369. National Security Decision Directive 1601


The success of the U.S. delegation at the recent Geneva meetings in gaining Soviet agreement to join us in renewed negotiations demonstrates the soundness of the basic U.S. approach to arms reductions.2 The U.S. delegation, building upon the work of many over the last four years, has provided us an opportunity to pursue, once again, our national security objectives through direct, bilateral negotiations with the Soviet Union. I want to ensure that the United States is in a position to capitalize fully on this opportunity. (C)

Organization of the U.S. Delegation. Senator John Tower will take charge of the negotiations on strategic nuclear arms. Ambassador Maynard Glitman will have responsibility for negotiations on intermediate-range nuclear forces. Ambassador Max Kampelman will lead the over[Page 1364]all U.S. delegation and also the U.S. side in the negotiations on Defense and Space.3 (U)

Developing U.S. Positions. The Senior Arms Control Group (SACG) will coordinate the development of the general U.S. approach to the negotiations, the specific U.S. positions in each of the three substantive areas of negotiation, and the instructions to the U.S. delegation for the upcoming round of talks. The SACG will be supported by the existing Interagency Groups on START, INF and ASAT issues. The responsibilities of the ASAT IG will be expanded to address the full extent of the Defense and Space issues associated with the upcoming negotiations. The SACG will provide draft instructions to the U.S. delegation for my review and approval no later than March 8, 1985. (S)

In the START and INF areas, the majority of the work needed to support the upcoming round of negotiations has already been accomplished. The SACG should draw upon that work in completing its preparations in these areas. In the area of Defense and Space issues, more preparation is necessary. Appropriate priority should be given to ensuring that the U.S. position in this substantive area is finalized and thoroughly vetted in a timely manner. (S)

Support for the Delegation. Once negotiations begin, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency will chair an interagency backstopping group here in Washington to provide support for the U.S. delegation in implementing its instructions on a day-to-day basis. Should issues arise that cannot be resolved within the backstopping group or by the appropriate Interdepartmental Group, they will be referred to the Senior Arms Control Group and through the SACG to me as needed for resolution. (C)

Special Advisors. Ambassadors Ed Rowny and Paul Nitze have already made a major contribution to the U.S. effort to achieve equitable and verifiable agreements which would lead to equal and reduced levels of both U.S. and Soviet nuclear offensive forces.4 Their experience and judgment are a unique asset to me and to the nation. As we move into the next phase of negotiations, their advice and counsel on our broader range of issues under active negotiation will be greatly needed. Therefore, I have asked Ambassador Rowny and Ambassador Nitze to continue their long and distinguished records of service to this nation with the titles of Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Arms Control Matters. (U)

In their new capacities, Ambassadors Rowny and Nitze will provide advice and counsel on the arms control policy decision making [Page 1365] process in general, on the development, formulation, and implementation of negotiations on the full range of nuclear, conventional, defense and space issues, as well as on the integration of arms control policy into U.S. national security strategy. To support their charter, Ambassadors Rowny and Nitze will be provided the information relevant to these subjects, attend NSC, NSPG and SACG meetings on these areas, and, have access to me, through the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor, to discuss these matters. (C)

Military Sufficiency. As we start this next phase of negotiations, I wish to reaffirm the guidance initially issued in NSSD 3–82 (March 3, 1982)5 to the effect that any approach or alternative approaches recommended for my approval should, as a minimum, permit the United States to develop and possess sufficient military capability relative to that allowed to the Soviet Union to execute U.S. national military strategy with reasonable assurance of success. The Joint Chiefs of Staff will continue to comply with this guidance and submit their timely assessments of approach(es) under consideration in terms of this criterion to the Senior Arms Control Group and Interdepartmental Groups as appropriate for use in developing and refining U.S. arms control positions. The Joint Chiefs of Staff will certify to the military sufficiency of any approach submitted to me for my approval. (S)

Verification. The national security of the United States also requires the effective verification of arms control agreements. The Director of Central Intelligence, the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and other senior officials, have expressed concern about the process by which verification considerations are factored into the development of U.S. arms control policy and specific U.S. positions.6 In consideration of the above, it is directed that the following actions be taken:

—As the instructions for the upcoming negotiating round are developed, and subsequently as U.S. arms control positions are considered, the SACG will assure that comprehensive assessments are made of verification issues associated with U.S. negotiating proposals. The Arms Control Verification Committee and the appropriate Interdepartmental Groups will support the SACG in this effort. These assessments should address the overall effectiveness of verification, U.S. monitoring capability (to include Soviet cheating scenarios), and the possibility of safeguards. The Arms Control Verification Committee will work with the appropriate Interdepartmental Groups and advise the SACG on [Page 1366] the verifiability of the general approaches and the specific positions recommended to me by the SACG for approval as part of the instructions to the U.S. delegation.

—Additionally, the Director of Central Intelligence and the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, working with other Departments and Agencies as appropriate, are requested to forward to the National Security Advisor a report providing: (1) a more detailed assessment of the handling of verification issues in the policy development process; and, (2) specific recommendations as to how the process can be strengthened. This report should be available for my review by March 15. (S)

Ronald Reagan
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Robert Linhard Files, Arms Control Chron, Preparation for New Negotiations I 01/15/1985:NSDD 160 01/25/1985. Secret. Reagan initialed his approval of the NSDD on an attached January 24 memorandum from McFarlane. A January 22 memorandum to McFarlane from Linhard, Kraemer, and Lehman, also attached but not printed, indicates they drafted the NSDD and McFarlane’s memorandum to Reagan.
  2. See Documents 355, 357, 360, and 362.
  3. See Document 365.
  4. See Document 365.
  5. NSSD 3–82, which “establishes the Terms of Reference for completing the review of U.S. policy and the development of a negotiating position for the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START),” is in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. XI, START I, Document 6.
  6. See Document 346.