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


  • Trade Bill/Jackson Amendment: Conversation with Richard Perle, October 2, 1974, 10:30 a.m.

Perle telephoned to say they were at a complete loss to understand the turn of events in regard to the Trade Bill. (He was referring to Scowcroft’s conversations with Miss Fosdick last night and this morning.)2 Perle said the issue of the waiver procedure was not immaterial since the agreement on which it rests was evidently off. The “third letter” had always been integral to the agreement. Perle said the only interpretation of events that they could make was that “Kissinger had got out on a limb and sold an agreement he did not have.” They just could not accept that the rug should be pulled out from under the agreement because of some off-hand remark by Hubert Humphrey at the leadership meeting.3 You (the Secretary) know how integral the third letter has been to the agreement. Without it there is no possibility of a deal; Jackson would look ridiculous because the deal would be a phony by leaving the second letter as no more than a series of unilateral statements. But unilateral statements vis-à-vis the Russians, Perle said, are worthless as demonstrated by SALT! Perle added they would say this publicly and recount the whole “experience” with unilateral statements in SALT.

I told Perle I would report his remarks and strongly urged that there be no public statements from them. Perle said they would wait before going public in hopes that there has been a misunderstanding.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 8, Trade Bill, Sept–Dec 1974. Eyes Only. According to marginalia, a copy of the memorandum was sent to Scowcroft.
  2. In a memorandum for the President on October 2, Scowcroft reported that, at Kissinger’s request, he informed Fosdick by phone that, rather than approve Jackson’s proposal on the waiver/veto procedure, the President had decided to adopt the approach he had outlined to the Senator at their last meeting. Scowcroft also told Fosdick that Ford had decided that two rather than three letters was sufficient. According to Scowcroft, Fosdick later called him back to relay Jackson’s initial reaction: he was outraged by this “betrayal” of their understanding on the three letters; he was inclined to terminate “all efforts to get agreement” on the amendment; and “he would probably be compelled to go public with the details of how he had been ‘double-crossed.’” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft West Wing Office Files, 1974–1977, Box 18, Jackson/Vanik Trade Bill) For the full text of the October 2 memorandum, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXI, Foreign Economic Policy, 1973–1976, Document 217.
  3. See Document 42.