21. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1


  • June 25 NSC Meeting on SALT

Following last week’s NSC meeting the agencies concerned were asked to prepare a paper for the June 25 meeting,2 laying out major SALT options for discussion with our allies (Tab A).3 Because of the short interval between the two meetings, this paper will not be completed until the afternoon of June 24. I will send it to you at that time with my comments, so that you can review it before the NSC meeting.

Meanwhile, I would like to suggest the following approach for the

NSC meeting:

Style of US Consultations with Allies. We shall want to guard against having the presentation made to the allies appear as a brief for one particular position. I believe you should emphasize that you [Page 81]
  • —want consultations to be genuine, not pro forma;
  • —want the allies to get a feel for all the relevant issues associated with various SALT options, including implications for their own security interests;
  • —want to give the allies a chance to voice their own views and reactions;
  • —do not want to single out a particular negotiating option until the allies have been heard from.
Going Slow on the “Stay Where We Are” Option.4 This has a lot of supporters but raises several issues not yet fully discussed. I believe that you should stress that you want
  • —this option studied intensively to bring out clearly its advantages and problems;
  • —to withhold this option from the allies for the time being, until it has been more fully ventilated within the Government;
  • —in any case, keep this option in reserve for possible use in a way you will determine, at a time you will determine.
Communication to Allied Heads of Government. With the opening of the consultative process, I believe it would be desirable for you to send a message to all NATO heads of government (and possibly the Japanese Prime Minister) setting forth your approach to the consultations. An outline of major points to be included in such a communication is at Tab B.5 At the NSC meeting you may wish to cite these points and ask Bill Rogers to undertake to draft an appropriate communication in the next day or two and submit it to you for review. Such a communication would not only tell your allied colleagues how you would like to proceed but would also serve as guidance to our own bureaucracy.
Opening Date for SALT with Soviets. There has not so far been a Soviet response to Bill Rogers’proposal to Dobrynin that talks begin July 30 or 31.6 Meanwhile, you have referred to July 31 as no more than a “target date” and suggested that the actual opening may fall somewhere between that date and August 15. With your absence from Washington in the week immediately before July 31, it will be desirable not to have SALT open until you have had an opportunity fully to review our negotiating position. Moreover, I believe it will be psychologically and politically helpful for you to talk with Chancellor Kiesinger before SALT begins. (The original date for his visit was a week before July 31 and for that reason was particularly agreeable to him.) This argues for starting SALT no earlier than Monday, August 11. If you agree, you [Page 82] may want to mention this at the NSC meeting so that all concerned will be guided accordingly, including in conversation with the Soviets, if and when they reply to Bill’s previous proposal.
Consultations with the Congress. There will have to be consultations with interested Committees in both Houses. These should probably not take place until the second half of July. At that time, a presentation could be made of the several options that we have under study. Further briefings on our opening approach could occur after you have reviewed it following your trip, in early August. We should have a detailed scenario for this operation.

John McCloy’s Role. With your approval, I have contacted Jack McCloy to tell him that you have approved the approach to his role contained in his recent letter to you.7

At the meeting you may wish to

  • —say that you want McCloy and his committee to familiarize themselves with the SALT preparations;
  • —indicate that you want that committee to function in an independent advisory capacity (on the model of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (FIAB)), rather than as an adjunct to any one section of the Executive; and
  • —that you expect McCloy to provide you, the Secretary of State and the Director of ACDA with his comments, suggestions and advice both at his own initiative and when asked, including any divergent views that may exist among his committee members.


Personnel for Consultations with Allies. You may wish to stress at the NSC meeting that you are personally concerned about the composition of any US group that consults with the allies. You want to be sure that they are persons who are

  • —of stature in our government;
  • —fully equipped to deal substantively with issues that may arise; and
  • —fully in tune with this Administration’s approach to strategic issues.

You may wish to add that you wish personally to approve the membership in any US contingent.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–023, NSC Meeting 6/25/69 SALT NSSM 28. Secret; Nodis. Sent for action. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. See Document 19. On June 19 Kissinger informed Rogers and Laird that the President wanted a paper on alternative options for SALT to be prepared by the NSSM 28 Steering Committee before this meeting. (National Archives Ibid., Box H–023, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), NSC Meeting, 6/25/69, SALT NSSM 28)
  3. Attached but not printed is a June 24 memorandum to the President, in which Kissinger provided a 3-page summary of the negotiating options, describing them as limited, intermediate, and too comprehensive. Kissinger stated that the paper was “adequate” for discussion at the meeting but not a finished document and did not include his recommendations.
  4. See Document 16.
  5. Attached but not printed.
  6. See Document 15.
  7. John J. McCloy, who had served as an official or unofficial adviser to every President since Franklin D. Roosevelt, was chairman of the General Advisory Committee for Arms Control and Disarmament, which was established by the same statute that created ACDA in 1961. The GAC, also known as the McCloy Committee, included other prominent officials such as General Lauris Norstad, former Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and former ACDA Director William Foster. McCloy’s letter to President Nixon was not further identified.