16. National Security Study Memorandum 331


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Director of Central Intelligence


  • Contingency Planning for the Middle East

The President has directed the preparation of studies for various contingencies in the Middle East. As directed in the guidelines for contingency planning these papers should include a careful orchestration of political and military actions. These studies should be performed by the Near East Interdepartmental Group and should be submitted to the Review Group by the dates indicated below:

Resumption of Arab-Israeli Hostilities. This should examine possible U.S. actions in the event of renewed conflict in the Middle East provoked by either the Arabs or Israel. It should assume that the USSR [Page 59] and the US do not become involved to the extent of engaging in actual hostilities in support of either side. (May 23, 1969)

Jordan. This should explore the most likely crises as a result of internal or external pressures. (April 4, 1969)

Possible US-Soviet Confrontation. This should cover contingencies relating to accidental or deliberate direct Soviet involvement in the Mideast which could lead toward US–USSR confrontation. (April 25, 1969)

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–141, National Security Study Memoranda. Secret. A copy was sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of the United States Information Agency.