333. Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • Interpretive Statement on SLBMs

Attached is text (Tab A)2 covering all outstanding points on SLBMs. It follows closely the Soviet language as proposed in the latest note to you (Tab B, para. 2),3 and incorporates other language already agreed. As indicated by Dobrynin’s note, the text is cast as a US understanding with which the Soviets agree.

The net effect is that the Soviets will have to dismantle all 209 SS–7s and 8s to reach their 950, but the G-Class are entirely outside the agreement, unless modernized with a SS–N–6 or 8 missile. The alternative of accepting the Soviet interpretation is to allow them to keep about 70 SS–7s and 8s and dismantle 22 G-Class submarines and the 70 SLBMs thereon.

I assume you want to go with the former, which has been emphasized to the Congress and is our current interpretation.

Assuming that it is agreed to by the Soviets, you should presumably transmit it to G. Smith for his initialing and presentation to Dobrynin, who would initial for the USSR. This leaves the problem of whether it should be then conveyed to the Congress. If not, it becomes a “secret” agreement. But if we do send it, the questions will arise of why it was negotiated afterwards, etc. Since this interpretation has been followed in testimony, it could be explained as merely housekeeping.

Recommendation

That you send the attached text to Dobrynin 4 (Tab A).

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 494, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1972, Vol. 12. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Sent for action. “Very Urgent” is handwritten at the top of the memorandum.
  2. The text is identical to the final version exchanged on July 20, Document 335.
  3. Document 332.
  4. According to a covering note to the statement, Haig sent it to Dobrynin on June 29. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 494, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1972, Vol. 12)