75. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Verification Panel1


  • Study of U.S. Programs Under Options C and D

To assist in the presentation of Options C and D and to prepare ourselves for detailed negotiations, the Verification Panel, through its Working Group, will prepare a study of the impact agreement to such options would have on U.S. strategic weapons programs.

The study should address both U.S. programs which are now programmed or under consideration which would have to be modified by reason of the agreement and new or additional programs which would be required as hedges against the uncertainties which would prevail under those options.

Among the issues to be addressed are:

  • —If there were a MIRV ban, what would we do with the Minuteman III and Poseidon programs? What are the technical problems, lead times, and costs of a program to develop and deploy a single RV for those systems? How, consistent with the terms of the agreement we have proposed, could we prepare ourselves to install MIRVs rapidly in the event of Soviet violation or abrogation? What provisions should the agreement include to insure that necessary U.S. hedge and single RV programs are permitted? Specifically, should deployment (but not testing) of MIRV/MRV dispensing mechanisms be permitted? What, if any, verification problems would be introduced by allowing the Soviets a similar program?
  • —What U.S. ABM development program (beyond construction of an NCA defense using Safeguard components) would be needed under either Option C or D? What contribution could such a program make to U.S. ability to hedge against Soviet violations or abrogation?
  • —What offensive missile and bomber programs would be required, either for our basic force posture or as hedges?
  • —What “quick fixes” would be available to the U.S. for prompt reaction to a violation or abrogation? What programs could increase such fixes?
  • —What are the problems of transition presented by implementing the provisions of the reductions option?

[Page 263]

The study should draw on previous work done on hedges under agreements, but should take advantage of work done since the earlier studies were completed and should be addressed specifically to the provisions outlined in Options C and D.

The study will be conducted under the supervision of the Verification Panel Working Group, by a special study group, chaired by a representative of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The detailed outline and schedule will be determined by the Working Group.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 842, ABMMIRV, ABM System, Vol. VI, May 1970–July 31, 1971. Top Secret. Haig initialed the memorandum.