170. Minutes of a National Security Council Meeting1


  • SALT


  • The President
  • State
    • Secretary William P. Rogers
    • Deputy Under Secretary John N. Irwin
    • Ronald Spiers, Director of Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
  • Defense
    • Secretary Melvin E. Laird
    • Deputy Secretary David Packard
    • Paul Nitze, Consultant to the Secretary
  • Justice
    • Attorney General John N. Mitchell
  • JCS
    • Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, Chairman
    • Major General Royal B. Allison, Assistant to the Chairman for Strategic Arms Negotiation
  • CIA
    • Lt. General Robert E. Cushman, Deputy Director
    • Carl Duckett
  • ACDA
    • Ambassador Gerard Smith, Director
    • Deputy Director Philip Farley
    • Spurgeon Keeny, Assistant Director for Science and Technology
  • OEP
    • General George A. Lincoln, Director
    • NSC Staff
    • Henry A. Kissinger
    • K. Wayne Smith
    • Helmut Sonnenfeldt

President: I would like to start the meeting with the briefing by CIA. The meeting may take some time because I am sure everyone has a strong opinion on these issues. I would like to go from the CIA briefing to have Dr. Kissinger cover the issues and alternatives. I will then call on Secretary Rogers, Secretary Laird, Admiral Moorer, and Ambassador Smith on each issue for their position. As soon as possible after the meeting we will get out an NSDM on what our position should be at Helsinki.

General Cushman: [Copies of the CIA briefing attached.]2 General Cushman closed his briefing by noting that our [less than 1 line not declassified] will give us much greater intelligence gathering capabilities with higher resolution than we have been able to get from other systems.

Secretary Laird: Mr. President, I would just like to point out that this satellite worked on the first try. We have had problems with some of our other systems and most of them have not worked on the first try.

President: As I recall, we talked at one time about cutting this system out of the budget but look at the pictures that we are getting with it. Let me raise another point which came up recently in my meeting with the Science Advisory Board. Land has proposed a system that he believes will be even better than this one. Henry, can you explain what the system will do?

[Page 523]

Kissinger: Mr. President, anyone who relies on me for a technical evaluation of such systems is in great trouble. My understanding is that it will [less than 1 line not declassified].

President: Land says it can be done and we all know what a genius he is and what he has accomplished. He says it can be done if a commitment is made now.3 I understand that the system would give [less than 1 line not declassified]. The resolution is also supposed to be better than anything we have now. Land spoke with such conviction that I would like to hear your views about whether or not we should go forward, especially because of the connection with a SALT agreement.

Secretary Packard: The system is a good idea. It is based on new technology—solid state sensors. It has better characteristics than a camera, that is, it can take better pictures with less light. There are some problems but there is no question about feasibility. It will cost, with the [less than 1 line not declassified] that is necessary, about [less than 1 line not declassified] for development.

President: How long will it take to develop the system?

Secretary Packard: 1976.

President: That would mean [less than 1 line not declassified] spread over five years.

Secretary Packard: Yes. The key issue is, do we want to have this capability sooner? There is another system called the [less than 1 line not declassified] that will be available sooner. We could have it in 1974. This system would [less than 1 line not declassified]. If we want the Land system, the chances are it will not be available until at least 1976 at the earliest. The issue is, do we want to have something in the interim? The interim system that I am talking about will cost only one-third as much with operating costs of about [less than 1 line not declassified]year.

President: In light of the negotiations in SALT and the need for verification, we probably need both. Suppose we got a SALT agreement by, say, January 1972, we might not want to wait until 1976.

Secretary Laird: We have both now in the FY 72 budget.

Secretary Packard: Our plan is to have the interim system and when the bugs are all worked out to then go to the Land system.

Secretary Laird: There is a pressing problem. Senator Ellender wants to cut $500 million out of the intelligence budget. If this cut is sustained by the Congress, one of the systems might have to go.

Secretary Packard: With such a cut we might have to cut out the proposed interim system and wait on the Land system which is better. We should realize we can’t have it till 1976.

[Page 524]

Kissinger: As I understand it, the primary usage of such systems would not be for SALT but for tactical situations and MBFR where you want to monitor any changes, for example in mobilization, very quickly. Had we had such a system during the Suez crisis (1970), we would not have faced the problems posed by a two-week lag in our information.

Secretary Laird: I should point out that neither system works at night. Both are better than what we have now.

Kissinger: My point is that changes in the strategic area happen slowly but changes in the tactical area much more quickly.

President: We should have another talk about this later. Admiral Moorer should sit in. Dr. Kissinger, could you now summarize the issues and alternatives?

Kissinger: Mr. President, the Verification Panel has reviewed the three major issues that you face.4 These issues are: the level of ABMs that we want, the nature of an offensive freeze, and the length and form of an agreement. In considering an ABM option we could theoretically choose between a zero, a Washington/Moscow NCA defense, or a Safeguard/Moscow position. However, the NCA defense would likely be zero for the U.S. since there is little hope of getting approval by the Congress. This is why you decided earlier on some form of Safeguard for Moscow. Second, the Soviets may not be interested in the zero level, though we could test this again before the Helsinki negotiations start. Thus, it appears that some form of Safeguard for the U.S. and the Moscow defense for the Soviets is the most realistic option available. The key questions are what level of Safeguard do we want and do we want to maximize Safeguard for us or minimize the Moscow system for them. In looking at what the Safeguard defense can do, the Verification Panel has analyzed the value of Safeguard in relation to four objectives:

(1) Minuteman defense, (2) Population and bomber defense, (3) Value as an expansion base, and (4) In terms of keeping pressure on the Soviets.

The evaluation of the Minuteman defense capability disclosed that the number of surviving Minutemen contributed by even four Safeguard sites and 400 interceptors is quite low. In view of our worries about SAM upgrade we would find this inadequate return for allowing the Soviets an equivalent defense. Moreover, the number of survivors is largely independent of the number of sites at low interceptor levels which are likely to be negotiated if we want to limit Soviet defenses. There is also the problem of saturation. In fact, somewhat ironically, [Page 525] with 100 interceptors the number of survivors decreases as you increase ABM sites.

For defense of population the more sites the greater is the coverage (however light) and, for bombers, the more sites the greater the number of survivors. For planned Safeguard sites we get maximum coverage at three sites since the site at Warren, Wyoming, covers an area already covered by the other sites. The coverage would be very thin—one site covers 40 million people, 2 sites 70 million and three sites 80 million. Given six minutes reaction time, Safeguard can save 10–20 bombers over no defense, at eight minutes reaction time the savings is 20–40 bombers. The maximum difference between two sites and four sites is 30 additional bombers saved.

As for the value of various Safeguard levels as an expansion base, if we wanted to expand to an area defense there is a fixed lead time of about 4–1/2 years to complete the next four sites whatever number we start with; thereafter, we can complete an additional two sites about every three months. This means the difference between two to four sites is three to six months.

However, it also means that during the 4–1/2 year lead-time period, we would only have whatever sites were already built as improved by the number of missiles which could be added to existing radars.

As General Cushman pointed out the Soviet/Moscow defense is composed of 64 interceptors, four dish-type radars, two phased array acquisition radars, and two new radars under construction. Presumably, these new radars are to enable them to add missiles up to the level of 100 which was in our August 4 proposal.5 It seems likely these radars will be modern, phased arrays. It also seems likely that the Soviets would not be willing to stop construction and dismantle these new radar sites.

President: What is the situation with regard to upgrading?

General Cushman: We think they are planning to upgrade with the R&D development work at Sary Shagan, but we don’t know whether these new systems will be deployed at Moscow or at another city.

Kissinger: One problem Gerry faces is what the Soviets say if we ask them for more than one site. But in considering comparable levels of ABM, we should remember that there is a great difference between one Moscow site and two Safeguard sites. The Moscow site covers 25 percent of the Soviet population and 35 percent of its industry and about 500 missile sites. The two Safeguard sites defending 350 Minuteman missiles would cover only about 5 percent of our population and 5 percent of our industry, that is, using the basic Spartan. Larger [Page 526] figures can be gotten from the modified Spartan. Thus, we have a respectable rationale for asymmetry in number of sites in terms of the true capabilities of the system. I should add that “covered” means covered in theory only. As long as they are limited to 100 missiles we can saturate their defenses. I am simply defining equivalency, that is, sites or areas protected. Even with one site we can add more radars and more interceptors.

The span of possible positions is:

An agreement allowing both sides 4 sites and 400 interceptors but worded to constrain 3 of the Soviet sites to East of the Urals. This position argues that radars cannot be effectively controlled and that giving the Soviets sites East of the Urals doesn’t threaten our penetration capability in a significant way.

An agreement which gives the U.S. one site and gives the Soviets Moscow with 100 interceptors, their existing 4 dish-type radars, the Dog House and Chekhov arrays and whatever other phased-array radars could be co-located at those sites. This formulation would stop work on the new radar sites around Moscow.

An agreement allowing the U.S. two sites, 4 radar complexes and 100 interceptors and giving the Soviets the Moscow defense and allowing them to complete the new radars. A variant on this as an opening negotiating position would be to try 200 interceptors while not permitting completion of the new Soviet radars. This could be put on basis of either/or, that is, NCA defense or missile defense. There are several ways to present this proposal with equal values and interceptors or equality at each site. It is not very equivalent if one looks at population coverage.

Whatever the ultimate decision on the number of sites, general value of protection, negotiation, etc., I am simply presenting here the alternatives. There is nothing wrong with a three-site alternative, except that Gerry believes it is not negotiable. The combinations of possibilities are almost infinite.

The Verification Panel has also looked at the collateral constraints on ABMs we should include. Without going into those constraints in detail, it was generally agreed that a number of these constraints contained in the U.S. August 4 proposal already had Soviet agreement and others were probably negotiable. It is generally agreed that we should propose, at least initially, most of the constraints from the August 4 proposal. These constraints are: testing and deployment of mobile ABMs prohibited, equipping an ABM, launchers with a reload capability prohibited, a specific provision banning the upgrading of SAM systems, prohibiting testing SAMs in an ABM mode, allowing ABM R&D but test firings only from 15 launchers at agreed test ranges. There is one major issue in the collateral constraints dealing with radars. The questions relating to the issue are, should we propose to limit the Soviet [Page 527] Hen House radars (or long range acquisition radars) to those existing or under construction? Some argue that this is not negotiable; others argue that they provide a very strong base for expansion of the Soviet ABM system. The other question is, should we insist on the right of the U.S. to build an equivalent network?

First, what systems should be included in a freeze?

On offensive systems, we have three alternatives: (1) ICBMs only, (2) ICBMs and SLBMs, and (3) All three systems—ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers.

We considered and rejected an option involving only ICBMs and bombers since neither side has a dynamic bomber program, bombers do not have a first-strike capability and limiting bombers while allowing SLBMs to run free lacks logical rationale.

However, a freeze of ICBMs alone would formally validate a Soviet edge of about 460 to 530 ICBMs. This could cause some political and diplomatic difficulties.

Consequently, there seems to be a consensus that we seek, at least initially, to include more than ICBMs.

The second option—freeze on SLBMs as well as ICBMs—would mean that we could reduce the possibility that the Soviets will soon have more SLBMs than we, or we at least would control the size of their advantage. One possible agreement would be a freeze on ICBMs with a clause that the agreement would be terminated if either side deployed more than a designated number of SLBMs.

The third option—a freeze on heavy bombers as well as ICBMs and SLBMs—would be the most comprehensive approach. The difficulty is the more comprehensive our approach the more comprehensive their approach will be, probably including raising the issues of FBS and the negotiating history. Since the U.S. has a numerical edge in bombers, the overall Soviet advantage would be fairly small, about 200–250 delivery vehicles. However, some believe that we should not delay or hamper our negotiating by trying to include bombers. Because of the time it takes them to reach targets, bombers are not as important as ICBMs or SLBMs in a first-strike scenario. Moreover, neither side now has any active bomber construction program.

In any option, a primary objective is to limit the SS–9.

President: Gerry, my understanding is that our greatest interest is to limit ICBMs. Do you agree?

Smith: Yes, if you put a sublimit on MLBMs.

President: What is of greatest concern to the Soviets in offensive systems?

Smith: We have nothing going for us in this area. They may ask for some limitation on MIRVs. The more comprehensive the freeze [Page 528] we attempt to get the more likely they are to introduce issues such as forward-based systems.

President: They want to limit our defensive system; we want to limit their offensive systems. Would it be in our interest to limit bombers?

Secretary Laird: No.

President: Could we limit bombers at a certain number?

Secretary Irwin: Yes, if we froze at current operational levels we would be ahead.

Smith: If we include bombers and ICBMs only, we would have a difficult time explaining to the Congress why we omitted the dynamic Soviet submarine program.

Admiral Moorer: The important point is the aggregate total, not the sublimits.

President: Henry, would you continue? I know Secretary Rogers has to go to New York to give a speech6 and I want to hear his views before he leaves, particularly on the kind of an agreement we should have.

Kissinger: We have looked at various ways to define a freeze as it relates to ICBMs. If we were to freeze at the level operation, e.g., in July, this would mean that the Soviets would not be able to complete either the 12 SS–9s now under active construction or the 68 new-type silos.

If we were to freeze at the level operational as of January, 1972, this might permit completion of the 12 SS–9s under active construction, while probably not permitting completion of the new-type silos.

If we were to freeze at the level operational and under construction as of July, this would, of course, permit completion of both the SS–9s, and the new-type silos.

Let me go now, Mr. President, to the question you raised about the form and duration of an agreement. As for the duration of an agreement there are two major points: (1) Whatever the form and length we clearly want the offensive and defensive position to be coterminous; and (2) all are agreed that there should be a clause relating the ABM agreement to progress in negotiating a more comprehensive agreement. The issue is whether the agreement should have a finite lifetime with a mandatory lapse provision or whether the termination provision should be more flexible.

There are three major alternatives: (1) An indefinite agreement with a clause regarding abrogation if supreme national interest were [Page 529] at stake; (2) an agreement with a clause containing the right to abrogate but no obligation to do so; and (3) an agreement with a mandatory lapse provision.

Secretary Rogers: The options were well outlined and commented on. I have no strong convictions about the alternatives. I would simply make the general points that we are committed to reach an agreement this year. I think we should give maximum flexibility to our negotiators while reserving the final decisions for you. My own preference is for two Safeguard sites in exchange for Moscow but our starting negotiating position might be higher. We want to insure that we have a deal that will look good in public. With respect to offensive systems, I think we should try to freeze both ICBMs and SLBMs but we may have to fall back. If the forward-base systems issue is raised, we should fall off of SLBMs. The key question is how do we handle the simultaneity problem? For our testimony and hearings in Congress we can’t have just the prospect of an agreement; we must have a real agreement. For those of us who must go before the Congress we need to have something to defend.

Kissinger: In fact, if we have an ABM agreement first, the Soviets can blackmail us on the offensive portion. The offensive agreement must go in parallel.

Secretary Rogers: We will face a tough problem with the Congress. Both our friends and our enemies would be against us. I think the form of the agreement should be a treaty.

President: Does it have to be?

Secretary Rogers: Yes. It will raise serious political problems if we don’t have a treaty. Henry’s middle position of a treaty with the right to abrogate but no obligation to do so is the right one. We should not have an obligation to end the treaty after a fixed time since we may want to keep it going. I would favor a two or three-year time limit. Before I leave I would like to hear some additional discussion on the issue of simultaneity.

Smith: If we stick to ICBMs and SLBMs we may be able to get an agreement. After testifying recently before Senator Jackson and others, I think a treaty is the only possible solution.

Rogers: Can we get a written agreement on offensive systems?

Smith: Yes.

President: What kind of an agreement would it be?

Secretary Rogers: I am talking about an executive agreement. We also need to get a joint Congressional resolution.

President: Yes. We first need to get something good, then we need to get Congress to participate and approve. This would give Congress a sense of participation but it would be less formal than advice and consent.

[Page 530]

Secretary Rogers: An executive agreement requires only a majority vote in both Houses; a treaty would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate.

Smith: We should try to get a joint or concurrent Congressional resolution in advance. There is one further legal problem, Mr. President. My charter says that no agreement can be made with a foreign power to limit armaments. This was pointed out to me by Senator Jackson. I believe he is wrong about this restriction and that the constitutional prerogatives of the President in foreign affairs will enable us to overcome this legal problem.

President: This is a luxury we can worry about when we get down the road. Henry, go ahead with your briefing. [At this point, Secretary Rogers left the meeting.]7

Kissinger: The Soviets now have operational 22 of the Y-class submarines. This big, fast SSBN is roughly comparable to our submarines. An additional 15 Y-class boats are presently under construction, three of which have been launched but are still being fitted out.

The Soviets also have the other G and H-class submarines.

With respect to SLBMs, we could allow the Soviets those which have been launched as of, e.g., July. This would permit them to complete construction on only those three Y-class submarines which have already been launched giving them [less than 1 line not declassified].

Second, we could allow the Soviets to complete all SLBMs under construction as of July. This would allow them [less than 1 line not declassified].

Third, we could simply agree to a number of Y-class SLBMs equal to our SLBMs. However, because they also have G and H-class SLBMs, this would give the Soviets an edge of about [less than 1 line not declassified].

There seems to be no consensus yet on how we should freeze SLBMs. The basic issue is aggregate limits not sublimits.

Finally, there is the issue of how we define what activities are allowable under “modernization and replacement”. The terms are ambiguous. We can go through these issues but I don’t think you will be faced with them in the first month.

The key issues facing you, Mr. President, are: What trade-off between Safeguard and Moscow defense is in our interest? What offensive systems should we try to limit at this stage? What should be the nature of the termination clause?

President: Let’s have Defense’s view.

[Page 531]

Secretary Laird: Let me make a few general points first. I believe strict instructions should be given on the limits of offensive arrangements that we will agree to. Safeguard is our only bargaining chip and we should use this in the context of the offensive arrangements. Regarding ABMs, I can go along with two sites as the final position but we believe that to start out each country should be given the choice of NCA or a missile defense (assuming zero is out). The Soviets could have three sites. Our negotiating position should start with three sites. I think a case can be made that, if a country chooses to have a missile defense rather than an NCA defense, it can have more missiles. In no case should we agree to less than 200 interceptors.

Kissinger: Spread over three sites?

Secretary Laird: Yes. When we started the negotiations the Soviets had 250 MLBMs. We should be able to trade off three interceptors for each MLBM above 250. This can be justified for ICBM defense. With respect to radar, we think each site should have two radars. I would not be concerned if the Soviets have four modern radar complexes. We need four such complexes. I also think that definitions on ABM must be concise and clear. As far as DOD is concerned, we should start with all three offensive systems with a July 1 cutoff date. We would be willing to fall back to ICBMs and SLBMs using the July date. The latter kind of freeze would give the Soviets a total of roughly 2000 and us a total of 1710. I think we can justify this difference to the Congress if bombers are excluded. I think freedom to mix should be permitted. If the Soviets want more SLBMs after the July 1 date, they would have to phase down ICBMs. This is the only chance we have to get effective limits on MLBMs. Once we make ABM agreement we will never have the opportunity again. With regard to the form and duration of an agreement, I agree with what Secretary Rogers has said with one exception: I think the agreement should have an automatic termination date based on progress in the offensive negotiations. The fact is we are never going to be able to terminate an ABM agreement. Our system doesn’t work that way no matter what a treaty says. Without an automatic termination date, we would give up any bargaining leverage we have over offensive systems. Tom, why don’t you go ahead.

Admiral Moorer: First, let me comment on the basic principles the JCS have followed in arriving at our position. These are: First, we want to maintain an adequate deterrent. Second, the Soviets have ongoing both offensive and defensive systems. We have only defensive systems. Third, we believe the U.S. would receive a first strike. Fourth, we have tried to work out our position in terms of equivalency. Fifth, any interim agreement will likely become permanent. Thus, it would not be prudent to go too far with the notion of being able to correct deficiencies later. With respect to ABMs we would like to have an option permitting [Page 532] us and the Soviets to build four sites. Three of our sites would be west of the Mississippi and three of their sites would be east of the Urals. All of these sites would be in the missile fields. Their fourth site could be Moscow and ours Washington if we wanted. All components of the sites should be in specified geographic areas. We also think we should retain the option to dismantle Safeguard and to build NCA. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force believes we should have an option for hard-site defense at some later point if this should become necessary. We feel this four-site proposal is equitable and would contribute to strategic stability. With respect to offensive systems, we should establish agreed aggregate totals for all three but in any event for ICBMs and SLBMs with a sublimit on MLBMs and an option for the U.S. to build MLBMs. The date for the freeze should be as early as possible. We would prefer July 1 and with December 31 at the latest. The reason for an early date is that the more we continue to talk the worse the problem becomes. We also think that within these aggregates SLBMs should be traded off against ICBMs.

Secretary Laird: Mr. President, it is to our advantage to have them make such a tradeoff.

Admiral Moorer: Yes. They operate submarines in waters where we operate surface vessels and we have sound detection systems which can detect Soviet submarines. They to the best of our knowledge do not have any systems capable of detecting our submarines. The provisions outlined above would provide an incentive for the Soviets to move to a permanent agreement. We must have an automatic termination date. Such a date will give us maximum leverage to force agreement on offensive systems. The Chiefs of Staff of the Army and the Air Force support a freeze where you are. We would leave the form of the agreement to the experts. But we believe there should be some kind of official document. We don’t want to get into the situation we had with respect to the bombing halt in 1968 where no one could document what the terms of the agreement had been.

Secretary Laird: We should have a limit on MLBMs but also we should have the option to build them ourselves even though we may never do so. The same thing applies to Hen House. Having these options doesn’t mean we will exercise them, but we should at least have the options.

Admiral Moorer: Having these options is essential to insuring equality and protection of our position in the future.

President: Whatever we do we should consider the desirability of having the House express its opinion on this issue. The country has no faith in the Senate and with good reason; the House has the confidence of the country. I would like to have the House express its view. Another reason for having the House participate is that very frequently [Page 533] in the past the House has had to vote against a great many measures that have been passed by the doves in the Senate. I want to give them a chance to vote for something—for something that is in the interest of this country and peace. I note this only as an aside.

Secretary Laird: The recent ABM vote in the House was very important.

Smith: Let me restate the procedural problems we face here. As I understand it, we are committed to work out this year a separate ABM agreement plus whatever can be done regarding a freeze on offensive systems. The conditions such as those Admiral Moorer is talking about do not fit into a freeze but rather into negotiations on offensive systems. A freeze only stops the Soviets. It pinches them. If we try to negotiate the right to build 200 MLBMs in a freeze, this just won’t work.

Secretary Laird: Gerry, what about the defensive side, Hen House, etc?

Smith: We have no program for building early warning radar systems. We are going to rely on satellites. Even if we had such a program, we would not build an equivalent system. We would build one using modern technology and that would not be equivalent; apparent symmetry would delay the negotiations. If we were going to have this kind of an arrangement, we should at least have a fallback position to some kind of mutual veto.

Secretary Laird: I would not want to rely entirely on satellites. They would be the first things to be shot down. We should have option to build radars. But go ahead with your position.

Smith: If we built radars like Hen Houses we would be wasting money.

Secretary Irwin: It is important to have an interim agreement, that is, interim but one that would let us move up to equivalency at some later date. We shouldn’t be frozen by freeze in the future.

Attorney General: I think the reconciliation of the two positions lies in whatever cutoff date is agreed to.

Smith: Right. We are talking about a freeze not about the provisions of an offensive agreement. A freeze would last at most for only three years. It would take us eight years to build an MLBM. We must put pressure on the Soviets to convert the freeze into a treaty as quickly as possible.

President: Henry, would you speak to this?

Kissinger: Yes. I agree with Gerry. The more formal we make the freeze the less likely we are to get progress on a treaty. The freeze must be interim, of short duration, and designed to put maximum pressure on the Soviets to reach agreement. The more we ask for the closer we get to a deadlock and we would lose time.

[Page 534]

The President: The two must go simultaneously. [To Gerry Smith]8 In the event that you see foot dragging in the offensive negotiations, you are to torpedo the other. We are committed to an agreement but it must be simultaneous. That position must be made clear to the Soviets early. We must be very clear we can’t have one without the other. The danger is that they will want to move quickly on an ABM agreement and drag out the discussions on an offensive agreement. The counter is for you to drag on ABM.

Kissinger: The Soviets probably want a token two- or three-week period of discussions on ABM to satisfy the terms of the statement. But then they should be prepared to move simultaneously on both.

President: They know what “at the same time” means as well as we do. In the end it has to be “at the same time.”

Smith: On ABM our goal should be to keep the Soviet ABM level to a minimum. To propose that they have a 400 percent increase in ABM, as Admiral Moorer does, so we can have four sites is not disarmament, it’s rearmament. We would be in a terrible position publicly. Three sites East of the Urals with big radar complexes would look like the beginning of a nation-wide system.

President: In defense of the military view, however, there is the point of who is likely to strike first. The public relations problem is serious but my understanding is that we don’t give much of a damn about their ABM capability.

Smith: Mr. President, we have worried for years about the Tallinn system. I would hate to see us give them more sites just so we could have a few sites that are militarily insignificant. After my discussions with Senator Jackson, I believe he would prefer a total ban to a truncated Safeguard system.

Secretary Laird: We could offer zero for public relations purposes.

Smith: If we started with zero we would have leverage to get better radar controls.

President: What reasons do you give for Soviet opposition to a total ban?

Smith: They don’t want to tear the system down. They want defense against China and they don’t want to lose the investment they have already made.

[Page 535]

Nitze: I think there is another reason the Soviets want the Moscow System. The Soviet High Command, which meets in Moscow, is the main thing to be protected. They don’t want to have these people who are the heart of their system vulnerable. It is an emotional commitment. The Soviets will continue to have a light defense of Moscow while continuing to vigorously pursue R&D for thick defense which they would also like to have.

President: There is a real emotional attachment?

Nitze: They would perhaps even like a thick system against the U.S.

Smith: But they proposed only 100 ABMs.

Nitze: But they want more.

Smith: That’s why we should stop them.

Smith: On the offensive side, we should go for all three systems. The cessation of construction in ICBMs only is probably what they have in mind. Their reaction to our proposal to go for all three will be severe. I would settle for freeze on ICBMs with a sublimit on MLBMs. On the question of leverage, I think an agreement of short duration would not be in our interest. Automatic termination might not be in our interest. A supreme national interest clause would be sufficient for us to abrogate if we were forced to but I think we should also have a clause linking progress in the offensive area to the ABM agreement. Secretary Laird may be right that we need such an explicit reference.

President: We will do a lot of hard thinking about these issues and get instructions out to you as soon as possible. I wanted to hear this discussion first. (Smith: We need time for a NAC presentation.) I want to be very tough in the bargaining. You should bargain as vigorously for positions you are willing to give up later as you do for positions you are not willing to give up. Our public opinion expects something. You should drag on what they want until we get what we want. There is a real danger that we get an ABM deal and only a fuzzy one on the offense. You should raise any objection you can on ABM till we get what we want. Simultaneity is a must. The danger is that they can renege on the whole deal without the pressure of public opinion.

Secretary Laird: I want to raise one additional point about the accidental launch section. I think this section needs clarification. It gives the impression that the U.S. and Soviets take responsibility for all accidental launches. We should clearly define what is meant in this section and the President should be aware of the responsibilities he is taking on. We should change the title of the section. The Russians want it because of the Chinese.

Smith: There is a proposed accession clause which will remove much of the sting from this possibility but we will check into it further.

[Page 536]


Briefing by Acting Director of Central Intelligence Cushman 9


Mr. President, I will begin with a review of recent Soviet developments in the ABM field. I will then update the situation concerning ICBMs and submarine launched ballistic missiles and make some mention of the Soviet bomber force. Then finally a few words about our new satellite reconnaissance capability, which is now operational.
The Soviets are making new efforts to improve the capabilities of the ABM system deployed at Moscow.
They have resumed construction at two ABM launch complexes to the south of the city that were started—and then left unfinished—several years ago. The new construction may be intended to strengthen Moscow’s ABM defenses against ballistic missiles launched from China and the Polaris threat from the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.
In addition, the Soviets have been building two large radars at Chekhov, near Moscow, to expand the long range target acquisition and tracking radar capability against the ballistic missile threat to the city.
One of these radars is in the late stages of construction. When it is operational in 1973, it will provide coverage of Polaris missiles coming from launch areas in the North Atlantic.
We have recently identified a second radar at the same location in the early stages of construction. It will provide coverage of the ballistic missile threat from China when it is finished, probably in 1975.
At the same time, the Soviets are continuing with an extensive ABM developmental effort at the Sary Shagan missile test center.
They recently completed a new large missile site radar which had been under construction for nearly four years. It appears to be a follow-on to the Moscow system missile site radar and is designed to increase the number of targets which can be tracked simultaneously. Testing will probably begin soon.
In another area of Sary Shagan, the Soviets are continuing construction and developmental activity on new defensive system components. This work is at a new ABM facility built during the last three years.
They are using this complex to test an ABM interceptor having a slightly higher acceleration than the Galosh missile now deployed at Moscow. This new missile is being fired from launchers similar to those at the operational sites around Moscow.

They have built other, smaller launchers at this new facility which are not the same as those used with the Galosh missile. Recently, what may be a prototype for a silo launcher was identified under construction at this facility.

1. No missile has yet been identified with either of these types of launchers.

Another noteworthy development at this new facility is the assembly, in the space of five months or so, of a radar possibly having an ABM role. This radar appears best suited for relatively short range operation and would probably be deployed in areas already covered by long range radars.
The components being tested at this facility may be part of a wholly new ABM system. Alternatively, the Soviets may be planning to incorporate them into the existing Moscow system. We’ll be watching closely to see which way it goes.
I would like to conclude this ABM review by mentioning the status of the Moscow system and of Hen House radar deployment.
The Soviets have an operational ballistic missile defense of four ABM launch complexes and 64 antimissile missile launchers around Moscow. So far, no ABM defenses have been deployed at other cities.

Construction on Hen House ballistic missile early warning radars is continuing. When these radars begin operating next year, they will increase the coverage of missiles launched from the north, the Mediterranean, and China.

1. In all, there are 14 Dual Hen Houses—completed or under construction—deployed for ballistic missile early warning and space surveillance.

Soviet Ballistic Missile Forces

The current picture of Soviet ICBM deployment remains a mixed one. On the one hand, they are constructing ICBM silos of a new type at some operational missile complexes. On the other hand, the Soviets have clearly slowed down those ICBM programs which have been under way for several years.
We discovered earlier this year that the Soviets had begun construction of what has turned out to be two new types of ICBM silos. Thus far, 17 of the new silos have been detected at five SS–9 complexes and 43 at two complexes in the western USSR where the SS–11 ICBM [Page 538] is deployed along with IRBMs. No new silos were found in the [1 line not declassified]. In addition, there are several others under construction at the Tyuratam test center.
Work on the silos began after September last year, although test borings were evident at some sites at Tyuratam as early as April 1970.
The sites are still in an early stage of construction and none is expected to be complete before mid-1972.
From satellite photography, we can see that two types of new silos are being built. Construction techniques for both types are similar, but there are major differences in the site configuration and in the diameter of the silos. We are still uncertain of the full extent of this new deployment but our new photographic satellite—which I’ll touch on in a moment—promises to help resolve this question.
One type is being built at the two complexes where the SS–11 ICBM is deployed along with MRBMs and IRBMs. The inner liners of these silos are [less than 1 line not declassified] in diameter and they appear to be 80 feet deep.
Another type is under construction at the SS–9 complexes. These have silo diameters of [less than 1 line not declassified] and an apparent depth of at least 100 feet.
This picture is one of these new [less than 1 line not declassified] type silos being built at Tyuratam for test and training purposes. The circular objects are segments of the silo liners which are placed within this coring to form the wall of the silo. Steel reinforcing bars are welded to the outside of the liners and after the segments are placed in the hole, concrete is poured between the segments and the coring.
The work of the Soviets has not advanced sufficiently to enable us to determine what missile systems will be deployed in the new silos.
On the basis of current evidence, we can suggest two possible explanations for the new silos.
It seems clear that they are intended to provide increased survivability through greater silo hardness, possibly for the existing SS–9 and SS–11 ICBMs. The concrete is [less than 1 line not declassified] thicker than in older silos, with steel reinforcements on the sides.
It is also possible that one or both of the two new types of silos may be for new missile systems which have not yet been tested.
Looking now at the slowdown, it appears that the deployment programs for the SS–9 and the SS–13 ICBM stopped during the latter part of 1970—at least for the time being—although work continues on 12 SS–9 and 20 SS–13 sites presently unfinished. Deployment of the SS–11 is also believed to have been suspended, although the evidence for this is less clear. [Page 539]
Although construction of additional SS–9 silos of the standard type appears to have ended, we believe that the Soviets have begun replacing some of the single warhead SS–9s with the version which carries three re-entry vehicles. The evidence for this judgment is in this photograph of the warhead handling facility at one SS–9 complex. It reveals warhead containers smaller than those associated with the standard SS–9. There are more of these small canisters than there are silos at the complex.
The warheads carried by this variant of the SS–9 cannot be independently targeted, however.
Altogether the Soviets now have 1,375 operational ICBM launchers, and by this time next year, when the standard silos still under construction are completed, they will have 1,407.
This total will include 288 silos for the SS–9, 850 for the SS–11, and 60 for the small solid propellant SS–13. The remaining 209 launchers consist of older SS–7 and SS–8 systems which are deployed about 2/3 in a soft configuration and 1/3 hard.
In addition, there will be the new type silos, but we are not yet able to make a confident projection of their numbers or when they will become operational.

Soviet Y-Class Submarines

The Soviets continue to launch Y-class ballistic missile submarines at the rate of eight a year. This would give them a force comparable in number to the 41 U.S. Polaris submarine by early 1974.
Thus far 25 units have been launched, and 22 of these are operational.
Regular patrols in the North Atlantic started three years ago and three units are normally on patrol there.
In addition, the Soviets began Y-class patrols in the Pacific last October.
The third patrol off the U.S. west coast is now going on, and it appears that the Soviets intend to keep at least one Y-class submarine in this area at all times.

Manned Bombers

Although the ballistic missile is the principal Soviet means for strategic attack, the bomber forces of Long Range Aviation continue to have significant capabilities for long-range attack and aerial reconnaissance.
The Soviets have some 200 heavy bombers and tankers with a primary mission of intercontinental operations, leaving about 700 medium bombers for use against Europe or Asia.
Flight testing of the new Soviet swing-wing bomber, now known as the Backfire, is proceeding smoothly, with the aircraft now engaged in weapons testing. It could enter service between 1974 and 1976; however at present our estimates of the Backfire’s performance are still tentative, and we are continuing to study the evidence in order to arrive at the plane’s probable primary mission.

New Reconnaissance System

In concluding, Mr. President, I want to mention that we have just inaugurated a new photographic satellite system which will substantially improve our intelligence collection capabilities.
[1 paragraph (4½ lines) not declassified]
[1½ lines not declassified] but we have already received two packages of film. Although the mission is being flown at a higher than optimum altitude, the photography we have obtained fully meets our expectations.
These photographs of the Severodvinsk shipyard—where the Y-class submarine is produced—show how the new system has improved upon the older search system. The photo at the left, taken with the new system, gives much greater detail. Both pictures are enlarged 20 times.
[1½ lines not declassified] so there is a good chance that we will have a more definitive count of the new ICBM silos under construction soon after the Helsinki talks begin on July 8.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Institutional Files (H–Files), Box H–110, NSC Minutes, Originals, 1971–6/20/74. Top Secret;SALT; Nodis; Codeword. The meeting took place in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.
  2. Brackets are in the original. The CIA briefing is attached; printed below.
  3. Land urged the President to approve a new reconnaissance satellite at Nixon’s June 4 meeting with PFIAB; see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 233.
  4. Reference is to the Verification Panel review of ABMs, the nature of offensive weapons, and the length and form of an agreement. See Document 166.
  5. See footnote 2, Document 104.
  6. On June 30 Rogers delivered an address, “The United States and Japan: Common Interests and Common Problems,” before the Japan Society, Inc., in New York. See Department of State Bulletin, July 19, 1971, pp. 69–73.
  7. Brackets are in the original.
  8. Brackets are in the original.
  9. Top Secret; Sensitive.