79. Minutes of a National Security Planning Group Meeting1


  • Upcoming Shultz-Shevardnadze Meetings in Moscow


  • The President
  • Mr. Donald Gregg (The Vice President’s Office)
  • State

    • Counselor Max Kampelman
    • Rozanne Ridgway
  • Treasury

    • Secretary James Baker
  • Defense

    • Secretary Caspar Weinberger
    • Dr. Fred Ikle
  • Energy

    • Mr. William Martin
  • OMB

    • Mr. James Miller
  • ACDA

    • Mr. David Emery
  • CIA

    • Mr. William Webster
    • Mr. Robert Gates
  • JCS

    • Admiral William Crowe
    • Vice Admiral Jonathan Howe
  • White House

    • Chief of Staff
    • Kenneth Duberstein
    • Frank C. Carlucci
    • Colin L. Powell
    • Marlin Fitzwater
  • NSC

    • Robert E. Linhard
    • Fritz Ermarth
  • OSTP

    • William Graham
  • Special Advisors to the President

    • Ambassador Paul Nitze
    • Ambassador Edward Rowny

The NSPG meeting, October 14, opened at 1:45 p.m. The President opened the meeting using the Talking Points recommended to him (Tab A).2

Mr. Carlucci: Secretary Shultz is hosting a lunch for President Duarte,3 Mr. President; so he cannot be here right now. Max Kampelman is representing Secretary Shultz. Max, can you give us a setting for the Moscow trip?

[Page 401]

Ambassador Kampelman: I talked to the Secretary before I came. He reassured me that he intends to cover the full agenda of US concerns. It is his hope that we’ll not spend the full meeting in Moscow on INF. Important issues in the INF area do remain; for example, verification. However, we would like to have to emphasize INF in this meeting again. The Soviets did raise the German issue again, and we may have to deal with it. However, I received a personal message from my counterpart, Mr. Vorontsov who indicated to me that he hopes that we would be able to move to resolve this promptly.

Mr. Carlucci: We may have just seen a crack in the Soviet position on this earlier today.

Ambassador Kampelman: I would expect that because the Soviet negotiators are really not first-drawer. The negotiators may be trying to improve upon the deal that was agreed in Washington. We’ll deal with all the issues involved in Moscow. The primary emphasis that we should have is on START, and, Mr. President, Reykjavik provides a good basis for this. The Soviets have come part of the way towards us on things like sublimits and throwweight. The Soviets have said that START is the root problem, and they’re ready to seriously work to resolve the START differences. If they are serious, we are ready to see where we can go too. They know for sure that in no way will they be able to block SDI.

The President: I hope they know that.

Ambassador Kampelman: After Geneva, they knew that you were serious. They realize that SDI is real, and that they have to learn to live with it.

Mr. Carlucci: That’s what Shevardnadze said to me during his visit.

Ambassador Kampelman: We need to tie SDI into a stabilizing process. From this point of view, we can also minimize the domestic problems with respect to SDI. In a sense, we can strengthen SDI out of this stabilizing process rather than weaken it. The Soviets have indicated interest in Chemical Weapons. We have a problem dealing with this area, but we have the same teams ready to deal with it in Moscow as we did in Washington. We will have Working Groups in each area; one of them will be in CW. I don’t know if testing will come at this meeting.

Mr. Carlucci: I think we solved that in Washington, at least for the time being.

Ambassador Kampelman: We need to ensure that we keep the show on the road with respect to nuclear testing. We have to sort out who will be the head of the US delegation and be ready for the talks that will start by the first of December.

Mr. Carlucci: Mr. President, we do have some significant issues in the INF area. . . . (The President interrupts)

[Page 402]

The President: I’d really [like to] to return to SDI. Some group did an excellent film that I saw at Camp David over the weekend. It really refutes the scientific groupies that have it all wrong. I think if the American public saw this film, they would understand a hell of lot better.

Colonel Linhard: Sir, the group was the American Defense Preparedness Agency4 Association, a civilian group. They have a regular series of awards for SDI achievement, and you have routinely supported their functions.

The President: Can we help these further?

Colonel Linhard: We have to be careful that we maintain the proper White House involvement, but there’s no reason why you can’t help this group, and we have been supportive in the past.

Secretary Weinberger: The public really needs some additional information. The public is with us, and the more information we give them, the more supportive they will be.

Secretary Baker: The Worthling5 Poll agrees with what Cap just said. However, there is some confusion out there about exactly what SDI is. This film may be able to help.

The President: (Speaking to Howard Baker) Can we kind of push this along?

Howard Baker: Yes, we’ll get on with it.

Mr. Carlucci: Are there any other comments on INF?

Judge Webster: I have a comment which I think I want to make at this point. I think I need to speak for the technicians. We’re very concerned about the verifiability of the INF Treaty and, especially, the current position which does not remove the infrastructure of Soviet INF forces. We should have no infrastructure remaining, although I know there is some price on the NATO side. I think we should forbid all operations in training and have the personnel leave the bases that are being eliminated, and we need strong on-site inspection. But more than anything else, Mr. President, there should be no effort to close on these nut-cutting details in Moscow, but rather come back and work it with the experts who can work on this issue. We need time to look at the issue. (Judge Webster then used the Talking Points attached at Tab B.)6

[Page 403]

Mr. Carlucci: Mr. President, we’ve looked at this very issue twice, and there are significant impacts on NATO that have to be considered.

Judge Webster: I understand that we have looked at this before, but I want to make sure that we consider verification in light of the ratification problems we’re going to have.

Dr. Graham: I agree with Judge Webster. I understand the Soviets don’t want to give us data on their nondeployed missiles anyway.

Ambassador Kampelman: Mr. President, Judge Webster has experts of his on each delegation. It is very clear that we have to work hard on verification, and we’ll do so.

Judge Webster: We need to ensure that this is the case.

Admiral Crowe: I agree with the DCI’s concerns. I’m more than happy to abide by whatever restrictions we need to ensure that they are met.

Mr. Carlucci: Let’s turn to START. The Soviets have offered us a limit of 3600 or 60% of total weapons on each of the three legs of the Triad. The JCS looked at this and found it not to be acceptable. Last time we met we looked at sublimits, and we have a dazzling array of options in sublimits involved. I understand yesterday there was a discussion on the sublimits issue with the Chiefs and the Secretary of State. I thought perhaps we might have the Chiefs comment on this area.

Secretary Weinberger: I think that’s a very good idea. The JCS examined priorities with respect to sublimits. Bill Crowe, maybe you could speak for the Chiefs.

Admiral Crowe: Our discussion was sparked by the offer of the Soviets to limit each leg of the Triad to 60%. As Mr. Carlucci said, because of uncertainties in the future, we think it’s unwise to limit our flexibility by accepting this proposal. However, based on a request by Mr. Carlucci, we did review the priorities involved with the sublimits issue, and I’d like to report on those now. Our number one priority is the 6000 RV limit. Number two is protecting the bomber counting rules achieved at Reykjavik which permits us to compensate for other aspects of the agreement.

Secretary Weinberger: I would note, Mr. President, that Bill Crowe told me yesterday that the finding of Military Sufficiency in the START area rests most heavily on maintaining the bomber counting rule.

Ambassador Kampelman: Mr. President, you got this in Reykjavik. Many people have run Reykjavik down often. This is certainly one of the accomplishments of that meeting.

Admiral Crowe: This was a spectacular accomplishment of that meeting which allowed us possibilities in other areas. But let me return to priorities. Number three, we feel that we should pocket the 1540 limit on heavies. We need to pocket this limit in some way.

[Page 404]

Mr. Carlucci: The Soviets have already agreed to the 1540 limit.

Admiral Crowe: Our fourth priority is the 4800 limit on ballistic missile reentry vehicles. Those priorities are the vital priorities. Those are the ones we absolutely have to have. Beyond that we have opinions on the others. Number five, we need to have acceptable counting rules for ALCMs and ballistic missile reentry vehicles. Number six would be the ban on mobiles. Number seven would be the limit of 3300 or 3600 on ICBM RVs. We’d be willing to delete this in order to avoid the 60% being applied to all three legs of the Triad.

Secretary Weinberger: The Soviets want an INF agreement and a START agreement. We should stand firm and we’ll get them. They may try to link this stuff to Defense and Space, but if we can hold in Moscow on no linkage, we can get the progress we seek. I agree with the priorities the Chiefs stated. The ban on mobiles, however, is important. There’s a lot of discussion currently about whether we have wavered on this subject. I would note, Mr. President, though, that Congress has not given us funds for either M–X or Midgetman in sufficient numbers. So we need to keep trying to get the ban on mobiles.

Ambassador Rowny: Mr. President, I have one question for the Chiefs. What about throwweight?

Admiral Crowe: Ed, we would very [much] like to see a 50% reduction in throwweight, but it’s not clear to us that we can measure throwweight. For example, we just revised the throwweight estimates for the SS–24 by some 15%. However, that 15% change in throwweight can translate into a 300% change in yield. So the delta is between what we can measure and what we want is just too significant, and we don’t understand how we can make those measurements.

Mr. Carlucci: That change on the SS–24—doesn’t that put that into the Heavy Class?

Secretary Weinberger: Mr. President, they’re ahead of us in throwweight by a significant amount—5.3 to 1 as I understand, and we are concerned about throwweight.

Judge Webster: I agree with the Chiefs though that it’s extremely difficult to measure.

Admiral Crowe: We would certainly like it, but as I said, we don’t believe we can find a measureable number.

The President: Are all those numbers—are they all counting warheads?

Admiral Crowe: Yes, that’s right, Sir.

The President: Therefore, all the 6000 are warheads, and the 1540 are heavy warheads inside the 6000. Isn’t that true?

Admiral Crowe: Yes, that’s true.

[Page 405]

The President: What is the 4800 number?

Admiral Crowe: That’s the number of reentry vehicles on ICBMs and SLBMs only.

The President: And what is the 3600 number?

Admiral Crowe: That’s on the ICBMs, but I would note, Mr. President, that the 4800 is the important one.

Ambassador Kampelman: We feel the 4800 number is essential.

Mr. Carlucci: In light of the Chiefs’ discussion, I don’t see any point in going through the six substantive options in our paper and the two timing options, unless there’s someone who wants to talk about them. From what I see, it would be very hard for us to make a move on any option before Moscow. Therefore, I think, Mr. President, we have consensus to stay with the flexibility which you have already provided and you have already given us some flexibility on the 3300 sublimit, and we can work on the remainder of this in Moscow.

Ambassador Kampelman: The Soviets do want a START agreement, and that gives us leverage. There is a time element involved. They know if they want a START agreement during this Administration, they have to move quickly. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee members told me that they expected that the absolute deadline would probably be a March–April time frame for them to have enough time to ratify such a Treaty during this Administration. I told this to the Soviets.

The President: When we started we had the Triad, and they had most land-based things. They had a chip on their shoulders and said that we were trying to restructure their forces. Why couldn’t we just get the numbers we want and let them structure their forces anyway they like? Are we really trying to restructure their forces?

Ambassador Kampelman: We certainly are.

Admiral Crowe: We are nice guys, Mr. President, but I agree. We want to affect their force structure.

Mr. Carlucci: Yes, we are trying to affect their force structure.

The President: But if they want the land-based stuff, so what?

Mr. Carlucci: Mr. President, we’re after the most destabilizing systems and the most destabilizing systems we’ve identified are associated with land-based systems. We’re trying to affect that now.

Secretary Weinberger: The Soviets have got air defenses, and they have a heavy investment in heavy missiles. We need to change these relationships in order to give us a level playing field.

Mr. Carlucci: The Chiefs have done a good job on setting priorities; we should be able to build on this. Let’s turn to Defense and Space. We have three options which I could summarize as hold firm, extend our nondeployment commitment to 1996, or accept one of the two [Page 406] Soviet positions. The first Soviet position provided was a set of lists and labs; the other would be for us both to agree to abide by the strict interpretation of the ABM Treaty. However, the Soviet version of the Treaty is just as strict as the Senate.

Secretary Weinberger: No, no, it’s much worse; it is more strict than the strict interpretation held by the Senate. We also need to force them to delink the Defense and Space area from START.

Ambassador Kampelman: Okay, we do want them to delink, but we may reach a point where having a START agreement in hand, we need to face linkage again. At that point, it may be that we will be able to help ourselves by having something in the Defense and Space area. All I’m asking is we keep this in the back of our minds.

Secretary Weinberger: That’s what they did at Iceland to us. We need to delink and not discuss Defense and Space until START is standing alone on its own two feet. I dislike having things in our minds until we need them. We can get a stand-alone START agreement if we just hold firm. I think they want their START, and the Chiefs’ priority has given us a way to get there, if we can hold firm.

Ambassador Kampelman: I don’t know of anyone offering a different position at this point.

Mr. Carlucci: I understand that ACDA is considering extending the period for 10 years. Dave Emery, would you mind giving us the ACDA view?

Mr. Emery: ACDA thinks that extending the Treaty through 1996 would give us reserve leverage useful in achieving progress in START.

Mr. Carlucci: Well, I’m not sure I understand that completely. But we did have a 10-year position at one time, and we changed and dropped it back to seven years, and the Soviets complained about that, but we do have a good position.

Mr. Carlucci: No one supports moving to the Soviet position. Therefore, Cap, we’re spared your speech on lists and labs. Are there any other issues?

Ambassador Kampelman: In Geneva, we are dealing with the lists and labs. We’re handling them by asking a lot of questions, and that’s very useful. Is there a study of the JCS on the labs and criteria?

Admiral Crowe: No, we received a briefing from Abrahamson and we concluded that the Soviet list of criteria is not in our interest. We could build a list of things that we could accept.

Mr. Carlucci: But would Cap?

Secretary Weinberger: Yes, of course, if the list is free7 allows us to do whatever we want anywhere. I want no restrictions. Any restriction [Page 407] on testing is too restrictive. It’s just a scientific matter; you’re asking me not to think about something. If we would have taken this attitude, we would never have had the auto or the Cinema industry. For example, Mr. President, you’ll note that on their list, the electromagnetic masked accelerator is restricted to 1.2 grams per fathom. That’s certainly too restrictive (laughter).

Dr. Graham: I second everything that Cap said. Nothing worries the Soviets more than having US technology focused on a problem. They will try to set a framework of constraints on our technology and then gradually tighten it.

Judge Webster: I agree, too. We have less than 10% confidence in our ability to verify any of these restrictions.

Ambassador Nitze: We should have a study on this area and understand why we don’t like the Soviets’ limits and what we could accept as limits. It’s going to be very hard to argue with Congress if we don’t have any study. It would be a real morass.

Secretary Weinberger: I can argue very comfortably without a study that no restriction is a common sense position. No study can tell us what we need, and no study can look into the future and determine what restrictions will hurt us or not. This seems fairly obvious to me.

Admiral Crowe: Paul does have a point though with respect to Congress.

Ambassador Kampelman: I agree. It is something we have to be concerned about.

Admiral Crowe: We will be asked about how we looked at criteria. We will look at this.

Ambassador Rowny: I’m very encouraged, Mr. President, by dropping some of the sublimits, and I believe we probably could get a deal on START now that will help with INF ratification and the like.

Mr. Carlucci: Well, this meeting has helped quite a bit. Let’s avoid leaks. Leaks would be absolutely fatal to us in our ability to achieve our negotiating aims. Do not debrief your staffs.

Admiral Crowe: On INF, I would make one other point. The Chiefs are very interested in modernization in other areas that will be needed to reorient to the new military situation after INF. We should not look at the INF agreement as a money-saving device. We are going devote that money into other areas. We absolutely need the High Level Group’s Montebello Decision to be implemented.

Secretary Weinberger: I fully agree with the Chiefs. We need modern systems; we also need modernization of conventional forces after an INF agreement to ensure we have proper deterrence.

The President: I know that we need modernization; we certainly need to replace our older systems.

[Page 408]

Secretary Weinberger: Especially modern conventional systems.

Admiral Crowe: And a buildup of modern short-range nuclear forces.

Mr. Carlucci: Thank you very much.

The meeting ended at 2:35 p.m.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC: National Security Planning Group (NSPG) Records, NSPG 0168 14 Oct 1987 [Shultz-Shevardnadze Meetings in Moscow]. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. No drafting information appears on the minutes.
  2. Not found attached.
  3. Salvadoran President José Napoleon Duarte.
  4. An unknown hand crossed out the word “Agency.”
  5. An unknown hand crossed out “Worthling” and wrote “Wirthlin.” Reference is to Richard Wirthlin, a prominent Republican pollster.
  6. Not found attached.
  7. An unknown hand crossed out “is free.”