297. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Carlucci) to President Reagan 1

SUBJECT

  • Shultz Moscow Visit

I have briefed Former Presidents Carter, Ford and Nixon on the Shultz Moscow Visit.2 All appreciated the contact.

President Ford laid particular emphasis on not allowing the Soviets to place any constraints on SDI deployment. President Nixon was not surprised that little progress had been made in the START Space and Defense area. He expressed concern about the Zero SRINF proposal. While politically it is hard for the Europeans to refuse such a proposal, he noted, it does entail a rupture “in the seamless web” of the NATO flexible response doctrine. Europeans worry that acceptance of the Zero option would move us closer to a massive retaliation response to a Soviet attack in Europe where we would be in the position of “trading Cleveland for Berlin.”

President Carter was supportive of the INF initiative, including the Zero SRINF proposal. He said he would so state publicly if you desired.

I also talked to Zbignew Brzezinski who was quite supportive of our approach, although he acknowledged the concerns of the Europeans. He raised one caution and one suggestion. We should avoid getting into the Carter trap whereby we raise expectations on a treaty and a summit to the point where we generate pressure on ourselves to make unwise concessions. The suggestion was that we consider a dramatic new proposal on conventional reductions.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Frank Carlucci Files, Howard Baker (03/27/1987–04/28/1987; NLR–776–B1–2–2–1–6. Confidential. Sent for information. Copies were sent to Howard Baker and Shultz. Also printed in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. VI, Soviet Union, October 1986–January 1989, Document 50.
  2. See footnote 4, Document 292.