49. Memorandum From Barry Kelly of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Carlucci)1


  • Status of Various Embassy Security Investigations

Above and beyond agency damage assessment studies and investigations resulting from the Marine espionage case, the U.S. government has created four separate bodies to look at various aspects of Moscow Embassy security, the damage from recent espionage cases and the implications of recent espionage cases for the security of our classified information and operations overseas. We have sought to define the mandate of each of the four elements engaged in this issue with care to prevent excessive overlapping jurisdictions and frictions.

The four bodies are as follows:

James Schlesinger. In January, Secretary Shultz asked Mr. Schlesinger to conduct a thorough review of the new Embassy Chancery building in Moscow and to provide recommendations about what should be done with the building. Mr. Schlesinger is nearing the end of that study and expects to provide his recommendations to Secretary Shultz at the end of May or in June. State expects the Schlesinger recommendation to be the basis of a Shultz decision on this issue. In fact, an NSPG will most likely be required for a final decision.

PFIAB. In NSDD 268,2 signed April 14, 1987, the President instructed PFIAB to provide recommendations about security of our overseas missions worldwide, including the suitability of our Embassy in Moscow as a secure environment to conduct classified activity. PFIAB is to provide the President an interim report by July 13, 1987.

Melvin Laird. In his press conference on April 7,3 the President announced that Melvin Laird would chair an assessment review panel under the authority of the Secretary of State. In his radio address on Saturday, April 9,4 the President stated that Laird had been asked to [Page 249] investigate security at our embassy (in Moscow) and give his assessment to the President through the NSC.

NSC Damage Assessment. As one element of the President’s charge to you at the NSPG on March 275 to coordinate the Government’s effort in the aftermath of the Marine case, the NSC staff is coordinating an interagency espionage damage assessment working group which is looking at several recent espionage cases, including the Marine case.

As the new groups begin their work, we face some confusion about exactly what each will do regarding our mission in the USSR.

—Both Schlesinger and PFIAB have been tasked with providing recommendations about the new Chancery building. Schlesinger will report to Secretary Shultz in May/June; PFIAB to the President in July. Schlesinger is looking at the issue from top to bottom; PFIAB will study existing information. The issue which may need to be resolved: (1) how the Schlesinger and PFIAB recommendations regarding the new Moscow Chancery are to be coordinated and how we will structure the decision process regarding next steps on the Chancery issue.

—There is confusion about the charter of the group Melvin Laird will chair. According to State, Secretary Shultz, before he departed for Moscow, determined that the Laird group should head an Accountability Review Board along the lines of an Accountability Board called for in the Omnibus Diplomatic Security Act. Laird has indicated to State that he is reluctant to take on some aspects of the Accountability Review function, in particular, a role that would require his body to assess individual responsibility for the Moscow situation. There is a great deal of pressure from Congress on the Administration to conduct an accountability review. It was for this explicit reason Shultz commissioned the Laird study. If Laird is successful in persuading State that he should not study accountability, Congress will most likely do it for us. The bottom line is that Secretary Shultz needs to resolve with Laird the accountability aspects of of his Commission’s mandate.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, 1987 SYS 4 RWR INT 40201–40225. Secret. Prepared by Collins and Major. Stamped notations indicate that Carlucci and Powell saw the memorandum.
  2. On file in Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat: National Security Council, National Security Directive Decisions, NSDD 268.
  3. Public Papers: Reagan, 1987, Book I, pp. 345–347.
  4. Reagan delivered a radio address announcing the Laird review panel on April 11. (Public Papers: Reagan, 1987, Book I, pp. 377–378.
  5. See Document 31.