301. Backchannel Message From the Chief of the Delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (Smith) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)1

436. Message for Dr. Henry A. Kissinger in Moscow.

Dear Henry:

We are doing our best here to carry out Presidential instructions. A good ABM treaty and a fair ICBM freeze are now in sight. I believe you are aware that I have some reservation about the SL deal. I am concerned that what will appear in certain quarters to be an inequitable SL deal could sour the whole SALT outcome. In any event, I would advise the President not to accept any SL freeze that did not call for compulsory replacement right from the start of the agreement.

I would advise the President, rather than to settle for anything less than compulsory replacement from the start, to limit the 1972 SALT arrangements to ABM limitation plus ICBM freeze. This would still be a significant arms control accomplishment. Even taking into consideration present expectations, I believe there would be broad public support for a position—“we tried our best to freeze SLs but the best Soviet offer was unacceptable. We will push hard in the second SALT round for overall offensive limitations including SLBMs. Meanwhile, we will press on with strategic programs we seem [deem?] necessary and that are not frozen.”

I trust you will put these considerations to the President.

Warm regards.

Gerry Smith
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 427, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages, 1972 SALT. Top Secret; Sensitive; Flash; Exclusively Eyes Only. Copies were sent to Howe and Odeen.