246. Letter From President Carter to Senator Byrd1

Dear Senator Byrd:

In light of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, I request that you delay consideration of the SALT II Treaty on the Senate floor.

The purpose of this request is not to withdraw the Treaty from consideration, but to defer the debate so that the Congress and I as President can assess Soviet actions and intentions, and devote our primary attention to the legislative and other measures required to respond to this crisis.

As you know, I continue to share your view that the SALT II Treaty is in the national security interest of the United States and the entire world, and that it should be taken up by the Senate as soon as these more urgent issues have been addressed.2


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office File, Box 2, NSC Meeting: #26 Held 1/2/80, 1/80. No classification marking.
  2. In a speech to the nation on January 4 on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Carter announced that he had asked the Senate to defer further action on ratification of the SALT II Treaty. See Public Papers: Carter, 1980–81, Book I, pp. 21–24.