297. 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
Moscow, May 24, 1972, 0610Z.
WH21557/Hakto 21. Talks with Brezhnev continued late into evening.2 Exclusively for your personal information and to be confirmed after further meeting today, following seems to be upshot:
- They will accept 1500 km separation of second ABM site from national capital.
- Politburo this morning is considering statement to the effect that during process of modernization and replacement (of ICBMs) there can be no significant increase in size of silo or volume of missile with word significant further defined to be no more than 10–15 percent.
I will let you know further about SLBM question. Brezhnev went into lengthy discourse on ULMS and its alleged contradiction with agreement but matter dropped later.
Please do not share this with anybody until you hear further from me.3
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 427, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages, 1972 SALT. Top Secret; Sensitive; Flash; Exclusively Eyes Only. Haig initialed the message. A copy was sent to Howe.↩
- See Document 296.↩
- In backchannel message 432 from Helsinki to the White House for delivery to Kissinger in Moscow, May 24, Smith replied: “Re paragraph two, if this is to be mutually binding, it will prevent continuance of present program converting Minuteman I to Minuteman III which is scheduled to continue until 1974. You will recall that Minuteman I has volume of 23 cubic meters and Minuteman III 29 cubic meters—an increase of approximately 25 percent. Delegation’s proposed solution avoids this impact on US programs and seems much better.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 427, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages, 1972 SALT)↩