31. Memorandum From Philip Odeen of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • JCS Views on SALT

Secretary Clements has forwarded for your information the views and concerns of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on SALT.2 For some reason it took four weeks for Clements to forward the JCS memo despite Moorer’s request that it be forwarded to you at the earliest possible date.

In brief the JCS:

—Support the current NSDM guidance on equal aggregate ceilings,3 but, would modify it to permit both sides full freedom-to-mix within equal sublimit on MLBMs. They argue that this is essential to provide maximum flexibility to adapt U.S. forces to future contingencies and to insure a high degree of equivalence in the eyes of Congress, the public and the world.

Continue to flatly oppose limitations on MIRVs. The only reason they cite is that MIRV testing constraints are not verifiable by national technical means. As you are aware, the intelligence community does not support the JCS view on verification.

—If the U.S. is to press MIRV limits, the Chiefs would make any MIRV deal contingent on prior Soviet acceptance of equal aggregates, equal MLBMs and full freedom-to-mix.

—The JCS continue to oppose any specific constraints on FBS. They do endorse the current U.S. position of non-circumvention assurances.

—The Chiefs make clear that they would like to put the subject of reductions far off into the distant future.

The JCS views come as no surprise; they differ with the current U.S. position in several key areas. Moreover, in the coming months as we evolve our position toward a permanent agreement, it may be increasingly difficult to keep them in line. Clements has so far echoed the [Page 96] JCS line on SALT and showed no willingness to take a more realistic view or strike out on his own. In his short memo forwarding the JCS paper, Clements reiterates his own strong support for the JCS line of equal aggregates, equal MLBMs, and full freedom-to-mix. In this context it will be particularly important that Jim Schlesinger take a strong role in the Pentagon on SALT matters.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 889, SALT, SALT TWO–I–Geneva, April 1973. Top Secret. Sent for information. Kissinger initialed the memorandum.
  2. Attached but not printed is memorandum JCSM–211–73 to Schlesinger, May 19, and a June 18 note from Clements forwarding it.
  3. Document 23.