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


  • The Attorney General
  • The Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • The Under Secretary of State
  • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • The Director, Central Intelligence Agency
  • The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff


  • Analysis of Form of Agreement for SALT

As a part of our preparation for the Helsinki round of talks, in addition to work already underway, the Verification Panel should consider the issues involved in deciding what form an agreement should take.

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This is a subject which has been little examined in our work so far. It is not merely a matter of translating the provisions of our proposal2 into “treaty language,” but involves such substantive questions as:

  • —Should the agreement take the form of a formal treaty? What alternatives are there, including alternative ways to involve the Congress in the process?3
  • —If there is to be a treaty, should it include all the elements of the agreement, or only certain ones, with others dealt with by agreements in other forms? What supplementary forms of agreements are possible?
  • —How might the elements of the agreement be divided as between different instruments? What substantive and negotiating problems are presented by different divisions?
  • —Is flexibility actually served by inclusion in less formal agreements? Where is flexibility most important?
  • —What functions and procedures, beyond those set forth in NSDM 74,4 should be established for the joint commission?
  • —What procedures for handling new situations or possible violations should be established?

As a basis for Verification Panel examination of these questions, the Working Group should prepare a comprehensive analysis of the problems of the appropriate form of an agreement, outlining the major alternative courses of action and the substantive and negotiating implications of each. This study should be ready for Verification Panel consideration by October 9, 1970.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 879, SALT, SALT talks (Vienna), Vol. XII, July 20–September 1970. Top Secret. K. Wayne Smith and Sonnenfeldt forwarded Gerard Smith’s August 18 “Report of the U.S. Delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in Vienna” to Kissinger, under an action memorandum dated September 11. Kissinger initialed approval of their recommendations to initiate a working group study of the form of a SALT agreement, to summarize Smith’s report for Nixon, and to send Smith’s report only to McCloy of the GAC. Kissinger wrote the following remark in the margin of the paragraph dealing with the form of an agreement: “The President wants treaty.” (Ibid.)
  2. See Documents 94, 97, and 100. In Smith’s August 18 report, he summarized the presentation of the U.S. proposal: “The initial presentation of the U.S. proposal on July 24 was followed by detailed expositions of limitations on offensive and defensive systems the following week, and on August 4 a detailed written ‘Description of the U.S. Proposal for an Initial Strategic Arms Limitation Agreement’ was tabled. The Soviet reaction was reserved.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 879, SALT, SALT talks (Vienna), Vol. XII, July 20–September 1970)
  3. On September 14 Smith discussed the issue of Congressional participation with Rogers: “I told him I thought the time had come for us to be more affirmative about Congressional advisers for SALT. He was concerned lest the Democratic leadership designate a certain Senator in a way that would help his election campaign, and suggested that I try to keep the matter in suspense, and say that after a few weeks in Helsinki we perhaps would know better and could take an affirmative move.” (Note of talk with Secretary Rogers, prepared by Smith; Washington National Records Center, RG 383, ACDA Files: FRC 383–97–0010, Director’s Files, Smith/Farley Chronological File, Smith/Rogers Correspondence, January–September 1970)
  4. Document 100.