131. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Ford
  • Dr. Fred C. Ikle, Director, United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Brent Scowcroft, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

President: I wanted to bring you up to date about a decision I made over the weekend. It will be delivered to Dobrynin this morning.2 It is deferral, under the concept of buying time for Backfire and cruise missiles. We picked January ’79 as the best time before our deployment of cruise missiles and which will still keep some restraint on Backfire. I thought it best to include ALCMs in the treaty. For other cruise missiles, their deployment is banned over 600 kilometers. On “nuclear-armed,” I thought it best to defer that to Geneva in order not to overload the Soviets at the moment.

Don is in agreement and I will talk to George [Brown] this afternoon.3 I think it is the best we can do under the circumstances. I don’t think it has much chance.

Ikle: We don’t want to get into competition on intercontinental cruise missiles. I think it can easily be defended and supported. I have a couple of minor nitpicks I can tell Brent.

Kissinger: Don has a couple of points here.

[Discussion and rejection by the President of last proposed fix.]

I told the President I far prefer Option II. I am most worried about the date.

President: This is not my preferred way to go, but I think it is manageable, and as long as we have everyone on board we have something we can move forward with.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, 1973–1977, Box 17. Secret; Nodis. Brackets are in the original. The meeting took place in the Oval Office. Ford and Kissinger briefly discussed SALT when they met before this meeting, beginning at 9:35 a.m. The memorandum of conversation is Document 262 in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Vol. XVI, Soviet Union, August 1974–December 1976.
  2. See Document 132.
  3. Ford and Scowcroft met with Rumsfeld, Brown, and Bush at 3:45 p.m. The memorandum of conversation is in the Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, 1973–1977, Box 17.