287. Message From the Government of the Soviet Union to the Government of the United States1

President Johnson’s observations on the subject of his meeting with Soviet leaders which were communicated by W. Rostow to the Soviet Ambassador on September 162 have been attentively considered in Moscow. In this connection we, for our part, should also like to express some ideas.

I. It has been noted in Moscow that the President has reacted favorably to our suggestion that in the course of the meeting there should be established basic principles affecting the limitation and subsequent reduction in strategic armaments. We, for our part, agree that simultaneously the general objectives of our two countries in this field should be formulated in a more detailed form.

On the whole as a result of the exchange of views on the question of restraining the strategic arms race it could, in our opinion, be stated that the two sides had arrived at a conclusion on the expediency and feasibility of achieving a mutually acceptable understanding on this question, and that the implementation of measures to restrain the strategic arms race would answer to the interests of both our countries as well as to the interests of strengthening international security, and that this would also generate more favorable conditions for solving other major issues in the field of disarmament.

Specifically, it could be agreed that the two sides would be guided by the following general objectives:

  • —To achieve and maintain a stable U.S.-Soviet strategic deterrence by agreed limitations on the deployment of offensive and defensive strategic armaments.
  • —To enhance the credibility of our efforts to prevent the destabilizing actions of other nations by demonstrating Soviet and U.S. willingness to limit their strategic armaments.
  • —To provide mutual assurance to each of us that our security will be maintained, while at the same time avoiding the tensions, uncertainties, and costs of an unrestrained continuation of the strategic arms race.
  • —To improve U.S.-Soviet understanding by establishing a continuing process of discussion of issues arising from the strategic situation.

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At the same time it could be agreed that the task of limiting and subsequently reducing strategic armaments should be resolved in compliance with the following basic principles:

The limitation and reduction in strategic armaments should be carried out with due regard for the integral interconnection of the two principal components of such armaments, i.e. offensive and defensive weapons systems.
The limitation and reduction in strategic armaments should be carried out as a complex including both offensive strategic nuclear weapons delivery systems and anti-ballistic missile systems.
The limitation and reduction in strategic armaments should be so balanced that neither side could obtain any military advantages and that equal security should be assured for both sides.

There could also be registered an agreement of the two sides, along with implementation of measures to limit and reduce strategic armaments, to study the question of taking steps to rule out the accidental appearance of conflict-fraught situations involving the use of strategic armaments.

In conclusion it could be agreed that special delegations of the two governments, guided by the above-mentioned objectives and principles, would promptly address themselves to devising an agreement on the concrete aspects of the problem of limiting and reducing strategic armaments.

Agreement, reached during the meeting, on the above-listed aspects of the problem of limiting and reducing strategic armaments could, in our view, then be set forth either in the final communique of the meeting or in the form of a joint statement of our two governments.

[Here follows discussion of Vietnam and the Middle East.]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Rostow Files, Chlodnick File, Box 12. No classification marking; Unofficial Translation. A handwritten note on the source text reads, “handed to Sec. Rusk by Gromyko on Oct. 2.” Gromyko apparently gave it to Secretary Rusk along with the Russian text. (Ibid.)
  2. Document 282.