98. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State (Sonnenfeldt) and William Hyland of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger1


  • Gromyko’s Plan

Following are the elements of the plan outlined to you by Foreign Minister Gromyko.2

1. MIRV Verification

—Any ICBM tested as a MIRV will be counted as a MIRV within the 1320 ceiling, if and when it is deployed; specifically for the USSR this will include the ICBMs SS–17, 18 and 19.

—The same principle will apply to SLBMs: i.e., if an SLBM is tested in a MIRV mode it will be counted as a MIRV within the 1320 ceiling.

—These provisions are mutual, applying to both sides.

—Under the right to modernize ICBMs [and SLBMs]3 an ICBM equipped with a single warhead can be replaced with an ICBM tested only with a single warhead.

—The ICBMs tested only as single warheads will be of a different “type” than MIRVed ICBMs.

—This provision is also reciprocal.

—The foregoing is “organically” linked to the following proposal on cruise missiles.

2. Cruise Missiles

—All air-to-ground cruise missiles with a range in excess of 600 km, if installed on a strategic bomber, will be counted with ceiling of 2400 for all strategic vehicles.

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—Cruise missiles with a range of over 600 km will be banned from deployment on surface ships, transport type aircraft, submarines other than ballistic missile submarines.

—Land-based cruise missiles with an intercontinental range (intercontinental as defined in the Interim Agreement) will be banned.

—Land-based cruise missiles with a range short of intercontinental range, as defined above, will not be restricted or covered in the current agreement.

3. Silo Dimension Changes

—The modification of ICBM silo launchers to preclude a non-heavy launcher from being converted to a launcher for a heavy ICBM will be:

—a silo can be increased by no more than 15% in depth (NOTE: not clear in Soviet position);

—if a silo is increased in depth by 15%, then the diameter can also be increased provided that such increase does not result in more than a total increase in silo volume of 32%;

—in all cases of increases in both silo dimensions the net result cannot be an increase in silo volume of more than 32%.

NOTE: It is apparently the Soviet position that an increase in silo depth could exceed 15% in dimension but not more than 32% in volume, since the latter would be the equivalent of 32% in volume if taken in depth alone.

4. Definitions of Light and Heavy Missiles

—In process of modernization of ICBMs, as permitted under the agreement, a heavy ICBM will be any ICBM with a “launching” weight in excess of that of the heaviest light missile deployed on either side at the time of signature of the agreement.

—This would be the SS–19 on the Soviet side.

5. Period for Implementing the 2400 Ceiling

—It is agreed that this period will not exceed 12 months (may be earlier).

6. Beginning Follow-On Talks

—The negotiations concerning possible reductions will begin in the same year that Vladivostok agreement enters into force (i.e., October 3, 1977).

7. Mobile Missiles

—Land-based mobile ICBM launchers will be banned for duration of the agreement.

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—Air mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles deployed on bombers will be counted under ceiling of 2400.

—Intercontinental range ballistic missiles will be banned from deployment on other aircraft.

—Testing of mobile ICBM missiles and launchers will be permitted.

8. New Systems

—Would include a ban on cruise missiles of intercontinental range.

—Also a ban against deployment of ICBMs on sea-based or ocean floor (including territorial waters).

—Ban on deployment of ballistic missiles with range in excess of 600 km on surface ships.

—Other systems not now existing also to be dealt with.

9. Backfire Bomber

—Not considered a strategic bomber.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger Reports on USSR, China, and Middle East Discussions, Box 1, USSR Memcons and Reports, July 10–11, 1975–Kissinger/Gromyko, Geneva (1). Top Secret; Sensitive.
  2. Kissinger and Gromyko held two discussions relating to SALT during their meetings in Geneva July 10–11. During their first meeting, July 10 from 6:55 to 9:30 p.m., they decided that they would reach agreement in principle and then give it to the delegations for concrete formulation. Gromyko outlined the Soviet response to the U.S. proposal of May 10 (Document 97). They also met on July 11, from 1:10 to 2:02 p.m., when Gromyko complained that the U.S. Delegation at Geneva was reluctant to discuss matters other than general principles. Kissinger and Gromyko agreed to instruct their delegations on other matters that could be discussed. The memoranda of conversation are Documents 159 and 162 in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Vol. XVI, Soviet Union, August 1974–December 1976.
  3. Brackets are in the original.