57. Editorial Note

On January 10, 1980, Richard Burt of the New York Times reported that anonymous U.S. officials said that “President Carter has instructed ACDA to stop arms control negotiations in the wake of the Afghanistan invasion.” However, Department of State Spokesman Hodding Carter III denied that President Jimmy Carter had issued a memorandum containing such instructions. In his press guidance, Carter conceded that “the adverse political climate engendered by Soviet actions on Afghanistan already will have an impact on arms control. But as we have done in the past we will determine our policies in each arms control negotiations in accordance with our national interests. Where we see the possi[Page 132]bility for progress which will enhance our security we will move ahead.” Regarding anti-satellite negotiations, the Spokesman said “no date has been set for resumption of other negotiations in which we have been involved (The Spokesman was asked specifically about ASAT, CAT, and Indian Ocean. He repeated that no dates have been set for them.)” (Telegram 7624 to All NATO Capitals, January 11; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800018–0763)

George Wilson of the Washington Post, meanwhile, “quoted Air Force Chief of Staff Lew Allen as predicting that current chill in U.S.–USSR relations will accelerate development of weapons to wage war in outer space. Allen, in making that prediction in an interview yesterday, said ‘there will be pressure on us to move out more quickly’ on weapons designed to knock down Soviet satellites used for spying, navigation and communication. Wilson said Allen ‘sounded regretful as he predicted Air Force will yield to that pressure.’ Allen said ‘I would still hope for reasonably strong agreement on continued noninterference’ with satellites U.S. and USSR have in space to check on compliance with SALT Treaty. Allen said ‘expectation of little progress’ in ASAT talks, together with ‘more concern about fragility’ of noninterference pledges, are sources of ‘pressure to proceed faster’ on antisatellite weapons.’ Allen said ‘we have capability to do that,’ adding that Air Force would exercise it in response to changed relationship with Soviet Union. Wilson said a four star general indicated extra money would go for anti-satellite weapons already well along in development rather than more distant possibilities such as lasers.” (Telegram 8435 to the Mission in Geneva, January 11, 1980; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800020–0155)