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21. Memorandum From Secretary of State Vance to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1

SUBJECT

  • US Position Regarding Anti-Satellite Arms Control

I agree in principle with the idea expressed in your memorandum of February 25.2 I would, however, be averse to creating the presumption that the US has in fact decided to test ASATs, for we have not and should not until our development programs have reached that point at which we need to make such a decision.

I therefore propose that the original decision memorandum be changed to read that the Secretary of Defense should plan on testing when our programs reach the appropriate stage of development, subject to further Presidential decision at that time. This would of course carry the implication that whether or not we test will depend heavily on whether the Soviets continue to test.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 20, PD/NSC–33. Top Secret.
  2. Not found.