163. Minutes of a National Security Council Meeting1


  • SALT (and Angola)


  • The President
  • Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger
  • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General George S. Brown
  • Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Dr. Fred Ikle
  • Director of Central Intelligence William Colby
  • Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Brent Scowcroft


  • White House: Mr. Richard Cheney, Assistant to the President
  • Mr. William G. Hyland, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • State: Mr. Helmut Sonnenfeldt
  • Defense: Deputy Secretary William Clements
  • CIA: Mr. Carl Duckett
  • NSC Staff: Colonel Richard T. Boverie

President Ford: Before we get into the basic part of the meeting, I want to take a minute to talk about Angola. The vote in the Senate on Angola was, to say the least, mildly deplorable.2 I cannot believe it represents a good policy for the U.S. and it is not fundamentally the way the American people think.

I made a short but tough statement on television, and I reiterated my position in an informal press conference Saturday.3 I find this the right thing for the U.S. to do. We should spend every dime legally that we decided upon. We should spend every nickel and do everything we can. Hopefully—and Secretary Kissinger recommended this option—it will lead to some kind of negotiated settlement.

If we become chicken because of the Senate vote, prospects will be bad. Every department should spend all it can legally—do all we can in that area.

[Page 413]

Director Colby: We have [dollar amount not declassified] left of the last [dollar amount not declassified] authorized, and have [dollar amount not declassified] more in reserve. We can have another [dollar amount not declassified] from the cost of the aircraft. We can stuff missiles back into our inventory.

President Ford: Bill [Colby], spend every dime you can.

Brent Scowcroft: We can have an NSC working group under Bill Hyland figure out ways to spend the money.

Secretary Kissinger: If we keep going and the Soviets do not think there is a terminal date on our efforts and we threaten them with the loss of détente, we can have an effect.

Director Colby: There has been some fluttering among the Soviets. They have some trouble in their Foreign Ministry. [Laughter]

President Ford: Let’s exploit this.

[Omitted here is discussion on SALT.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, NSC Meetings File, Box 2, NSC Meeting December 22, 1975. Top Secret; Sensitive. All brackets, except those indicating omitted material, are in the original.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 157.
  3. For the text of the December 19 statement, see Public Papers: Ford, 1975, Vol. II, p. 1981. The complete text of Ford’s remarks on Angola and the United States Congress at the December 20 news conference is ibid., pp. 1985–1986.