent considerable time dealing with strategic nuclear force issues and trying to distance his administration from counterinsurgency. The documents on strategic nuclear forces are too numerous to mention here, but they are accessible in the administration’s NSSMs and NSDMs.

The Nixon presidential library provides all declassified National Security Study Memoranda (NSSM) and National Security Directive Memoranda (NSDM). Reports to Congress are available from the Public Papers of Presidents archive here or here.

Nixon Administration 1969-1974

National Security Study Memoranda html

National Security Decision Memoranda html

Ford Administration 1974-1977

Foreign Affairs and National Security html

National Security Study Memoranda and National Security Decision Memoranda html

The Pentagon Papers are available here, html

Foreign Policy

I have found no documents called national security strategy (NSS) or basic national security policy (BNSP). The pattern in this administration is to direct a foreign policy review annually by National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM). Each NSSM provides a list of areas (e.g., Southeast Asia) and functions (e.g., arms control) for review. The practice was to deliver to Congress an annual report on foreign policy produced by the annual review. (Perhaps there was also a more expansive written report.) The policy statements for specified regions and functions are in individual National Security Directive Memorandum (NSDM). Less frequently, the administration directed a military posture review. The foreign policy statement has more the flavor of national security strategy, while the military posture underwrote foreign policy objectives.

FRUS provides a compendium of papers addressing foreign policy including the minutes of NSC meetings:

Foundations of Foreign Policy, 1969-1972 pdf (3.25MB, 1093pp)

NSSM 80 directing annual foreign policy review, 1969,10,27 pdf

First Annual Report to the Congress on U.S. Foreign Policy, 1970,02,18 html

NSSM 102 directing annual foreign policy review, 1970,09,21 pdf

Second Annual Report to the Congress on U.S. Foreign Policy, 1971,02,25 html

NSSM 137 directing annual foreign policy review, 1971,09,22 pdf

Third Annual Report to the Congress on U.S. Foreign Policy, 1972,02,09 html

NSSM 161 directing annual foreign policy review, 1972,09,25 pdf

Fourth Annual Report to the Congress on U.S. Foreign Policy, 1973,05,03 html

NSSM 188 directing annual foreign policy review, 1973,10,24 pdf

Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress Reporting on U.S. Foreign Policy (Ford), 1975,04,10 html

Strategic Nuclear Policy

An authority on the Nixon administration and Watergate offers an interesting take on the neoconservatives working against Nixon inside the Nixon administration, html, particularly in ACDA.

NSDM 16 Criteria for Strategic Sufficiency, 1969,06,24 pdf

Defense Policy

Nixon entered office after campaigning to end the war in Vietnam, and quickly initiated a military posture and balance of power review.

NSSM 3 directing military posture and balance of power review, 1969,01,21 pdf

NSSM 24 directing steering group for military posture review, 1969,02,20 pdf

NSC Meeting on NSSM 3, 1969,06,13. [searching]

Responses to NSSM 3 included in H-126,127,128 in NSC institutional files. [searching, may wait on trip to Nixon Library]

NSDM 27 US Military Posture, 1969,10,11, pdf.


Ford presided over North Vietnam’s military takeover of the South without a US response. He directed a post-Vietnam defense policy and military posture review.

NSSM 246 directing defense policy and military posture review, 1976,09,02 pdf

Some of the reports stemming from NSSM 246 and leading to NSDM 348 can be found here.

NSDM 348 response to NSSM 246, 1977,01,27 pdf

Economic Policy

The Nixon administration was frustrated with a poorly integrated foreign economic policy, with various agencies vying for lead, as reflected in the following memo.

Memo “How Foreign Economic Policy Might Be More Effectively Organized,” 1973,11,20 html

Carter’s Détente (1977-1981)

Presidential Review Memoranda html

Presidential Directives html

FRUS provides a compendium of papers addressing foreign policy including the minutes of NSC meetings:

Foundations of Foreign Policy, 1977-1980, a FRUS compendium pdf


PRM 10 directing a strategy review, 1977,02,18 pdf

The final report pdf

PD 18 National Security Strategy, 1977,08,24 pdf

PD 62 Modification to Strategy after Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, 1981,01,15 pdf

PD 30 Human rights in strategy, 1978,02,17 pdf


PRM 11 intelligence structure and mission, 1977,02,22 pdf

Report not yet found, searching.


PRM 30 terrorism 1977,06,02 pdf

Report not yet found, searching.

Reagan’s Offensive Rollback (1981-1989)

National Security Study Directives 1981-1989 html

National Security Decision Directives 1981-1989 html


Executive Order 12333--United States intelligence activities, 1981,12,04 html


NSSD 1-82 directing strategy review, 1982,02,05 pdf

Strategy Review Report (report not yet found)

NSC meeting on NSSD 1-82, 1982,04,27 pdf

NSDD 32 National Security Strategy, 1982,05,20 pdf

NSDD 75 US v USSR, 1983,01,17 pdf

NSDD 238 Basic National Security Strategy, 1986,09,02 pdf

The Reagan administration is the first to produce a glossy, unclassified strategy document for public distribution as per Goldwater-Nichols legislation. Subsequent administrations produced strategy documents in similar format.

National Security Strategy 1987,01 pdf

National Security Strategy 1988,01 pdf

Low-Intensity Conflict

NSSD 5-86 Study Directive for LIC, 1986,10,23 pdf

NSDD 277 Report on LIC policy, 1987,06,15 pdf


NSDD 179 task force on combatting terrorism 1985,07,20 pdf

NSDD 205 against Libyan support of terrorism 1986,01,08 pdf

NSDD 207 national plan for combatting terrorism pdf


NSDD 130 international information policy 1984,03,06 pdf

Covert Operations

NSDD 159 Covert Action 1985,01,18 pdf

NSDD 286 Authorizing Covert Action (extract), 1987,06,09 pdf photocopy

Cold War Event Vignettes

Vignettes (captures the text blocks included in the earlier edition of Orchestrating but excluded in the 2015 edition) pdf

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