224. Backchannel Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Chief of the Delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (Smith)1

WH20081. Deliver at opening of business. Ref: Vienna 4866.2

President’s view is (1) non-committal explorations get to be committal very quickly, (2) if you keep this in mind he does not object to (a) exploration of Soviet reaction to equal number of ABM interceptors, (b) exploring an interim freeze on the aggregate number of ICBMs and SLBMs operational and under construction as of an agreed date, and perhaps including one-way freedom to mix.
The President is not yet ready to consider the deferred option ABM proposal.
In order to avoid confusion could you put this proposal in front channels so that we can instruct you formally.
  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; Eyes Only. Sent through the White House. Handwritten notations on the message include “2–1 Freeze,” “Equal # +”, “aggregate +”, and “deferred —”.
  2. Apparently the telegram number is an error. Presumably the reference is to Document 223.