251. 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

283. Dear Henry:

At today’s mini-plenary, the “sufficient” formula for an interim freeze limited to ICBM’s was repeated. The term SLBM was not referred to. Semenov proposed a meeting of Delegation heads for Thursday,2 which I accepted. In post-plenary he asked for more information about my reference on the first day to possible evolution of US ABM position. I repeated what I had earlier said about SL linkage with possible evolution of US ABM position and then added that if Semenov was interested in this proposition, I could go into more detail quite soon.

Semenov said that each side had to be interested in matters of interest to the other side. He was interested in getting as much information as possible on the views and considerations of the other side. He would be a poor negotiator if he failed to pay attention to everything I had to say on one subject or another. “Of course, to hear did not mean to agree; but it did mean to know.”

He said he was awaiting instructions from Moscow on certain aspects of ABM limitation. He believed that by Thursday he could discuss [Page 755] these matters. He asked if I would be ready by then. I told him I would try, but could not promise.

With this record, I believe NSDM3 requirement is fully met. Is there any objection to my putting SL/ABM package to Semenov April 6th?

Warm regards.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, ACDA Files, FRC 330 383–97–0010, Box 1, Director’s Files, Smith Files, Smith–White House Correspondence, SALT, March–May 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusive Eyes Only. The text printed here is the copy Smith approved and has the message number, “#0283”, handwritten on it. At the top of the first page, Smith wrote, “Pres. confirms Sov wrong interp[retation] press conf[erence].” A stamped notation on another copy indicates the message was received at the White House at 1743Z. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 427, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages, 1972 SALT) Sonnenfeldt and Odeen sent Smith’s message to Kissinger under an April 4 covering memorandum that included a proposed response that reads: “You should proceed with putting SL/ABM package to Semyonov on April 6 in accordance with NSDM 158.” Kissinger initialed his approval of the response. (Ibid.)
  2. April 6.
  3. The reference is to NSDM 158, Document 243.