12. Memorandum From the Director-designate of the United States Information Agency (Reinhardt) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1

Attached is the first, hastily prepared weekly foreign media reaction report which you requested yesterday.

The material for this paper was compiled from the regular reporting which the Agency receives from overseas and represents only readily available sources on hand. For future reports we will, of course, specify the subjects our posts should monitor and thereby gain a wider coverage.

Normally you will receive this report on Thursdays, as you requested. However, since many publications appear on Fridays (e.g., The Economist, The Spectator, The New Statesman), we will either need to prepare a Friday supplement or choose a different day for sending the weekly report.

In the course of writing this paper, questions arose regarding both its style and content, and we will resolve them in early discussions with Jerry Schecter.

Finally, because of the press of time we have relied heavily on direct quotations to indicate the substance of articles. Henceforth we will prepare substantive summaries and use only the most striking, revealing quotations.


Paper Prepared in the United States Information Agency2

Foreign Media Reaction: Selected Foreign Affairs Issues


“President Carter has begun to discover what a thicket he has to plunge through in his search for a nuclear arms deal with Russia. He is shoving gallantly forward. . . . It is increasingly difficult to go on [Page 33] believing that the negotiations about nuclear weapons can be kept in two different compartments, one for ‛strategic’ weapons to be discussed between America and Russia alone, the other for ‛tactical’ ones which also involve their European allies. Some people argue that it may be necessary, before long, to reorganize the negotiations to recognize that fact. Any such all-in nuclear negotiations would be a hideous tangle. But it seems increasingly likely that any SALT II deal Mr. Carter may pull off this year will have to be a fairly short-lived one—with a much more complicated SALT III haggle pretty soon.” (Economist, independent, London, 2/11/77)

“Mr. Carter is determined to get relations with Russia on a better, safer and more promising footing, to take initiatives, and to show a willingness to come at least half way. . . . Inevitably to some extent Mr. Carter is feeling his way, as his predecessors did—each, however, with a decreasing margin of safety in case things went wrong. His margin is now either nonexistent or at best wafer-thin. For this reason he cannot afford to dispense with ‛linkage,’ ‛reciprocity,’ or whatever term is in vogue to describe getting a good, tough over-all bargain.” (London Daily Telegraph, conservative, 2/10/77)

“If the Soviets know that the Americans do not attach any importance to the details of the (SALT) agreement, they will easily get the upper hand in the bargaining. . . . According to the American press, the man whom President Carter has chosen as head of the arms control agency, the man who will conduct the team of negotiators, Paul Warnke, professes in an extreme form the doctrine that in nuclear matters superiority does not exist or does not matter. . . . If the former adviser to McGovern really professes the ideas credited to him, the choice of Paul Warnke by President Carter would constitute a further step in the weakening, or rather the surrender of the U.S. It would increase the anxiety that certain initiatives of the new President in diplomatic and especially in strategic matters rightly cause in Europe.” (Figaro, moderately conservative, Raymond Aron, 2/15/77)

“President Carter has roughly outlined his SALT offer to the Soviets. Details remain unclear. It is reassuring that the U.S. apparently is not ready to shackle its cruise missile. There is reason to take a skeptical view of the possibility of eventual U.S.-Soviet agreement on cruise missiles and Backfire bombers. It would not be wise to pursue a policy of gentlemen’s agreements with Moscow or even a policy of good examples, because such a policy might lead to a dangerous shift of the nuclear balance. American advance concessions have never been honored by the Soviets.” (Die Welt, right-center, byliner, 2/10/77)3

[Page 34]

“President Carter seems to have learned the lessons of SALT I and Vladivostok,4 and is prepared to negotiate with the Russians more realistically, taking firmer positions than Kissinger, the advocate of detente at any price. . . . This, by the way, is the course recommended by Carter’s closest advisers, Vance and Brzezinski. . . . Everything shows that Carter’s nuclear policy is as prudent as it is skillful . . .” (O Estado de Sao Paulo, 2/11/77)


“American policy towards European Communism is relatively low in the priority list for the overall review of foreign policy which is now under way in the National Security Council,” official sources in Washington say. “When the review is completed there will be no dramatic announcement, but some changes are expected. ‛There will not be a 180-degree turn from Dr. Kissinger’s position,’ one senior official said, ‛but probably about 30 or 40 degrees.’. . .” (Guardian, liberal, Washington correspondent Jonathan Steele, 2/17/77)


“Will Carter choose Europe or Germany?. . .The global policy of the U.S. must find its new orientations within the next three months as required by the Western summit in May,5 during which Carter will disclose them. . . . Won’t the White House tend to translate the trilogy, ‛America, Europe, Japan,’ proposed by international business diplomacy with the trilateral commission, into ‛U.S., Germany and Japan’?. . . To avoid such a danger one must be aware of it and make Washington understand how indispensable it is to strengthen the cohesion of the European Community and its awareness of its role and of its future. . . . The Community must begin to speak with one voice on a minimum number of major themes, especially if trilateralism becomes the password of the new U.S. Administration. . . . There remain a few months to persuade the U.S. that the particular nature of Europe, whatever Britain may say, must be reaffirmed. If the French President and the West German Chancellor can persuade Jimmy Carter of its importance, they will find the American partner they seek.” (Figaro, page one article by Alain Vernay, 2/10/77)

[Page 35]


“The switches are being set for peace in the Middle East. . . . On the eve of Secretary Vance’s visit,6 Syrian troops were withdrawn from southern Lebanon in compliance with Israeli requests. . . . In a letter to Chancellor Kreisky, the PLO signaled readiness for a settlement providing for establishment of a Palestinian mini-state. . . . That the Carter administration intends to keep the reins of mediation in its hands was demonstrated by Washington’s energetic objection to the European Community’s intention to pass another Middle East resolution.” (Die Zeit, Hamburg, 2/17/77)


“. . . American motives for a strict policy of nonproliferation are respectable and based upon responsibility. They cannot be simply reduced to considerations of competition, especially since they affect American industry. However, respectable motives should not lead to neglecting rationality, nor should moral pathos disregard logic. The Germans are not furnishing Brazil with the A-bomb nor the materials to build it as long as the agreements . . . are not circumvented . . .” (Frankfurter Allgemeine, right-center, 2/15/77)7

“President Carter remains adamant. . . . As far as (he) is concerned, economic considerations play no role in the matter at all. He never has indicated that the Germans should abandon their deal with Brazil. . . . The U.S. takes the view that nuclear reprocessing installations should be placed under international supervision (and) the FRG would follow this American line if Bonn could save face vis-a-vis Brasilia. Therefore, American pressure is now directed at Brasilia rather than Bonn.” (Washington correspondent Emil Boelte in several papers including General-Anzeiger, independent, Bonn, 2/17/77)

The U.S. and the USSR are exerting “colonialist pressures against the Brazil-West German nuclear agreement. . . . Why this orchestrated [Page 36] action? The nations now pressuring (us) not to carry out the nuclear agreement—arrogating to themselves the role of defenders of world integrity—did they employ this same reasoning 32 years ago when they began the arms race?” (Jornal de Brasilia, independent, 2/13/77)8

(During the week, Japanese media reported on Tokyo’s request for a reprocessing plant from the U.S. Prognostications were that the plant would be provided, and that Japan and the U.S. would also agree to adopting new safeguards as a result of the deal.)


“. . . Carter has been making a carefully measured entrance on the world stage. . . . American policy will remain attached to its sheet anchors of support for NATO and the Western Alliance and the search for stabilization of the nuclear balance with Russia. . . . It is in the handling of the third world that the most significant change is likely in American policy. Mr. Carter may be expected to show more awareness of the nations of the third world as people with enormous problems of poverty and backwardness, rather than as simply pawns in the cold war.” (London Observer, independent, 2/14/77)


“President Carter’s adviser on national security . . . Dr. Brzezinski, has reaffirmed in clearest terms America’s interest in maintaining the independence of Yugoslavia and Rumania . . . in an article in the latest. . . issue of Survey . . . His views differ substantially from those of . . .Kissinger and his . . . assistant Sonnenfeldt. In contrast to (a closer “organic” union)9 Mr. Brzezinski wants to see a ‛polycentric’ Communist world and the ‛gradual evolution of (those) regimes into more cooperative members of the international community.” (Communist Affairs correspondent David Floyd in The Daily Telegraph, 2/11/77)

“Fears are rising among Soviet dissidents that the authorities are planning a major operation against them . . . (The Pravda statement) [Page 37] appears to be an official rebuff for President Carter’s call for greater respect for human rights in the Soviet Union.” (Correspondent Andrew Wilson in The Observer, 2/14/77)


“The arrival in the White House of Mr. Carter—a man obviously more anxious than Mr. Ford to deal with Latin American problems earnestly and with generosity—at last permits a glimpse of a real opening of the ‛new dialogue’ often promised by Mr. Kissinger and regularly forgotten by a man primarily concerned with ratios of forces on a world scale. Mr. Carter, who seems to be making a correct appraisal of the strategic, political and economic importance of the countries located at the U.S.’ very door, stigmatized the Latin American dictatorships. . . . The warning has been understood in Chile. . . . Mr. Carter moreover seems determined to step up negotiations . . . to conclude a new Panama Canal treaty. . . . But it is with the Cuban regime that the signs of a thaw are the most numerous. . . . The new crew has thrown the ball to the Cuban side.” (Le Monde, left of center, 2/11/77)

(President Carter’s February 16 remarks at the Agriculture Department came too late for comment or news treatment.)10

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Agency File, Box 9, International Communication Agency: 2–7/77. No classification marking.
  2. No classification marking.
  3. Brzezinski bracketed this paragraph.
  4. Reference is to Ford’s meeting with Brezhnev at the Okeanskaya military sanitarium near Vladivostok, November 23–24, 1974. At the conclusion of the talks, a joint U.S.-Soviet statement on the limitation of strategic offensive arms and a joint communiqué were released. For the text, see Public Papers: Ford, 1974, pp. 657–662. Documentation on the summit is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XVI, Soviet Union, August 1974–December 1976 and Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXXIII, SALT II, 1972–1979.
  5. Reference is to the upcoming G–7 Economic Summit, scheduled to take place in London, May 7–8. Documentation on the Summit, including the records of the sessions, is in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. III, Foreign Economic Policy.
  6. Reference is to Vance’s trip to Israel February 15–17, Egypt February 17–18, Lebanon on February 18, Jordan February 18–19, Saudi Arabia February 19–20, and Syria February 20–21. For additional information concerning Vance’s meetings, see Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VIII, Arab-Israeli Dispute, January 1977–August 1978, Documents 615.
  7. In June 1975, the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany negotiated a technology agreement with the Government of Brazil, in order to sell Brazil a “complete nuclear fuel cycle,” including an uranium enrichment facility, a fuel fabrication unit, reactors, and a facility for reprocessing spent fuel into plutonium. (David Binder, “U.S. Wins Safeguards in German Nuclear Deal With Brazil,” The New York Times, June 4, 1975, p. 16 and Craig R. Whitney, “Brazilians and West Germans Sign $4-Billion Nuclear Pact,” The New York Times, June 28, 1975, p. 2). Documentation on the U.S. response to the FRG–Brazil agreement is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–14, Part 2, Documents on Arms Control and Nonproliferation, 1973–1976.
  8. Brzezinski bracketed this paragraph.
  9. Reference is to off-the-record remarks Sonnenfeldt made at the December 1975 European Chiefs of Mission conference, held in London. He posited that the United States should pursue an evolution of the Soviet role in Eastern Europe. The Department transmitted a summary of his remarks in telegram 24976 to all European diplomatic posts, February 1, 1976; see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXXVIII, Part 1, Foundations of Foreign Policy, 1973–1976, Document 68. Syndicated columnists Evans and Novak referenced Sonnenfeldt’s in their March 22 column. (“A Soviet-East Europe ‛Organic Union’,” The Washington Post, March 22, 1976, p. A19) Sonnenfeldt, addressing a Pentagon audience in late March, noted that the original and press reports of the COM conference had distorted his remarks: “The press focused on the use of the word organic, and added the term union, which together, imply U.S. acceptance of Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. This assertion is incorrect.” ( Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXXVIII, Part 1, Foundations of Foreign Policy, 1973–1976, Document 73)
  10. The President offered remarks and took part in a question-and-answer session at the Department of Agriculture beginning at 11:40 a.m. For the text of the President’s remarks and responses to questions posed by Department of Agriculture employees, see Public Papers: Carter, 1977, Book I, pp. 167–175.