159. Memorandum From Robert Hunter of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Meeting Between the President and Ambassador Dobrynin


Soviet Proposals:

Negotiations should proceed on the basis of the Vladivostok Agreement—though each side would be free to characterize it as it pleased.

The SALT II agreement would keep the levels as agreed at Vladivostok, for both missile launchers/bombers and MIRVs. Air-launched cruise missiles would be dealt with as agreed with Secretary Kissinger [Page 691] in January 1976 (range limit of 2500 kms.; each bomber would count as a MIRV); sea-launched and land-launched cruise missiles could be left for SALT III, provided they were not tested. Mobile missiles could be included or excluded from SALT II; if included, they could either be prohibited or “counted.”

The SALT II agreement would contain a statement—or other mutually satisfactory procedure—concerning the prompt beginning of SALT III negotiations, leading to a reduction of the Vladivostok levels. No numbers would be mentioned in the SALT II agreement. Reductions decided at SALT III could be implemented without waiting for the SALT II agreement to expire: this too could be included in the SALT II statement.

(Note: Ambassador Dobrynin dropped a comment at the end of the talk that indicated some reductions in numbers could come in SALT II: but it was not a clear statement, and was not followed up—page 9 of Memorandum of Conversation).

After negotiations have proceeded for a brief period, the Soviet Union would provide its thinking on the lowest levels of reductions that would be possible for 1982 or 1985.

United States Proposals:

The United States would provide the Soviet Union with a summary of subjects to be included at SALT II. The Soviet Union would delete those it did not wish to consider and negotiations would proceed on that basis.

The United States would raise again the problem of assurances on Backfire, and the Soviet Ambassador should indicate to the General Secretary that simple assertions are not sufficient.

The United States would present a memorandum on notification of missile tests, with the Soviet Union perhaps being allowed to exempt some tests totally within its own country.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 55, SALT: Chronology: 3/25/77–5/9/77. Top Secret; Sensitive. Also at the meeting, which lasted from 4 to 4:40 p.m., were Mondale, Vance, Brzezinski, and Hunter. The memorandum of conversation of the meeting is ibid.