187. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • 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

[Omitted here is discussion of Congress, Turkey, and the Middle East.]

[Kissinger:] With the Soviets, we are on the ragged edge on détente. They are getting nothing out of détente. The Middle East is a humiliation, but they would have probably kept it quiet if grain was being shipped. The only thing left is SALT. Since you became President, all the concessions have been theirs. If we don’t give way on something, it may be all over.

I think on SLCM’s we should hold at 600 kilometers. On ALCM’s, we should start at 2,500 and back off to 2,000 if necessary. On Backfire, I think you should go to Brezhnev and ask him for guarantees like deployment, tankers, etc., to insure they aren’t being used strategically. We also need to get something to the Soviet Union so Gromyko has something to discuss with me.

The President: Do we need an NSC meeting?

Kissinger: Either that or just a Verification Panel meeting, and I will take a chance.

The President: I go to New Hampshire on Thursday.2

Kissinger: Let’s just do a VP then. But we will have to get the Pentagon under control so they stop singing.

Jackson is trying to make me testify. I plan to refuse, unless you feel otherwise. He wrote me an insolent letter.3 He said on TV that I shouldn’t be allowed to testify because I am a liar.

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The President: He said that? I think we should sit down with Marsh and Friedersdorf to see how we can handle it. He wants to humiliate you—I won’t let that happen. Has he set a date?

Kissinger: No. I won’t answer his letter. I will testify before the full Committee and any other Subcommittee but not with Jackson as Chairman.

I am worried we have nothing to offer the Soviets.

The President: How about grain?

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 1973–1977, Box 15. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office.
  2. September 11.
  3. In his August 22 letter to Kissinger, Jackson, as Chairman of the Arms Control Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, reiterated “the request made repeatedly to your office since last March” that the Secretary testify on the implementation of the SALT I and the negotiation of the SALT II agreements. (National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 6, SALT, July–Oct. 1975)