The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks produced a series of comprehensive arms control agreements between the United States and the Soviet Union that for the first time limited the deployment of ballistic missiles and anti-ballistic missile systems. Commonly referred to as SALT I, the agreements were signed by President Richard Nixon and the General Secretary of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev at the Moscow Summit in May 1972. This volume documents the negotiations leading up to the agreement, the internal deliberations among U.S. policy makers, and reveals the play of political and national security considerations that factored into U.S. policy decisions.
The volume is organized chronologically covering the period of analytical preparation before SALT began, the various rounds of negotiations with the Soviet Union alternating among the cities of Helsinki, Geneva and Vienna, the Presidents Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger's secret trip to Moscow in April 1972, discussions between President Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev at the Moscow Summit in May 1972, and the Nixon administration's efforts to secure congressional approval of the SALT agreement and ratification of the ABM treaty.
Sources for this volume include documents generated in the White House, the National Security Council, the Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. The editor included extracts from memorandums of conversation between Henry Kissinger, and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, telephone transcripts and meeting memoranda prepared by chief SALT negotiator, Gerard Smith, and a significant number of backchannel messages among Smith, Kissinger and Alexander Haig, Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs. Additionally, the editor transcribed specifically for this volume more than twenty excerpts from conversations recorded among the President and his advisors on the secret White House taping system.