176. National Security Decision Directive 2061


This negotiating round will be unique compared to past rounds in that it follows the summit meeting during which General Secretary Gorbachev and I called for early progress in areas where there is common ground, including the principle of 50 percent reductions in the nuclear arms of the U.S. and the USSR appropriately applied, as well as the idea of an interim INF agreement. (U)

The Soviets have not yet provided a formal response to our November 1, 1985, proposals.2 Since those proposals, in part, reflect elements of Soviet proposals, the U.S. Delegation should emphasize my personal hope that the Soviet Delegation will be prepared to react constructively with an early, positive response to the U.S. proposals tabled at the end of the last round. (U)

In seeking to move the negotiations forward, the U.S. delegation should take the position that the Joint Statement of November 21, 1985, reflects the agreement of both sides that the negotiations should give priority to areas of convergence, and that progress in one area should not be held hostage to a resolution of issues in other areas.3 In this regard, the delegation should take special care to resist Soviet attempts to link progress in the three negotiating groups, in order to permit each group to make progress on its own subject matter as rapidly as possible. In addition, the delegation should also resist any Soviet [Page 769] attempt to erode the separate status and roles of the three negotiating groups, making clear that each group is fully competent both to explore policy issues and to commit governments on subjects within its responsibility. (S)

Specifically, the U.S. Delegation should explain, reinforce and elaborate on our November 1 initiatives, seeking to engage the Soviets in a discussion of those proposals with the aim of looking for areas of flexibility on the Soviet side; reducing the barriers to progress on the key issues; and finding additional, or widening existing, areas of potential convergence. (S)

While noting the agreement in the Joint Statement that, “during the negotiation of these agreements, effective measures for verification of compliance with obligations assumed will be agreed upon”, the U.S. Delegation should continue to emphasize the importance to the future of arms control of compliance with existing arms control agreements and the corresponding need for Soviets to correct non-compliant behavior.4 (C)

With regard to the issue of regional reductions and limitations in the INF negotiating group, given the range capability of the SS–20, systems deployed at all Asian bases must be judged to be within range of portions of NATO European territory. The missiles stationed east of the Urals at Novosibirsk and Barnaul are of special concern because they can strike a significant portion of NATO territory from the bases themselves. However, in the interest of movement toward an agreement, I am prepared not to count the SS–20s deployed at existing bases east of the Urals, including the bases at Novosibirsk and Barnaul, toward the European 140 launcher limit. The INF negotiating group should state, however, that the U.S. is prepared to take this step only in the context of a Soviet agreement to reduce remaining overall deployed Soviet LRINF missile systems in proportion to the reductions in such systems taken in arriving at the 140 launcher limit. The specific numerical reductions and limitations inherent in the U.S. proposal have been calculated on the basis of this step. (S)

In order to give concrete form to our new positions in START and INF we should be prepared to table draft treaties reflecting the November 1 proposals, as appropriate, before the end of the round. Accordingly, work on these draft texts should be completed no later than February 15, for the SACG consideration. (C)

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Within the Defense and Space area little convergence emerged at the summit meetings. The Defense and Space negotiating group has been provided the points I made personally to General Secretary Gorbachev regarding SDI in order that our constancy of approach will yield some positive elements in this area also. (S)

I have approved the cables of instruction, recommended by the SACG, for the conduct of the fourth round of the Nuclear and Space Talks by the U.S. Delegations which expand upon the specific direction above.5 (U)

Ronald Reagan
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC National Security Decision Directives, NSDD 206 [Instructions for the Fourth Round of the US/Soviet Negotiations in Geneva]. Secret. In a January 13 memorandum to Reagan, Poindexter explained: “Our negotiators will be returning to Geneva this weekend to begin Round IV of the talks on January 16 covering START, INF and Defense and Space. Recall that just before your summit and at the end of Round III, the U.S. provided a detailed counter-proposal involving the principle of 50 percent reductions. The Soviet delegation has not had the chance to really address our proposals yet. Our task during this upcoming round will be to focus on the areas where we have the most common ground (START and INF reductions) and press the Soviets for an early, constructive response to our new proposals.” (Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC National Security Decision Directives, NSDD 206 [Instructions for the Fourth Round of the US/Soviet Negotiations in Geneva]; NLR–751–9–40–2–2)
  2. See NSDD 195, Document 124. On October 31, 1985, in telegram 334148 to the NST delegation in Geneva, the Department sent the instructions and proposal reflective of the content of NSDD 195. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D850777–0053)
  3. See footnote 3, Document 159.
  4. On December 23, 1985, Reagan transmitted to Congress an unclassified report on Soviet non-compliance with arms control agreements, which found: “The Administration’s most recent studies support its conclusion that there is a pattern of noncompliance.” For text of the transmittal letter and report, see the Department of State Bulletin, January 1986, pp. 65–72.
  5. In telegram 12556 to the NST delegation in Geneva, January 15, the Department sent instructions to the delegation, reflecting the instructions in this NSDD. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D860165–0344) The Department evidently sent to Geneva three telegrams with instructions for each NST group on January 15; the electronic text of telegrams 12554, 12553, and 12552 was corrupted.