67. Note From the United States to the Soviet Union1

The U.S. side agrees that the ABM treaty be amended by a new protocol which would restrict each side to one ABM deployment. In addition, as discussed with Foreign Minister Gromyko, the U.S. believes that it cannot renounce permanently its right to defend its national capital. Thus, the U.S. proposes that both sides retain the right to change the location of its one ABM system.

For the U.S. this would mean we could dismantle our present deployment and replace it with a site around Washington, and the USSR would have the same right to change location from Moscow to an ICBM field as specified by the treaty.

The U.S. view is that this right could be invoked at the time of the periodic reviews provided by the treaty, which would be during 1977, during 1982, etc. If this change of sites were actually made, it would become permanent and there would be no further right to change sites. Moreover, the implementation of the agreement would have to be carried out in accordance with procedures for ABM replacement and dismantling to be agreed in the Standing Consultative Commission.

If the Soviet side agrees in principle with this approach, the U.S. will provide through this channel a revised draft protocol, based on the draft given to Secretary Kissinger in Geneva.2

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1028, Memcons–HAK & Presidential, March 1–May 8, 1974. No classification marking. A handwritten note reads: “Delivered to Amb. D. via messenger on 5/6/74, 11:00 a.m.” A covering letter from Scowcroft to Dobrynin, dated the same day, indicates that the note was a follow-up to Kissinger’s discussions with Gromyko in Geneva. (Ibid.)
  2. Kissinger and Gromyko discussed ABM limitation on April 28 from 10 to 11:45 p.m., and Gromyko gave Kissinger a draft agreement on ABMs during the meeting. The memorandum of conversation is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Vol. XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974, Document 175.