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President Ford–Henry Kissinger memcon (August 28, 1974)

NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION
Presidential Libraries Withdrawal Sheet


WITHDRAWAL ID 017643


REASON FOR WITHDRAWAL National security restriction
TYPE OF MATERIAL Memorandum of Conversation
CREATOR'S NAME Ford, Kissinger, and Scowcroft
CREATION DATE 08/28/1974
VOLUME 6 pages
COLLECTION/SERIES/FOLDER ID 031400206
COLLECTION TITLE National Security Adviser. Memoranda of Conversations
BOX NUMBER 5
FOLDER TITLE August 28, 1974 - Ford, Kissinger
DATE WITHDRAWN 03/31/2004
WITHDRAWING ARCHIVIST GG


REDACTED 8/4/06

MEMORANDUM


THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON


SECRET/NODIS/XGDS


MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION


PARTICIPANTS:
President Ford
Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
DATE AND TIME:
Wednesday, August 28, 1974
PLACE:
The Oval Office


Kissinger: Any problem Waldheim can solve isn't difficult. He is dull and boring.

The Greeks have leaked the letter to Karamanlis. They are playing the hysterical game. They must come to us eventually and come to the point that they accept a federated Cyprus.

President: I think things are going our way.

Kissinger: Yes. The real problem in Greece....I didn't want the Junta. It tended to radicalize the military and left the left intact. If the coup could stop at Karamanlis, okay, but maybe it won't. It's 50/50 at best. After all, Karamanlis failed once before.

President: Was he elected?

Kissinger: Yes, but he was thrown out by the Queen. He couldn't be that strong. After that, the country weakened and in '67 it was either military or Papandreau. That is our real problem in Greece.

There is a Greek-Turkish dispute over the islands, which involves overflight rights and the territorial sea. When we negotiate, all of these issues must be brought in so Turkey can give in other places what the Greeks have lost in Cyprus. They can't get back a satisfactory resolution in Cyprus alone.

The published a "Kissinger-plan" today. It actually is not bad. Maybe they got it from Iakavos. The British are sending someone here. I think we should approve their taking an initiative.

President: Go ahead.

Kissinger: I asked the Soviets for ideas. Dobrynin said they don't have a plan. They have the same problem as us -- they don't want to antagonize Turkey. It may be impossible to keep the issue out of the General Assembly in September.


On SALT

Let's do it not in terms of numbers. That would not be fair to the NSC. You just want to talk philosophy. The basic philosphy has been to look at what we and the Soviets were likely to do and then create a situation that the Soviet Union couldn't run away with the arms race.

We think we are at the limit of Congressional spending.

President: That's right, in the absence of a national crisis and a surge of patriotism.

Kissinger: We would need $5-10 billion a year to really kick our strategic forces up to a higher level.

We can't maintain that we can trade, etc. with the Soviet Union and still maintain that they are seeking a first strike and building strategic forces to match it.

Have you seen the numbers involved?

President: Not really.

Kissinger: We are now far ahead in warheads. They will gradually catch us as they MIRV their weapons. The question is what is significant and what is it worth to stay ahead of them. What is strategic superiority?

It is difficult for me to imagine any political advantage from any minor difference in numbers.

For political purposes, we are equal now.

President: They make up by throw weight.

Kissinger: Throw weight is useful only if it can be translated into numbers of warheads and accuracy. But they haven't yet put on large numbers of warheads -- the most is   So large numbers will have to be on the next generation, not the one they are developing now.

Their accuracies are not now up to ours. Whenever you want more throw weight, we can do it any time, within the agreement, in the Minuteman silos. We could probably put   warheads per missile, if there is any use to it.

We cannot look as if we were behind, and it would look better if we were ahead, but it has little political significance.

Increasing the B-52 alert is a signal -- there is no way to see an alert with Minuteman. We don't see any increased alert for their missiles.

It is not that we can neglect our strategic forces, but that with the present programs, there is no way we can fall behind. If we have more funds, I think it is better to put them in our tactical forces.

President: What does the   include?

Kissinger: All but tactical forces. But Brown counts all of them. Brezhnev told us we had   nuclear weapons. If you count everything, in the worst case you get up around there.

On superiority you can get any briefing you want. If you count bombers, we are about even on throw weight, but bomber throw weight is different. Take the worst case on throw weight -- give them high accuracy. Even if they got the Minuteman, we would have still about   warheads. To do this they would have to launch at least   warheads, or   missiles, simultaneously, in a north-south direction, and assume you wouldn't launch Minuteman on warning. Even then we would have our bombers, submarines, and FBS.

There is almost no way they can knock everything off at once. I find it hard to visualize what strategic superiorty is. It actually would work better on them, because they have less of their forces at sea. This is my concern over the obsession with the Zumwalt approach. It undermines our relationship with the Soviet Union. It will start them into a massive program which we maybe can not sustain. I think movement is propitious now, when you are thought of as a hardliner.

President: I am.

Kissinger: Yes, while we can still threaten them with a breakout if they don't go along.

President: The problem is how to get a public debate to sustain our position. Scoop makes it sound so simplistic. We have got to find a way to get public opinion on our side.

Kissinger: It is easy to get opinion on our side, but not without undermining our credibility with the Soviets.

President: That is right: Whatever you argue against, Scoop undercuts us with the Soviets.

Kissinger: We have to say we are second to none; to ourselves we must recognize that it is probably an unusuable force. Europe has never recovered from World War I. I don't think a political system which inflicts or accepts 20-90 million can survive.

President: Which comes first, the public relations or the negotiation?

Kissinger: Negotiation first. As in SALT I, it will be acclaimed. We had a coalition of conservatives, Jews, and liberals who are determined to damn anything that is associated with Nixon. This coalition will break out, and I think the liberals will now go back to the left and attack you from there. I think Jackson is finished.

President: I agree. The only strength he has left, now that the Jews seem to be leaving him, is Meany.

Kissinger: SALT I. It was during Vietnam. Every budget was cut by the Hill. Defense made no proposals for increasing the size of our forces. We had no program even on the drawing board. The Soviets had a big building program going on. What we did is to freeze the force at the '72 level. New missiles could come only by using the old holes. SALT didn't create the numbers gap -- it was there, and SALT put a lid on it.

For sea forces. I talked to the JCS individually and collectively, and they said they didn't want a crash program on submarines immediately in order not to jeopardize Trident.

SALT I was a plus for us and all the talk is politicking. The numbers gap exists only if bombers are not counted.

The foreign assessment of SALT I is that it put a ceiling on Soviet programs. We also used it to accelerate Trident and get improvements in accuracy, etc. At most SALT I ratified a situation -- it did not create it.

SALT I came at the outset of the Minuteman program. Our warhead advantage was two to one. Now it is four to one.

What the numbers are we should put before you carefully and with all your advisers present.

My conflict with Schlesinger is this: Defense puts the emphasis on throw weight because it could be turned into warheads and threaten Minuteman. They are right, but politically they are wrong. Before they got that far we could build a bigger Minuteman, and get mobiles, etc. The Soviets told me in March that if we extend agreement three years, they would give us 1100-1000. We rejected it. We are all agreed on this. We would shortly reach 1100 and then have to stand still while they went on. The only difference was on the differential. Jim then proposed 350. I didn't object but I thought they wouldn't buy it. I proposed 700, which is 30% below their program. Nixon proposed it and Brezhnev toyed with the idea. They rejected it, I think partly because of the time frame. The agreement would break out just when deployment programs got underway. So we went for a 10-year time frame. I floated with Dobrynin the idea that they get 2500 to 2300 and we get 1300 warheads to their 1000.

President: Let's see. That would include Minuteman.

Kissinger: And Poseidon and Trident. We would keep everything we are planning. The numbers will change a hundred times -- this is just an idea. Schlesinger might buy this, but he would want to insist that the bulk of them be at sea. [Talked about "The Fleet that had to Die."]

Naval warfare doesn't come easy to the Soviets. For us to tell them where to put their missiles would be unacceptable.

But you should hear all the arguments from the people themselves. You have an unusual opportunity to get a SALT agreement when Brezhnev comes. He will be afraid you will break out, and your ability to do this will diminish.

I think we should get a breakthrough in October, ratify it at the end of November and have it signed next summer.

President: If we follow this format, we need several NSC meetings.

Kissinger: We need one in September and one in early October.

President: I like specifics. Can we have charts which will show the alternatives?

Kissinger: Everything I have told you on an analytical basis is accurate. No one would disagree.


[Note: NSC meetings on SALT were held September 14, September 17 , and October, 1974.]


SECRET/NODIS/XGDS

NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION
Presidential Libraries Withdrawal Sheet


WITHDRAWAL ID 017643


REASON FOR WITHDRAWAL National security restriction
TYPE OF MATERIAL Memorandum of Conversation
CREATOR'S NAME Ford, Kissinger, and Scowcroft
DESCRIPTION 9:00 a.m. meeting
CREATION DATE 08/28/1974
VOLUME 3 pages
COLLECTION/SERIES/FOLDER ID 031400206
COLLECTION TITLE National Security Adviser. Memoranda of Conversations
BOX NUMBER 5
FOLDER TITLE August 28, 1974 - Ford, Kissinger
DATE WITHDRAWN 03/31/2004
WITHDRAWING ARCHIVIST GG


REDACTED 7/18/05

MEMORANDUM


THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON


SECRET/NODIS/XGDS


MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION


PARTICIPANTS:
President Gerald R. Ford
Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
DATE AND TIME:
Wednesday, August 28, 1974
9:00 a.m.
PLACE:
The Oval Office


Kissinger: If Giscard is kicking the U. S. around, that would be three French Presidents in a row. That makes it endemic. That would be intolerable, and I would recommend we break the French. We can't have Europe organized against us.

It seems to be in the Europeans' blood that they must cut up anyone who gets ahead. Europe has more wars than any since ancient Greece.

I am convinced many of our problems in Greece come from the British .......................................................................................... The British sent two emissaries here yesterday. First they said the election announcement would be 4 September for 3 October. One of the things that went wrong in the July negotiations was the British wanted to hit a home run.

Anyway, they wanted to send an emissary to Ankara to extract something from the Turks. We had to commit ourselves to put pressure on the Turks -- then to commit ourselves to do it to Greece. If this failed, the British would back out. I said we welcomed their efforts but if we had to put pressure -- if it worked, the British get credit, which is okay, but if it failed we get the blame for not making enough of an effort. I told them I have to take it up with you. I said that to gear it all up to the British elections, to have it done by a Deputy Under Secretary, to have us make this effort, had great risk. Within an hour they called to call it off and said not to bring it up with you.

It is a cheap maneuver. We, at some point, have to get involved. But to commit our pressure to a junior minister for goals we don't even have a feel for, and without any idea what was negotiated with Greece and Turkey.

My recommendation is: The Greeks are calming down. When Karamanlis replies, we might think of sending an answer with a responsible guy like Bunker. We should want to see the character of his reply.

The President: The British effort would undercut anything further by us.

Kissinger: They had three good points, but the Greeks wouldn't buy, and maybe the Turks wouldn't, and then we have shot that bullet. Without the British elections, we might get the British out in front, but with the elections, Wilson would use it at our cost. John Freeman said to me: Don't trust Callaghan during an election.

The President: If I am asked what we are doing....

Kissinger: We are in constant touch. We are supporting the British efforts. We are willing to step up our efforts.

The President: If they ask about the Soviet effort....

Kissinger: I would say it is still being discussed.

The President: Can't we rely on current diplomatic efforts plus the Security Council?

Kissinger: I would say the Geneva forum is best, but any forum of two parties would be acceptable. Say something nice about the Greeks -- any settlement should respect Greek honor and dignity.

Let me spend five minutes on CSCE.

The original proposal by the Soviet Union in the early 1960's excluded the United States. Its purpose was to present a substitute for a peace treaty and to create the mood that NATO was no longer necessary. We originally opposed it but gradually changed because all the European leaders pleaded for it and Brandt cut the ground out from under us by recognizing East Germany. Brandt is a good example of a flashy guy with no substance behind it.

Your tactical problem with the CSCE Summit is the Europeans say they don't want a Summit but if you oppose it, they will come out for it and drag you into it. So you have got to stay a half step ahead. But with the Soviets, don't commit yourself so the Soviets can use it against us with the Europeans.

The document has four major parts, including the statement of principles, then the three baskets. One is conference-building (military) measures, economic matters, and human contacts.

The document is meaningless. The big issue is the question of the inviolability of frontiers as against peaceful change -- where the peaceful change will be. Now the big issue is peaceful contacts. The Europeans are trying to work on the Communist parties so they are pushing this. The Communists have gone along with much of it. We have asked the Europeans to put down all their demands in writing so we can put it to the Soviets, and they don't want to.

We are now at Stage II. The Soviets want to have a Summit before the end of the year. I think it would be better in the Spring.

The President: I think it is mandatory to come after the first of the year.

Kissinger: I think you have to make the trip through Europe first. I would go to Yugoslavia, Romania, and Hungary. We haven't been invited there, but there is some merit in the Soviets seeing a welcome in even a loyal satellite -- no President has ever been there [Hungary].

The Giscard statement certainly shows the domestic pressure he is under.

The President: And I saw the Africans.

Kissinger: No. I saw them. As a fact, there is little we can do for the Africans. What they want is pressure on South Africa.


SECRET/NODIS/XGDS

NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION
Presidential Libraries Withdrawal Sheet


WITHDRAWAL ID 017645


REASON FOR WITHDRAWAL National security restriction
TYPE OF MATERIAL Note
CREATOR'S NAME Scowcroft's notes from August 28, 1974 meeting with Ford and Kissinger
CREATION DATE 08/28/1974
VOLUME 7 pages
COLLECTION/SERIES/FOLDER ID 031400206
COLLECTION TITLE National Security Adviser. Memoranda of Conversations
BOX NUMBER 5
FOLDER TITLE August 28, 1974 - Ford, Kissinger
DATE WITHDRAWN 03/31/2004
WITHDRAWING ARCHIVIST GG

NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION
Presidential Libraries Withdrawal Sheet


WITHDRAWAL ID 017646


REASON FOR WITHDRAWAL National security restriction
TYPE OF MATERIAL Note
CREATOR'S NAME Scowcroft's notes from August 28, 1974 9:00 a.m. meeting with Ford and Kissinger
CREATION DATE 08/28/1974
VOLUME 4 pages
COLLECTION/SERIES/FOLDER ID 031400206
COLLECTION TITLE National Security Adviser. Memoranda of Conversations
BOX NUMBER 5
FOLDER TITLE August 28, 1974 - Ford, Kissinger
DATE WITHDRAWN 03/31/2004
WITHDRAWING ARCHIVIST GG

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).