212. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Laird to the Secretary of the Army (Froehlke)1

    • ABM Development and Deployment Programs

Today, President Nixon signed Strategic Arms Limitation Agreements with the Soviet Union.2 As a result, we must take certain immediate actions with regard to our ABM programs. Further actions will be required at the time of the exchange of instruments of ratification.

You should implement the following actions now:

Suspend construction of the Safeguard site at Malmstrom AFB, Montana.
Suspend all future work at the remaining Safeguard sites.
Suspend all ABM R&D programs which are prohibited by the ABM Treaty.
Begin preparation for dismantling the Malmstrom site commencing on the date of exchange of instruments of ratification. You should avoid any irreversible actions until that time.
Initiate planning to (a) cancel the 12–site Safeguard Program and (b) deploy an ABM defense of the NCA at Washington, D. C. within the provisions of the ABM Treaty, on the fastest reasonable schedule. The configuration of the NCA defense will be selected prior to Treaty ratification.
Continue the Safeguard deployment at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota, as planned.

A detailed statement on the specific impact of these actions on the Safeguard and ABM R&D programs should be prepared and submitted to me as soon as possible.

I will issue further guidance regarding actions to be taken at the time of exchange of instruments of ratification.

Melvin R. Laird
  1. Source: Ford Library, Laird Papers, Box 27, Safeguard. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 211.