358. Editorial Note

During the winter and spring of 1975, Jan Lodal of the NSC staff wrote several entries in his daily log relating to mutual and balanced force reductions.

On February 4, 1975, he wrote: “I arranged to see Wilberforce tomorrow and tell him about MBFR. Hal [Sonnenfeldt] and I still think Henry should discuss this privately with the Soviets first, but he apparently doesn’t intend to, or perhaps already has. Brent [Scowcroft] feels strongly he is playing the MBFR thing perfectly straight.” On February 5, he noted: “I met with Makins and Wilberforce this morning. I [Page 1056] went over Option III with them as to what we plan to do. Wilberforce had a fair number of questions—the expected British ones. I suspect we’ll have some trouble.”

His subsequent log entries read in part: “Thursday, February 27, 1975. The Trilaterals with the British and Germans on MBFR started this morning. Ikle ran them, and as usual, didn’t know what he was talking about. Tickell gave his pitch, concentrating on the need for a strong common ceiling agreement at the end of Phase I. Ikle danced around with it, and I finally hit Tickell hard by asking him what the difference was between his approach and the ‘conflation’ approach which does away with the two phases. He said, ‘You have stripped the clothes right off my back.’” The entry for February 27 continued: “I went to lunch at Wilberforce’s house with the MBFR people. I ate with Fred Ruth, the German Foreign Ministry man on MBFR, and with Tickell. We continued our discussions. Ruth is a charming and very bright man. Generally, I think we made progress. Lou Michael also sat at our table and was very helpful. He also thanked me for my comments at the morning meeting, saying he thought they brought the issue to the fore.”

On March 31, Lodal wrote: “I returned to prepare for an MBFR Working Group in the afternoon. The argument about how to handle ceilings issues continues. I am not surprised—I always thought we had failed to come to grips with the ceilings issues. At the Working Group, we reached a tentative agreement that we would proceed according to the ‘Ruth’ plan—vague reciprocal ceilings on warheads, and our original approach on everything else.”

On April 4, he wrote: “We had an MBFR Working Group meeting in the afternoon to go over the now reconstituted Option III ceilings issues. Hopefully, it is all put together.” Lodal’s entry on April 11 reads in part: “I talked to Ikle about MBFR—he’s gotten cold feet on Option III. He has completely lost his mind—as to the extent he ever had one.”

On April 22, Lodal wrote: “We had an MBFR Working Group meeting to get a rundown from Resor on the last round, which just ended Friday. Of course, nothing happened. I feel sorry for Resor’s having to put up with that job.” Lodal’s entry continues: “I gave Lou Michael a note telling him that I am pretty well convinced that Sonnenfeldt and Lehman are in cahoots to get Ikle to undercut our MBFR Option III approach. Sonnenfeldt hates Option III (in my view irrationally) and Lehman hates all arms control, so it is a convenient alliance. I told him that as far as I can tell, HAK sincerely wants to proceed with Option III. I suggested that JRS [Schlesinger] talk to Ikle. Michael answered the note by saying he agreed that Sonnenfeldt and Lehman were working together. He said further they had high-level help in OSD, but not from Schlesinger. He said he would try to get Schlesinger to talk to Ikle.”

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On April 23, Lodal wrote: “Haig was in town today and apparently told Kissinger that we have to stop Schlesinger on trying to get the nuclear weapons out of Europe. I made a fairly strong pitch to Sonnenfeldt that we should try to keep Kissinger from taking knee-jerk reaction on every item, such as this. I understand how Kissinger wants to avoid any impression of US pullbacks at this time—but that doesn’t mean he should stop the entire Government and stop all efforts to do reasonable analysis.” (Ford Library, NSC Program Analysis Staff, Jan Lodal Convenience Files, Box 70, Daily Log)

On May 1, Lodal sent a memorandum to Kissinger in which he wrote that “we are having serious difficulties with Fred Ikle.” The memorandum continued: “He is making major out-of-channel efforts to undo our MBFR position. For some reason, he has decided we should not proceed with Option III. There is significant evidence that he is influencing both the British and the Germans in their questioning of Option III, and he is now preparing a memo for the Verification Panel primarily suggesting major changes in our approach. He has continued to work outside the interagency process, rather than using the Working Group.” A notation at the top indicated that Kissinger saw the memorandum. (Ibid., Box 65, Memos and Background Papers)

In May, Lodal wrote additional entries in his log regarding MBFR. On May 5, he wrote: “I had lunch with Chris Makins. He told me Wilberforce will leave in August. He also plans to leave in August to go to New York—the Trilateral Commission. He said the British were not opposed in principle to Option III. We should get their comments in a couple of days. Their main concerns are with the common ceiling (they want it specified numerically in the first phase), equipment ceilings (they say they haven’t worked it out yet), and having the US make a bilateral approach to the Soviets before we table it.” On May 9, he wrote: “Resor had talked to Brent briefly today to see if we are still interested in MBFR. Brent said he reassured him. I feel sorry for Resor—it’s a bad job.”

On May 29, Lodal wrote: “We had a meeting of the MBFR Working Group in the afternoon and made final changes to the next steps paper. I will send it out to Sonnenfeldt and HAK, and we should be able to introduce it in the next week or two in the NAC.” (Ibid., Box 70, Daily Log)