10. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1


  • Chronology of Recent Developments on Strategic Arms Talks with the Soviets

Attached (Tab A)2 is a chronology of recent developments relating to Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT) with the Soviets. From this compilation I believe it is fair to conclude that

  • —the Soviets and the public remain under the impression that we will shortly be prepared to agree to and announce an opening date for the talks and that this will be some time in July;
  • —our allies, on the other hand, have been told that no date has been set and that we will allow ample time for consultation;
  • —the allies are showing mounting concern that sufficient time will indeed be provided before talks open with the Soviets; and
  • —the allies, notably the British, French and Germans, are beginning to sense that SALT talks could have far-reaching security implications for themselves and that consultations must therefore be more than a formality.

The memorandum to the Acting Secretary of State which you signed on May 213 will enable you to examine at the same time our negotiating options and the scenario for consultations with the allies and to make an integrated set of decisions after NSC consideration now scheduled for mid-June.

In the interim we will probably encounter some impatience from the Soviets and from critics here at home.

It will be desirable to make clear to both that we are not deliberately delaying but that preparations for this major enterprise require care and time.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 873, SALT, Volume II, June–July 1969. Secret; Nodis. Sent for information. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. Another notation indicates it was returned on June 2. Haig asked Sonnenfeldt to prepare this memorandum for the President “to keep him abreast of this fast moving epic.” (Memorandum from Haig to Sonnenfeldt, May 19; ibid.)
  2. Tab A, dated May 21, is attached but not printed.
  3. Document 8.