249. 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

WH21129. Reference: Helsinki 0272.2 Unfolding of our 2-for-2 ABM position as you propose sometime next week is the right course. However, I would want to check this with the President before giving final approval. Perhaps you could continue to probe Semyonov’s interest in SLBMs until next Wednesday or Thursday and check with me before giving him a detailed proposal. If Semyonov presents SLBM position of interest to us before then, you should notify me immediately and I will obtain a prompt decision on how to proceed. In any case, it is our intention to have you move ahead on ABM/SLBM package no later than next weekend.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 427, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages, 1972 SALT. Top Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. In backchannel message 272 to Kissinger, March 30, Smith suggested “telling Semenov privately that if the Soviets will include the SLs, the US would move to meet the Soviet interest in IC defense by tabling a 2–2 ABM position and give the specifics set out in the NSDM.” (Ibid.) For NSDM 158, see Document 243.