260. Letter From Secretary of Defense Laird to Secretary of State Rogers 1

Dear Bill:

There is increasing concern here over our continued inability to get distribution—even on a carefully controlled “CEDAR” basis—of key cable traffic on the Arab-Israel situation. I recognize the sensitivity of the present state-of-play, but the New York Times and Washington Post continue to print reports which, if true, indicate that a good deal of discussion on military-security topics is taking place.

Obviously, any settlement proposal must address security questions, and is thus of concern to DOD. Further, as our experience with the 1970 “stand-still” demonstrates, the military-security aspects of even limited settlement proposals require careful review by military-security experts to ensure they are workable.

In short, while recognizing State’s primacy in these critical negotiations, I am sure you will agree that DOD has a real role to play as well. [Page 930] This requires that we receive—on at least a “CEDAR” basis—all traffic on this subject. Practically speaking, it is not enough that we be able to see some particular message upon request, nor is it feasible that we receive eleventh hour briefings or selected cables just before NSC meetings.

I would hope that you can arrange for this distribution, at least to my personal office, to Dave Packard, and to Warren Nutter. I also urge you to ensure that your staff take advantage of our capabilities to check out the practicability of any military-security arrangements being considered.2

Sincerely,

Mel
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, ISA Files: FRC 330–74–0083, Box 23, Middle East. Secret.
  2. On October 20, Rogers replied: “I can assure you that you have been receiving and will continue to receive the sensitive cables in the ‘CEDAR’ series. We will also make available to you any cables which are of direct interest to the Department of Defense, such as those dealing with specific arms transactions. On our side, we will want to continue to seek the counsel of the Department of Defense on the military-security aspects of settlement proposals. On some aspects of our efforts to achieve a settlement, I have decided not to have documents circulated. I have, however, asked Joe Sisco to make certain that you, Dave Packard, and Warren Nutter are kept informed both so that you can fulfill your NSC responsibilities and in order for us to benefit from your counsel. Please let me know with whom in your personal office Joe Sisco should stay in touch.” (Ibid., OSD Files: FRC 330–76–0197, Box 70, Middle East) Laird replied to Rogers on November 10, explaining that Warren Nutter was his principal foreign affairs adviser and that Sisco should keep in touch with him on matters contained in the most sensitive documents. (Ibid.)