56. Memorandum From Laurence Lynn of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Radar Limit Problem

The principal outcome of today’s meeting2 is total disarray on the radar issue. You said something must be done to make it clear what specific provisions we would require to be confident we were getting a real constraint on Soviet ABM capability by a radar limit. However, no agreed procedure was set up for doing it.

OSD will no doubt grab the ball and run. There are two problems with letting this happen:

  • —Rather than doing careful analysis, they have consistently produced papers badly slanted toward their own views, so that instead of resolving disputes, they only set off a new round of differences.
  • Richardson, Smith, the Joint Staff, and CIA are disturbed that OSD can so easily preempt the discussion of controversial issues with poor, biased papers3 and get away with it.

The answer is to have the Working Group do a paper. The substantive material exists; it is a matter of getting a sharply focused presentation of its meaning for a possible agreement. We can get such a paper by Monday4 if we get agency cooperation.

Authorize Working Group to prepare paper. (Be firm that OSD must cooperate)5

Let OSD prepare paper


  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 841, ABMMIRV, ABM System, Vol. IV, Memos and Misc., February–April 30, 1970. Top Secret. Sent for action.
  2. The Verification Panel met to discuss a Department of Defense paper on a SAM upgrade, a Y–1 task force paper on ABM/MIRV options, and a Y–13 task force paper on verification policy. Materials for the meeting are ibid., NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–004, Verification Panel Meeting—SALT 3/18/70. Minutes of the meeting are ibid., Box H–107, Verification Panel Minutes Originals 1969–3/8/72.
  3. For the Verification Panel meeting held on March 18, the OSD SALT Support Group prepared five papers: “NIE Position on SS–9 MIRV vs. MRV”; “SS–9 MRV vs. MIRV”; “Accuracy of the SS–11”; “Accuracy of the SS–9”; and “Bomber Drawdown Curve.” Copies of these papers are in Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330–76–076, Box 12, USSR, 388.3.
  4. March 23.
  5. Kissinger initialed his approval of this option on March 20. See Document 58.