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Five-Year Plan for the Military Assistance Program, June 26, 1969. Regarded as a "tentative planning document."
History of U.S. Decision Making Process on Vietnam Policy, December 20, 1969, July 21, 1970. “... be contrary to the national interest to disseminate it more widely."
In none of the instances where the Committee has been denied access to reports or documents has the doctrine of "executive privilege" been formally invoked through the procedures outlined by President Nixon. The growing practice of departments and agencies to refuse to provide information to Congressional committees, without the President claiming executive privilege, is a dangerous trend which erodes the authority of Congress and threatens to exacerbate further relations between the two branches. I do not believe that a no-man's land concerning Congress's right to access should exist. I, therefore, respectfully request that either the Committee be furnished with the documents listed or that the President formally invoke "executive privilege" as authority to withhold them.
Another facet of this general problem relates to the right of access of the General Accounting Office to records and information from departments and agencies. For example, last year the Committee asked the General Accounting Office to make a detailed study of the use of excess materials in the Military Assistance Program. It is my understanding that efforts to perform the study have been hampered by the reluctance, and sometimes refusal, of Department of Defense offices in Washington and overseas to give the GAO access to records and information pertinent to the study. In Greece, for example, the GAO sought to obtain access to U.S. force objectives, lists of Military Assistance Program supported units, and equipment allowance data, all of which are needed to comply with the Committee's request. The GAO staff was ad. vised by officials of the Joint United States Military Aid Group, Greece, that the European Command had prohibited the release of most of the data requested, and that, in some instances, instructions for the prohibition came from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs. Furthermore, I was advised that the general problem of GAO access to Department of Defense records and information has worsened in the past year, especially in cases where the GAO has been on assignments requested by this Committee. I am disturbed by the fact that the GAO's review efforts have been hampered by delays and refusals by officials of your Department. The refusal of departments and agencies to give the GAO access to needed information is the same as denying that information to the Congress.
I would appreciate your giving the Committee your views on the access problem in general, as well as advising me if executive privilege is being invoked by the President as authority to withhold the documents listed. Sincerely yours,
J. W. FULBRIGHT, Chairman.
(Set II-GAO Access to Department of Defense Records]
MAY 19, 1971 Hon. J. W. FULBRIGHT, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Your letter of April 30 requesting Secretary Laird's comments concerning GAO access to Department of Defense records and executive privilege is presently receiving detailed consideration.
We will be in further touch with you with respect to this matter as soon as possible. Sincerely,
RADY A. JOHNSON, Assistant to the Secretary for Legislative Affairs.
MAY 21, 1989. Hon. MELVIN R. LAIRD, Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.O.
DEAR MR. SECRETARY: Sometime ago I asked the General Accounting Office to conduct a review for the Committee on Foreign Relations of the training of foreign military personnel under the military assistance program. It is my understanding that GAO personnel have not been given access to certain planning information and other documents concerning the training program. I hope that you will look into this matter and insure that the GAO investigators are given access to all of the pertinent information necessary to comply with the Committee's request. Sincerely yours,
J. W. FULBRIGHT, Chairman.
THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE,
Washington, June 26, 1969. Hon. J. W. FULBRIGHT, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I have your letter of May 21 concerning the review being conducted at your request by the General Accounting Office of the training of foreign military personnel under the Military Assistance Program and the delay in granting access to GAO personnel to certain planning information and other documents concerning the training program.
I understand that GAO representatives have requested copies of documents relating to the training program as follows:
1. “the formal Five Year Plan for the Military Assistance Program, the input of the Military Advisory Groups to the program and information concerning changes made in the program as a result of the reviews of the Unified Commands, the military services and the component elements of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Affairs."
2. Performance Evaluation Group (PEG) reports on Korea and possibly other countries;
3. A copy of a report prepared by your staff at the request of the Honorable Ralph Earle, Assistant Secretary of Defense, concerning the status of foreign military training systems."
I understand that the Military Assistance Program for the current fiscal year-1970—was made available to the GAO prior to receipt of your letter. Information concerning the current fiscal year program is available, as in the past, to the GAO after the President submits his budget to the Congress.
With respect to copies of the entire Five Year MAP plan (1970–1974), I understand that in the past copies have not been made available to the GAO, or to the Chairman, Commitee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives. I also understand that the reason the entire Five Year Plan was not made available is because it is regarded as a staff study, on entirely tentative planning document at the staff level, which provides in a uniform format certain outside limits to be used by MAAG's and the Unified Commands in the development of a preliminary annual program. It is published as a basis for "further planning only." (A detailed description of the Plan is attached.) The preliminary annual program is usually extensively adjusted when the President makes his decision as to the size of his budget submission. It has been considered that the Congressional presentation is the official Executive Branch position of MAP requirements for the current fiscal year which should be defended and judged on its merits.
The release outside the Executive Branch of all tentative planning documents involving the next five years on a program such as the Military Assistance Program, which is particularly subject to change as world conditions and political considerations may dictate, could be misleading and subject to debate outside the Executive Branch long prior to the time when the Executive Branch finalized its recommendations to the President for the next fiscal year. I seriously doubt that the release of the entire Five Year Plan would be in the public interest. However, since the Committee is particularly interested in the training program, and in order to fully cooperate with the Committee, I would be happy to have responsible officials give a detailed briefing on the Five Year Plan, as it relates to training, to any person or persons designated by you.
With respect to the request for the reports concerning the status of foreign military training systems, some of these contain opinions and recommendations by certain Military Assistance Advisory Groups, the release of which outside the Executive Branch could risk adverse reactions from some of the governments concerned and tend to inhibit the value of future reports. We are, however, preparing copies of the factual material in these reports without statements of opinions and these will be made available to the GAO representatives.
The Performance Evaluation Group Report on Korea is not available at the present time. However, we will try to obtain a copy of this and communicate with you further. Sincerely,
(Signed) MEL LAIRD.
THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE,
Washington, November 21, 1969. Hon. J. W. FULBRIGHT, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in further reply to your letter of 21 May 1969 regarding GAO access to documents concerning the MAP training program
My earlier response of 26 June indicated that we would communicate further with you regarding GAO access to the CINCPAC Performance Evaluation Group Reports which are internal inspection reports of the Pacific Command. I am pleased to inform you that our review of this matter has been concluded and that CINCPAC will furnish briefings on the salient training facts contained in these reports at GAO request.
I trust that this action will facilitate completion of the GAO review undertaken at your request. Sincerely,
MELVIN R. LAIRD.
U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS,
February 25, 1971. Hon. ELMER B. STAATS, Comptroller General of the United States, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. STAATS: The Committee has received the General Accounting Office's report of its investigation of the military assistance training program. As usual, the report is very thorough and informative and I know that it will be of much help to the Committee during its work on military aid legislation.
I was especially interested in the discussion in the report concerning the problems encountered by the GAO in obtaining access to Department of Defense materials. The authors of the report stated: “We believe that this access to records problem involves a matter that critically affects our future ability to conduct on behalf of the Congress thorough and complete review of the MAP." This problem is, however, not limited to the military aid program but is applicable to all Federal programs. As you know, the Committee in recent years has been denied access to many documents and other materials by the Executive Branch, such as the Five Year Plan for the military assistance program which would enable it to appraise the long-range policy underlying annual military aid requests. The Committee and the Congress cannot do an effective job of carrying out its oversight responsibilities or of evaluating Executive Branch performance in general as long as this situation exists.
As the investigative arm of the Congress, the General Accounting Office can play a very important role in finding a solution to the access problem by studying the problem in greater depth and by recommending possible legislative remedies. I would appreciate it if the General Accounting Office would make a thorough analysis of this matter, including compilation of a summary of all significant instances when the GAO has been denied access to Executive Branch records or materials during recent years. I would also like to have the GAO submit to the Committee its recommendations for legislation to insure that the Congress cannot be denied access to Executive Branch documents unless the President exercises his right of Executive Privilege. Sincerely yours,
J. W. FULBRIGHT, Chairman.
(For Release A.M. Sunday, February 28, 1971)
U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS Senator J. W. Fulbright, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, released today a General Accounting Office report on the military assistance training program which was prepared at the Committee's request.
The General Accounting Office found that over $92 million was spent on the training of foreign military personnel in the 1970 fiscal year, compared with a total of $46 million allocated to government programs for training or study by foreign civilians. Some other GAO findings were:
There are no established criteria or systems to measure the effectiveness of training programs.
No efforts were made to correlate military and civilian training programs.
Improvements are needed in management of the program.
Men were trained for equipment or aircraft not on hand. Senator Fulbright noted that many of the findings were the same as those disclosed in previous GAO investigations of the military assistance training program. "Apparently," he said, "the Defense Department ignored the results of the GAO investigations of 1961 to 1963."
The General Accounting Office was unable to comply fully with the Committee's request for information because the Department of Defense did not allow GAO investigators access to many pertinent records and reports. In discussing the access problem the report stated :
“During our review of the training program on behalf of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, representatives of the Departments of Defense and State have withheld or delayed the release of MAP reports and records essential to a full and complete review and evaluation of this program which is financed by considerable appropriated funds. The access-torecords problems experienced by our staffs during this review are a continuation of similar problems the GAO has encountered over the years in reviewing DOD programs, particularly evaluations of military assistance programs."
“We believe that this access-to-records problem involves a matter that critically affects our future ability to conduct on behalf of the Congress thorough and complete reviews of the MAP. In order for GAO to carry out its legal authority to make independent reviews of MAP, it must have access to and make appropriate review and analysis of all DOD reports
and records which evidence the expenditure of appropriated funds." Senator Fulbright, in commenting on the issue, said: “There is a significant lesson here which goes to the heart of what is wrong with relations between the Legislative and the Executive Branches today. Slamming the door in the face of GAO investigators is the same as slamming it in the face of Congress. But the refusal of an Executive Branch agency to cooperate with the Foreign Relations Committee is nothing new. It has become routine. This arrogant attitude illustrates the vast growth of Presidential power at the expense of Congress. Congress has the authority to correct the balance of power if it will only act. I hope that this session it will enact legislation dealing with the access and other fundamental problems of Legislative-Executive relations."
Senator Fulbright also released a letter he sent to the Comptroller General of the United States asking for further study of the problem and recommendations for legislative remedies.
FEBRUARY 26, 1971. Hon. MELVIN R. LAIRD, Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. SECRETARY: I refer to my letter of May 21, 1969, and your reply of June 26, 1969, concerning the General Accounting Office's request, on the Committee's behalf, for access to the Five Year Plan for the military assistance program. You stated that “the reason the entire Five Year Plan was not made available is because it is regarded as a staff study, an entirely tentative planning document at the staff level which provides in a uniform format certain outside limits to be used by MAAG's and the Unified Commands in the development of a preliminary annual program."
68-287 0.71 .4
As you know, Section 252(a) (i) (A) of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 requires that each report of a Senate committee include "An estimate, made by such committee, of the cost which would be incurred in carrying out such bill or joint resolution in the fiscal year in which it is reported and in each of the five fiscal years following such fiscal year ..." In view of this requirement, it is necessary that the Committee be provided with a copy of the Five Year Plan and similar long-range planning materials relating to the military assistance program. It will be impossible for the Committee to arrive at realistic estimates of the long-range cost of the military aid program unless it has access to these materials.
I ask that the Committee be supplied with a copy of the Five Year Plan and a listing of all other planning materials which would be helpful to the Committee in evaluating long-range cost estimates of the military assistance and sales programs. Sincerely yours,
J. W. FULBRIGHT, Chairman.
(Set III-Five Year Plan for Military Assistance Program)
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE,
Washington, D.C., March 10, 1971. Hon. J. W. FULBRIGHT, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Secretary Laird has asked that I acknowledge your letter of February 26 requesting that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee be provided a copy of the Five Year Plan and similar long-range planning materials relating to the military assistance program.
Your request is receiving careful consideration and we will be in further touch with you as soon as possible. Sincerely,
RICHARD G. CAPEN, JB., Assistant to the Secretary for Legislative Affairs.
JULY 12, 1971. Hon. MELVIN R. LAIRD, Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. SECRETARY: As you know, the Committee on Foreign Relations has on several occasions requested that your Department furnish it with a copy of the Five Year Plan for the Military Assistance Program.
I enclose for your information a copy of my letter to you of February 26, 1971 concerning the need for the document in order to comply with the requirements of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970. That letter was acknowledged on March 10. After receiving no further response I wrote to you again on April 30. asking either that a formal claim of executive privilege be invoked as the reason for refusing to furnish the Committee with the Plan, the History of the Decision Making Process on Vietnam Policy, and the Command and Control Study or that the documents be provided to the Committee. After recent disclosures in the press, the History and the Command and Control Study documents have now been made available to the Committee. But there has been no response to the Committee's request for the Five Year Plan for the Military Assistance Program.
As you may know, the Committee has not yet begun its mark-up of foreign aid legislation. The information contained in the Five Year Plan will be of assistance to the Committee in evaluating the Administration's request for military aid and I believe that this issue shou'd be resolved before the Committee begins its mark-up of foreign aid legislation. I would appreciate an early reply stating whether the document will be made available or a claim of executive privilege made. Sincerely yours,
J. W. FULBRIGHT, Chairman. Enclosure.