354. Memorandum of Conversation1
- President Ford
- Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
- Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
[Omitted here is discussion of matters other than the European security conference or MBFR.]
Kissinger: On the NSC meeting on MBFR, the only issue is when to play the nuclear option—all at once or piddling it out.
The President: Timewise, when should we move?
Kissinger: I wouldn’t decide it at the meeting—just to preserve some flexibility. I would tell Resor he could give it to NATO in February and present it at Geneva in March.
The President: Is there a chance we could have something by the summit?
Kissinger: If there is, it won’t happen at Geneva. If we were willing to agree to equal cuts, we could get one.
The President: It would help with the Congress.
Kissinger: Our original proposal was ridiculous. The problem with cuts is that it indirectly introduces a ceiling. That is significant to the Soviets.
If we get serious about MBFR, we should do it like SALT—give them proposals through your channel before surfacing them.
The President: Schlesinger isn’t a problem on this, is he?
Kissinger: Not at all. [2 lines not declassified]
- Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, Box 8. Secret; Nodis. The meeting took place in the Oval Office.↩