171. National Security Decision Memorandum 1171
- The Members of the National Security Council
- The Attorney General
- The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
- The Director of Central Intelligence
- Instructions for Strategic Arms Limitation Talks at Helsinki (SALT V)
Having considered the discussion and recommendations of the National Security Council,2 I have decided on the United States position for presentation at Helsinki (SALT V),3 as detailed in the attached statement.
The Delegation should prepare a draft agreement incorporating the provisions of the United States position in appropriate language. This agreement should be returned to the White House for review and approval prior to presentation at Helsinki. It is intended that the Delegation table a single document, containing all elements of the U.S. position, as early as possible in the Helsinki round. The final form (e.g., treaty) of the agreement will be determined at a later date.
Pending approval and tabling of this draft agreement, the Delegation may outline to the USSR its principal provisions at the beginning of negotiations.
The negotiations on offensive systems and defensive systems must be conducted in parallel. However, at the discretion of the Chairman of the Delegation, there may be an initial period of two to three weeks when the negotiations concentrate on defensive systems. Thereafter, offensive systems must be considered equally and in parallel with defensive systems. Agreements on offensive and defensive systems must be concluded simultaneously.
The Delegation should continue to negotiate an agreed text on Measures to Prevent Accidental War and indicate to the Soviet Delegation [Page 542]that we would prefer that this agreement be concluded simultaneously with agreements on the main areas of limitation (e.g., ABM and offensive measures). Similarly, the Delegation should complete all preliminary work on the Washington–Moscow direct communications link with a view towards concluding this agreement simultaneously with the main agreement.
We can consider separate agreements on Accidents and the communications link; the decision to do so, however, will be taken in light of the general trend of negotiations in Helsinki.
Previous directives concerning the privacy of the talks and public comment on them are reaffirmed.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 427, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages, 1971, SALT. Top Secret; Nodis; SALT. Copies were sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the senior members of the U.S. SALT Delegation.↩
- See Document 170.↩
- The fifth round of negotiations was held in Helsinki from July 8 through September 23.↩
- All brackets are in the original.↩