47. Letter From General Lauris Norstad of the General Advisory Committee for Arms Control and Disarmament to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

Dear Henry:

As you know, Mr. McCloy has designated several rapporteurs to facilitate consideration of the questions posed by the President in the course of his recent meeting with the General Advisory Committee on U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament.2 I have been asked to assist the MIRVABM study3 and, at the suggestion of Mr. McCloy, I am writing to you in that capacity since he was not present at our meeting last Saturday.4

Saturday evening, a group which included most, but not all, of the Committee members who attended earlier sessions that day continued a discussion of several levels of ABM’s which might be considered in connection with the SALT conferences. As you would suspect, it developed that views on this subject cover some reasonable range of thinking. However, it was generally felt that evidence now of action leading substantially beyond Phase 1 of Safeguard might limit the scope of later negotiations, and the hope was expressed that this possibility would be given the fullest consideration, particularly in connection with the presentations the President will make to the Congress in the very near future. Although the Committee members present were sure this thought would have occurred to the President and his advisors, we did feel moved to bring our interest to your attention in this informal manner. We do this with some hesitancy because we recognize the difficulties and the dangers of offering suggestions on current matters involving decisions which may already have been taken or actions which may already be underway.

[Page 174]

It is my understanding that it is not the intention of Mr. McCloy or the Committee to attempt any substantive recommendations on weapons levels in the short time remaining before the President presents his messages to the Congress.


  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–026, NSC Meeting 1/23/70 Safeguard (ABM). Confidential.
  2. Nixon met with the GAC on December 16, 1969, to summarize the first round of negotiations in Helsinki. The President posed a series of questions for consideration by the GAC. Memoranda of conversation between Nixon administration officials and the GAC during the course of SALT I are ibid., Box 197, Agency Files, ACDA, Jan 69–Dec 70, Vol. I.
  3. On March 13 Kissinger forwarded the GAC’s 21-page report, March 2, which addressed the multiple SALT-related questions. The report and subsequent GAC submissions are in the Washington National Records Center, RG 383, ACDA Files: FRC 383–98–0089, Director’s Files, Gerard Smith’s Files, Reports of GAC.
  4. January 17.