325. Paper Prepared by the National Security Council Staff for the Soviet Government1
In connection with the forthcoming hearings in our Congress on the Interim Agreement on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, it will be necessary to make clarifying statements regarding the implementation of the Agreement and the associated Protocol.2
On the basis of discussions between President Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev, and discussions between Dr. Kissinger and Deputy Chairman Smirnov and Foreign Minister Gromyko, the following two clarifying statements seem best designed to ensure fulfillment of the intent of the agreement and to avoid any misunderstandings in the process of implementation.
As recorded in the discussions in Moscow, the diesel-powered, ballistic missile submarines of the USSR (known in the United States as the “G-Class”) are not covered by the terms of the Interim Agreement unless they are equipped with modern ballistic missile launchers. Thus, it is our interpretation that these submarines do not qualify as “older submarines” for the purposes of replacement as defined in the Protocol to the Interim Agreement.
For purposes of those provisions of the Protocol to the Interim Agreement that refer to the deployment of “modern” ballistic missile [Page 944] launchers on any submarine, regardless of type, a “modern” submarine launched ballistic missile is of a type currently deployed by the USSR on its modern nuclear-powered ballistic submarine known in the United States as the “Y-Class.”
- SLBM Replacement
We plan to give the following interpretation to Article III of the Interim Agreement, the Protocol thereto, and the agreed interpretation statement on replacement and dismantling: A “replacement” submarine for the USSR is that nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine that carries the first SLBM launcher in excess of the 740 SLBMs operational or under construction. When that submarine begins its sea trial and for all subsequent ones, the dismantling of an equal number of older ICBMs or older SLBMs must have begun and will be completed in the shortest possible period of time.
The same interpretation would, of course, apply to the United States, except that in this case the number 656 should be substituted for the number 740.
In connection with the forthcoming Congressional debate on the approval of the Interim Agreement, it will be helpful for us to be in a position to specify the time when the replacement process begins. To arrive at such a time, but at the same time to avoid disclosing intelligence data and stimulating public debate on this sensitive subject, one of two approaches suggest themselves:
- We could, on the basis of the discussions in Moscow relating to the number of SLBMs operational and under construction in the USSR at this time, mutually agree that the next submarine to enter the construction halls will be that nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine that carries the first SLBM in excess of 740 SLBMs operational and under construction in the USSR.
- Alternatively, we would be ready to accept a statement from the Soviet side indicating when this first replacement submarine begins the construction process in the construction halls. We would assume on the basis of our Moscow discussions that this submarine will enter the construction halls in the course of the next few months.
An early indication of which of the two interpretations to adopt would help the ratification process.
This information would of course be kept confidential but it would enable us to assure the Congress that we have the requisite information concerning the commencement of the actual replacement process. It is of course understood that the actual destruction of older launchers need not begin until the sea trials of the replacement submarine.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 494, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1972, Vol. 12. Top Secret. A covering note dated June 8 from Haig to Dobrynin reads: “Enclosed is the material Dr. Kissinger promised you this morning.” A handwritten notation on Haig’s covering note indicates that the material was delivered to the Soviet Embassy at 1:30 p.m.↩
- Documents 317 and 318.↩