136. National Security Decision Memorandum 3311


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • The Chairman, U.S. SALT Delegation


  • Instructions for the SALT Talks, Geneva, June 1, 1976

The following instructions for the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks beginning on June 1, 1976, in Geneva have been approved.

[Page 615]

1. The Delegation should maintain the current U.S. JDT language2 referring to “bombers” to describe those aircraft which carry ASBMs.

2. The Delegation should maintain the position that the classification of future aircraft as heavy bombers should be determined through consultations on a case-by-case basis.

3. With respect to heavy bomber variants, the Delegation should request that the Soviets provide technical information which would support their contention that the Bear and Bison heavy bombers are readily distinguishable from the tanker, ASW, and reconnaissance variants of these aircraft and that conversion of these variants to heavy bombers would require a substantial period of time.

4. The Delegation should not raise the issue of a minimum range for those SLBMs whose launchers are to be covered by the agreement.

5. The Delegation should maintain the position that “throw weight” should be defined so as to include single-RV post boost vehicles.

6. The Delegation is authorized to accept the term “light” to describe those ICBMs which do not satisfy the heavy ICBM definition, but such acceptance is conditioned on a satisfactory resolution of throw weight definition and heavy ICBM ceiling issues along the lines proposed by the U.S. The Delegation should also insert into the record a clear statement to the effect that the U.S. does not consider all “light” missiles as comparable. Thus, at some later point, we may return to the question of missile classifications.3

Brent Scowcroft
  1. Source: Ford Library, NSC Institutional Files, Box 66, NSDM 331, Instructions for SALT Talks, Geneva, 6/1/76. Top Secret; Sensitive. Copies were sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of Central Intelligence. The original memorandum is incorrectly dated June 11.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 127.
  3. The Verification Panel discussed missile classifications briefly and inconclusively at its last meeting during the Ford administration on July 13. Handwritten draft minutes of the meeting are in the Ford Library, NSC Institutional Files, Box 22, Meeting Minutes, Verification Panel (Drafts), April–July 1976.