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


In preparation for your meetings next week with Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev, to review US START and Defense and Space positions and identify what, if any, moves we might make in an attempt to reach agreement by next summer.


Your meeting next week with General Secretary Gorbachev will deal with all four aspects of the U.S.—Soviet relationship: human rights, regional issues and bilateral issues as well as arms control. The principal focus of this NSPG, however, is arms control since there are no policy decisions required in other areas. This NSPG will be your final opportunity to personally review issues with your senior advisors.

The most important arms reductions issues facing us are whether (and if so how) to modify our START and Defense and Space position in order to move closer to an acceptable START Treaty. I propose the NSPG focus on this issue. In preparation for the meeting the Arms Control Support Group has prepared a compartmented paper attached as Tab D. This paper is structured around a draft summit joint statement as a vehicle for considering possible specific moves. The paper has been distributed to your senior advisors and I intend to use it as the focus of discussion.

In general, I expect at least some individuals to argue for the following changes in existing U.S. positions:

—Dropping the 1650 ICBM sublimit.

—Establishing a counting rule of 6 air-launched cruise missiles per bomber.

—Accepting a SALT II approach on the BACKFIRE bomber by excluding Backfire from START in return for Soviet commitments not to increase numbers or provide for in-flight refueling. (This would not be part of our going in position but would be available as a response should the Soviets seem serious).

—Allowing heavy ICBM modernization.

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—Allowing mobile ICBMs, subject to an agreed limit and agreed verification.

—Extending the period of non-withdrawal from the ABM Treaty through 1996.

—Accepting reversion to the ABM Treaty rather than freedom to deploy after the non-withdrawal period.

—Agreeing to negotiate on what is permitted and what is prohibited under the ABM Treaty.

—Accepting a construction moratorium rather than dismantlement of Krasnoyarsk.

Many of these will be controversial; some more so than others. In addition to the substantive issues, we will have a brief discussion on tactics.


Participants at Tab B.2


White House photographer only.


The agenda is at Tab A.3 I will open by asking for your comments; suggested talking points are at Tab C. We will then spend 25 minutes reviewing START options, followed by a similar period on Defense and Space. We will conclude with a brief discussion of Krasnoyarsk (time permitting) and summit tactics. No decisions are required at the meeting; decisions will be needed over the weekend.

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Paper Prepared in the National Security Council 4

Suggested Opening Talking Points for the President

—We’ve waited a long time to get Gorbachev to come here and sign an agreement on INF. Now the time has arrived.

—We need to keep the momentum and use the summit to move forward in other areas.

—This will be our last chance to meet as a group before the summit. I want to use the time to focus on START and Defense and Space.

—As I told you two weeks ago, I don’t accept the notion that it is too late for us to get a START agreement before I leave office. I want a START agreement, but only if it is a good one, one we can verify and which enhances our security.

—At the same time, I want to set the stage for one day deploying effective defenses in a manner that will strengthen strategic stability.

—I’m prepared to consider new ideas. I’m also prepared to stand pat, if that’s best.

—We’ve had some discussion on how to use next week’s meetings to move toward our goals. Today I need your final thoughts on what we should and shouldn’t do to reach the agreements we seek.


Paper Prepared by the Arms Control Support Group 5

GRIP 40D (U)

Purpose. To set forth the U.S. approach to the arms control aspects of a joint statement to be issued following the 7–9 December summit meeting between the President and General Secretary Gorbachev. (S/G)

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Background. A joint statement will be issued at the end of the summit meeting. The Soviets intend that this joint statement serve as “Instructions to Negotiators” on completing a START and Defense and Space Treaty. In contrast, the President has directed U.S. negotiators to pursue separate START and Defense and Space Treaties. At the summit, the United States seeks to further our negotiating position while avoiding a so-called framework agreement (i.e., a politically binding, quasi-legal statement which could impose de facto constraints on the United States while not providing legally binding, effectively verifiable constraints on the Soviet Union). (S)

Format. The following points are generally agreed, although with some variations in approach:

We want the summit to deal with the whole range of issues (human rights, regional issues and bilateral issues as well as arms control).

The United States doesn’t want a framework agreement.

—To avoid the perception we have created such an agreement, any “Instructions to Negotiators” or any other arms control statement should be part of a single summit joint statement, not a separate stand-alone document.

—Such a joint statement should simply be issued, as in Geneva, not initialled or signed.

We don’t want to set up two different “agreed” categories, those mentioned in a summit statement and those not.

—We must not allow the Soviets to suggest that material previously agreed and omitted from the summit statement is somehow no longer agreed, or that failure to list an area of disagreement implies we have acquiesced in the Soviet position.

—To this end, we should refer to existing joint START documents (especially the START Joint Draft Treaty) to reaffirm their status. In doing so, we should ensure all associated documents (protocols, etc. are referenced).

—Since there is no draft Defense and Space Treaty, we should avoid the implication that Defense and Space is subsumed in START and thereby acquiescing to Soviet linkage. Thus our objective with respect to Defense and Space should be instructions to negotiators to begin work on a draft Defense and Space Treaty.

—In addition, the only details in such a statement should be general endorsement of previous positions (“50 % reductions”) and/or those new details on which agreement is reached at the summit.

The summit statement should make the negotiators’ job easier, not harder.

—We should avoid giving ourselves a negotiating deadline, and simply refer to a “goal” for completion of agreements. To set an arbi[Page 1032]trary deadline for completion of an agreement could lead to hasty decision making and mistakes, and could lead to an unverifiable treaty. The internal pressure on START, Defense and Space, nuclear testing, and, possibly, chemical warfare, will be great enough without our contributing to it.

—We should avoid statements of “general principles” of verification. Verification is a matter of specific details, not sweeping principles and the summit setting is inappropriate for discussion of a complete verification scheme. But we should encourage the Soviets to offer specific ideas on verification and seek agreement on key details. In doing so, we should protect all key elements of a START inspection regime.

—Summit statements, while intended by the United States to be read as broad policy documents, will be used in Geneva by the Soviets to claim agreement with specific, detailed positions. Thus the Geneva negotiators should be given the opportunity to review the arms control portion of any statement to ensure language is technically correct.

In areas where we don’t narrow differences, the summit statement should simply note the subject was reviewed, not list each side’s position.

—Since we want the summit to deal with the whole range of issues, we shouldn’t emphasize arms control more than necessary.

—Recording positions in detail risks the dangers noted above. (S/G)

Approach During the Summit. Negotiations will be conducted by an appropriate working group as at previous high level meetings. The positions set forth in the draft U.S. text below, if and when approved by the President, will be considered a single package to (be used as a going in position) which the negotiating group will not exceed without further Presidential guidance. (S/G)

The group drafting the joint statement should work from the draft U.S. text, modified depending on what agreements are or are not reached. They should be guided by the agreed general principles set forth above. Before reaching final agreement, the drafting group should check with: (a) the U.S. head of the U.S./USSR working group on arms control, (b) U.S. negotiators, as appropriate, to ensure technical accuracy of the language, and (c) SACG principals, including senior representatives of those agencies not directly involved in drafting. In all cases the object of such checks will be to ensure that senior agency players are kept informed and have a chance to offer substantive (as opposed to linguistic) comments. It is not the intent to seek interagency agreement on the text of the statement. (S/G)

Substance. Based on the foregoing, those arms control areas other than START and Defense and Space need be treated only briefly. A paragraph in the joint statement along the following lines appears appropriate:

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“The two leaders also reviewed the progress of negotiations in other areas, including nuclear testing, conventional arms control, and chemical weapons. They agreed to continue their current efforts in these important areas.” (S/G)

There should also be a separate paragraph on nuclear non-proliferation, which is outside the scope of this paper. Additional language on nuclear testing may also be required; this subject is being dealt with separately. (C/G)

In addition, Ambassador Ledogar, U.S. negotiator to the conventional force negotiations, prefers a longer, more explicit formulation. Based on the rationale set forth above, and in view of the multilateral nature of conventional negotiations all agencies agree that discussion in this area should be kept short and that only a brief mention is appropriate for the joint statement. (S/G)

The remainder of this paper discusses the areas of START and Defense and Space, where agencies disagree on the substance (and to a lesser degree the form, of what should be included. In many cases, agency proposals represent significant changes in the current U.S. position. (S/G)

START . With respect to START, some would make the following changes in existing U.S. positions:

—Accepting “an agreement” on throwweight rather than including throwweight in the START Treaty itself.

—Dropping the 1650 ICBM sublimit.

—Establishing an ALCM counting rule of six per bomber.

—Allowing heavy ICBM modernization.

—Allowing mobile ICBMs, subject to an agreed limit and agreed verification.

In addition, depending on Soviet responses, some would consider:

—Reintroducing the concept of an exchange of declarations on sea-launched cruise missiles.

—Excluding Backfire from START in return for Soviet commitments not to increase numbers or provide for in-flight refueling.

The START portion of the proposed joint statement would read as follows:

“The President and the General Secretary discussed the negotiations on reductions in strategic offensive nuclear arms. They noted the considerable progress which has been made toward conclusion of a treaty implementing the principle of 50% reductions. They agreed to instruct their negotiators in Geneva to work toward the completion of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and all integral documents at the earliest possible date, preferably in time for signature of the treaty and related documents during the next meeting of heads of state the first half of 1988. Recognizing that areas of agreement and disagreement are recorded in detail in the Joint Draft Treaty Text, they agreed to [Page 1034] instruct their negotiators to accelerate resolution of issues within the Joint Draft Treaty Text including early agreement on provisions for effective verification.

“In so doing, the negotiators should build upon the agreements on 50% reductions achieved at Reykjavik as subsequently developed and now reflected in the agreed portions of the Joint Draft START Treaty Text worked out in Geneva, including agreement on ceilings of no more than 1600 nuclear offensive delivery systems, 6000 warheads, 1540 warheads on 154 heavy missiles; the agreed bomber counting rule; and an agreement that the reductions will result in a 50% reduction in Soviet ballistic missile throwweight which will thereafter not be increased. As priority tasks, they should focus on the following crucial issues:

(a) The additional steps necessary to ensure the reductions enhance strategic stability. These are to include a ceiling of 4800 on the aggregate number of ICBM plus SLBM warheads within the 6000 total, and a further sub-ceiling of 3300 on the number of ICBM warheads.

(b) The counting rules governing the number of warheads to be attributed to each type of current and future ballistic missile, and the number of long-range cruise missiles to be attributed to each type of heavy bomber. With respect to B–1s, B–52s, Bear Hs and Blackjacks carrying long-range ALCMs, this number shall be six per bomber. Heavy bombers which do not carry cruise missiles, including Backfire, shall be counted as one warhead as agreed at Reykjavik. There shall be agreed rules governing how many warheads shall be attributed to heavy bombers covered by START.6

(c) The counting rules with respect to existing ballistic missiles, the number of warheads attributable to each type of United States ballistic missile shall be:

PEACEKEEPER (MX) :10, Minuteman III:3, Minuteman II:1, Trident I:8, Trident II:8, Poseidon: 10;

The Soviets will provide numbers of warheads attributed to each Soviet missile; the United States could accept:

SS–11:1, SS–13:1, SS–17:4, SS–18:10, SS–19:6, SS–X–24:10, SS–25:1, SS–N–6:1 SS–N–8:1, SS–N–17:1, SS–N–18:7, SS–N–20:10, SS–N–23:10.

These numbers shall be subject to verification by on-site inspection. There shall be agreed rules governing how many warheads shall be attributed to future weapons systems covered by START.”7

(d) Building upon the provisions of the INF Treaty, the measures by which the provisions of the START Treaty can be verified will, at a minimum, include:8

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1. Data exchanges, to include declarations by each side of the number and location of weapon systems limited by the Treaty and of facilities at which such systems are located. These facilities will include locations and facilities for production and final assembly, storage, testing, and deployment of systems covered by this Treaty. Such declarations will be exchanged between the sides before the Treaty is signed and updated periodically after entry into force.

2. Baseline inspection to verify the accuracy of these declarations promptly after entry into force of the Treaty.

3. On-site observation of the elimination of strategic systems necessary to conform to the agreed limits.

4. Continuous on-site monitoring of the perimeter and portals of critical production and support facilities to confirm the output of these facilities.

5. Short-notice on-site inspection of (a) declared locations during the process of reducing to agreed limits, (b) locations where systems covered by this Treaty remain after conforming to the agreed limits, and (c) locations where such systems have been located (formerly declared facilities).

6. The right to short notice, on-site inspections at locations where either side considers covert production, storage or repair of START systems could be occurring.

7. Provisions prohibiting the use of concealment or other activities which impede verification by national technical means. Such provisions would include a ban on telemetry encryption and would allow for full access to all telemetric information broadcast during missile flight.

8. Measures designed to enhance observation of START-related activities by national technical means. These would include open displays of treaty-limited items at missile bases, bomber bases, and submarine ports at locations and times chosen by the inspecting party.

NOTE: Text thus far is agreed by all agencies. (C/G)

(e) Additional provisions specifically for verification of mobile ICBMs, including restrictions on their deployment areas and provisions for assuring the distinguishability of mobile missiles. With agreement on methods of verifying the number of mobile ICBMs, an agreed number of such land-mobile ICBMs can be permitted within limits provided by the agreement.9

NOTE: Ambassadors Lehman and Rowny and the Office of the Secretary of Defense would not include this provision. ACDA would include this provision only if the Soviets agree to the rest of the package, and then would allow only the single-RV, road-mobile SS–25. (S/G)

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(f) Based on agreement to all the foregoing, the President noted that the United States is prepared to permit the continued testing and modernization of heavy ICBMs.

NOTE: Ambassadors Lehman and Rowny, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and ACDA would not include this provision. (S/G)

No provisions are included for sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCM). There are no known methods by which the numbers of nuclear armed long-range SLCMs may be verifiably counted. [7 lines not declassified]

If the Soviets raise the issue of SLCM limits, all agencies agree the United States should reintroduce the concept of an exchange of notifications on planned SLCM deployments outside of and in addition to the 6000 warhead and 1600 delivery system limits provided for in the current Joint Draft START Treaty text. (S/G)

The language above preserves the existing U.S. position that Backfire should be limited by a START Treaty. If the Soviets accept the rest of our package, but object to Backfire, State would agree to exclude Backfire from START if, in return, the Soviets give assurances that the number of Backfire bombers will not be increased above the current levels, that such bombers will not be given the capability to carry long range air-launched cruise missiles, that such bombers are not and will not be equipped for in-flight refueling, and their crews are not and will not be trained for in-flight refueling. ACDA , OSD and Ambassador Rowny oppose such a provision. (S/G)

Defense and Space. All agree that the following language should provide the basis for a U.S. position on a joint statement:

“The President and the General Secretary also discussed the status of negotiations relating to Defense and Space issues. They agreed to instruct their negotiators in Geneva to expedite work on a Joint Draft Treaty Text incorporating a commitment on non-withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in a new separate treaty which would enter into force at the same time as the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms. They also agreed to instruct their negotiators in Geneva to first identify areas of agreement and disagreement in the Joint Draft Treaty Text and then to accelerate work toward resolution of the areas of disagreement.” (S/G)

This language requires no change in existing U.S. positions.

Ambassadors Cooper and Rowny oppose moving beyond this to extend the non-withdrawal periods unless the Soviets agree to a clear right to deploy defenses at the end of the period. Ambassador Rowny considers the remainder of this material fundamentally flawed and unsuitable for submission to the NSPG or the President. Other agencies would make concessions beyond the current U.S. position in the context of Soviet agreement to our basic START requirements. Three options for such additions exist. (S/G)

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Option 1. Add to the above as follows:

—Extend the non-withdrawal period through October 11, 1996, i.e. the tenth anniversary of Reykjavik.

—After 1996, the sides resume their full rights to withdraw from the ABM Treaty.

—Agreement on the distinction between testing (which is permitted) and deployment (which is not).

—Confidence building measures enhancing openness and predictability.

NOTE: Option 1 requires the following changes to U.S. positions:

—Extending the period of non-withdrawal from the ABM Treaty through 1996.

—Accepting reversion to the ABM Treaty rather than freedom to deploy after the non-withdrawal period.

—Agreeing to negotiate on what is permitted and what is prohibited under the ABM Treaty.

Option 1 is favored by State. (S/G)

Option 2. Instead of the previous option, add to the basic language the following:

—Commitment not to deploy strategic defenses beyond those permitted by the ABM Treaty through 1996, with a right to deploy thereafter.

—An agreed understanding on what constitutes prohibited deployment.

—A clear understanding, entailing a strong U.S. statement that testing permitted by the ABM Treaty, i.e., under the broad interpretation, would be conducted.

—Predictability measures to ensure confidence that prohibited deployments were not being undertaken.

NOTE: Option 2 requires a change to the current U.S. position by extending the period of non-deployment through 1996.

Option 2 is favored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Option 3 would merge various suggested options so that the joint draft statement would include the following:

—A 10 year period of [A: non-withdrawal] [B: non-deployment] through the tenth anniversary of the Reykjavik meeting (October 11, 1996).

—After that time (October 11, 1996), the sides are free to [A: exercise their right to withdraw from the ABM Treaty] [B: deploy defenses not currently permitted by the Treaty] after having given 6 months notice.

—It would be clearly understood that during the 10 year period, both sides have the right to conduct research, development and testing, [Page 1038] including testing in space, which are permitted by the ABM Treaty, and that the United States intends to fully exercise those rights.

—With respect to conduct during the 10 year period, the sides will negotiate an agreed understanding as to [A: the distinction between testing (which is permitted) and deployment (which is not)] [B: what constitutes prohibited deployment]. [C: Do not negotiate anything in this area, simply agree to disagree.]

—To enhance strategic stability, provide predictability, and ensure confidence that prohibited deployments were not being undertaken during the 10 year period, the sides meet regularly to exchange briefings on each side’s strategic defense programs and to facilitate mutual observation of strategic defense tests and visits to strategic defense research facilities.

—[If at any time after the eighth anniversary of the Reykjavik meeting (i.e. October 11, 1994), should a side wish to deploy strategic defenses not permitted by the ABM Treaty, it shall initiate a two year period of discussions to ensure a stable transition. At the end of this two year discussion period, unless agreed otherwise, either side will be free to [A: exercise their right to withdraw from the ABM Treaty] [B: deploy defenses not currently permitted by the Treaty] after having given 6 months notice.]

Krasnoyarsk. Agencies disagree concerning how Krasnoyarsk should be handled. Two formulations have been suggested:

Formulation 1: “To support their efforts to negotiate new agreements, the sides agree that construction of the Krasnoyarsk radar, which has been halted by the Soviet side, will not be resumed and that the radar will be dismantled in a verifiable manner.” (S/G)

This approach is favored by Ambassadors Rowny and Cooper and by OSD . (C/G)

Formulation 2: “To support their efforts to negotiate new agreements, the sides agree that construction of the Krasnoyarsk radar, which has been halted by the Soviet side, will not be resumed. The power supply for the transmitter will be removed. Procedures for periodic on-site inspection will be agreed to assure confidence that construction has ceased and does not resume.” (S/G)

This approach is favored by State and ACDA . (C/G)

Tactics. Three approaches have been suggested for introducing this material:

—Provide it as a paper to Soviet Marshal Ahkromeyev on Monday December 7. The President would subsequently refer to it briefly in his initial meeting with the General Secretary.

—Have the President introduce it in his initial meeting and explain it in detail.

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—Have the President provide the paper to the General Secretary at his initial meeting and suggest that it be discussed by experts. (S/G)

Regardless of which approach is selected, Ambassadors Cooper and Rowny feel strongly we should initially table only the main portion of the START material and the chapeau for Defense and Space. The START portions on mobile missiles and the Defense and Space material modifying U.S. positions would be reserved until there is evidence of Soviet seriousness. (S/G)

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat: National Security Planning Group (NSPG) Records, NSPG 171. Secret. Copied to Bush and Senator Baker. Prepared by Brooks and Tobey. A stamped notation indicates Reagan saw the memorandum.
  2. Attached but not printed is the participants list.
  3. Attached but not printed is the agenda.
  4. Secret.
  5. Secret; Noforn; Grip.
  6. [1 paragraph (13 lines) not declassified]
  7. See footnote 6.
  8. “The DCI’s Representative notes that in many cases, the Intelligence Community would not want to step back from the provisions listed below. Our monitoring confidence for many of the START-related tasks would be higher given a more comprehensive set of verification measures. As an example, such a set could include a more restrictive deployment mode for mobile missiles. The DCI’s Representative also notes we have not examined the risks associated with various verification provisions and our monitoring uncertainties. The policy agencies need to address the risks associated with cheating which may result from such provisions.” [Footnote is in the original.]
  9. “The DCI’s Representative notes that under a START agreement which only limits mobile missiles, many of our monitoring confidences will be reduced over those under a ban. [6 lines not declassified]. Confidence Building Measures can increase our confidence about the size of deployed forces and the number produced at declared facilities but will not eliminate the potential for the Soviets to store previously produced equipment or to covertly produce equipment and missiles at other facilities. ACDA notes there are significant verification differences between road- and rail-mobile ICBMs [less than 1 line not declassified]” [Footnote is in the original.]