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


  • U.S. SALT Instructions

The President has approved the following SALT position to be adopted during Secretary Vance’s discussions with Foreign Minister Gromyko in Geneva beginning December 21:

1. Cruise Missile Definition: Owing to concerns regarding the problems of verifying the distinction between conventional- and nuclear-armed cruise missiles on Soviet non-heavy bombers, the President has decided that the provisions of the Treaty limiting cruise missiles on aircraft other than heavy bombers should apply to all armed missiles for the duration of the agreement through 1985.

2. ALCMs Per Heavy Bomber: In order to achieve agreement on the principal outstanding SALT II issues, we are prepared to be flexible on the issue of limiting the number of long-range cruise missiles on heavy bombers in the region of the current U.S. position of an average of 30 ALCMs per heavy bomber. The U.S. is prepared to accept as a final outcome no lower than an average of 28 ALCMs per heavy bomber. The Soviets may be told that the U.S. will not deploy more than 20 ALCMs on B–52 bombers for the period through 1985, on the understanding [Page 917] that the Soviets also will not deploy more than 20 ALCMs on the Bears and Bisons for the period through 1985.2

3. ICBM Fractionation: The U.S. should maintain its position that the maximum number of RVs permitted on existing types of ICBMs should be restricted to the maximum number flight tested to date and that the limit on the maximum number of RVs on the single permitted new type of ICBM be set at 10.

4. Protocol Duration: The U.S. cannot accept the concept of Protocol expiration three years from the date of entry into force of the agreement. The Protocol expiration date must be a date certain. The U.S. position is that the date for Protocol expiration is June 30, 1981.

5. Dismantling to 2250: The U.S. position is that all systems to be dismantled to reach 2250 must be rendered observably inoperable by June 30, 1981 and that dismantling or destruction should proceed at a steady rate. We have defined a steady rate as completion of dismantling and destruction of one-third of the systems within six months of the initiation of the dismantling period, two-thirds within nine months and all dismantling and destruction completed by the end of the twelve month dismantling period. As explicit a commitment along these lines as possible should be sought from the Soviets without this issue becoming an obstacle to final agreement.

6. Telemetry Encryption: The importance of the telemetry encryption issue should be underscored by making clear to the Soviets that failure to settle this issue on the basis of the U.S. proposed common understanding will block any further progress toward a SALT II agreement.

7. Backfire: The Soviets should be informed that upon receipt of the Soviet statement on Backfire, the U.S. will make the attached statement which will cite a specific maximum Backfire production rate of 30 aircraft per year.3 We will be prepared to consider this matter satisfactorily resolved if the Soviets are prepared to confirm at the highest levels that the current Backfire production rate does not exceed this level, and that this confirmation by Brezhnev personally to the President will be part of the negotiating record.

It should be made clear to the Soviet representatives our expectation that movement on the part of the U.S. will be met by Soviet responsiveness to our concerns and result in agreement on the principal outstanding SALT II issues. In the course of the negotiations in Geneva, the U.S. representatives should stress that the limitations contained in the [Page 918] Protocol and the Treaty do not establish a precedent of any kind for subsequent negotiations and agreements in SALT III.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 53, SALT: 12/78. Top Secret. 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. At the top of the first page, Carter wrote, “ok, J.C.”
  2. Carter wrote the following in the margin next to this paragraph, “Cy—30 would really help us with JCS & ratification—try to hold on this.”
  3. Not attached; presumably the statement is the one in Document 223.