142. Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of State (Stoessel) to Secretary of State Haig 1

SUBJECT

  • Status of Interagency Consultations on the Siberian Gas Pipeline and Related Issues

Mr. Secretary:

During the last week, the interested agencies have continued efforts to develop a coherent strategy to deal with the Siberian Gas Pipeline and related issues. Although the SIG meeting which I chaired on February 10 revealed continued disarray and disagreement, the latest developments suggest that a new sense of realism regarding our ability to stop the pipeline and the costs of a futile effort to do so is beginning to percolate through the bureaucracy.

This is particularly striking in the case of the NSC Staff, where the action officer2 had previously been pushing for an all-out assault on the pipeline but acknowledged today that he realized that this was the wrong approach. He now feels that the focus of our efforts with the Europeans should be on future credits and imports from the Soviet Union, in other words essentially the point which you have been emphasizing. The Department of Defense continues to insist upon an all-out effort to stop the pipeline. However, the NSC action officer has advised us that he plans to discuss the subject with Fred Ikle to see if he can be brought around. I personally doubt that this effort will succeed. Secretary Baldrige appears to share our view, although there are differences within Commerce and you may want to discuss the subject with Mac. Bill Brock can probably be counted on to support our position. Treasury also appears to be swinging around to a position compatible with ours. In sum, the bureaucratic environment seems considerably more favorable than I had thought would be the case.

Another favorable development is that the pressure for an early SIG or NSC meeting has dissipated. The NSC action officer has suggested that we have an informal meeting of inter-agency representa[Page 486]tives in my office on Thursday. I will keep you apprised of developments.3

Walter J. Stoessel, Jr. 4
  1. Source: Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/S–I Records: Walter Stoessel Files, Lot 82D307, P—Stoessel Classified Chron 1982. Secret; Not for the System. A stamped notation at the top of the memorandum reads: “AMH.” Haig also initialed the top of the memorandum.
  2. Reference is to Norman Bailey.
  3. Haig drew a vertical line to the right of this paragraph.
  4. Stoessel initialed “WJS” over his typed signature.