313. 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

447. Message for Dr. Henry A. Kissinger in Moscow. Please deliver by 8:30 am Moscow time.

Dear Henry:

At 4:45 a.m. my reaction to your WH21635 and 216362 is as follows. My 4463 recited my doubts re attainability simultaneously of three desiderata: a) Soviet aim for 62–950, b) drop G-class, c) retain understandable rationale for the deal.

If President judges that public/Congress relations problem is manageable and rationale is adequate for Soviets to have 62–950 plus G-class,
And Soviets will replace from the start (thus getting right to build last 60 or so launchers before reaching 950 without replacing any thing), (A suggestion for rationale is that the non-compensatory phase would be in the latter part of freeze period, which we may never reach due to follow-on agreement, as well as possibility that Sovs might elect to retire G-class boats.)
Gromyko formula as amended by your addition seems better than no SL inclusion.
I assume that Sovs will agree to accept Article III they tabled yesterday.4 This important because it calls for immediate replacement.
There should be no reference to 740. Explicit 740 baseline would be inconsistent with Article III requirement for immediate replacement. Also important to avoid gap between intelligence estimate of Y’s plus H’s at date of signature and Soviet opening freeze number.
Suggest best Titan formula would be statement “US in practice does not have plans for nor does it intend to exercise right during 5-year freeze.” If Soviets press for more firm commitment re Titans I think we would be better off to not have this “right” at all.

Warm regards

Gerard Smith
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 427, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages, 1972 SALT. Top Secret; Sensitive; Flash; Exclusive Eyes Only.
  2. Backchannel messages WH21635 and WH21636 were not found.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 309.
  4. See Document 305.