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December 20, 2016
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June 19, 2007
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November 8, 1975
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Approved For Release 2007/06/19: CIA-RDP99-00498R000100010137-2 r;i0vL1..,7R 1975 . _ f&.Id wins the prize in . Ford's tidy reshuffle the high'-ground' in .the White House afforded him by his second position as assistant- to.. the President for national security affairs. felt it had no choice but to argue its case more or less in public; thus feelings were exacerbated and the proprieties strainer No sign exists of Mr. .Ford having concerned himself 'with the substance of either of these two important arguments, Differences on substantial .matters of policy there are w t n the Ford Administration, a-p lenty, and some of them played a part. in precipitating what is being called "the Sunday afternoon massacre" last weekend. What might seem to be the obvious inl`e.-ence-that President Ford in decidi1-?a whom to dismiss, -whom. to keep and whom to move 'was guided by the wish to resolve those substantial differences-should, however,. be avoided. The' indications are otherwise; they suggest that Mr Ford's guiding beacon was the pure, unsullied light of partisan political manoeuvre. Even by that light, the questions that beset Mr Ford last week were not of a piece or all equally simple; his traffic signs did not all point the same way. Assume, for instance, as is almost certainly true, that Mr Nelson Rocke- feller's decision to take himself out of contention for the Republican vice- presidential nomination next year was not spontaneous on his part, but was extracted from him by the President, then this can fairly be construed as a move by Mr Ford to head off the rival presidential candidacy of Mr Ronald Reagan, a challenge lie is inordinately nervous about. The same end is not at all served, at least not in any direct way, by getting rid of the secretary of defence, Mr James Schlesinger, who was standing out for a big defence -budget and. a cautious approach td the strategic arms limitation talks, while retaining as secretary of state Mr Henry Kissinger, who stands for detente, for conciliation of the Soviet' negotiators and for' an early =Salt: 2 agreement while -Mr Brezhnev is still there to sign it. = -As between Mr Schlesinger and Mr Kissinger, Mr Ford . appears to have been guided by the principle of being visibly "presidential", that is, decisive and commanding. The two men had been fighting too much and the open, brutal skirmishing between their officials was making the whole Administration, on its foreign-policy side, look excessively shaggy. One recent public dispute was about Mr Kissinger's promise, in con- cluding the Sinai agreement, of favour- able consideration -to a supply of Pershing missiles to Israel. Another concerned the attempt of Mr Schlesinger and the defence department to insist on an allowance being made in the Salt agreement for the cruise missile that is under development. In both cases the defence department, aggrieved or frus- trated by Mr Kissinger's possession of any more than Richard U of England. 1 bothered-his head about-the charges flung at each other by Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray. King Richard saw. an opportunity.and and. seized it to banish them both, one on rather harsher terms thanthe other; a neat, convenient solution, although to - be ::sure it went wrong in that case, and ended in the king's ruin. President ` Ford dealt with the-!' Schlesinger-Kissinger matter by abruptly dismissing Mr Schlesinger, while reliev- ing Mr Kissinger of his valuable position as head of the national security apparatus in the White House-banishing him, in effect, to the stare department. To see this outcome, as some have, as. a single- handed defeat of Mr Schlesinger by Mr Kissinger is natural. given Mr Kissinger's stupendous prestige, but it misconceives what happened last weekend. Another hand was at work, and while Mr Schlesinger was defeated all right. the victory belongs not to Mr Kissinger. but elsewhere. Because the dismissal of Mr Schlesinger leaked out on Sunday. while Mr Rockefeller's decision not to be a candidate for the vice presidency next to Irttle Approved For Release 2007/06/19: CIA-RDP99-00498R000100010137-2 Approved For Release 2007/06/19: CIA-RDP99-00498R000100010137-2 year did not . become known-.until. Monday, it seemed for a moment that the Schlesinger event preceded the Rockefeller . event. Not so: Vice, President Rockefeller resigned himself to his face last week and promised; last' week, to deliver his letter of self-efface-., ment to Mr Ford on Monday, November 3rd. Mr Ford's campaign managers and advisers, such as they are, have- long made no secret of their view that the prospect of his- having vIr Rockefeller as. his vice-presidential candidate would hamper Mr Ford in is pursuit of the Republican nomination. and-would help London. Both return toposts inWashing- Mr Ronald Reagan, against Mr Ford, :; ton; perhaps to await a call, too. . in some -1critical. primary- election Mr Rumsteld's problem. was some campaigns what different from theirs, since he was Against that; .Mr Rockefeller's fnends on hand in Washington: already; but, were able to argue that when it came to for him...seekin the vice presidency' the general election Mr Rockefeller V'wh.ile actually running-.the president's - would be a decided help to his chief, offices would not have been seemly or, particularly in New York. but also- i ' -practicable. As an article on page 63 of some other populous states with big The Economist of October 4th explained, cities. ivlr Ford's decision to wash his Mr Rurrisfeld faced a slightly complex. hands- of New York's fiscal di f r":culties; 'problem of how to get back. into elective to condemn the place and ix effect to politics in his own state, Illinois, for campaign- against it, invalidated- this some. years to come. To run for the vice argument. It also put the vice president presiency as Mr Ford's partner would in the painful and humiliating position . be the ideal solution to his difficulty. of having to listen to his chief dis- True, if Mr Ford loses'Mr Rumsfeld missing as trivial a probable event, the will lose too, but by then he will he bankruptcy of New York, which Mr nationally known and well placed to try Rockefeller, a loyal New Yorker, him- - for the presidency later. First, however, self -called a "catastrophe". A potentate he needs a base outside the White House, humiliated is a potentate enfeebled, and a place where he can 'occupy himself so the pack closed in on Mr Rockefelfec conspicuously in the public service while Luckily, thanks to his worldly position, waiting- for the call. What better place he will not lack for stimulat rg pursuits .than the.. department of ' defence? And after January; 1977. . ' .': thus. it turns out: Mr James Schlesinger His withdrawal, which became known is removed from the defence department, to the inner circle in the ,' rite House and ivir Rumsfeld takes his place. last week, suddenly opened up the vice presidential nomination as an opportunity for other Republicans anxious to make their way in national politics. One such Republican was President Ford's chief of staff, Mr Donald Rumsfeld, the able former Congressman from Illinois who held several high posts in the Nixon Administration but stayed well clear of the Watergate taint. There are others: Mr George Bush, another former Con- gressman (from Texas) at the head of the American mission in Peking, and Mr political events. President Ford in his press conference on .Monday made plain his belief that he, had personally together this chapter: of-last weekend's. said Mr'-Ford; "I fitted the pieces together; and they fitted excellently ... these are my guys that I wanted". That is what he said, and he may believe it. What . Mr- Ford intended, jotting names on his pad in. solitude as he would have the public suppose lie did, was that the vice president would hand him his letter of withdrawal on Monday morning, to be made public that day as it,.in fact, was, and that he would then call a press conference at mid-week at which he would announce Mr Schlesinger's replacement . by Mr Rumsfeld; Mr Kissinger's withdrawal decided each move in the reshuffle with- out help from anybody, and specifically without any help from Mr Donald Rumsfeld. "I did it totally.on my own", from the White House staff and retention of the state department; the replacement of Mr William Colby at the Central Intelligence Agency by Mr George Bush; the retirement of ivir Rogers _ Morton; and the nomination of i`MIr.`- Elliot Richardson to be his successor as secretary of commerce. Mr Schlesinger, the president intended to announce at the sane time, was either going to take the place of Mr William Casey (who resigned some weeks ago) at the Export-Import Bank, or that of Mr Richardson at the embassy in London, while Mr Colby was going to be ambassador to Nato. A neat reshuffle of persons and rearrangement of responsibilities would thus have been demonstrated to the public, with the president crisply in charge. - One or two things went wrong. Mr Schlesinger and Mr Colby both refused the proffered new positions. The news of Mr Schlesinger's dismissal was not kept secret till Wednesday, it was leaked to Newsweek magazine within an hour or two of Mr Schlesinger learning of it, and the television networks quickly heard about it. Mr Schlesinger did not leak it and it looks unlikely that any of his staff did; the only other likely source would have been somebody in the White House who did. not approve. of what was happening. - - While this was coming out Mr Ford. and his press secretary were in Florida looking after President Sadat of Egypt and professing to know nothing of the matter. The news, in short, got out .untidily and in a sequence other than what was planned- - . - , Nothing had. happened to make it necessary that the. differences between Mr Schlesinger. and Mr .Kissinger, or .between the defence department and the department of state, be, resolved last weekend particularly. The dispute about the place of the American-cruise missile in the prospective Salt agreement (see page 16) was indeed acrimonious, but it had been papered over to some extent and was no longer pressing. What had really happened to Mr Schlesinger was that he became more vulnerable, partly because of his ill-advised attack on the = Appropriations committee of the House of Representatives on October 20th. Mr Schlesinger was defending the I defence budget against congressional cuts. He was also defending it against the president's- budget office and this obliged him to argue about the level of defence expenditure with President Ford, with whom he had a long talk on November 1st. Nothing was said at that meeting about the president wanting ]vir Schlesinger's resignation; they talked about the defence budget, that was all. Approved For Release 2007/06/19: CIA-RDP99-00498R000100010137-2 Approved For Release 2007/06/19: CIA-RDP99-00498R000100010137-2 The chopper did not fall till next morning. If there is one thing President Ford can claim to know about, it is Congress, and various reports have Mr Ford irritated, on this and other occasions, by what he believed to be Mr Schlesinger's amateurish assessments of what Con- gress would and would not do for defence. Thus a version gained currency, and has been assiduously circulated from the White House, to the effect that Mr Schlesinger was inept in his dealings with Congress. While it is brie that the dis- missed secretary of defence, a learned man with a powerful mind and a rock- like adherence to conclusions once arrived at, had been known to talk to other grown men like a schoolmaster to the fifth form, there is not much truth in the general idea that he cannot get on with Congress. By and large the congressional committees he has had to deal with, though they may not like being talked down to, respect his The CIA draws a politician Few people doubted that Mr William Colby's days as director of Central Intelligence were numbered. He was no friend of Mr Henry Kissinger, the national security-foreign policy strong man. As a career professional in the CIA, he had no independent base of support-not even a congressional cheering squad along the lines of the one that rallied around Mr Schlesinger, the departing defence secretary. Mr Colby was widely considered to have thrown his predecessor, Mr Richard Helms, to the wo v- s, suggest- ing that the justice department might look into the question of v--heeler Mr Helms had committed ne_ iiury in testifying about the CLA'.- -aie i n Chile. Morale in the intelligence cy in a period of congressionai -invest gation and intense public scrutiny is wobbly, at best, and there have been repeated indications, in public statements and not so carefully concealed leaks, that the Ford Administration nianned. a major reorganisation of the CIA. But the timing of Mr Colby's departure and the identity of his suc- cessor, Mr George Bush, come as major surprises. The inquiries by the House of Representatives and Senate into the CIA and other parts of the intelligence com- munity are far from complete, and it is possible that the chairmen of the respective investigating committees, Mr Otis Pike and Mr Frank Church, will take the firing of Mr Colby, who was co-operative with them, as a provocation to probe more aggressively. - If Mr Colby's dismissal is, as widely reported, meant to punish him for -his candour with the investigators, it prob- ably cones too late to reverse -the tide (and could even stimulate further leaks from inside). If, on the other hand, it is meant to signal a new image for the cloak-and-dagger agency, it probably comes too soon. In any event, the CIA will no longer have a recognised, know- ledgeable spokesman. And there is a risk that any legislation that emerges from the congressional investigations will appear to be imposed upon the agency without its own suggestions being considered. Mr Bush's arrival at CIA head- t'Vashington, DC quarters in Langley, ?Virginia, could cause morale there to plunge. even fur- ther. Although he has served as ambas- sador to the United Nations and re- cently as the American representative in Peking, Mr Bush is a politician, a-man who has more than once demonstrated his desire to help rescue the Republican party in time of trial (for example, by taking over. the Republican National Committee after Mr Richard Nixon's re-election in 1972, as the Watergate cover-up was unravelling) For all his charm and gracefulness, he is anything .but a professional in his new field. His appointment conjures up memories of the stewardship of Mr L. Patrick Gray at the FBI in 1972 and 1973-a well-intentioned man whose sense of- loyalty outweighed his quali- fications and led him to destroy some Watergate-related evidence.. The best interpretation that can- be put on - Mr Bush's nomination is that he would be temporary--on the scene just long, enough to help Mr Ford find a longer- range CIA director to reorganise the agency-but even that view is not very reassuring to the beleaguered CIA. -Although Mr Bush cannot really take - charge until he returns from China and is confirmed by the Senate, there is no sign that the committees on Capitol Hill will wait for, him before proceeding. The Senate committee, rejecting pleas for caution from the White House, declared that it would release later in November its still-secret report on CIA involvement in assassination plots against foreign leaders, and it scheduled four days of open hearings into the "covert action" side - of agency affairs. ' On Wednesday Mr Ford asked Mr Colby . to stay on for some weeks to help Congress with these inquiries. When he learned of his dis- missal from the president, Mr Colby started preparing to clear out his desk very promptly, but at the president's urging he agreed to carry on until the job is one Mr Bush can take over. - One unanswered question is whether Mr Colby, out of anger or resentment, might now feel moved to become even more co-operative with the congressional investigators, in public or in private. seriousness, his intelligence and his honesty. Still, just for the moment, with his flanks exposed towards the state department, the president's office and Congress, vulnerable he was and out he went. ment as an available perch for the quick-thinking, able, ambitious Mr Rumsfeld, but it would not much. appeal to Mr Rumsfeld to have to defend his' new department's point of view, and to have to maintain his own communica- tions with President Ford, with Mr - Henry Kissinger sitting in charge - of the White House office (that of the national security staff) through which Mr Rumsfeld's communications to the president would routinely have to make their way. Not, it must be supposed, by - coincidence, the long-discussed question of the advisability of having the White House foreign policy office run by the secretary of state, or by a separate person concerned only - with I - enl reside he ...., .. .. - set V 1116 t p resolved. General Brent Scowcroft, Mr Kissinger's deputy, takes charge of the national security council. - - It is true;- and is being emphasised, that General Scowcroft (an American military staff off cer of the best type,. which . is very good indeed) was Mr _ Kissinger's Irian and can be - counted on to be loyal is him. That is not the point. Once in full charge - of the national securir council, staff, as he now is. General Scowcroft will be-the president's man, and he will be bound. to make sure that the views of Mr Rumsfeld's department get presented to Mr Ford on an equality with those of Mr Kissinger's department. - - That should be good enough for Mr Rumsfeld. He, for his part, leaves his own conscientious young deputy, -Mr Richard Cheney, to run the White House staff in his place. Mr Cheney, too, will - serve the president first and foremost, as is right, but the arrangement is likely to prove perfectly satisfactory from the point of view of Mr Rumsfeld, whose course in national politics is now decidedly upward. - Approved For Release 2007/06/19: CIA-RDP99-00498R000100010137-2