342. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Henry A. Kissinger
  • Brigadier General Brent Scowcroft
  • Lawrence Eagleburger
  • Richard Kennedy
  • Charles Cooper
  • Phillip Odeen
  • Richard Campbell

[Omitted here is discussion of matters other than the European security conference or MBFR.]

Mr. Kissinger: [Omitted here are unrelated comments.] What about MBFR?

Mr. Odeen: Well, we are moving …

Mr. Kissinger: What about our nuclear policy? We’ve got to get that nailed down and what if the Russians don’t go along? We’re only asking them to withdraw 62,000 troops and supplies, and their whole tank army, in return for 20,000 men with no rifles. Have we projected what happens if we throw in a rifle or two?

Mr. Eagleburger: The Brits are the toughest. No one has focused on the problem you raised. Everyone is looking at it from our side.

Mr. Odeen: The Brits certainly are a problem. They fight everything.

General Scowcroft: They don’t like the problem in the second stage.

Mr. Kennedy: What they want is a flat 10% common feeling [ceiling].

Mr. Odeen: Yes, and our position right now is 29,000 on our side, 65,000 or 68,000 and a Russian tank army on the other side.

Mr. Kissinger: Isn’t that 15% on both sides? Is 29,000 15%?

Mr. Odeen: Yes. Five division equivalents.

Mr. Kissinger: So we have an equivalent percent on both sides.

Mr. Odeen: Yes, but they may reject it out of hand.

Mr. Kissinger: That’s what I have to avoid. With the Russians I found if you can get them to accept in principle what you are trying to do then you have a chance to hammer out something. My problem is that if they reject it out of hand we can’t get anywhere.

[Page 999]

Mr. Odeen: The Brits want 10% flat out and then quit.

Mr. Kissinger to General Scowcroft: Did you talk to Sykes?

General Scowcroft: Yes.2 He was sure Trend would tell his colleagues. I mentioned that that certainly was not our impression but that’s water over the dam. I told him we would like a text of what they said so that we can at least tell our people. He said he would send a cable.

Mr. Eagleburger: Trend is a good guy.

Mr. Kissinger: I don’t give a damn. I judge by action. They can’t milk us for everything in the name of special channel.

Mr. Odeen: On MBFR I will check on the nuclear policy.

Mr. Kissinger: If the Russians turn it down everyone will go home.

Mr. Eagleburger: Well, I see two possible reactions. Either everyone will go home or we’ll get into an argument to fold from the Danish and the Norwegians.

Mr. Kissinger: Who cares about the Danish and the Norwegians?

Mr. Eagleburger: What will the Germans do?

General Scowcroft: I think they’ll go along with us.

[Omitted here is discussion of matters other than the European security conference or MBFR.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1027, MemCons—HAK Presidential, April–November 1973, 3 of 5. No classification marking.
  2. No record of this conversation has been found.