LETTER TO PRESIDENT FROM WILLIAM J. CASEY RE COUNTER-PROPOSAL

Created: 10/28/1985

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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The Director oi Central InE tm'irty.Ot .ran

55 Copy 1 of 2

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The President The White House Washington, OC

Oear Mr. President:

I have reviewed the elements of the US counter-proposal, datedeceived with Bud McFarlane's Octoberequest for Cabinet-level views on that document.

If you findesirable toounter-proposal at thiselieve thisood start. ind it better than our current START, INF, and Defense and Space positions.

The Counter-Proposal:

At the same time, banning un-MIRVed mobile ICBHsistake. Single-RV mobile ICBMs are stabilizing, like SLBMs. What needs to be banned are MIRVed mobile ICBMs and "new" heavy ICBMs. ew" means an^ replacement.) The important thing is that these bans would make the resulting world more stable and relatively easier to monitor and verify and would, If observed, make the tasks of Intelligence and targeting for deterrence much more manageable.

I believe It Important to add to the counter-proposal, as an explicitoncept or plan to get the USSR's excess strategic offensive systems out of their operational Inventory and destroyederifiable manner. The idea of reductions, and perhaps the lower levels themselves, caneparate deal or partarger package. Once reductions are agreed to, in principle or in fact, removal and destruction could begin. In our current START proposal, this concept is called build-down.

explaining the

One downside of puttingew proposal at this stage is that although our proposal is more balanced and realistic than the Soviet proposal, the great bulk of the public will not readily appreciate the differences. The general perception Is likely to be that both sides have offered large reductions. The Soviets, and those amenable to their effort to kill SDI, will argue that all that standshe way of achieving those reductions is your agreeing to additional restrictions on SDI. The Soviets in their propaganda, and your opponents, can be counted on to play on this theme to the hilt.

To counter this, we need to work diligently tothe Soviets and inthe differences In the two offers in every dimension, including:

APPROVED FOR flELEASI

Our reductions compensate fully for the Soviet reductions, without entitling them, in addition, to place restrictions on our defense against the large missile battery they would retain, particularly in the light of their long-standing and continuing monopoly on ballistic missile defense. The proposed reductions, while desirable, do not make the world sufficiently safer from nuclear weapons to justify releasing us from our obligations to our people and to posterity, and have us give up the opportunity to further minimize the continuing threat of offensive missiles by developing effective defenses.

The Soviet proposal guts most of the US strategic modernizationMX, Mldgetman,LBH, cruise missiles, and the Stealth applications.

It would allow most Soviet modernization programs. (The Soviet objective here Is to sap our will to compete in the offensive force arena.)

Soviet proposal particularly guts the US bomber force, reducing the number of such weapons well below our plans, our existing START proposal, or the draft counter-proposal. The Soviets, if they playedight, couldig thing out of the large US bomber force in attacking us as not really reducing. If we getidding war, we better be prepared to use our arguments effectively that bomber weapons are stabilizing, that the Soviets have an enormous advantage in air defense against these bombers, and that ballisticdestabilizing.

The Soviet proposal reintroduces on old, previously unacceptable Idea; It lumps US aircraft carriers and other forward-based systemsn Europe) as strategic weapons, but they can easily back off on that at the appropriate point and appear to beig "concession."

US counter-proposal tries to get at ballistic missileig Soviet advantage, whereas the Soviets preserve their advantage here.

SDI and the ABM Treaty

I strongly believe that the US should not offer to discuss either additional limits on SDI or the "correct" Interpretation of the ASMwhich is an euphemism for limiting SDI further. To achieve your goals, you have to preserve SDI unfettered and push it in the Congress, In the bureaucracy, and with the Allies.

I strongly approve the proposals to seek mutual commitments to explore cooperative transition to missile defense and,onfidence building measure therein, on-site Inspection of SDI testing locations.

I strongly suggest that we consider adding to this an "open laboratories" provision which would permit visits to each others' SDI research sites. There may, on close examination,ownside to this but right now"you would be amazed at the extent to which our laboratories are open to Soviet and other foreign visitors; we, however, do not get comparable access to Soviet facilities.

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Compliance:

Compliance and arras control today.

verification and And the Soviets

compliance are the pacing elements fn seem to show some sense of knowing it.

up

I believe the US counter-proposal needs, as an explicitpmpnttftrinQ rtwplianrp Sovietthe Krasnoyarsk radar

iireserved, militarily Unilateral

ndeal and US compliance

land other steps--have damaged the political balance iin> control has to be based. If existing accords are to be new ones are to be created,oliticallyto be addressed and resolved, cannot work.

Responding to Soviet violations requires both policy and prograirmatic steps. Secretary Weinberger's report to you, coming in November, addressing US military responses, willritical step for US national security. The worst possible situation is for the Soviets to violate arms control accords, see the US object about such acts, and then notS response.

Verification:

losely related topic, any US counter-proposal and subsequent arrangement on strategic forces should be subject to satisfactory verification provisions. We are working to make our monitoring capability as strong as possible. ill sendollow-up letter shortly providing an assessment of our monitoring capability.

One of our most important objectives at Geneva should be for you to make General Secretary Gorbachev understand thathe USSR wants progress in arms control, verification will be the key and their denial practices must be changed through their own corrective actions. If arms controlouture, the Soviets must go home from Geneva with this idea clearly setheir minds.

Two changes in Soviet behavior can make verification work better, and they are both easy to do and to explain:

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addition-to the work by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we need tootential, future strategic worldery different pictuse, including deep offensive force reductions, probably mobile missiles on both sides, This future situation undoubtedly callsery different US strategy, and hence different technical criteria that wouldajor

impact on the military sufficiencyannot even guess the outcome, but it will be different from today.

More Work:

The work so far on this counter-proposal hasas quickly and as

thoroughly as the Executive Branch can do it. Butis notot complete enough for us to fully understand the

ramifications for either side, but especially thefull and final

commitment, we should assess the militarythe counter-proposal

more fully. The link with our mutual restraintSALT II iswhere further thought Is needed quickly.

Tactics and Tiwing:

For the bargaining reasons you have indicated, and given that we have more work toould not puteneral counter-proposal until the time of your meeting with General Secretary Gorbachev. The SovietsS response is coming; that seems to me enough for now. Whenever theis broached to theould make it subjectalanced, comprehensive offer, including specifics on verification, to be tabled at the next session of the Geneva nuclear and space arms control talks.

Respectfully yours.

Original document.

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