222. 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

Subject: Report on Briefing Senator Cooper, Tuesday, January 4.

Cooper seemed well-satisfied with state of affairs, though he sensed continuing impatience in important sections in the Senate with pace of SALT.

He said that opponents of SALT agreement of sort we were projecting would not get more than twenty votes in the Senate.

I queried him regarding question of Congressional advisors for SALT Delegation—stressing that no decision had been made by Executive Branch as yet. He pointed out obvious problems of picking individuals. I am sure he would be pleased to be designated an observer if the Senate leadership so asked him.

His administrative aide, William Miller, whom I have found in the past to be knowledgeable and prudent, made the following post-meeting observations: He and his colleagues were confident that Senator Jackson would not oppose a SALT treaty and that the other Democratic candidates would certainly support it. He confirmed Senator Cooper’s statement that even if Jackson did oppose the SALT treaty, they were confident that he would not be able to carry more than twenty Senators with him.

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If SALT agreements were signed at the May Moscow summit and promptly submitted, the Senate could complete action prior to the summer recess and party conventions.

An Executive Agreement for the offensive freeze would be acceptable on the Hill because of the interim nature of the agreement. It should be clear that a long-term follow-on offensive agreement would be a treaty.

It would be “very useful” in submitting the ABM treaty to indicate that consideration was being given to a new effort to work out a comprehensive nuclear test ban.

Best regards.

Gerard Smith
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 383, ACDA Files: FRC 383–97–0010, Box 1, Director’s Files, Gerard Smith, Smith/White House Correspondence, January–May 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusive Eyes Only. The text printed here is the copy Smith approved and does not have a message number.