69. Memorandum From K. Wayne Smith of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Sanitized MBFR Evaluation Report

We now have two different versions of the MBFR Evaluation Report ready for transmittal to our allies. One accommodates General Goodpaster’s views; the other doesn’t. You should decide which to send.

The Issues

In May an interagency working group prepared a sanitized version of the April 12 MBFR Evaluation Report for transmittal to the North Atlantic Council, in accordance with your instructions. (It is at Tab A.)2 This paper has been approved by David Packard for the De[Page 298]partment of Defense (including the JCS), and has the strong support of the State Department. Earlier, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved the paper, with some caveats regarding static force ratio analysis, but submitted it to SACEUR for comment.

As you know, General Goodpaster had a number of substantive objections to the report, largely related to the presentation of the military balance and the use of static force ratios. He also questioned the tactic of pursuing MBFR ahead of force improvements, and expressed the fear that the view of the military balance set forth in our studies, by taking a “rosy” view of the situation, would undercut our efforts to obtain meaningful allied force improvements in the coming years.

The Joint Staff prepared comments on the Evaluation Report based on Goodpaster’s position. These have been reviewed and adjusted by working-level officials from State and Defense, and a revised draft is now available which meets 90 percent of the JCS objections.3

State can live with this revised version, but isn’t ecstatic about it.

But David Packard believes the original paper should go forward without revision. He finds that:

—Final polishing, approval and transmittal of the revised version effectively preclude a U.S. analytic input to NATO’s current MBFR work until after the August holidays. This in turn could mean a very hurried review in the fall of substance prior to the Deputy Foreign Ministers’ meeting (now set for October).4

—Procedurally, it would be unwise to reopen agreed papers as this creates a precedent. We will have to fight the same tactical battle over again when time comes to present our force improvements work to the alliance. Further delay in that area would effectively preclude any significant U.S. influence on the detailed force planning of our allies.

Needless to say, the objections of Defense and presumably State to accommodating General Goodpaster raise real bureaucratic difficulties to our distribution of a report that we ourselves have developed. In this situation, your choices are to:

Send the Original Sanitized Report. This would, of course, leave General Goodpaster unhappy but satisfy the agencies in Washington.

Send a Report Satisfying Goodpaster’s Criticisms. Under this approach, we would distribute for final agency review the revised Report and send it to NATO when agreement was reached. If you want to accommodate Goodpaster in this way, you will have to call Dave Packard and Jack Irwin to smooth the way.

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Delay Sending a Report.5 This avoids the problem created by General Goodpaster but would infuriate parts of the bureaucracy and get us into trouble with our Allies, particularly the British, who badly want a U.S. input.

My Views

This has become a no-win proposition for the NSC, particularly for me as chairman of the MBFR Working Group which is preparing the sanitized versions of the papers. At the root of the problem is the fact that we can’t continue to push NATO force improvements and MBFR simultaneously. Goodpaster believes the threat assessment (particularly the M+60 figures) in the Evaluation Report will kill any chance of getting force improvements. State, ACDA, and OSD(ISA) take the position that the Report has already been reviewed and agreed to by all agencies, including the JCS, that both the Verification Panel and the NSC have approved transmitting it to the NAC, and that revising the paper again will just waste time and further irritate the Allies who are already impatient over the lack of a U.S. input. Both sides are right. I think we must provide some kind of input to the Allies. I also think we should try to accommodate Goodpasternot because I agree with his substantive objections to the threat assessment (I don’t)—but because I think we should make every effort to obtain the force improvements and that will probably require slowing down the rush toward MBFR.


That you call Dave Packard and Jack Irwin to smooth the way for a Working Group review of the revised report prepared by my staff and the JCS which meets most of Goodpaster’s objections.



See me

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 15. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for urgent action. Kissinger initialed the top of the first page.
  2. Not attached. Neither of the sanitized versions has been found. The Verification Panel considered the full report at its April 23 meeting. See Document 61.
  3. Not found.
  4. The meeting took place October 5–6 in Brussels.
  5. No record was found that any sanitized report was sent to the NAC.
  6. Kissinger initialed this option. A handwritten comment at the end of the recommendation reads, “notation for HAK to make calls put on his phone list.”