189. Memorandum From William Wright and Robert Linhard of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Poindexter)1


  • Allied Consultations on the Gorbachev Arms Control Proposals (U)

In order to capture the essence of today’s NSPG discussion on the Soviet January 14 proposal,2 and per your comment afterward to Bob Linhard, we are forwarding a memorandum to the President (Tab I) recommending that he sign the appended NSDD (Tab A) which provides a preferred U.S. approach in responding to Gorbachev.3 The objective of the NSDD is to provide a clearly defined U.S. option for Ambassadors Nitze and Rowny to use with European and Asian Allies, respectively, in a prompt consultation trip this week.4 The NSDD also serves as a surrogate decision document, albeit tentative, along the lines of an “option B-minus”.

The real difference remaining after today’s meeting was whether we should make a move in INF, and if so, when. Since all agree that the INF portion of the Soviet package represents a change and a potential opportunity for the U.S., we are proposing that we indicate a preferred course of action, including one in INF, and seek the views of both our European Allies and those in Asia. We will need to consult on these key inputs before giving the Geneva negotiators the go-ahead in any event. We are prepared to send Ambassadors Paul Nitze and Ron Lehman to consult in European capitals and Ambassador Ed Rowny and Bob Linhard to Asian capitals commencing this Wednesday.

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A draft NSDD is at Tab A which posits a preferred approach for use as a baseline in these Allied consultations in which we capture the positive public reaction to the general goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, but are very much aware of the need to look at the practical conditions for achieving this goal. The NSDD, which will guide the approach of our interlocutors is to serve as a sounding board for Allied views and fulfill our need to consult, in particular, on INF.


That you sign the memorandum to the President at Tab I recommending that he sign the NSDD at Tab A providing a tentative U.S. decision upon which our Allies are asked to provide their views.5

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Sven Kraemer Files, Geneva—Gorbachev Response & All Coms. (NSDD) February 1986. Top Secret; Sensitive. Sent for action.
  2. See Document 188.
  3. Tab I is attached but not printed. Tab A, NSDD 210, “Allied Consultations on the US Response to General Secretary Gorbachev’s January 14, 1986, Arms Control Proposal,” is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. XII, INF, 1984–1988. President Reagan signed the NSDD on February 4.
  4. In telegram 36037 to all East Asian and Pacific and all European posts, February 5, the Department indicated that Reagan requested that “two small teams of senior administration arms control experts,” led by Nitze and Rowny, “visit various West European and East Asian capitals in the coming week for an exchange of views with friendly and Allied leaders. These discussions will center on the current state-of-play in the Geneva arms control process, including the Soviet January 15 arms control announcement.” (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D860091–0634)
  5. Poindexter did not indicate his approval or disapproval of the recommendation on this copy.