210. Paper Prepared in the Office of the Secretary of Defense1

OSD Position Summary

The U.S. should insist that offense limits be discussed in parallel with or ahead of further discussion of ABM limits. We should maintain our “2 or 1”ABM proposal as our formal position at the start of SALT VI, but should positively explore the possibility of agreeing on a new option, based upon the Soviet proposal of September 7th,2 and outlined below. If such an agreement can be negotiated, it should be the preferred U.S. position. We should not agree to any alternative giving the U.S. less than 2 sites or denying us a later decision to defend the NCA. We should insist upon the inclusion of SLBMs in the offense freeze, and upon the cutoff dates of our July 27 proposal.3 We should not accept an ABM agreement without an offense freeze.

In order to give us freedom to initiate our own submarine construction program if a satisfactory follow-on offense agreement is not reached soon, we should include freedom to replace aging SSBNs with [Page 637] new ones and to replace ICBM launchers with SLBM launchers after two years if the freeze is not superceded by a further offense agreement.

New ABM Proposal

ABM Levels
Each side would be entitled to a defense of its capital, limited to 100 interceptors with geographic and radar limitations along the lines of our July 27th ABM proposal.
Each side could defend up to 150 ICBM silos, subject to the following restrictions:
All silos in any defended ICBM field would be counted against the 150 total.
The ICBM fields to be protected would be so located that the defense of their silos would not contribute to an area defense. Mutual predesignation of the fields selected would be agreed. (If Soviet ICBM field defenses are restricted to fields east of the Urals, little collateral coverage of Soviet population will result.)
Only short range interceptors and radars colocated with silos (i.e., within one kilometer) would be permitted. This is evidently a feature of the Soviet September 7 proposal, and we should ask them to be forthcoming on the technical criteria underlying their option. The Soviet proposal in the Joint Draft Text is that “Should the U.S. side agree in principle with such an approach, the criteria of acceptable limitations could be discussed, proceeding from the premise that ABM system components used for defense of ICBM silos could not be used for creating an ABM defense of the territory of the country.”4 We have already studied this aspect and are prepared to recommend criteria suitable for verification purposes for both “short-range” ABM radars and interceptors used for ICBM defense. We would prefer that the numbers of such interceptors and radars be unspecified, in order to emphasize the linkage to Soviet offensive levels.
As an exception to the “short range” limitations the U.S. would be permitted to complete and retain the Safeguard ABM components at the ICBM field it chooses to defend (i.e., about 100 Spartans and Sprints, 1 PAR and 1 MSR).

Both sides would agree that the U.S. would not initiate the deployment of defense of Washington and the Soviets would not initiate the defense of ICBM sites until one of the following events occur:

Mutual agreement to their deployment is achieved; or
A follow-on agreement is concluded, including among other things, mutual agreement on ABM levels; or
Some time limit, between two and five years expires.

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If the Soviets strenuously object to the U.S. right to deploy the short-range ABM defense and Grand Forks prior to their having the right to deploy any ICBM defenses, we could make our rights to additional short range ICBM defenses subject to the three conditions above inasmuch as the leadtime to deploy such a system would be a number of years in any event.

ABM Radar Controls
Modern ABM Radar Complexes (MARCs): The U.S. should not alter its July 27 position on MARCs until the Soviets furnish some convincing rationale for Soviet opposition to this element of our proposal. They have not been persuasive that four MARCs plus their existing four ABM radar complexes are insufficient for an NCA defense with 100 interceptors. In the event that some movement is required in our position on MARCs, we recommend that we first consider redefining MARCs to include only phased-array radars; and as a second measure, agree to increase the permitted number of MARCs from four to six. The use of the MARC concept to assure the vulnerability of the Soviet ABM radar base remains of paramount importance to the long-term viability of the agreement.
Other Large-Phased Array Radars (OLPARs): We continue to believe it essential to obtain mutual agreement prior to the deployment of any phased-array radar, in addition to those operational and under construction, which exceeds a power-aperture product of one-million watts-meters squared. Early Warning phased-arrays in this category are discussed below. The inherent capability of such radars, whether for new air defense systems or other functions, and whether or not tested in an ABM mode, will raise suspicions and undermine confidence in an agreement, unless adequately controlled.
Early Warning Radars: In order to gain acceptance to the rest of Article VI, specifically the OLPAR provision, we could accept the formulation on this type of radar reflected in the ad referendum Joint Draft Text, provided that the negotiating record clearly sets forth that such radars must remain vulnerable to missile attack, and that increased SAM defenses of these radars would also be inconsistent with the intent of the Agreement.

ABM Testing

The Delegation should include in a Plenary statement the U.S. interpretation of “testing in an ABM Mode.” This would formalize in the negotiating record a specific basis for future challenges. In addition, it is necessary that the negotiating record include statements exempting from provisions of the agreement all range safety and instrumentation radars and past testing of other radars. The specific quantitative and qualitative material recommended as examples of ABM testing are: [Page 639]

Flight testing missiles in conjunction with one or more ABM components, e.g., ABM interceptor missiles, and ABM radars.
Making radar measurements in conjunction with the testing of ABM interceptors or radars.
Flight testing an air defense missile to an altitude inconsistent with interception of air defense threats.
Testing of an interceptor missile and/or radar against any test object whose maximum velocity exceeds 2 km/second or whose altitude exceeds 40 km at any point in its trajectory.

  1. Source: Ford Library, Laird Papers, Box 26, SALT, Chronological File. Top Secret; Sensitive. On November 6 Packard sent the paper as Tab A to a memorandum to Kissinger. Packard also attached a memorandum from Moorer on the JCS position. In his covering memorandum, Packard wrote that the JCS position was similar to his: “their recommendations on ABM levels and offense limits are more favorable to the U.S. than mine, but less negotiable. The Chiefs’position on Modern ABM Radar Complexes agrees with my own, but they would accept ‘consultation’on Other Large Phased Array Radars rather than the ‘mutual agreement’ provision which I believe to be essential.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–032, NSC Meeting SALT 11/12/71)
  2. See Document 185.
  3. See Document 183.
  4. The joint draft text of an ABM agreement was transmitted in telegram USDEL SALT 1055, September 24. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 18–3 FIN (HE))