32. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Helms to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Proposal for a Moratorium on Certain Strategic Weapons Systems


  • Your Memorandum of 22 July 1969, Same subject
This memorandum responds to your request for comments on the proposal of the Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, for a moratorium on starts of additional ICBM and ballistic missile submarine construction and on MIRV/MRV testing.2
With respect to the effect of a moratorium on Soviet ICBM and SLBM force levels, a freeze that began on 1 October 1969 would limit the number of ICBMs—operational and under construction on that date—to about 1,400. The total number of SLBMs, operational and under construction, would be stopped at about 480 launch tubes in 55 ballistic missile submarines (this includes 31 older boats with a total of 99 tubes). Assuming no moratorium and present rates of construction, [Page 128] the Soviets could have, by 1 August 1970, a total of about 1,580 ICBMs (including 302 under construction) and 560 launchers on ballistic missile submarines (including 272 launchers on 17 Y-class submarines in various stages of construction). The details on projected Soviet ICBM and SLBM force levels are given in the attached table.3
With respect to US capabilities to determine the status of these Soviet forces at the time a moratorium began and throughout its duration, we are as you know participating in a comprehensive inter-agency review of verification and monitoring problems. Without prejudicing the outcome of the review, it appears that a comprehensive freeze on strategic weapons would in general ease problems of monitoring. As the comprehensiveness of an agreement increases, the likelihood of detecting an intensive effort to alter clandestinely the strategic relationship would be greater.
In event of a moratorium, we would have confidence in our ability to monitor within narrow limits the numbers of ICBM sites and ballistic missile submarines. Monitoring MIRV/MRV testing is a more difficult problem and is one of those matters now under intensive review.
There are other matters relevant to a moratorium that remain to be studied. One of these is the question of how evidence indicative of a possible violation of a moratorium’s terms would be handled. If a US-Soviet Review Commission were established, as some have suggested, we would have to study the potential risks in the use of intelligence information to support the US members of such a Commission.
Richard Helms 4
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Executive Registry Files, Job 80–R01580R, Box 5, MIRV. Secret. Concurred in by Duckett and R. J. Smith on August 4.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 31.
  3. Attached but not printed.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears Helms’s typed signature and an indication that he signed the original.