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146. Memorandum of Conversation1

PARTICIPANTS

  • The President
  • 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 unrelated to Portugal.]

Kissinger: [Omitted here is additional discussion unrelated to Portugal.]

On the 40 Committee on Portugal. State thinks it is a mistake, on the ground that the risk is out of proportion to gain. I don’t see a hell of a lot to gain by [dollar amount not declassified]. We could wind up with the worst possible situation. Colby indicated he wouldn’t spend it. What do you think, Brent?

Scowcroft: The advantage is the press is Communist-controlled and the press of the moderate party is asking for the money.

President: How can any one object to helping a democratic press?

Kissinger: That is what we did in Chile.

President: If it is defensible, why shouldn’t we?

Kissinger: It will leak and hurt the parties.

President: That is a different case.

Kissinger: I would tell Colby to do what he can in the package without spending the money.

President: Should I talk to Church?

Kissinger: I would tell him the dangers are that our intelligence will be paralyzed; we have to protect sensitive data.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Portugal.]

  1. Summary: Ford, Kissinger, and Scowcroft discussed the proposal for a covert action program in Portugal.

    Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, Box 9. Secret; Nodis. The meeting took place in the Oval Office.