36. Memorandum for the Record1

CJCS Memo M–72–73


  • Meeting with SecDef on SALT, Wednesday, 29 Aug 1973 (U)

1. Present: SecDef, DepSecDef, CJCS, Paul Nitze, Rowny, Sullivan—and others.

2. The first part of the meeting was devoted to organization of a SALT Task Force within OSD. It was finally decided to establish a “small group” with a Director, reporting directly to SecDef. This group would draw its support from “regular facilities within OSD.” And, would be primarily tasked:

a. To propose to SecDef SALT policies and approaches;

b. Respond to communications from the Delegation overseas;

c. Conduct analyses of various proposals.

3. With respect to who would head up the Task Force, I recommended either Doctor Wikner, or, Ralph Earle with a slight tilt towards Earle.

4. SecDef then took the floor and, with slides, put forth a possible approach to SALT. He said that we should tackle the Soviets head on. We should point out to them that the Protocol2 states that neither side should seek advantage over the other. The US agreed to SALT I because of qualitative advantages in MIRV. Now that the Soviets have MIRVed the advantage is fading away; consequently, it is up to the Soviets to take official action to prevent violation of the Protocol. For instance, the Soviets should reduce Land Based Missiles from 1400 to 1,000 to match the US 1,000, as they increase warheads in the MIRVed SS11s (SS17s) they should reduce SS9s until they are all gone. This would leave both sides with about 1,000 missiles and about 3000–3100 warheads on these 1,000 missiles and it would also give the Soviets an advantage in throw weight, by reducing them from 7.0 to 3.7 while the US would have about 1.7 to 1.8.

5. SecDef said that we should tell the Soviets that the imbalance developing was intolerable to the US and that, unless they took action to compensate, we would take action on our own. We should advise them [Page 117] that our proposals will permit them to eliminate their old SS9s which, at the same time, have been in the ground for 10–12 years. And, also, would relieve them of the necessity of spending $15B to replace. SecDef came back to the point that we should emphasize to the Soviets that the US will not tolerate the SALT I Interim Agreement past the five year period. He listed certain leverages and then said that, perhaps, we could tell the Soviets that if they were concerned about the Chinese we would not object to the implacement of additional IRBMs—aimed at China. We would weep only “crocodile tears.”

6. Paul Nitze said he approved the Agreement, apparently, HAK approved the Agreement. SecDef wound up by saying that we must talk more about SALT II. We must emphasize that the US is reasonable—the Soviets have been unreasonable and that, again, he said that we should tell the Soviets that the situation is intolerable.

7. Nitze suggested that we limit MIRVing to missiles no larger than 4,000 pound throw weight. SecDef said that we should leave the option open to building mobiles and should not ban Cruise or Mobile missiles.

T.H. Moorer3
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of Chairman, Moorer Diary, August 1973–November 1873. Sensitive; Hold Close.
  2. The Protocol to the Interim Agreement, May 26, 1972, is Document 318 in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Vol. XXXII, SALT I, January 1969–October 1972. The Protocol is also printed in the Department of State Bulletin, June 26, 1972, p. 921.
  3. Moorer initialed “TM” above this typed signature.