242. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Casey to President Reagan 1


  • Report on Visit with Ambassadors Nitze, Rowny and Ellis, [1 line not declassified]

1. Our arms control negotiators in START and INF see the Soviet delegations as stonewalling with Moscow likely, at some time soon in INF, to put out an unacceptable but publicly appealing offer and then launch a propaganda barrage to blame American inflexibility for failure of the negotiations.

2. They are insisting that aircraft must be included, UK and French systems must be taken into account, and there should be no restraints on Soviet Far Eastern deployment. Soviet attempts to introduce aircraft in the negotiations are aimed at emasculating US support for its allies; there can be no compensation for UK and French systems; and if SS–20s were moved to the Far East, they could be easily moved back.

3. Nitze speculates that the new Soviet proposal would likely call for 200 intermediate range missiles on each side, including UK and French systems, and 100 bombers. The Soviets now have 200 SS–20s west of the crest of the Urals, thus they could dismantle their obsolete SS–4s and 5s and not have to destroy a single SS–20. Obsolete badgers and blinders could be moved or destroyed, and excess Backfire could be moved east of the Urals. We should be prepared for a leak or other announcement of this proposal.

4. To deal with this we need full consultation with the Allies at each step in the negotiations in order to present a united front against the anticipated Soviet campaign. If the US is going to ask for on-site inspection the Allies must be consulted in advance because they have their own laws to contend with. The Allies are well aware of what the Soviets are up to.

5. It is most likely that the Soviets are readying a full propaganda campaign to discredit the US proposal. To counter this, we need a public information campaign reiterating our position, laying out the issues and the negotiating record frankly, the disparity in forces, etc. The President’s speech Monday provides the basis for this. Nitze urges that his confidentiality arrangement with the head of the Soviet delega[Page 802]tion not be allowed to hinder higher US Government and any available Allied officials exploiting the extremity, lack of logic, and general nastiness of the Soviet Union in its INF position.

6. Fortunately, SHAPE is mounting an information program to be conducted with contingents of officers going to public meetings in Europe to explain INF issues. This should be supplemented by mobilizing US Ambassadors and other ranking officials in Europe as spokesmen. To make this effective, General Lawson, Chief of Staff, SHAPE, urged that photography be released for public inspection. I have had this issue reviewed once again and the conclusion is the same as it was in response to an asserted need for photography to support SALT II in 1979 and to support INF deployment in 1981. The threat to the protection of sources and methods outweighs the somewhat doubtful persuasive value of revealing to the public even degraded satellite imagery of selected Soviet INF hardware. The Inman-Hughes display of airplane photography of Nicaragua this spring had little if any impact on public opinion. The Kennedy photos on Cuban missiles were meaningful because they were taken from U–2 planes at an altitude of 500 feet. Our satellite photos are meaningful only to a trained interpreter. Releases will inevitably make less effective the collection of these imaging systems and trade possible, and I think unlikely, short-term political/military gains for long-term degradation of our critical information gathering capacities. Actually, there is no widespread doubt in Europe that SS–20s are there and photography doesn’t convey the spread of deployment or broad purpose. We believe that preparation of a public document with careful renderings of SS–20 facilities and equipment similar to the Secretary of Defense’s Soviet Military Power is the best way to develop public understanding of the Soviet developments.

7. Nitze urges that we make every effort to make a further offer, which should be complete and not piecemeal, or, if that is deemed not to be desirable, to explore all reasonable alternatives in order to provide Kohl with ammunition to win the potential political battle over deployment.

8. Substantial research and policy determinations in both INF and START are necessary as a prerequisite to this. The Soviet delegation is paranoid on cruise missiles, viewing the combination of bombers and cruise missiles—with either or both using Stealth technology—as the upcoming first strike threat. Aborting the cruise missile may be their primary objective in the current round of negotiations, as aborting ABM was in SALT I. The cruise missile may have great strategic value for us in countering a conventional move where the Soviets have logistical advantages as in the Persian Gulf. At the same time, the Soviets probably perceive less military value in the modern cruise missile for [Page 803] them than for the US. They need cruise missiles less than we do; they depend less on bombers for intercontinental missions, and they already have a powerful ballistic missile force on land and at sea. They are threatening us, we believe, with deployment of sea-launched cruise missiles on submarines off the US coast—and perhaps other actions as well—to reciprocate for our planned deployment of Pershing II in Europe, and they may deploy cruise missiles as early as next year for primarily political purposes. A requirement to protect against US cruise missiles would greatly stretch their resources. So, we need a net assessment of our interest in cruise missiles.

9. There are additional requirements to complete the START picture from a monitoring/verification point of view:

—Advice is needed on how to deal with denial of flight test data. There is a view that we need to encrypt terminal guidance telemetry to keep the Soviets from jamming our guidance mechanisms. That will be hard to negotiate and they can get our guidance structure from sources other than telemetry while we can’t. So, it may be more important to maintain access to Soviet telemetry than to deny them our guidance data, a denial that may be temporary.

—If mobile ICBMs are permitted in START, how will they be monitored?

—If and when cruise missiles are on the table, how will they be dealt with to include SLCMs and conventional vs. nuclear armed cruise missiles?

—Some of our reconstitution proposals are unverifiable, how are they to be handled?

—The warhead counting rules also contain monitoring and verification problems.

10. Ambassador Ellis at the Special Consultative Committee has two issues of concern to him, the ABM Treaty review and the SS–16 issue. He expressed dismay with the attitude of holding the ABM Treaty review hostage to resolution of other issues. He pointed out that the Soviets are building a good case for a presentation on poor US performance towards the Treaty review. The Soviets have already told him twice that they thought the US was stalling on beginning the review. This would strengthen a Soviet claim that the US is stalling in START and INF. Ellis has detailed instructions on how to conduct the Treaty review and wants a firm determination that he can carry out that review in a business-like way. He emphasized that we can amend the ABM Treaty at any time to take account of future US plans regarding MX and BMD. On the SS–16 issue, Ellis urged that we should carefully consider how we return to the issue before any precipitous action. He believes that it is not wise to tell the Soviets directly that satisfactory [Page 804] resolution of the SS–16 issue is an official precondition to the beginning of the ABM Treaty review. He thinks it was correct to bring the issue up, but that we should realize that we may not get any further response from them.

William J. Casey 2
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, Job 88B00443R: Policy Files (1980–1986), Box 12, Folder 398, DCI Memo Chrono (1 Nov–31 Dec ’82). Secret. Sent through Clark, who did not initial this copy of the memorandum.
  2. Casey signed W.J. Casey above his typed signature.