45. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • James R. Schlesinger, Secretary of Defense
  • Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to national security policy.]

[Page 214]

[Kissinger: How do you feel about the airborne missile on the B–1?

Schlesinger: It’s not the preferred way to go. It’s the ALCM missile.

Kissinger: What is it?

Schlesinger: It is a long-range area weapon, as opposed to the SRAM. Its chief advantage is that it screws up their air defense problem.

Kissinger: Can you get accuracy with an airborne ICBM?

Schlesinger: Yes. But the problem is location. After we establish a space-borne navigation platform, we can—though it will take 10 years. It’s a waste of money to put a stand-off missile on the B–1.

Kissinger: Why do we need a penetrating bomber?

Schlesinger: Accuracy, use for our options, and it makes them spend money on air defense.

Kissinger: In a selective strike, wouldn’t we use missiles? With bombers, wouldn’t we have to have a massive air-defense suppression?

Schlesinger: It would pop up and launch a SRAM from a standoff position.

Kissinger: But you don’t need the B–1 for that. Intellectually I have trouble with the B–1. Why does it have to penetrate? I would use missiles for a selective strike, and in a massive attack we would have leveled out their air defenses beforehand.

Schlesinger: Give me one minute on Iran. Where are we going?

Kissinger: The Shah is the one guy who has a strategic conception. He is with us on everything but oil and there he only wants money—and he could put $10 billion into the U.S. He would like to open the C–5 line for us.

Schlesinger: But he expects payments of $12 million for any aircraft that anyone else buys.

Kissinger: I told him we were sympathetic on co-production and you would do it. He is also willing to refuel us in the event of a Middle East war.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Subject Files, Box CL 431, Schlesinger, Memoranda of Conversations, 1973–1975. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in Kissinger’s State Department office.