157. Minutes of United States Intelligence Board Meeting1



  • Lieutenant General Vernon A. Walters, USA, Deputy Director of Central Intelligence
  • 2 Mr. William G. Hyland, Director of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
  • Lieutenant General Eugene F. Tighe, Jr., USAF, acting for Director, Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Lieutenant General Lew Allen, Jr., USAF, Director, National Security Agency
  • Mr. William N. Morell, Jr., Department of Treasury Representative to USIB
  • Colonel Fred I. Chanatry, USAF, acting for Energy Research and Development Administration Representative to USIB
  • Mr. William O. Cregar, acting for Federal Bureau of Investigation Representative to USIB


  • Major General Harold R. Aaron, USA, Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Department of the Army
  • Rear Admiral Bobby R. Inman, USN, Director of Intelligence, Department of the Navy
  • Major General George J. Keegan, Jr., USAF, Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, United States Air Force

Mr. Colby noted that completion of the Board’s consideration of this estimate would conclude Mr. Hyland’s participation as the State Member of USIB. He said that the Board had been stimulated by Mr. Hyland’s views and hoped that the USIB would be serving him well in the future in his new position as the Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

Soviet Forces for Intercontinental Conflict Through the Mid-1980s (NIE 11–3/8–75)

Mr. Colby introduced discussion on the subject estimate by noting that the meeting had been convened in this larger room in order to afford an opportunity for more of the participants to be present. He said [Page 704] that a series of briefings had been set up on the more important subject areas of the estimate, some of which were at issue.

Mr. Colby observed that this estimate is the result of an enormous amount of analytical effort on the part of the community. He wished to commend the team that prepared the estimate, noting that the National Security Council Staff and other customers were anxious to receive the document.

Mr. Stoertz, the NIO for Strategic Programs, introduced [name not declassified] who was the overall chairman of the paper. [name not declassified] pointed out that one of the basic principles applied in preparing the estimate was to expose the analysis and evidence in support of conclusions as well as reflecting dissenting opinions. He advised the Board that there would be seven presentations at this first meeting prior to final Board consideration at a later date. The seven briefings were as follows:

a. The question of the capabilities of Soviet ICBMs to attack Minuteman silos. [name not declassified]

b. The differences over the range and mission of the Backfire. [2 names not declassified] Lt. Commander William Lawless, Navy)

c. Future Soviet low-altitude air defense capabilities and the potential threat to U.S. bombers [2 names not declassified]

d. The question of Soviet progress in direct-energy systems—particularly lasers—and whether the strategic balance may be sharply altered within the period of the estimate by such systems. [2 names not declassified]

e. The question of the likely trends in Soviet strategic forces in the absence of a SALT TWO agreement. [name not declassified]

f. The question of Soviet strategic objectives and perception particularly in regard to their views of the U.S. as a strategic competitor and the possibility that they are seeking some form of strategic superiority over the U.S. [name not declassified]

g. Future Soviet ASW capabilities and the potential threat to the U.S. SSBN force. [name not declassified] Mr. Richard Haver, Navy)

At the conclusion of the first session of the Board’s consideration of the subject estimate, Mr. Colby said he wished to compliment and express the appreciation of the Board to the team of briefers. He said that the briefings primed the Board well for the follow-on discussions scheduled for Monday, 17 November.

When the meeting was reconvened on 17 November, Mr. Colby introduced the discussion and again complimented the splendid job by those involved in the preparation of the estimate.

Mr. Stoertz commented on the level of sophistication reached by this NIE which reflected improvements in both collection and analyt[Page 705]ical quality. He noted that 15 years ago the community was struggling to count numbers and to make a single “best guess” forecast of numbers for the next few years, whereas in the present estimate the community was projecting alternative capabilities which policy makers should consider for the next ten years. Mr. Stoertz said that there were several specific improvements since last year including:

—Better balance between offensive and defensive aspects.

—Even-handed exploration of alternatives with and without SALT TWO agreement.

—Stress on Soviet awareness that quality of forces is more important to future balance than quantity, and on the scope and vigor of Soviet R&D.

—Explicit treatment of uncertainty and its implications for both U.S. and Soviet calculations.

He stated that, despite some problem areas, he believed that the community presently has a more realistic picture of the future strategic environment than before.

[Omitted here is recognition of those responsible for drafting the NIE.]

[1 paragraph (2 lines) not declassified]

The Board then approved NIE 11–3/8–75 as amended.

Executive Session3

At the request of the Chairman the Board was convened in executive session at 1654 hours to discuss correspondence originating in the PFIAB4 regarding NIE 11–3/8–74.

[name not declassified] Executive Secretary
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–282, Intelligence Files, PFIAB (1) [1971–1975] [3 of 3]. Secret; [Handling restriction not declassified]. Colby chaired the meeting, held at CIA headquarters. According to a note on the minutes, the meeting reconvened on November 17. Attached, but not printed, is a list of attendees indicating that Chanatry and Aaron were not present at the November 17 session, held from 3:00 until 5:24 p.m. ERDA’s USIB representative Major General Edward B. Giller and Herbert W. Taylor did attend, the latter acting on Aaron’s behalf. Lawrence Finch was also in attendance, acting on the behalf of Hyland, who was present for only a portion of the meeting.
  2. Part of meeting. [Footnote in the original.]
  3. No record of the executive session was found.
  4. See Document 155.