99. Memorandum From David Elliott of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1 2


  • Meeting between the President and Jim Fletcher at 12:30 Today

I see from the Domestic Council talker for the above meeting (Tab A) that the subject of US-USSR space cooperation may arise. If for that reason you decide to attend, you should know that:

The joint docking mission (ASTP) is on schedule and the level of cooperation is good. There may have been some adverse implications vis-a-vis Soviet technical preparation in the partial failure of the Soyuz 15 flight. Additional preparatory flights can be anticipated.

Our insights into Soviet space plans is very limited. They are developing a giant booster which could mean a manned lunar program is still being pursued, or a large permanently manned earth orbiting station is under development. Their space technology is still far behind ours.

There are indications that the Soviets are intending to use Soyuz-Salyut partly for manned military reconnaissance.


Concerning further US-USSR collaboration: the Soviets turned down a joint Apollo-Salyut mission as too difficult. Our suggestions of joint science missions to Venus and Mars have not been answered. The Soviets may find collaboration with a more advanced partner as too taxing, but we cannot forecast their ultimate interest with any certainty.

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You should also be aware that there is considerable international suspicion over ERTS. The LDCs see it as holding some promise for them but also as opening opportunities for commercial exploitation by U.S. companies who know better how to use this type of information.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Agency File 1974–1977, Box 12, NASA 8/9/74–4/30/75. Confidential. Sent for information. Attached but not published is a November 2 memorandum from Cole to Ford, which presents the agenda for a November 4 meeting between Ford and several space policy advisers.
  2. Elliott summarized the status of cooperation on space-related matters between the United States and the Soviet Union.