40. Memorandum From Laurence Lynn of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
- Analysis of Memorandum to Holders of NIE 11–8–682
Per your request, enclosed is my analysis of the recent Memorandum to Holders of NIE 11–8–68, Soviet Strategic Offensive Forces.
In my judgment, the Memorandum fails to present anything like a clear analysis of Soviet strategic offensive capabilities and of possible and probable developments in Soviet strategic offensive forces and their implications for the U.S.
Instead, the text, which is primarily the responsibility of the Director of CIA, appears to be a strenuous exercise in avoiding meaningful conclusions and postulations. As a result, this is, I am told, one of the most badly split estimates in some time; DIA, the Services and State have taken many exceptions to the text in footnotes, and some of the disagreements are fundamental.
I think we are faced with a rather serious problem. After all that has transpired, the intelligence community has still produced a murky and confused picture of Soviet strategic offensive forces and developments. I am confident that if we repeated the events of the last few weeks with respect to Soviet strategic defensive forces, we would get a similar result; the disagreements might be just as basic, e.g., over the capabilities of the Talinn system against ICBMs and the nature and purpose of Soviet ABM developments.
At the same time, we are being asked to have high confidence that the intelligence community can verify Soviet compliance with the most complex and far reaching arms control agreements and that they will keep the Government’s key officials informed of the most subtle developments. I do not have that confidence.[Page 156]
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 78, Country Files—Europe—U.S.S.R., SALT and U.S. Strategic Capabilities. Top Secret; Nodis; [codeword not declassified]. Kissinger forwarded the memorandum to Attorney General Mitchell on July 1 under cover of a memorandum in which he wrote: “Attached is an analysis of the most recent National Intelligence Estimate on the Soviet strategic threat prepared by a member of my staff. I am in substantial agreement with this analysis which again confirms the magnitude of the problem with which we have been dealing.” (Ibid.)↩
- Document 38.↩
- An apparent reference to a draft of Memorandum to Holders of NIE 11–8–68, the final version of which was issued on June 23. The draft was not found.↩
- CEP stands for circular probable error, the radius of a circle around the target within which 50% of all missiles will impact. [Footnote in the original.]↩
- Issued on December 13, 1968. Not found.↩