14. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Secretary Haig
  • Secretary Weinberger
  • William P. Clark, Deputy Sec. of State
  • Frank Carlucci, Deputy Sec. of Defense
  • Robert C. McFarlane, Counselor
  • Richard Burt, Director, Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs
  • Francis West, Special Asst., Dept. of Defense


  • Summary of Meeting

The meeting began with a discussion of the New York Times story in which Secretary Haig was reported to have differed with Secretary [Page 36] Weinberger on the latter’s statement concerning the ERW question.2 Both thought that the story was distorted and that the State cable sent out following Secretary Weinberger’s remarks earlier this week only represented his statements in full.3 It was agreed that the State Department would deny the story (this was done by Bill Dyess at the noon briefing today) and that Secretary Weinberger would be given a copy of the cable that was sent out. Bing West subsequently received a copy of the cable.

Secretary Haig then discussed his dinner meeting last night with Ambassador Dobrynin and Senator Percy. Secretary Haig said that he told Dobrynin that the Soviets were not living up to the “code of international conduct” layed down in earlier agreements between Moscow and Washington. Secretary Haig also put Dobrynin on alert about the Administration’s concerns over Soviet arms shipments and the use of proxies in Latin America, Africa, and other regions. Dobrynin, in turn, complained about the President’s and Secretary Haig’s remarks concerning the Soviet Union in their recent press conferences.4 Senator Percy, meanwhile who wanted to raise the issue of a quick start on SALT III negotiations, was unable to make much headway in the conversation.

Secretary Weinberger then said that it would be a mistake for the Administration to open talks with the Soviets on SALT, CTB, and other arms control negotiations. Deputy Secretary Carlucci raised the issue of the MX and noted that the State Department would soon have to decide on whether it was a good idea to build the system to ease the verification problem, a step that could add an additional $1.5 billion to the cost of the system.

Secretary Haig, returning to his discussion with Dobrynin, said that the Soviet Ambassador told him that Moscow wants a “non-aligned” Afghanistan. On Poland, Secretary Haig said that Dobrynin’s remarks indicated that the Russians are ready to move at any time. Dobrynin indicated that from the Russian perspective, the situation is getting worse. “We are going to do what we have to do,” Dobrynin told Secretary Haig while Senator Percy was out of the room. Secretary Haig added that the State Department was in the process of putting together a detailed checklist on Western responses to a Soviet invasion of Poland.

[Omitted here is material unrelated to the Soviet Union.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/S–I Records: Haig and Shultz Memcons, Lot 87D327, SEC/Memcons, February 1981. Secret; Nodis. A handwritten note at the top of the memorandum reads: “Weinberger breakfast file.”
  2. Reference is to the enhanced radiation weapon (neutron bomb). See Bernard Gwertzman, “Haig Advises Allies to Disregard Talk of Neutron Weapon: Weinberger View Discounted,” New York Times, February 6, 1981, pp. A1, A4.
  3. Reference is to telegram 28412 to all NATO capitals, February 4. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D810052–0680)
  4. See Document 7.