116. Memorandum of Conversation1

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

[Omitted here is a brief exchange on negotiations in the Middle East.]

[Kissinger:] We have a SALT problem. [He hands the President a ticker item.]2

President: This is what Schlesinger talked about.

Kissinger: This will be the focus of the Jackson hearing—loopholes, sloppy drafting.

I am not sure we want to omit cruise missiles—it leaves a huge loophole. It also could lead to a ban on ship-launched ones.

The best for us would be to have them only on aircraft.

President: [Described the Vladivostok discussion] My quick reaction is that it makes no difference.

Kissinger: Our record is ambiguous. Dobrynin says his record is ambiguous. But you can’t put something over on them with a shyster trick.

President: If we review everything—payload, etc.—and decide after R&D maybe not to go into production . . .

Kissinger: Yes, but the major thing is to stop leaks like this. This will give Jackson the handle he needs. Schlesinger is also jumping on us on Israeli military supplies. He also wants to meet with the Jewish leaders.

President: Israel Miller said I have six months before they lower the boom on the Trade Bill. You were right.

Kissinger: The best thing would be for the Soviet Union to reject it.

President: I agree.

[Page 438]

Kissinger: Fisher 3 says Jackson would be a dead hero if the Soviet Union rejected the Trade Bill.

President: How soon will they act?

Kissinger: A couple of days informally; then we will go through the formality.

President: What should our posture be? Disappointment?

Kissinger: We should point out that we were warned all along the way. I think they will reject it.

How is the letter to Brezhnev?4

President: Good. It is well written.

[Omitted here is discussion of issues unrelated to Soviet-American relations.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 1973–1977, Box 8. Secret; Nodis. All brackets, except those inserted by the editor to indicate omitted passages, are in the original. The meeting was held in the Oval Office.
  2. Not further identified.
  3. Max Fisher.
  4. Document 115.