105. Letter From the Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Arms Control Matters (Nitze) to Secretary of State Shultz1

Mr. Secretary—

As tasked at the April 26 SACG meeting,2 Jack Chain circulated a set of talking points3 to SACG principals that would be the basis for your presentation to Gromyko on arms control (I understand a copy has been sent to you).

I believe those points constitute a good basis for your discussion with Gromyko—taking him to task for the lack of forthcomingness in the Soviet approach in Round I, for Soviet backtracking from previous positions, and for their distortion of the January 8 joint statement4 by making agreement to their “space-strike” arms ban a precondition for movement on offensive arms reductions. The points also reiterate the flexibility our negotiators have on START and INF.

However, I believe you should be authorized to make some stronger points on defense and space, and that you should have contingency authority—if the situation in Vienna warrants—to give Gromyko some elaborations on our positions on strategic and intermediate-range nuclear arms reductions. I understand that EUR takes a similar view on these three areas.

SACG principals were asked to comment to McFarlane’s office by COB Monday, May 6 on the talking points circulated by Jack. Attached is the memorandum I have sent in response to that request.

Paul H. Nitze5
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Memorandum From the Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Arms Control Matters (Nitze) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (McFarlane)6


  • Views on Shultz-Gromyko Meeting and NST Round II

SACG principals were requested to submit their views on the arms control talking points circulated by General Chain for the Shultz-Gromyko meeting, and on new guidance for the delegation for the second round. My views are presented below.

Shultz-Gromyko Meeting. The talking points circulated by General Chain are a good basis for the Secretary’s presentation to Gromyko. However, I believe he should be given authority to make some additional points on defense and space, and should have contingency authority—for use if the situation in Vienna warrants—to flesh out the START and INF positions we introduced in Round I. This contingency authority would take the form of elaborations of our existing positions on offensive arms reductions.

With regard to the defense and space points circulated by General Chain, the Secretary should also:

—Call for a commitment to comply fully with the ABM Treaty, in the context of resolution of outstanding compliance issues.

—Propose to work out means to reverse the erosion of the ABM Treaty, including ways to maintain clear distinctions between ABM and non-ABM systems.

—State our intention that, should new defensive technologies prove feasible and desirable, we would negotiate as to how such systems could be developed, tested and deployed in accordance with procedures jointly agreed pursuant to the provisions of the ABM Treaty.

I recognize there is some unease over offering to “negotiate.” However, we are committed by the ABM Treaty to negotiate any amendments. Moreover, one of the four points agreed with Mrs. Thatcher at [Page 380] Camp David—and one of our strongest public themes—is that deployment of new strategic defenses would be a matter for negotiation.

On INF the Secretary should have contingency authority to elaborate our current position along the following lines:

—A global ceiling on deployed US and Soviet LRINF missile warheads at a level of 600.

—A limit on deployed US and Soviet LRINF missile warheads in Europe at a level of 300.

—US readiness to agree to a specific limit on the number of P–II missiles deployed in Europe (though he would not offer a specific level).

On START the Secretary should have contingency authority to indicate that—in the context of an equitable agreement entailing significant cuts in ballistic missile warheads and meeting US concerns about the destructive capacity and potential of ballistic missiles—the US would consider:

—Associated limits on ballistic missile warheads and ALCMs at a level of about 8000 (8000 fully protects our planned ALCM deployment of 2880).

—Associated limits on ballistic missiles and bombers.

The Secretary would determine whether to use these contingency points depending on his reading of Gromyko. If Gromyko’s presentation merits their use, we could derive several advantages. The elaborations on START and INF could:

—provide a concrete manifestation of the flexibility in our approach and perhaps a stimulus for some real give-and-take when negotiations resume in Geneva;

—serve the tactical objective of having fleshed-out US positions on the table to counter the Soviet moratoria and “space-strike” arms ban proposals and to shift the public away from SDI to our arms control agenda;

—better position ourselves for maintaining public, Allied and Congressional support for our negotiating effort; and

—in the admittedly unlikely case the Soviets pick up on our ideas, provide the basis for a joint declaration on negotiating guidelines for a possible fall summit.

Moreover, it is unclear how US intentions and positions described in Geneva were read in Moscow. Giving Gromyko a more specific presentation could ensure the message gets through to the Politburo that we do indeed have serious proposals that take account of Soviet interests. Finally, there is a chance, albeit small, that Gromyko may come to Vienna with a more reasonable position. At a minimum, the Secretary should have some specifics to play in that event.

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I would not envisage a lengthy arms control exchange in Vienna, but recommend the Secretary have authority, if the situation warrants, to put these ideas to Gromyko and ask him to take them back to Moscow for consideration in developing the Soviet delegation’s guidance for Round II, making clear we continue to view Geneva as the main channel for detailed negotiation.

Second Round Guidance. I recommend the Delegation be given instructions along the above lines for the second round.

  1. Source: Department of State, Lot 90D397, Ambassador Nitze’s Personal Files 1953, 1972–1989, Box 4, May 85. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. Handwritten notes of this meeting are in the Reagan Library, Linhard Files, SACG—Prior to Round II/Interim Restrain (Apr–May 1985 (1).
  3. Not found.
  4. See footnote 3, Document 100.
  5. Nitze signed the letter “Paul” above his typed signature.
  6. Secret; Sensitive. Copied to Ikle, Perle, Moreau, George, Adelman, Cooper, Burt, Chain, Rowny, Kampelman, Tower, and Glitman.