276. 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
Re SALT 1299 Nodis, I am puzzled why you are trying to get Soviets off limiting numbers of both submarines and SLBMs. It seems to me that limit of 62 and 950, which is also contained in your instructions approved by the President, imposes on Soviets greater constraints than limit confined to launchers only.
By my arthmetic, latest Soviet proposal would permit Soviets perhaps as many as 66 boats if we do not hold them to 62 boat limit, that is, the 48 boats they presently claim plus nearly 18 twelve-tube boats in lieu of 209 old ICBMs. Consequently, unless there are considerations of which I am not so far aware why we should not hold Soviets to 62 boats, I believe you should stick with your present instructions on this point.