8. Memorandum From President Nixon to Acting Secretary of State Richardson1


  • SALT Talks:
  • (1) Procedural Approach to Soviets
  • (2) NATO Consultations
[Page 17]

At the NSC meeting on NSSM 28,2 now scheduled for June 18, I also wish to consider the approach to be taken with the Soviets on the timing of the talks. Any proposal we make for a date must take account of (1) the likelihood that several NSC meetings will be required before I will be able to approve a substantive position, and (2) my commitment to have a full round of consultations with our NATO allies before substantive negotiations begin with the USSR. An appropriate scenario should be available on June 18 for my consideration and approval. This will serve as guidance for the Secretary’s further procedural discussions with the Soviet Ambassador.

In view of public speculation about our intention to propose a date in July and the concern that has been expressed at NATO about adequate time for substantive consultation, would you please prepare for my approval an instruction to Ambassador Cleveland, for early use in the NAC, including the following points:

  • —that no date for opening SALT talks has been fixed with the Soviets;
  • —that NSC consideration of our substantive position is scheduled for mid-June;
  • —that any opening date arranged with the Soviets will allow ample time for NATO consultations.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 873, SALT, Volume I, January–May 1969. Secret; Nodis.
  2. NSSM 28, issued March 6, “directed the preparation of a U.S. position for possible strategic arms limitation talks with the Soviet Union.” It asked that a study be forwarded to the NSC Review Group by May 15. (Ibid., NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–139, National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 28)