64. Minutes of the Secretary of State’s Staff Meeting1

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

Secretary Kissinger: Bill.

Mr. Hyland: The intelligence agencies are meeting today on the strategic forces estimate, and this will be the final go-round. Colby is going to spend the entire day on it.

The main issue is what happens if SALT should fail. And there is a considerable split, as to what the Russians would do, with thus far all the agencies, except the State Department, saying that failure of SALT wouldn’t lead to much change in Soviet force planning. I find this incredible. I guess we will be in a minority, saying that the failure of SALT, if failure means complete and total no agreement between now and 1985—

Secretary Kissinger: You believe it will mean no agreement?

Mr. Hyland: No. Failure is not well defined—and that is a big problem. But as I read it, it means no further agreements—period. And they project forces to 1985. My feeling is that in that entire period, the [Page 273]expansion and modernization of Soviet forces would be immense. There would be absolutely no incentive, after at least a year or so, of waiting to see whether negotiations might resume—there would be no incentive for the Russians to be very restrained.

Now, I cannot understand how DIA and all these hard-line agencies—I can understand it, but I mean intellectually it is a very difficult problem.

Secretary Kissinger: The hard-liners have to prove that a failure of SALT is no worse than SALT.

Mr. Hyland: But this is the kind of thing that kills us with the Congress. I mean—

Secretary Kissinger: It also killed their budget request.

Mr. Hyland: When people talk about manipulating intelligence—two years ago, when this question was addressed, all of the agencies agreed that the Russians would go to 3500 strategic vehicles if SALT collapsed, and that is when we were talking about extending the interim agreement and so forth. Now all those same agencies say that just almost the opposite is the case.

Secretary Kissinger: Who are all these same agencies? DIA?

Mr. Hyland: DIA, CIA, NSA, and the three armed services, State Department is going to be in a minority. Of course we are going to be accused of just the opposite, of saying we are so worried about SALT that we say that the Russians—

Secretary Kissinger: But can’t you refer to the previous estimate?2 What happened to change the previous estimate?

Mr. Hyland: Exactly.

Secretary Kissinger: Why don’t we do it in terms of ranges of what could happen?

Mr. Hyland: There are alternate projections. And all of the agencies except State take the low, very modest change, as the Soviet program. I don’t like the alternate, because I didn’t construct it. It was constructed at the agency, and it is one of these almost impossible force goals.

Secretary Kissinger: What?

Mr. Hyland: Well, it has forced draft efforts to improve accuracy, which almost everyone agrees could not be achieved.

Secretary Kissinger: On our side or theirs?

Mr. Hyland: On the Soviet side. So I am just saying that this aspect is probably too much—this is the way the Soviets will go if there is no SALT at all.

[Page 274]

Secretary Kissinger: You have to give your best judgment.

Mr. Hyland: I just wanted to inform you that it is going to be a badly split estimate,3 unless some people turn around.

Secretary Kissinger: You have to give your best judgment. I would do it in terms of ranges rather than flat predictions.

Mr. Hyland: I am just going to write a dissent explaining my view. But I really think the estimating process is deteriorating. Intellectually it is not very stimulating.

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

[Secretary Kissinger]: Okay. Do you have anything?

Mr. Maw: The Foreign Assistance bill4 in the House is going into mark-up this morning with a version which they surfaced yesterday for the first time. Their main thrust is to cut off MAP in ’77, terminate all MAAG missions and put limitations probably on sales—they are considering it.

Mr. Habib: MAP grant altogether?

Mr. Maw: MAP grant. Not FMSA, but all MAP. And terminate MAAGs completely at the same time. And to limit the number of military attaches that can be had. And to restrict their activities.

Secretary Kissinger: That’s crazy.

Mr. Maw: It is. We have got people up there trying to do the best we can with them this morning, without having a chance even to get the administration position.

Mr. McCloskey: I appealed to them yesterday to hold up their mark-up, and had Broomfield 5 contact Morgan,6 who didn’t return my call. And Morgan is hell-bent to just go ahead and do it. I explained to them this is unfair, they don’t give us an opportunity to present considered positions, and offered only the best I could do would be to have someone up there to answer technical questions.

Mr. Maw: We prepared some positions last night. We have two people up there sitting with them this morning.

Secretary Kissinger: But what is that going to result in?

[Page 275]

Mr. Maw: It is going to result in chaos.

Secretary Kissinger: Are we going to sit with them and go along with this bill and make it tolerable, or are we going to oppose it?

Mr. Maw: We are going to oppose these—

Secretary Kissinger: There is no tolerable solution.

Mr. Habib: You have to go all over it again. You can’t—

Secretary Kissinger: We will not accept a bill like this. Is my impression correct, Bob [McCloskey], that we have lost control over what goes on here?

Mr. McCloskey: Just to complicate this problem further—

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t want the International Relations Committee to think that the Department of State will work with them to make an intolerable bill slightly less intolerable.

Mr. McCloskey: Mr. Secretary, that impression has not been given, I assure you.

Secretary Kissinger: If we have two guys up there working with them on the mark-up—

Mr. Maw: To oppose things.

Mr. McCloskey: To complicate this problem—Humphrey is going to introduce his own bill by announcing it today at a press conference.

Secretary Kissinger: We owe all this to the Israelis. This is their way of—

Mr. McCloskey: It is a result of a Washington problem with too many people trying to influence and stake out positions for themselves on a single issue.

Secretary Kissinger: Who are all these people?

Mr. McCloskey: You have all kinds of people in the Congress who are irritated at us for not having gotten our Security Assistance figures up there earlier on this year. There are people up there who have intellectual differences with the concepts under which the programs are conceived. There is and has been a drive to eliminate grant military assistance now for two years. There are people up there who want to separate out military assistance from the other forms of assistance, and force the administration into the two-bill concept each year.

So there are a variety of motives that lead to this mess that is called the legislative process for security assistance.

Mr. Habib: And the human rights argument comes in from the side and picks up support.

Mr. Ingersoll: We are going to get hit on this. Carl [Maw] sent you a note—as a fall-back.

Mr. Maw: I got saved by the bell, because they decided to terminate the hearings at four o’clock.

[Page 276]

Secretary Kissinger: We are going to be hit by what?

Mr. Ingersoll: Fraser,7 Javits, Cranston, are all pressing for the promised report on human rights.

Mr. Maw: And they want to go into the specifics of country by country.

Secretary Kissinger: Not while I’m here.

Mr. Ingersoll: Can we go ahead with the general summary that Carl sent to you?8 Then we can go up and talk.

Mr. McCloskey: I think that is worth doing, because we have to produce something now.

Mr. Maw: This general thing is pretty pious.

Mr. Enders: There are also very serious restrictions on PL 480.

Secretary Kissinger: What are those?

Mr. Enders: Well, the 30–70 has gone to 20–80, and 20–80 makes it almost impossible to run any significant political program. And in addition to that, there is a rule, an amendment, which would make it impossible for the United States to settle any claims at less than full value, which is an absurdity, and would block a great many of our negotiations.

Mr. Ingersoll: There is another one on human rights that was tacked on also.

Mr. Maw: There is a whole thrust here which I think comes a little bit from the Department of Defense, of priorities. There has to be a certification before we make a sale—

Secretary Kissinger: A sale of what?

Mr. Maw: That our own forces don’t need the materiel. And the Joint Chiefs have been complaining extensively that we have diverted to different countries things that should have been retained in the armed services inventories.

Secretary Kissinger: It is an amazing phenomenon. We have a comparative advantage in food, we have a comparative advantage in weapons. They are depriving us of both as tools of foreign policy. When is all of this going to come to a head?

Mr. Maw: Within the next week.

Mr. Enders: I think we have some hope on the 20–80 thing.

Secretary Kissinger: To get it back to 70–30?

Mr. Enders: 70–30 we can live with, because Egypt is now a most seriously affected country.

[Page 277]

Secretary Kissinger: So we have to hope that Egypt doesn’t recover economically, so that the penalty—

Mr. Enders: I think there is no danger.

Secretary Kissinger: The penalty they pay of a successful aid program is that we will cut the PL 480.

Mr. Enders: In a way it is quite interesting you said that, because the Senate version has a cut-off of $250 per head as the outside income for most seriously affected countries. Egypt is just below it. So if that definition were adopted, Egypt would be above it next year and have to be cut out.

Secretary Kissinger: When am I going to the Finance Committee now?

Mr. Enders: Not until next year.

Mr. Maw: I was told yesterday McClellan and Inouye9 had made a deal that you would not go to McClellan, you would go to Inouye instead.

Secretary Kissinger: Okay.

(Whereupon at 9:10 a.m. the meeting was concluded.)

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Transcripts of Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meeting, 1973–1977, Lot File 78D443, Box 9, Chronological File. Secret. According to an attached list, the following people attended the meeting: Ingersoll, Robinson, Maw, William D. Rogers, Habib, Hartman, Hyland, Lord, Enders, Buffum, McCloskey, Springsteen, Bremer, Acting Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Edward W. Mulcahy, Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Sidney Sober, and Special Assistant to the Secretary for Press Relations Robert Anderson.
  2. See Document 149.
  3. See Document 158.
  4. For the first time, Congress in 1975 separated foreign economic assistance from security assistance during its consideration of the FY 1976–77 foreign assistance authorization bill. On December 9, Congress approved HR 9005—PL 94–161, authorizing $3.1 billion in foreign economic aid for FY 1976–77. However, Congress did not complete action on the military aid authorization or the appropriations bill for either program until 1976. (Congress and the Nation, Vol. IV, 1973–1976, p. 867)
  5. Representative William S. Broomfield (R–Michigan)
  6. Representative Thomas Ellsworth Morgan (D–Pennsylvania), Chairman of the House Committee on International Relations
  7. Representative Donald MacKay Fraser (D–Farm-Labor–Minnesota)
  8. Not found.
  9. Senator Daniel Ken Inouye (D–Hawaii)