39. National Security Decision Memorandum 2331


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • Chairman, U.S. SALT Delegation


  • Instructions for SALT, Geneva, September 24, 1973

During the initial stages of this phase of negotiations the U.S. Delegation should seek to obtain USSR reaction to the U.S. proposals put forward in Geneva last May. The U.S. position set forth in NSDM 213 and 216 remains unchanged,2 and will be reviewed by the President only after receiving the USSR response.

In supporting the U.S. position, the Delegation should emphasize the following points:

1. The U.S. Delegation is guided by the Basic Principles of Negotiations on the Further Limitations of Strategic Offensive Arms.3 The position of the United States is fully consistent with these SALT principles.

2. The U.S. position is also based on the conviction that SALT must deal effectively, and in a verifiable manner, with the need to control developments which would provide first strike capabilities against major components of either side’s deterrent forces. The ICBM programs now [Page 122] being pursued by the Soviet Union are of particular concern in this regard.

No action should be taken by the Delegation to foreshadow any changes in the U.S. position. If the USSR Delegation seeks further details of the U.S. position going beyond existing guidance (NSDMs 213, 216 and as appropriate 206 and 197),4 the Chairman of the Delegation should seek additional instructions. In the event of counterproposals by the USSR, the U.S. Delegation should seek their full exposition but refrain from expressing any U.S. views until receipt of instructions.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS 87, National Security Council, 1969–1976, NSDM, August 1971–January 1974. Top Secret; Sensitive. Copies were sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of Central Intelligence.
  2. Documents 23 and 25.
  3. See Document 30.
  4. Documents 16 and 7.