63. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation1


  • Henry Kissinger
  • Gerard Smith

I reported my conversation with Holifield2 to Kissinger, who agreed that he would participate—but on a briefing basis. He is not going to testify before a Congressional committee, and there should be no record—just as they did it before.

He said that Laird would not be at the meeting tomorrow,3 that he thought they could “handle” Packard. He felt that Laird would not go along with the MIRV control,4 but the President would just have to “grasp these issues.” He said that Laird was against tabling any proposal for like the first ten days. He indicated that if I would go along with that, it would perhaps gain us some bargaining power with Laird on other things. I told him that I thought we could keep the thing going for ten days without tabling any specific proposal, but that there would be some sense of letdown in certain quarters which had expected a specific American proposal.

He said that on looking over our limited option he had begun to realize that there was nothing in it for the Soviets, and that perhaps we should propose a NCA/ABM level for the first option.

I told him I agreed with his judgment on the non-negotiability of the first option, but suggested that we not pursue the matter on the telephone since it likely was being tapped.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 383, ACDA Files: FRC 383–97–0010, Director’s Files, Smith/Farley Chronological Files, Smith–White House Correspondence, January–December 1970. No classification marking. Smith initialed the memorandum and wrote “nodis” on it. A copy was sent to Farley.
  2. Congressman Chet Holifield (R–CA) was Chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.
  3. Reference is to the April 8 NSC meeting. See Document 65.
  4. Kissinger was scheduled to meet Laird at the Pentagon on April 8 at 7:45 a.m. No record of the meeting has been found but Haig sent Kissinger a memorandum on April 7 that covered items to discuss. Concerning SALT, Haig cautioned that “Laird may attempt some fancy footwork on the US SALT position similar to end runs already attempted.” Haig suggested that Kissinger take the position that the detailed work of the Verification Panel offered the “best hope for a constructive approach at Vienna.” Haig advised Kissinger to “point out that State and ACDA may yet try to ram down a modified version of Option C which would include a MIRV and ABM ban” and to “emphasize the difficulties which last-minute innovations will raise.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 224, Agency Files, Dept of Defense, Vol. VI)