197. Backchannel Message From the Chief of the Delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (Smith) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
238. Dear Henry:
We likely will begin communiqué drafting in a day or two. Before starting, I would appreciate advice as to whether the following proposed substantive paragraphs would be approximately what the White House would like to see.[Page 607]
The parts on accident and hot line would, of course, be contingent on how the “announcement” matter is worked out in Washington.
“In accordance with the May 20, 1971, announcement in which the two governments agreed to concentrate this year on working out an agreement for the limitation of the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems (ABMs), the delegations have engaged in detailed consideration of issues relating to this question and of the specific terms of such an agreement. Various areas of agreement on the terms of such a limitation have been achieved during this phase of the negotiations, and a clearer understanding exists concerning the issues that remain to be resolved.
“Also in accordance with the May 20 announcement of the two governments, consideration was given by the delegation to working out an agreement on certain measures with respect to the limitation of offensive strategic arms.
“During the course of the present phase of the negotiations two governments, as announced in Washington and Moscow on _____,2 have reached agreement on the following:
- “1. Agreement on measures to reduce the risk of outbreak of nuclear war between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics;
- “2. Agreement between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on measures to improve the USA–USSR direct communications link.
“These two agreements will be signed by the two governments in Washington on September 30, 1971. This will make a contribution to world peace. This achievement will also have a positive influence on the continuing negotiations on limiting strategic arms.
“The two sides have agreed that when the negotiations are resumed their aim will be to conclude this year an agreement for the limitation of the deployment of antiballistic missile systems, and an agreement on certain measures with respect to the limitation of offensive strategic arms, to be concluded at the same time.”
This language, of course, has not been shown to the Soviets.
I would appreciate a reply as soon as possible.3
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 427, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages, 1971, SALT. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only.↩
- Omission in the original.↩
- In telegram 175786 to USDEL SALT, September 23, the Department sent the text of the announcements on reducing the risk of nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union and on improving the Washington–Moscow direct communications link. The Department text was similar to the language proposed by Smith. On September 24 the White House announced the agreements, and on September 30 Rogers and Gromyko signed them in Washington. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 882, SALT, SALT talks (Helsinki), Vol. 17) The text of the announcements and Rogers’s remarks at the signing ceremony are printed in Department of State Bulletin, October 18, 1971, pp. 399–403.↩