232. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State (Sonnenfeldt) to Secretary of State Kissinger1


  • US-Soviet Cooperative Projects and Negotiations: Candidates for Cancellation or Postponement in Angola Context

Attached (Tab A) is a complete inventory of all projected activities for the next several weeks.2

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The most obvious candidates are those that are most visible: e.g., deposits of ratifications of already agreed and ratified agreements, trips (i.e. yours), cultural manifestations.

Of course, the implications of cancelling or postponing this or that activity have to be examined in the total context of our interests and the underlying strategy and concept for dealing with the USSR—as well as the optics and political appearances of various kinds of activities.

Thus, was President Johnson right in terms of real interests in cancelling SALT after the invasion of Czechoslovakia? He clearly had second thoughts since he sought to reinstate SALT during the transition.

Any actions we take in these areas must also be put in the context of our problem with regard to the microwave signal being beamed at our Embassy, the withdrawal of our Ambassador and the prospect of public disclosure.

Perhaps the most efficient way to proceed is for you to digest the attached list and indicate by checkmark where you think we (1) can get leverage from postponement or cancellation and (2) need to act because appearances will be incongruous and damaging if Angola continues to be critical.

As you know, my own position is that the most effective courses of action (apart from what remains available in the way of options on the ground in Angola) relate to (1) pressure against weak third parties on overflight and refueling, (2) quiet undemonstrative—but noticeable by the Soviets—naval movements responsive to Soviet naval movements, (3) blunt talk to Dobrynin about the impact on our total relationship, (4) pressure on OAU members to keep clear the distinction between support for the MPLA and endorsement (i.e. opposition to) of Soviet intervention.3

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 4, Angola. Secret; Nodis; Sensitive.
  2. Attached but not printed. The list included such disparate items as the proposed FordBrezhnev summit in Washington, the SALT II talks in Geneva, the TTB/PNE talks in Moscow; the visit of the Roy Clark Country Music Show to the Soviet Union (January–February), and the visit of the Don Cossacks Dance Troup to the United States (February–April).
  3. In a December 22 memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt reported that EUR suggested adding the following items to the list: signature of the U.S.–USSR maritime agreement, grain sales, credits, American commercial involvement in Soviet projects, civil air negotiations, and computer sales. (National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 4, Angola)