52. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The President
  • Senator John Pastore (D–R.I.)
  • Senator Baker (R–Tenn.)
  • Representative Murphy ( )2
  • Ambassador Donald Rumsfeld, Assistant to President
  • Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
[Page 251]


  • Security of U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe

Pastore: After Munich in ’72 we became alarmed. I sent George to look and he came back with a critical report. So we went over the same route and got the same result.3 As a result they transferred one location and closed down another. The defense against intruders is good, but not against terrorism. They did put more Marines on them.

[1 paragraph (1½ lines) not declassified]

Baker: When I read the Murphy report, it dawned on me that we had [number not declassified] weapons in Europe and security was sometimes lousy.

On each base I asked the security officer and they said how they could have penetrated. [1 line not declassified] It is a real problem and we need to deal with it.

Pastore: [1½ lines not declassified] What are we doing?

Baker: If someone asked me what our recommendations are, I would be hard pressed. But something has to be done.

President: I have read the report. [1 line not declassified]

We have looked at our weapons in Europe very carefully. Especially in connection with MBFR. We had an NSC meeting4 about two weeks ago to consider what we could do to move the negotiations forward. DOD recommended and we have told Resor5 that he could offer [less than 1 line not declassified] What we want from the Soviet Union is a tank army in return. Verification of units is easier than individuals.

We recognize that we don’t need these but are trying to get a quid pro quo for them.

Baker: Can we keep them safe while we negotiate? That might take three years.

President: We might get a first step by this summer. [1½ lines not declassified] But there is a psychological aspect to it and is it wise to take drastic action right now with the situation like it is?

Pastore: What we are saying is you should take a good hard look at it. We’re not asking for your answer.

[Page 252]

President: [pointing to map] What are these bases where they are stored? [Murphy gives a long briefing.]

Pastore: We have done our job—we have told you the problem. Now it is your job.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 9, February 6, 1975—Ford, Senators Pastore and Baker. Secret; Nodis. The meeting, held in the Oval Office, lasted until 5:30 p.m. (Ibid., Staff Secretary’s Office, President’s Daily Diary) All brackets, except those that indicate the omission of material, are in the original.
  2. Representative John Michael Murphy (D–New York). His report, referenced below, is not further identified.
  3. On April 16, 1973, Baker and Murphy met with then-Secretary of Defense Richardson to discuss the senators’ concerns about the security of U.S. nuclear weapons stationed abroad following their inspection of NATO nuclear storage sites. The record of the meeting is in the National Archives, RG 218, Official Records of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Moorer, 020 (OSD).
  4. The NSC met on January 23 to discuss MBFR. For a record of the meeting, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Vol. XXXIX, European Security, Document 355.
  5. Ambassador Stanley R. Resor, U.S. Representative to the MBFR negotiations from October 1973.