148. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (Ikle) to Secretary of Defense Weinberger 1


  • NSC Meeting, 11:00 a.m., Today

The agenda for this meeting has apparently been prepared by Jack Matlock (NSC). The discussion/presentation may be merely on the sequence of the meetings. See Tab A for currently known agenda.2

Thus, I am not sure there will be an opportunity for making substantive points. I have two concerns at this time:

(1) That the staff adhere to the President’s preference not to work on a Joint Communique. The “eager detente beavers” who want such a communique now trot out the argument that Gorbachev would refuse to agree on follow-on summits unless we bought a Joint Communique. I can see scenarios in Geneva where, if Mr. Gorbachev plays hardball, this could lead to panic on our side.3

(2) The Fusion Reactor Project

The interagency effort has, fortunately, led to a certain pulling back: we would reach, at most, only a preliminary agreement, abide clearly by COCOM restrictions, work out cost sharing before becoming fully committed, etc.4 Yet, “the pressures of Geneva” may lead us to go further than cooler heads now advise.

• The project can hurt SDI:

—divert DOE funds

[Page 648]

—divert talent in universities from the “Reagan SDI research” to the “Gorbachev fusion project.” The left in US will love it! See Keyworth letter to Bud (Tab B).5

Gorbachev praised day before yesterday to a group of Nobel prize winners the fusion project as the alternative to SDI.

—The head of the Soviet fusion project is Y.P. Velikov who is the leading Soviet critic of our SDI program and heads vital aspects of the Soviet space weapons program. He has extensive contacts with American scientists and he has been searching for ways to head off our SDI program. Velikov is influential in the United States because of his anti-SDI stand. If he is awarded this major fusion project we will be enhancing his prestige and influence massively and assuring a major boost to the Soviet political offensive against our SDI program.

Fred C. Ikle 6
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Fred Ikle Files, Geneva—November 1985 (Pres-Gorb). Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. Tab A did not include a meeting agenda; instead, it contains the schedule for the President from November 16 until November 21 in Geneva. According to the President’s Daily Diary, an NSC meeting took place in the Cabinet Room from 11:05 to 11:58 a.m. on November 15. (Reagan Library, President’s Daily Diary) No formal minutes of this meeting were found. Reagan wrote in his personal diary: “An N.S.C. meeting was a run through by George S. of the Geneva day to day summit schedule. Then Geo. & Bud and I had our usual Fri. meeting—nothing very important.” (Brinkley, ed., The Reagan Diaries, vol. II: November 1985–January 1989, p. 540)
  3. See Document 149.
  4. A November 14 draft “Fact Sheet” on “Multilateral Fusion Research Proposal,” prepared after a meeting of the Fusion Working Group explained that “the successful development of a fusion nuclear reactor would provide the world with clean technology that could produce an inexhaustible energy supply. Fusion energy offers the potential for cost savings in energy production.” (Reagan Library, Fred Ikle Files, Geneva—November 1985 (Pres-Gorb)) See also footnote 6, Document 134.
  5. Attached but not printed.
  6. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.