23. Memorandum for the President’s File by the President’s Assistant (Haldeman)1

    • Meeting with Dr. Lee DuBridge

The purpose of this meeting was for Dr. DuBridge’s periodic report to the President.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to national security.]

DuBridge opened the subject of ABM and made a strong statement in opposition to deployment on the basis that the key science advisors to the Defense Department are opposed on the grounds that the system planned can’t really do the job and it will be at great cost. He pointed out that the real question is whether the slight improvement in defense is worth the total cost in dollars, prestige, political pressure, etc. He suggested postponement for a year to study the matter thoroughly and in the meantime to go ahead with R&D and experimentation. But the President questioned what more we would know in a year scientifically and Dr. DuBridge said there would be a great deal. It was left at this point.2

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to national security.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President’s Office Files, Box 77, Memoranda for the President, Beginning March 9, 1969. No classification marking. According to the President’s Daily Diary, the meeting, which lasted from 11:25 a.m. to 12:02 p.m., took place in the Oval Office. (Ibid., White House Central Files)
  2. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Nixon called Kissinger from 1:34 to 1:42 p.m. to discuss his meeting with DuBridge. The President said, “one point that was raised was with regard to defense against Chinese. President asked whether he [DuBridge] understands it is a defense against the Chinese even though it is deployment for purposes of defending Minuteman.” When Kissinger replied affirmatively, Nixon “said this is not DuBridge’s view and asked what Defense says. K[issinger] said Defense says it is a defense against a primitive attack by Chinese but not a sophisticated one. President mentioned Scott and other potential supporters in Senate talking about prototype—Dick Russell talked about this. President said what he needs to know is what could be done short of deployment which would still give us something.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 359, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)