11. Letter From the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Packard) to the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Smith)1

Dear Gerry:

In response to your note of May 22nd,2 I am sorry to have to disagree with you about the testing of MIRV. I am convinced you will be in a much stronger position in your discussion with the Soviets if the MIRV testing is not discontinued. Our deployment schedule is far enough off that you will have ample time to discuss this matter at an early stage of the talks, and hopefully get a quid pro quo response from your discussion.

While we are on this subject, I am concerned at the rate of progress in approaching an opening position for these talks. I am going to encourage our people to prepare some alternate proposals with the thought that it might make more progress if a small group of us spent some time together for a discussion of the issues. A large meeting, such as we had the other day, is not conducive to progress. Furthermore, we have the problem of the serious leak which occurred from that meeting. Leaks like this could jeopardize the whole program, and should be avoided at all costs.

If you have any alternate suggestions as to how I could be helpful, so that you can proceed with your very important job, I will be pleased to have you let me know.


  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 383, ACDA Files:FRC 383–98–0089, Box 1, Director’s Files, Smith Files, Correspondence for and by Smith on MIRVs, ABM, and other Arms Control Issues, February–December 1969. Secret.
  2. In his letter to Packard, May 22, Smith wrote, “I have been thinking about the points that you made at the last NSSM 28-Steering Group meeting to the effect that our on-going MIRV program is probably the main factor in generating Soviet interest in the SALT—and that moderating the pace of MIRV testing in advance of SALT would be like playing a trump card too early in the game.” Smith agreed that MIRV was a trump but noted that “with SALT still unscheduled and MIRV testing proceeding apace, how long will Soviet interest persist—unless it is for an arrangement in which both sides MIRV their forces—an outcome which may not be of special interest to the United States.” (Ibid.)