202. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to President Nixon 1

    • Possible SALT Agreement with the Soviets

At dinner last night, the Soviet Ambassador to the SALT talks, Semenov, hinted to Gerard Smith that the Soviets might soon offer a proposal which would halt new starts on ICBMs in conjunction with a proposal for an agreement on ABMs/National Command Authorities.2

I discussed this turn of events with Dr. Kissinger and at his direction, summoned Ambassador Dobrynin to Dr. Kissinger’s office and confronted him with the question of why the Soviets would take such action in the Vienna forum when they were fully aware that we were awaiting a formal response from them on the final exchange of notes here in Washington.3

Ambassador Dobrynin indicated that he was unaware that Semenov would be making such a statement and would take prompt action to prevent this kind of speculation within the Vienna forum. He added that he was awaiting word from Moscow on Dr. Kissinger’s last proposal and anticipated that it would be forthcoming on Thursday or Friday of this week.4 He refused to comment one way or the other as to whether or not the U.S. proposal would be acceptable but the obvious acceptance of an offensive freeze with an ABM/NCA agreement hinted at by Semenov yesterday suggests the Soviet reply will be affirmative. If so, it is probable that we could move with an announcement as early as Thursday or Friday of next week.5

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Geopolitical File, 1964–77, Box 41, Soviet Union, Chronological File, 1971–72. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Haig wrote on the memorandum: “Hold for HAK.” Kissinger initialed the memorandum. A notation indicates that the President also saw it.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 201.
  3. See Document 201.
  4. May 6 or 7.
  5. May 13 or 14. Nixon wrote the following message to Kissinger in the margin: “K—we will have to move Wed. [May 12] because of a House vote on setting a date for V. Nam—If we can’t move Wednesday—delay for 2 weeks or more—.”