227. 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

Further to SALT timing raised in my 092:2

NSDM 3 guidance has been carried out. Our recent presentations give correct impression that we are repeating.
Soviets have moved in a number of respects since 11/15/71 Vienna start. We have hewed to line of NSDM–140,4 “the basic US position remains unchanged.”
Soviet SALT VI plan appears to have been to try for agreement on language for “secondary” issues, so as to leave only central issues for review in capitals starting early in February with resumption of SALT in March. Major remaining issues would be ABM levels, residual radar issues, SL freeze inclusion, duration/withdrawal provisions.
Under these circumstances, I trust you will give the President my strongly held view that we have gone about as far as we can in this round. Any artificial continuation would be counter-productive and, therefore, I urge that we agree to recess about February 4 and resume in the second half of March.
  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. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusive Eyes Only. The text printed here is the copy Smith approved and does not have a message number.
  2. In backchannel message 92 to Kissinger, January 17, Smith conveyed Semenov’s preference for recessing at the end of January. The talks would resume on March 14 at a place to be specified later and continue into May in order to work out details that might be difficult to consider at the highest level. (Ibid.)
  3. Reference is to NSDM 145, Document 221.
  4. Document 212.