61. National Security Decision Memorandum 491


  • The Members of the National Security Council
  • The Attorney General
  • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • The Director of Central Intelligence


  • Preparation of Detailed SALT Options

As a result of the National Security Council meeting on March 25, 1970,2 the President has directed that the Verification Panel prepare four options for his final review and decision concerning the U.S. position in Vienna. The options are:

  • —“limited”: Safeguard-level ABM with MIRVs permitted;
  • —“comprehensive I”: ABM at zero or NCA level with MIRVs permitted;
  • —“comprehensive II”: ABM at zero or NCA level with MIRVs banned;
  • —“reductions”: substantial phased reductions on each side; MIRVs permitted.

The President’s guidance for these options is as follows:

  • —The outline of the provisions which would be included under each option should be sufficiently precise and detailed to serve as the basis for a concrete U.S. proposal. Special attention should be given to verification provisions and requirements.
  • —The terms of the options should embody the conclusions of the Verification Panel in its review of issues prior to the NSC meeting of March 25, 1970. In addition, in preparing and reviewing each option, the Verification Panel will resolve outstanding issues about what terms should be included under that option, especially with respect to verification. However, if necessary, major disagreements will be referred to the President for decision.

The options should be submitted to the President by April 8, 1970.

The President has further directed that the Under Secretaries Committee should prepare a presentation for the next round of NATO consultations and submit it for his review by April 3, 1970.

The President has directed that detailed instructions to the Verification Panel and the Under Secretaries Committee be provided by the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–208, National Security Decision Memoranda, NSDMs, Nos. 1–50. Top Secret. Copies were sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior members of the U.S. SALT Delegation. Initialed by Haig.
  2. See Document 59.