282. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Poindexter) to President Reagan1


  • Draft NSDD Providing Instructions for Round VI of the Nuclear and Space Talks


Should you sign the National Security Decision Directive at Tab A, formalizing the instructions you have already approved for the NST Delegation?2


The directive instructs the delegation to follow instructions developed on an interagency basis for presenting your July proposals to Gorbachev and other issues.


You have already reviewed and approved these instructions, and based on your previous approval, they have been released to the US delegation.3 This NSDD simply records your decision for the historical record.

As you will remember, Secretary Weinberger has, once again, raised the idea of changing our approach in the INF area from one of being prepared to negotiate an interim agreement to one of negotiating an agreement which commits both sides to the total elimination of LRINF missiles and reaches that goal in a series of intermediate stages or steps to be completed by a date certain. We have studied this idea a number of times during the past two weeks. We have also considered the tactic of initially pursuing the type of agreement that Secretary Weinberger suggests and then falling back to an interim agreement if and when needed. However, we have tried both these approaches [Page 1129] before. In our February 1986 position, which called for the total elimination of all LRINF missiles in 3 years (with intermediate levels each year), we attempted exactly the approach that Secretary Weinberger proposes. In your private correspondence with General Secretary Gorbachev, we have moved beyond this position. To move back to this approach now would be viewed as a conscious step away from “common ground” by both the Soviets and our allies.

In addition, Secretary Weinberger argues that any missiles retained in the US to offset Soviet residual missiles in Asia would have no purpose. However, we would suggest that a moderate number of such missiles could be retained in the US to deal with contingencies currently covered by other US forces and to complicate Soviet military planning. As one example, in Cuba there are a number of runways that could support the recovery of Soviet bombers. There is also at least one major Soviet intelligence facility which could pose problems should hostilities erupt. Certainly a useful military mission can be given to a reasonable number of US Pershing II or GLCM retained in the US, and the Soviet Union no doubt considers this fact of some importance.


That you sign the NSDD at Tab A.4

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC National Security Decision Directives, NSDD 240 [Instructions for NST Round VI]; NLR–751–10–23–12–8. Secret. Sent for action. Drafted by Tobey and Linhard. Reagan initialed the memorandum in the top right-hand margin.
  2. Tab A was not attached; NSDD 240 is declassified and available on the Reagan Library Archives website. The instructions were sent in telegram 291634 to the NST Delegation, September 17. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D860704–0990)
  3. Reagan approved the proposed instructions to the NST delegation in a memorandum from Poindexter on September 17. (Reagan Library, Robert Linhard Files, NST Experts Preparation Meeting 09/10/1986 (3)).
  4. Reagan initialed his approval of the recommendation. He signed NSDD 240, “Instructions for NST Round VI,” on September 18.