200. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Moorer) to Secretary of Defense Laird 1



  • SALT Developments
I have been concerned by the course of SALT since the announcement of the 20 May 1971 understanding. Of particular concern to me has been the undiminished momentum of all Soviet programs—ICBM, SLBM, and ABM—contrasted with an unyielding Soviet negotiating stance. As you know, on instructions, the U.S. SALT Delegation rejected all four Soviet ABM proposals while the Soviets have not accepted the U.S. “two or one” proposal. The Soviets insist that an ABM Agreement must be reached this year, prior to agreement on certain offensive limitations. Therefore, the Soviets have not discussed offensive limitations in any detail, but have said that SLBMs must be excluded from an interim freeze on strategic offensive weapons.
In my opinion, the Soviets feel that the U.S. will accede to an ABM Agreement on Soviet terms and then an interim freeze on ICBMs only. I feel they are holding an SLBM freeze in abeyance as leverage to get U.S. concessions on FBS in later negotiations. The Soviets seem to feel that pressure is on the U.S. to make concessions and, therefore, they need to make none. In the meantime, the ongoing Soviet programs continue to affect adversely the strategic balance from the U.S. point of view.
I recommend that we hold fast to our basic objectives in SALT and to require forward movement by the Soviets with respect to offensive restraints prior to signing any defensive agreement.
T.H. Moorer
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Moorer, 388.3, SALT, July–December 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive.