13. Memorandum From the Counselor-Designate of the Department of State (McFarlane) to the Director-Designate of Policy Planning (Wolfowitz)1
- Study of East-West Relations
I believe your draft includes all of the regional and functional components essential to a comprehensive study of East-West relations.2 My only reservation concerns what I believe to be a need to establish the philosophical contextual setting in which the study will take place. [Page 32] As you know, military studies always begin by defining “the threat.” I believe we should use another term but that (the threat) is what I’m trying to get at in calling for a contextual setting.
Specifically, what is our assessment of the Soviet Union’s goals—its geopolitical objectives and long-term game plan? In other words, what do we believe are the dimensions of the problem we must deal with in the near-midterm period? This section need not be terribly long but I believe that in some study at the outset of this Administration we must say what we believe about the enduring purposes and objectives of the Soviet Union. I recall Sam Huntington’s piece in connection with PRM–103 which did (whether one agrees with it or not) provide one man’s contextual setting.
From that broad overview, each of your component pieces flows logically; that is, after we state our fundamental beliefs about their long-term intentions, we can consider how their ability to carry out those intentions are affected by the “Soviet internal scene” today, “US-Soviet bilateral relations” and other dimensions of our relationship world-wide.
Again, with apologies for my military methodology, I would tend to follow this threat section with an overview of our present resources for coping with it in a very broad sense. For example, what is the state of our alliances? Do we all hold a common perception of the threat? What is the state of the military balance across the force spectrum? What is the state of the economic balance? This amounts to a “net assessment.” Once you have done that, you will have identified political, economic, and military shortfalls (or surpluses). This leads to an identification of your vulnerabilities. For example, I believe we would both focus on our vulnerability to economic disruption arising from Soviet capabilities to exercise prevailing influence over Persian Gulf resources. If that is true, the study would need to treat—as you propose in paragraph 3—how we restore effective deterrence in the Persian Gulf area. Related analysis would also focus on how we restore free world political strength in that area.
All of the above need not alter your fundamental approach. I express it only to confirm that we both view the scope of the study along the same lines, generally.[Page 33]
- Source: Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/S–I Records: Official Papers of Counselor McFarlane, Lot 82D128, McFarlane’s Chron—January/February 1981. Secret.↩
- Printed as an attachment.↩
- Reference is to the comprehensive net assessment led by Samuel Huntington, a consultant to the National Security Council, during the first several months of the Carter administration. Documentation pertaining to PRM–10 is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. IV, National Security Policy.↩
- Secret. A handwritten note in the upper right-hand corner reads: “Wolfowitz 2/6 memo.”↩