342. Editorial Note

As part of the SALT ratification ceremony on October 3, 1972, President Nixon and Soviet President Podgorny exchanged letters notifying each government that the Interim Agreement had been accepted. Copies of those letters are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 765, Presidential Correspondence 1969–1974, USSR Chairman Podgorny Corres. Podgorny’s letter to Nixon is printed in Public Papers: Nixon, 1972, page 949.

Athough the 5-year Interim Agreement did not require United States Senate ratification, it did need a resolution of support, which both Houses of Congress provided on September 30. At the ceremony for the entry into force of the Strategic Arms Limitation Agreements, which Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko attended, President Nixon remarked:

“On this occasion, we recognize that these agreements mean the first step in limiting the burden of nuclear arms as far as our two nations are concerned. Also, these agreements mean a first step in reducing the danger of war in the world and increasing the chances of peace.

“I have used the term ‘first step’ quite deliberately, because while these agreements have enormous significance in the ban on defensive nuclear weapons beyond the points that are covered in the agreement and in the treaty, an enormous significance in terms of the limitation of certain offensive categories—there remains a significant number of categories in the nuclear field that are not covered. And that is why I share the views that have been expressed by Foreign Minister Gromyko that we must now move from this first step to the vitally important next step in which we consider the whole range of offensive nuclear weapons and try to find agreement between our two nations in that field.”

The full text of Nixon’s remarks and a translation of Gromyko’s remarks are ibid., pages 947–949. The same day the White House released the texts of the instrument of ratification of the Treaty, the proclamation of the Treaty, and the protocol of exchange of instruments of ratification of the Treaty and notices of acceptance of the Interim Agreement.