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69. Memorandum of Conversation1

PARTICIPANTS

  • President Ford
  • Secretary of State Kissinger
  • Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld
  • Brent Scowcroft, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Rumsfeld: I have a subject. Today they decide on the Defense appropriation in the House. Mahon is still nervous about his committee. I can feel it. He wants to go the old route of cuts. I have told them it is difficult to make any more cuts this year—it’s a bare-bones budget. If he cuts it and the Budget Committee does, we are in trouble.

There are three areas of concern: any pay changes have to go on top; shipbuilding we are reviewing; SALT may need a supplemental. If they want to add on for any of these, it should go on top of the $112.7 billion. I just wanted you to know they may come in over your budget.

The President: That would be a miracle.

Kissinger: My only concern is the Democrats adding to the defense budget. They do it every 16 years.

Rumsfeld: We are protected on all these areas.

Will you meet with the committee leaders—or the full committee?

The President: I would stick to a small group.

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

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 18, February 26, 1976—Ford, Kissinger, Rumsfeld. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office.