243. Editorial Note

On June 22, 1979, President Carter sent the Treaty and Protocol, along with the other related documents, to the Senate for its advice and ratification. For the text of his message, see Public Papers: Carter, 1979, Book II, pp. 1155–1156.

During September and October 1979, the Carter administration discussed ratification of the Treaty at Cabinet meetings. On September 10, the following remarks were made: “Secretary Brown said that the Administration’s view regarding the presence of the Soviet Brigade in Cuba should not be linked to Senate action regarding the SALT II Treaty. He noted, however, the fact that the two are being linked by the American people and by the Senators. The President summarized his view of the status of the Treaty’s consideration in the Senate by observing that each of the major concerns that had been expressed during the Senate debate had been answered, and that he fully anticipated the latest concern over the presence of the Soviet Brigade in Cuba would be satisfactorily resolved so that the Senate could act quickly on SALT II.” (Carter Library, Vertical File, Cabinet Meeting Minutes, 12/21/78–12/13/80)

The Carter administration discussed additional aspects of the Treaty’s path through the Senate at a Cabinet meeting on October 24. The discussion of SALT ratification reads as follows:

“1. The President opened the meeting by asking Lloyd Cutler to briefly summarize the status of the Senate’s consideration of the SALT Treaty.

“—Mr. Cutler noted that the Treaty was being marked-up by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Eight conditions to the Treaty have been added by the Committee, two of which require consent by the Soviet Union. Yesterday the Committee narrowly defeated one so-called ‘killer’ Amendment 8–7, with several more pending before the Committee.

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“—The President noted the Treaty represented a very careful balancing of interests and views; that it was fair and verifiable. He asked for the help of the Cabinet in getting Senate support for the passage of the SALT Treaty. He noted how critical the passage of the SALT Treaty is to the conduct of American foreign policy.

“—The President asked Mr. Cutler to circulate SALT briefing papers to members of the Cabinet.

“—Secretary Brown noted that problems facing the Treaty would be as severe on the floor of the Senate as they are before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” (Ibid.)

The administration also implemented a series of efforts, described as “SALT outreach,” by which it hoped to increase the likelihood of Senate ratification of the Treaty. On December 4, Assistant to the President for Public Liaison Anne Wexler sent a memorandum to President Carter, Special Counsel and Consultant to the President Lloyd Cutler, and White House Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan in which she provided an update of these activities. She described the SALT outreach activities under the categories of labor/liberal support, which included meetings with a coalition of unions and other groups; business support, which included contacting major corporations; religious support, which included contacting clergymen and using mass mailings; East Room briefings for selected people; media, which included talk show events and press lists; and grass-roots state activities and coordination. Wexler also stated that three additional efforts were being implemented: a Christmas peace/SALT message nationwide; establishment of a working group to coordinate state-by-state strategies with Washington-based activities; and a proposal for a “total SALT strategy” for consideration by the SALT working group. (Ibid., White House Central Files, Box FO–42, Subject File, Foreign Affairs)