202. Letter From President Carter to Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev1

Mr. President,

Strong and immediate progress on SALT III is important. I suggest:

a) Commitment to deep cuts in weapons—below SALT II limits.

b) No encryption of telemetry plus other moves toward easier verifiability.

c) Stop production of nuclear warheads and launchers.

d) Provide safe ocean haven areas for missile submarines to prevent destabilizing ASW developments.

e) No tests of depressed trajectory submarine missile firing.

f) Conclude comprehensive test ban treaty with or without Great Britain.2

g) Pre-notification of missile tests and large strategic bomber exercises.

h) No tests of anti-satellite systems or3 missiles.

i) Regular consultations between military leaders and between heads of state & exchange visits.

j) Begin talks to limit and control nuclear weapons not covered under SALT II.

k) Implement agreements as they are concluded, without necessarily waiting for a final and complete SALT II agreement (for instance, SALT II limits might be lowered annually by 5% as mutually agreed to be advantageous).

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l) No nuclear fuel sales to countries not under Non-Proliferation Treaty or IAEA safeguards.

Mr. President, these are some important and practical suggestions. We would like to have your concurrence and other suggestions which we might consider. I will discuss this with you tomorrow—


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Materials, Geographic File, Box 19, U.S.S.R.—Vienna Summit: (10/78–6/79). No classification marking. Carter wrote about the letter in his memoirs: “On the ride down the small elevator to lunch, Brezhnev and I were alone with the interpreters. At his request, I agreed to give him a written copy of my proposals concerning the next steps toward SALT III. Saying that this was the most important thing we could accomplish in Vienna, he suggested that we discuss the proposals further at our private meeting on Monday [June 18]. At the embassy, I printed out this note by hand and gave it to Brezhnev when we met again that afternoon.” (Keeping Faith, pp. 252–253)
  2. Carter handwrote this letter on a legal pad. The following words were written at the end of this point in an unidentified hand: “(Hopefully with them).” The parenthetical comment is attributed to the President in Carter’s memoirs, in which his letter to Brezhnev is reprinted. (Ibid.)
  3. An unknown hand added the word “anti-satellite” before “missiles.” The addition also appears in Carter’s memoirs. (Ibid.)