152. Minutes of a Meeting of the Special Coordination Committee1


  • SALT


  • The Vice President
  • Denis Clift
  • State
  • Deputy Secretary-Designate Warren Christopher
  • Leslie H. Gelb
  • DOD
  • Secretary Harold Brown
  • Deputy Secretary Charles W. Duncan
  • Walter Slocombe
  • JCS
  • Admiral James L. Holloway
  • Lieutenant General Edward Rowny
  • CIA
  • Enno Knoche
  • Howard Stoertz
  • ACDA
  • Leon Sloss
  • Paul Warnke
  • OMB
  • Bert Lance
  • David Sitrin
  • NSC
  • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • David Aaron
  • William G. Hyland
  • Dr. Victor Utgoff
  • Dr. Roger Molander


1. Dr. Brzezinski outlined a rough schedule of preparations for Secretary Vance’s visit to Moscow with the effort focusing on getting a proposal to the Soviets about a week before Secretary Vance’s departure.

2. Dr. Brzezinski then walked through the content of the “SALT packages” tables prepared for the meeting, describing the content and objectives of each.2 He indicated that the President wanted the SCC to look seriously at reductions to 1500 as one of a set of proposals to be put to the Soviets.

3. In the discussion of the various packages, Secretary Brown expressed the view that deferral needs to be defined better and it was de [Page 662] cided to have the Working Group analyze the various deferral options in greater detail.

4. Secretary Brown indicated that he preferred the option of strict limits on Backfire even though he was not particularly concerned about the Backfire as a military threat. His next preference on Backfire and cruise missiles was deferral and finally some kind of compromise. Of the compromises he preferred the option of loose limits on cruise missiles (first column under the compromises) and objected to the 1500 km across-the-board solution as setting the range limit at the steep part of the target coverage curve.

5. Admiral Holloway expressed concern about the Backfire but indicated that it could be countered with improvements in U.S. air defenses.

6. Deputy Secretary Christopher pointed out that a real arms control option would be to count Backfire after October 1977 and put a 300 km limit on all cruise missiles.

7. Discussion of the GLCM issue focused on the possible interest in a theater-based capability for deep strikes weighed against concerns about decoupling theater and strategic systems.

8. Les Gelb raised a concern that if we insist on restricting Backfire, the Soviets could reopen the FBS issue.

9. Secretary Brown expressed a dim view of the future effectiveness of Backfire collateral constraints in light of the Soviets’ having taken advantage of relatively unspecific SALT ONE limits.

10. The cruise missile definition was raised with some concerns expressed about the impact of limiting all cruise missiles (i.e., nuclear-armed, conventionally-armed, and unarmed) weighed against the verification problems of limiting only nuclear-armed cruise missiles.

11. Dr. Brzezinski circulated a Table outlining a possible approach to the negotiations which included the possibility of agreeing in SALT TWO that all cruise missiles below 1500 km would be tactical and out of SALT, while those above 1500 km would be considered strategic and subject to negotiation in SALT THREE.

12. It was decided to focus the next meeting on a discussion of reductions to 2000 and the appropriate Backfire / cruise missile combinations at that level.

13. Mr. Warnke raised the issue of U.S. negotiating priorities and the Working Group was asked to look at possible approaches to structuring this issue.

[Omitted here are the minutes of the meeting.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 113, SALT: 3–4/77. Top Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room.
  2. These tables are ibid., NSC Institutional Files, Box 84, SCC 005, 2/25/77, SALT–Negotiating Options & Issues.