20. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Soviet View on MLF


  • Anatoliy F. Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador
  • William R. Tyler, Assistant Secretary

After dinner at the Soviet Embassy, Ambassador Dobrynin asked me whether the United States intended to move ahead with the Multilateral Force. I said we were and that the Working Group in Paris had been making good progress. He said that he was very sorry to hear this as it would make things difficult for both of us. I said that this opinion was certainly based on a misunderstanding of what the Multilateral Force was going to be. I said that, on the contrary, the Soviet Government should be pleased at a solution which permits non-nuclear powers to participate in nuclear arrangements without acquiring national control over nuclear weapons or their release. The Ambassador said that the Multilateral Force would only satisfy the German appetite for nuclear weapons for two or three years, after which Germany would insist on [Page 44] acquiring nuclear weapons for itself. I said that, on the contrary, the Federal Republic of Germany would be satisfied at playing the role of a full and equal partner in the Alliance by participating in the Multilateral Force. I added that, in spite of the difference in our present opinions and assessment of the role of the Multilateral Force, I felt sure that the Soviet Union would eventually recognize that far from increasing the risk of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the Force was so organized and controlled as to satisfy the security requirements of both the Soviet Union and of the United States.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF(MLF). Confidential. Drafted by Tyler.