Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the administration of Ronald Reagan. Two volumes in the subseries are devoted to the crafting and negotiation of the landmark U.S.-Soviet nuclear treaties: Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume XI, START I, and Volume XII, INF, 1984–1987. These volumes are closely linked to the four volumes in the subseries devoted to Reagan’s Soviet policies: Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume III, Soviet Union, January 1981–January 1983; Volume IV, Soviet Union, January 1983–March 1985; Volume V, Soviet Union, March 1985–October 1986; and Volume VI, October 1986–January 1989. They ought also to be considered alongside Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, Volume V, European Security, 1977–1983, which chronicles the deployment of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, as well as Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume XLIII, National Security Policy, 1981–1984, and Volume XLIV, Part 1, National Security Policy, 1985–1988, which cover the Strategic Modernization Program, Strategic Defense Initiative, interpretations of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, and the Reagan administration’s policy of “Interim Restraint,” under which the United States respected the terms of the unratified 1979 Treaty Between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (SALT II) until the end of 1986; and Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume XLIV, Part 2, National Security Policy, 1985–1988, which includes coverage of defense policy and strategic planning, military-to-military relations and risk reduction, and competing estimates of Soviet capabilities and intentions. Readers should also consult the arms control chapters in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume XL, Global Issues. Documentation on the completion of START I will be published in Foreign Relations, 1989–1992, Volume XXXI, START I, 1989–1991.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume XI, START I

This volume begins in the summer of 1981, when the Ronald Reagan administration recast the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) as the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START), which the president went on to announce in a speech at Eureka College on May 9, 1982. Following rounds of negotiations in Geneva from June 1982 to [Page X] November 1983, START was incorporated into the Nuclear and Space Arms Talks (NST), which commenced in Geneva on March 12, 1985, and included the resumption of negotiations on Intermediate-Range Forces (INF) and the initiation of Defense and Space Talks (DST). Given the pivotal role of strategic defenses in negotiations on strategic arms reductions, deliberations and instructions pertaining to DST are included in this volume, which concludes in January 1989 with the presidential transition to the administration of George H.W. Bush.

This volume conveys the development of and changes to U.S. negotiating positions, summations of the rounds of talks in Geneva, and the advances and setbacks in reaching an agreement, whether they occured in Moscow, Washington, Reykjavik, New York, or elsewhere. Major themes in START are brought out in documentation such as agency memoranda and position papers, records of National Security Council meetings, National Security Decision Directives, and reporting telegrams from the U.S. delegation in Geneva. Key moments often preceded ministerial meetings between Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, and superpower summits between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. The pre-meeting briefing materials, high-level correspondence, and memoranda of conversation documenting these ministerials and summits included in this volume speak to the pivotal roles played by Reagan, Shultz, Gorbachev, and Shevardnadze in advancing the negotiations. Progress also occurred in experts meetings led by Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Arms Control Matters Paul Nitze and Soviet Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, and in the work of Robert Linhard of the National Security Council Staff and James Timbie of the Department of State, who were stalwart figures throughout. Memoranda to principals, reports of interagency deliberations, and records of U.S.-Soviet experts discussions reflect the importance of such working-level interactions. Documents reflecting the position of the Department of Defense on the START negotiations and the efforts of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board to develop START verification procedures are also included here.

The “T” in START can refer either to “Talks” or “Treaty.” Negotiations are sometimes (redundantly) referred to as the “START Talks,” and the potential outcome as a “START Treaty.” The formal agreement, which Bush and Gorbachev would later sign, on July 31, 1991, bore the title: Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. On January 3, 1993, Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, or “START II.” In the interest of simplification, the editor of this volume has chosen the title: “START I.”

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The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, especially Cate Sewell and Lisa Jones, the Library of Congress, especially Jeffrey Flannery and Ernest Emrich, and the National Security Council, especially Tom Lutte. Thanks are also due to the Central Intelligence Agency for arranging access to the Reagan Library materials scanned for the Remote Archive Capture project. The History Staff of the Center for the Study of Intelligence of the Central Intelligence Agency was accommodating in arranging full access to the files of the Central Intelligence Agency; Sandy Meagher was helpful in providing access to Department of Defense materials. The editor also thanks the staff at the National Archives and Records Administration facility in College Park, Maryland, for their valuable assistance. The editor wishes to extend special thanks to Damian Leader at the Department of State.

James Graham Wilson collected and selected documentation and edited the volume under the supervision of Kathleen B. Rasmussen, then-Chief of the Global Issues and General Division. The volume was reviewed by Kathleen B. Rasmussen and then-Historian of the Department of State Stephen Randolph. Chris Tudda coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of Carl Ashley, Chief of the Declassification Coordination Division. Matthew R.G. Regan did the copy and technical editing under the supervision of Mandy A. Chalou, Chief of the Editing and Publishing Division.

James Graham Wilson.