286. Memorandum From President Nixon to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)1

I have covered the points I will be making in this memorandum for the most part in conversations with Henry and with you, but I simply want to put them in writing so that you will have guidance for the period that we are gone on our trip to Moscow.

[Omitted here is material unrelated to SALT.]

On another subject we face a critical problem in terms of avoiding a massive right-wing revolt on the SALT agreement. All of us who have worked on this problem know that the deal we are making is in our best interest, but for a very practical reason that the right-wing will never understand—that we simply can’t get from the Congress the additional funds needed to continue the arms race with the Soviet in either the defensive or offensive missile category. I want you to develop a team, consisting of yourself, Moorer, Rush and Laird when he returns, to pick off individual Senators and very important opinion makers who are on the right to try to mute their criticism when the announcement comes in from Moscow. Barry Goldwater, John Tower, Peter Dominick, Scoop Jackson, Eddie Hebert are among those who should be contacted. It is particularly important that Moorer and Rush have a talk with Agnew and get him aboard. Also, it would be very helpful to get Teller2 to come back and get him aboard so that he can lobby for us. This should be done on a person-to-person basis and should be done in a very hard-headed way. The most important point to make is that the President is not being taken in and that the military totally supports what we are doing and in fact strongly recommended the inclusion of SLBMs on the basis that we included them.

The most convincing argument you can make to this group is that the President is determined that we must go forward at the fastest pace possible with ULMS, MIRV, B–1 and any new weapon systems not covered by the agreement.

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I think our case can be sold to some of the more sensible hawks, but it must be done on an individual basis before they get the announcement from Moscow and make up their minds and dig in against us.

It is no comfort that the liberals will praise the agreement, whatever it is. But let us always remember that the liberals will never support us—the hawks are our hard-core, and we must do everything that we can to keep them from jumping ship after getting their enthusiasm restored as a result of our mining operation in the North.3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1006, Haig Special File, Presidential Memos to Haig. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. The memorandum was sent to Kissinger as an “Information Copy.” The full text of the memorandum is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XIV, Soviet Union, October 1971–May 1972, Document 250.
  2. Dr. Edward Teller, a major contributor to the development of the hydrogen bomb and atomic weapons, was at this time a professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley and associate director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
  3. Reference is to the mining of Haiphong harbor.