207. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to Vice President Mondale, Secretary of State Vance, and Secretary of Defense Brown1


  • SALT Instructions

With reference to the July 12–13 Geneva talks with Foreign Minister Gromyko:

1. New Types: The US should offer a new proposal in which each side would be permitted to test but not deploy one new type of ICBM through 1985. This proposal is contingent on Soviet agreement to one of the US proposed alternatives on new types of SLBMs, the US new types definition, the US proposed missile fractionation limit, and on Soviet agreement to drop their proposal for a limit on the number of ALCMs per heavy bomber.

2. Backfire: If the Soviets accept the US proposal on new types, and only after they have explicitly done so, the US may raise with the Soviets an offer to accept a reduced set of Backfire assurances covering: a freeze on the production rate with the number provided by the Soviets; a commitment not to upgrade the present range/payload capability of [Page 856] Backfire; a commitment not to associate Backfire with an intercontinental mission. With respect to the production rate freeze, a rate of 2.5 per month or lower would be acceptable.

With reference to other SALT issues:

1. Construction/Conversion of Transport Aircraft for Use As Cruise Missile Carriers. The US can accept a ban on the conversion of existing aircraft for use as cruise missile carriers provided there is an exemption for converting 8 aircraft for use as test platforms where these test aircraft would not be counted in the aggregate or the 1320. This position, when presented to the Soviets, should be linked to Soviet acceptance of the US position on functionally-related observable differences, in particular as it relates to the existing Bison tankers and the prospective conversion of existing Bison bombers to tankers.

2. US positions on other unresolved issues should be maintained in accord with earlier instructions.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 56, SALT: Chronology: 4/21/78–7/10/78. Top Secret; Sensitive. Also sent to the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Director of Central Intelligence.