245. Note From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)1
State is assuming a basically passive attitude and is rejecting any notion of giving the Brits a bit of a shove.
I don’t want a confrontation just yet but I think there would be value in your calling Irwin and telling him
—you want to be sure he understands that the President does not want the Malta negotiations to fail;
—while we agree we should not do anything that upsets the Brits and gives them a pretext for throwing in the towel we also do not want to accept every British position sight unseen because we have a strong suspicion the Brits really want the talks to fail;
—State should give urgent thought to an action plan for next week whereby we can inject ourselves in some way with the Brits and, if necessary to keep the talks alive, with Mintoff (e.g. think again about sending our economic experts);
—we do not rule out some additional US money on a one-time basis—of course conditioned on prior UK-Malta agreement. (State resists this because it fears the money will be taken from another high-priority project and because it fears Congressional criticism.)
Basically what we want is for State to be pushed by its own Seventh floor instead of only by us.2