339. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Laird to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • The Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) for the Strategic Arms Limitations Agreements

My views on the Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) are being circulated today to the Verification Panel Working Group, but I feel several of the points covered in that transmittal are important enough to express directly in a note to you:

  • —The SCC Delegation and the SALT Delegation are assigned by the SAL Agreements and by precedent, respectively, some of the same functions. The US should not decide now how to resolve this overlap. Instead, we should remain flexible, assigning issues for negotiation as they arise, to the SCC Delegation or to the SALT Delegation as our negotiating strategy and tactics might dictate. In effect, we would view the negotiations in the SCC and in SALT as parts of a whole.
  • —Issues related to SCC instructions should be considered by the Verification Panel; this would help assure coordination between SCC negotiations and SALT.
  • —The SCC should function independently of follow-on SALT so that the SCC can continue even if SALT should break down. This implies that the US Delegation to the SCC should be organizationally separate from the US SALT Delegation. The two delegations could, of course, have some common members.
  • —I believe a Presidential appointee from the State Department should head a small US SCC Delegation, with DOD providing the Deputy.

The SCC is, of course, a joint US/USSR Commission; thus, its precise organization and modus operandi must be worked out with the Soviets. I believe, though, that the ideas outlined above, affecting decisions largely under our unilateral control, should form the basis on which we approach establishment of the SCC.

Mel Laird
  1. Source: Ford Library, Laird Papers, Box 26, SALT, Chronological File. Confidential.