223. Summary of Conclusions of a Meeting of the Special Coordination Committee1


  • SALT


  • State
  • Secretary Cyrus Vance
  • Mr. Leslie Gelb, Director, Office of Politico-Military Affairs
  • General George Seignious, At-Large Member of the SALT Delegation
  • Defense
  • Secretary Harold Brown
  • Mr. Walter Slocombe, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs
  • JCS
  • General David Jones
  • Lt General William Smith, Assistant to the Chairman, JCS
  • CIA
  • Admiral Stansfield Turner
  • Mr. Robert Bowie, Director, National Foreign Assessment Center
  • Mr. Ray McCrory, Chief, SALT Task Force
  • ACDA
  • Mr. Spurgeon Keeny, Acting Director
  • Ambassador Ralph Earle, Alternate Chairman, US SALT Delegation
  • Mr. John Newhouse, Assistant Director, International Security Programs
  • White House
  • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • Mr. David Aaron
  • NSC
  • Mr. Reginald Bartholomew
  • Dr. Roger C. Molander


ALCMs. There was a consensus that the US should indicate that in the context of Soviet agreement to a limit of 30 on the average number of ALCMs, the US could accept a limit of 20 ALCMs on current types of operational heavy bombers (i.e., B–52’s, Bears, and Bisons). If the Soviets raise the issue of the prototype B–1’s, we could indicate that the 20-ALCM limit would apply to these aircraft as well. For the purpose of counting, the number of ALCMs on a heavy bomber should be counted [Page 908] as the maximum number for which a heavy bomber of that type is equipped for one operational mission. Zbig Brzezinski noted his concern that a 20-ALCM limit on current heavy bombers could be viewed as yet another US ALCM concession which could have the political consequence of complicating ratification. Aaron is also concerned that the Soviets will try to bargain us down from the newly proposed limit.

On the issue of multiple independently-targetable warheads on ALCMs, the US should propose an exchange of statements along the following lines:

The United States side informs the Soviet side that the United States side will not exercise its right to deploy, prior to the expiration of the Treaty, airplanes equipped for cruise missiles capable of a range in excess of 600 kilometers which are equipped with multiple independently-targetable warheads.

Cruise Missile Definition. Cy Vance and Spurgeon Keeny continue to believe that we can accept having the ban on ALCMs over 600 km on non-heavy bombers apply to conventionally-armed as well as nuclear-armed ALCMs after the expiration of the Protocol. Harold Brown, Davey Jones, and Zbig Brzezinski believe we should maintain our current position of no limits on conventionally-armed ALCMs on non-heavy bombers after the Protocol.

Backfire. The preferred language for our statement on the Backfire issue is:

The United States acknowledges receipt of the statement of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics with regard to the Soviet bomber designated TU–22–M in the Soviet Union and called Backfire in the United States. One of the issues addressed in the course of the SALT Two negotiations was the appropriate manner to deal with the capability of this aircraft to carry out intercontinental missions. The United States enters into the SALT Two agreement on the basis of the Soviet statement which the US regards as a commitment that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will not significantly increase the range/payload capability of this airplane in any manner, and will not produce this aircraft at a rate of more than 30 per year. The United States considers the carrying out of these commitments to be essential to the obligations assumed under the SALT Two agreement.

In presenting this statement to the Soviets, we should indicate that we interpret the term “significantly” to mean less than five percent.

Telemetry Encryption. We should clarify our position on the telemetry encryption issue by revising our proposed Common Understanding as follows:2

[Page 909]

The sides agree that the negotiating record reflects the Common Understanding that, although each side is free to use various methods of transmitting telemetric information during testing, the sides are obligated not to engage in deliberate denial of telemetric information, such as through the use of telemetry encryption, whenever such denial impedes verification of compliance with the provisions of this Treaty.

Before tabling this revision, we should describe to the Soviets in Geneva those limitations in the agreement for which denial of telemetry would impede verification. The Working Group should prepare a list of such limitations.

Other Issues. As agreed at the October 26 SCC meeting:3

ICBM Fractionation. We should hold to our current position of a freeze on the fractionation of current ICBMs, tell the Soviets that their proposal of a limit of 10 RVs on all ICBMs is retrogressive, and reject the linkage on this issue with other issues such as ALCM numbers.

Cruise Missile Range Definition. We should maintain the position that the approach proposed by the Soviets on this issue is acceptable if they accept our position on the cruise missile definition issue.

Depressed Trajectories. We are willing to defer this issue to SALT Three if the Soviets accept an appropriate reference to measures to decrease the risk of surprise attack in the Principles.

Dismantling to 2250/Duration of Protocol. We should hold back on these issues for now, pending further progress. The Soviets may be willing to accept three years from date of signature for Protocol expiration.

Tactics. Cy Vance should impress on Dobrynin the importance we attach to satisfactory resolution of the telemetry encryption issue and indicate that we will be discussing this issue further in Geneva. On the other issues, he should indicate that we are awaiting a considered Soviet response to the proposals we made in Moscow.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 56, SALT: Chronology: 10/23/78–1/15/79. Top Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room.
  2. Carter wrote next to this paragraph, “Zbig—Stan [Turner] wants us to pursue tougher proposal first. Then fall back. JC.”
  3. The Summary of Conclusions of the October 26 SCC meeting is in the Carter Library, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 56, SALT: Chronology: 10/23/78–1/15/79.