SALT I negotiations begin

SALT I negotiations begin

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Soviet and U.S. The meeting was the climax of years of discussions between the two nations concerning the means to curb the Cold War arms race.

Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Gerard Smith was put in charge of the U.S. delegation. At the same time, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger began negotiations with the Soviet ambassador in America. The negotiations continued for nearly three years, until the signing of the SALT I agreement in May 1972.Talks centered around two main weapon systems: anti-ballistic missiles (ABM) and multiple independent re-entry vehicles (MIRVs- missiles with multiple warheads, each capable of striking different targets).

At the time the talks began, the Soviets held a slight advantage in ABM technology; the United States, however, was quickly moving ahead in developing MIRVs, which would give it a tremendous qualitative advantage over Soviet offensive missile systems. From the U.S. perspective, control of ABMs was key. After all, no matter how many missiles the United States developed, if the Soviets could shoot them down before they struck their targets they were of limited use. And, since the Soviets had a quantitative lead in the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), an effective Soviet ABM system meant that the Russians could launch devastating nuclear attacks with little fear of reprisal.

From the Soviet side, the U.S. development of MIRV technology was particularly frightening. Not only were MIRV missiles technologically superior to Soviet weapons, there were also questions as to whether even an advanced ABM system could protect the Soviet Union from this type of missile. It was obviously time to discuss what seemed to be a never-ending arms race.

The SALT I agreement reached in May 1972 limited each nation to no more than 100 ABM launchers at each of two sites of their own choosing. Offensive weapons were also limited. The United States would be held to 1,000 ICBMs and 710 SLBMs; the Soviets could have 1,409 ICBMs and 950 SLBMs. The administration of President Richard Nixon defended the apparent disparity by noting that nothing had been agreed to concerning MIRVs. American missiles, though fewer in number, could therefore carry more warheads.

Whether all of this made the world much safer was hard to say. The United States and Soviet Union essentially said they would limit efforts to both defend themselves and destroy the other. Their nuclear arsenals, however, were still sufficient to destroy the world many times over.

READ MORE: How 'Duck-and-Cover' Drills Channeled America's Cold War Anxiety

Arms Control NOW

Fifty years ago, on Nov. 17, 1969, the United States and the Soviet Union launched the first-ever Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) in Helsinki, Finland. The chief American negotiator was Gerard Smith, who had been appointed the director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency by then-president Richard Nixon.

Smith’s opening message that day: “The limitation of strategic arms is in the mutual interests of our country and the Soviet Union.”

Negotiated in the midst of severe tensions, the SALT agreement and the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty were the first restrictions on the superpowers’ massive strategic offensive weapons, as well as on their emerging strategic defensive systems. The SALT agreement and the ABM Treaty slowed the arms race and opened a period of U.S.-Soviet detente that lessened the threat of nuclear war.

SALT was an executive agreement that capped U.S. and Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) forces. Under SALT, both sides pledged not to construct new ICBM silos, not to increase the size of existing ICBM silos “significantly,” and capped the number of SLBM launch tubes and SLBM-carrying submarines. The agreement limited the United States to 1,054 ICBM silos and 656 SLBM launch tubes. The Soviet Union was limited to 1,607 ICBM silos and 740 SLBM launch tubes. Unfortunately, the agreement did not restrict strategic bombers and did not cap warhead numbers, leaving both sides free to enlarge their forces by increasing their bomber-based forces and by exploiting a newly developed technology, the deployment of multiple warheads (MIRVs) on their ICBMs and SLBMs.

The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty limited strategic missile defenses to 200 interceptors (later 100) each and prevented the emergence of a destabilizing offense-defense arms race. In June 2002, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty over Russian objections and warnings from independent experts about the adverse effects on strategic stability and further efforts to reduce offensive nuclear stockpiles in the future.

Though imperfect, the agreements that resulted from the SALT negotiations were a modest first step toward meeting U.S. and Russian obligations under Article VI of the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to pursue effective measures to end the arms race and achieve nuclear disarmament. The SALT and ABM agreements also set a standard for future bilateral nuclear arms control treaty negotiations that would lead to more ambitious verifiable limitations and reductions of two sides' excessive nuclear stockpiles.

After the ABM Treaty and SALT agreement were concluded in 1972, Smith left the government but continued his work to prevent a nuclear catastrophe in part by joining the Board of Directors of the newly-formed Arms Control Association. He served as the Association’s chairman from 1981 to 1992.

We thank those in government and outside government who have, over the years, helped lead us away from nuclear catastrophe and we pledge to preserve and build upon their achievements in the years ahead.

U.S. Department of State

SALT I, the first series of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, extended from November 1969 to May 1972. During that period the United States and the Soviet Union negotiated the first agreements to place limits and restraints on some of their central and most important armaments. In a Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, they moved to end an emerging competition in defensive systems that threatened to spur offensive competition to still greater heights. In an Interim Agreement on Certain Measures With Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, the two nations took the first steps to check the rivalry in their most powerful land- and submarine-based offensive nuclear weapons.

The earliest efforts to halt the growth in strategic arms met with no success. Strategic weapons had been included in the U.S. and Soviet proposals for general and complete disarmament. But the failure of these comprehensive schemes left strategic arms unrestrained. The United States was the first to suggest dissociating them from comprehensive disarmament plans -- proposing, at the Geneva-based Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee in January 1964, that the two sides should "explore a verified freeze of the number and characteristics of their strategic nuclear offensive and defensive vehicles."

The competition in offensive and defensive armaments continued. By 1966 the Soviet Union had begun to deploy an antiballistic missile defense around Moscow and that year the Peoples Republic of China successfully tested a nuclear missile. In the United States, research and development were leading to U.S. deployment of its own ABM system.

In March 1967, after an exchange of communication with Soviet leaders, President Johnson announced that Premier Kosygin had indicated a willingness to begin discussions. Attempts to get talks underway, however, were not successful.

On September 18, 1967, the United States announced that it would begin deployment of a "thin" antiballistic missile (ABM) system. The Administration emphasized that the deployment was intended to meet a possible limited Chinese ICBM threat, to underscore U.S. security assurances to its allies by reinforcing the U.S. deterrent capability, and to add protection against "the improbable but possible accidental launch of an intercontinental missile by one of the nuclear powers." This program for limited ABM defense brought sharply divided views in public and congressional debate regarding the efficacy and desirability of an ABM system and its possible effects on the arms race.

In announcing the U.S. decision, Secretary of Defense McNamara said,

Let me emphasize -- and I cannot do so too strongly -- that our decision to go ahead with a limited ABM deployment in no way indicates that we feel an agreement with the Soviet Union on the limitation of strategic nuclear offensive and defensive forces is in any way less urgent or desirable.

Through diplomatic channels in Washington and Moscow, discussions with Soviet representatives in the ENDC, and exchanges at the highest levels of the two governments, the United States continued to press for a Soviet commitment to discuss strategic arms limitation. But it was not until the following year that evidence of a Soviet reassessment of its position emerged. On July 1, 1968, President Johnson announced, at the signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, that agreement had been reached with the Soviet Union to begin discussions on limiting and reducing both strategic nuclear weapons delivery systems and defense against ballistic missiles. The date and place for the talks had not yet been announced, when, on August 20, the Soviet Union began its invasion of Czechoslovakia, an event that postponed the talks indefinitely.

On January 20, 1969, the day that President Nixon assumed office, a statement by the Soviet Foreign Ministry expressed willingness to discuss strategic arms limitations. The new President promptly voiced his support for talks, and initiated, under the aegis of the National Security Council, an extensive and detailed review of the strategic, political, and verification aspects of the problem.

In October, the White House and the Kremlin announced that the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks would begin in Helsinki on November 17, 1969, "for preliminary discussion of the questions involved." The Director of ACDA, Gerard Smith, was named to head the U.S. delegation and led it throughout the two and a half-year series of SALT I negotiations.

In the first session of the talks, from November 17 to December 22, each side gained a better understanding of the others views and of the range of questions to be considered. It was agreed that the talks would be private, to encourage a free and frank exchange, and the stage was set for the main negotiations, which opened in Vienna in April 1970. Sessions thereafter alternated between Helsinki and Vienna until the first accords were reached in May 1972. (When SALT II began, in November 1972, to reduce the administrative burdens involved in shifting sites it was agreed to hold them henceforth in one place -- Geneva.)

Soviet and American weapons systems were far from symmetrical. The Soviet Union had continued its development and deployment of heavy ballistic missiles and had overtaken the U.S. lead in land-based ICBMs. During the SALT I years alone Soviet ICBMs rose from around 1,000 to around 1,500, and they were being deployed at the rate of some 200 annually. Soviet submarine-based launchers had quadrupled. The huge payload capacity of some Soviet missiles ("throw-weight") was seen as a possible threat to U.S. land-based strategic missiles even in heavily protected ("hardened") launch-sites.

The United States had not increased its deployment of strategic missiles since 1967 (when its ICBMs numbered 1,054 and its SLBMs 656), but it was conducting a vigorous program of equipping missiles with "Multiple Independently-targeted Re-entry Vehicles" (MIRV). "MIRVs" permit an individual missile to carry a number of warheads directed at separate targets. MIRVs thus gave the United States a lead in numbers of warheads. The United States also retained a lead in long-range bombers. The Soviet Union had a limited ABM system around Moscow the United States had shifted from its earlier plan for a "thin" ABM defense of certain American cities and instead began to deploy ABMs at two land-based ICBM missile sites to protect its retaliatory forces. (The full program envisaged 12 ABM complexes.)

Besides these asymmetries in their strategic forces, the defense needs and commitments of the two parties differed materially. The United States had obligations for the defense of allies overseas, such as Western Europe and Japan, while the Soviet Unions allies were its near neighbors. All these circumstances made for difficulties in equating specific weapons, or categories of weapons, and in defining overall strategic equivalence.

Two initial disagreements presented obstacles. The Soviet representatives sought to define as "strategic" -- i.e., negotiable in SALT -- any U.S. or Soviet weapons system capable of reaching the territory of the other side. This would have included U.S. "forward-based systems," chiefly short-range or medium-range bombers on aircraft carriers or based in Europe, but it would have excluded, for example, Soviet intermediate-range missiles aimed at Western Europe. The United States held that weapons to be negotiated in SALT comprised intercontinental systems. Its forward-based forces served to counter Soviet medium-range missiles and aircraft aimed at U.S. allies. To accept the Soviet approach would have prejudiced alliance commitments.

After initial attempts to reach a comprehensive agreement failed, the Soviets sought to restrict negotiations to antiballistic missile systems, maintaining that limitations on offensive systems should be deferred. The U.S. position was that to limit ABM systems but allow the unrestricted growth of offensive weapons would be incompatible with the basic objectives of SALT and that it was essential to make at least a beginning at limiting offensive systems as well. A long deadlock on the question was finally broken by exchanges at the highest levels of both governments. On May 20, 1971, Washington and Moscow announced that an understanding had been reached to concentrate on a permanent Treaty to limit ABM systems, but at the same time to work out certain limitations on offensive systems, and to continue negotiations for a more comprehensive and long-term agreement on the latter.

In a summit meeting in Moscow, after two and a half years of negotiation, the first round of SALT was brought to a conclusion on May 26, 1972, when President Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev signed the ABM Treaty and the Interim Agreement on strategic offensive arms.

Intensive research had gone into finding ways of verifying possible agreements without requiring access to the territory of the other side. Both the ABM Treaty and the Interim Agreement stipulate that compliance is to be assured by "national technical means of verification." Moreover, the agreements include provisions that are important steps to strengthen assurance against violations: both sides undertake not to interfere with national technical means of verification. In addition, both countries agree not to use deliberate concealment measures to impede verification.

The basic provisions of each SALT I agreement are briefly reviewed in sections that follow. The two accords differ in their duration and inclusiveness. The ABM Treaty "shall be of unlimited duration," but each Party has the right to withdraw on six months notice if it decides that its supreme interests are jeopardized by "extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty." The Interim Agreement was for a five-year span, and covered only certain major aspects of strategic weaponry.

The agreements are linked not only in their strategic effects, but in their relationship to future negotiations for limitations on strategic offensive arms. A formal statement by the United States stressed the critical importance it attached to achieving more complete limitations on strategic offensive arms.

SALT I negotiations begin - HISTORY

The most important pay-for in the GOP unified framework is now on the ropes. The deduction for state and local taxes (SALT), long distained by policy experts on both sides of the aisle, seems likely to survive its most recent near-death experience — a turn of events that should surprise exactly no one.

The SALT deduction has found itself on the chopping block numerous times over the past several decades. Champions of fundamental tax reform have long argued that the provision is regressive, expensive, and unfair. But time and again, supporters of the SALT deduction have managed to deflect those arguments, relying on their own claims to tax fairness and fiscal federalism.

Viewed from a certain angle, the SALT deduction looks vulnerable: It seems to pit high-tax blue states against low-tax red states — or, if you prefer, America’s bicoastal elites against the rugged individuals of the heartland.

But like most dichotomies, this one is overdrawn. States that vote blue at the presidential level tend to elect a fair number of Republicans to Congress, making the politics much trickier. As Leonard Burman and John Iselin of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center recently observed, “45 percent of the top 20 [congressional] districts ranked by percentage of residents claiming the deduction have Republican representatives.”

You don’t have to lose many of those blue-state Republicans before you also lose the battle for repealing the SALT deduction. That fact hasn’t been lost on Republicans, nor has the broader political danger surrounding repeal. “In the House of Representatives, there are 14 Republicans from California, 9 Republicans from New York, and 5 Republicans from New Jersey,” Jim Geraghty wrote recently for the National Review online. “How many of those Republicans get reelected if their constituents feel like they missed out on the tax cut the rest of the country got?”

Despite such numbers, it’s easy to understand why Republican leaders have been willing to roll the dice on repealing the SALT deduction: It’s worth a lot of money. Repeal would free up more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years. Moreover, the provision is widely disparaged for the regressive distribution of its benefits, not to mention its tendency to subsidize state-level spending. In a recent article, my colleague Martin A. Sullivan examined those arguments and many others, noting the complexities that surround even the most compelling arguments against the SALT deduction. But he still concludes that repeal is the most viable option in “the scavenger hunt for revenue raisers.”

All of which may be true. But that doesn’t mean repeal would ever be easy — or even likely. The history of past attempts to curb or eliminate the SALT deduction is not encouraging. Arguments in defense of the SALT deduction may seem weak to experts, but they have repeatedly swayed lawmakers. Champions of the provision have defended it on two principal grounds. First, as a way to protect the tax base of subnational governments from incursions by a revenue-starved Congress. Second, they have described the deduction as a defense against the double taxation of individual income.

More to the point, past efforts to repeal the SALT deduction have relied on its disparate geographic impact to mobilize support for its abolition. But those disparities, while clear in the data, didn’t do much to bolster the case for repeal when it actually had a chance in 1986.

It’s worth pausing to consider the origins of the SALT deduction. The provision has been a feature of federal income taxation since 1862, but its roots run even deeper in U.S. history.
Since the early years of American nationhood, political leaders have been arguing about the need to protect state revenue sources from federal encroachment — as well as the dangers of double taxation to individual taxpayers. Initially, at least, champions of a strong federal power to tax were able to deflect both arguments.

In a 1986 article for Publius , Sarah Liebschutz and Irene Lurie noted the importance of state taxation in arguments over ratifying the Constitution. In particular, supporters of a broad federal taxing power “argued at length against those who feared that ‘all the resources of taxation might by degrees become the subjects of federal monopoly, to the entire exclusion and destruction of the State governments.’” Federalists believed those worries were overstated, arguing that Americans would police the boundaries between state and federal authority by voting to preserve the separate spheres.

    Many spectres have been raised out of this power of internal taxation to excite the apprehensions of the people: double sets of revenue officers, a duplication of their burdens by double taxations . . . have been played off with all the ingenious dexterity of political legerdemain. As to the suggestion of double taxation, the answer is plain. The wants of the Union are to be supplied in one way or another if to be done by the authority of the federal government, it will not be to be done by that of State government. The quantity of taxes to be paid by the community must be the same in either case.

    It is a question of vital importance to [the States] that the General Government should not absorb all their taxable resources — that the accustomed objects of State taxation should, in some degree at least, go untouched. The orbit of the United States and the States must be different and not conflicting. Otherwise, we might perplex and jostle, if we did not actually crush, some of the most loyal States of the Union.

Still, by its very nature, Morrill’s statement does suggest that worries about federal encroachment were an important factor shaping Civil War taxation. And since the taxes paid deduction was an important element of the new income tax, it seems possible that encroachment concerns may have helped prompt its creation.

The SALT provision of the 1862 tax disappeared with the income tax itself in 1872. It returned, on paper if not in practice, when the income tax was briefly revived in 1894 (before being struck down by the Supreme Court in the 1895 Pollock decision). But when the income tax returned for good in 1913, it brought the SALT deduction back for the long haul.

Over the decades, the deduction evolved to reflect its fiscal environment. When states began to rely on sales taxes, the deductibility of those levies in the federal system was made explicit. The introduction of the standard deduction in 1944 also reshaped the SALT deduction, reducing its scope dramatically (and shifting the distribution of its benefits up the income scale). Later revisions in the 1960s and 1970s modestly curbed the deduction, but it remained largely intact through the 1980s.

Its survival, however, did not reflect any sort of elite consensus that the deduction was a good idea. Indeed, policy experts were increasingly hostile to it. In earlier decades, the deduction had escaped careful scrutiny, perhaps because it was widely perceived to be necessary in a system marked by high marginal rates many experts believed that absent the deduction, the combination of federal and state income taxes might have approached confiscatory levels.

    The current deduction for State and local taxes disproportionately benefits high-income taxpayers residing in high-tax States. The two-thirds of taxpayers who do not itemize deductions are not entitled to deduct State and local taxes, and even itemizing taxpayers receive relatively little benefit from the deduction unless they reside in high-tax States. Although the deduction for State and local taxes thus benefits a small minority of U.S. taxpayers, the cost of the deduction is borne by all taxpayers in the form of significantly higher marginal tax rates.

But champions of the SALT deduction, including politicians from the high-tax states that stood to lose the most, were quick to mobilize opposition. “New York Governor Mario Cuomo had raised that issue to the level of righteousness,” observed Jeffrey Birnbaum and Alan Murray in Showdown at Gucci Gulch . Cuomo had ample support from New York Republicans, too, including Sen. Al D’Amato. Party lines were immaterial. “We’re here tonight to underscore this is not a partisan issue,” declared one Democratic lawmaker during a rally to defeat repeal. “It is a matter of survival.”

Birnbaum and Murray called the battle to defeat SALT repeal “one of the most persistent and pervasive lobbying campaigns of the tax reform story.” But their book also recounted the misplaced optimism of the pro-repeal forces: “If tax reform ended up as a fight between New York and the rest of the country, the administration strategists thought, New York would surely lose.”

As it turned out, however, New York was hardly alone.

Then, as now, champions of the SALT deduction were quick to point out that although high-tax states had the most to lose, even low-tax states were home to many who relied on the deduction. A purpose-made lobbying group known as the Coalition Against Double Taxation (recently revived in this year’s fight to defeat repeal) developed data showing the nationwide impact of eliminating the SALT deduction. The coalition offered wavering lawmakers targeted information on the importance of the deduction in their own districts.

The anti-repeal forces quickly made headway. Even supporters of repeal began to realize that the low-tax/high-tax dichotomy was a poor foundation for their campaign. Rep. Ed Jenkins, a Georgia Democrat, was a case in point. “To his own amazement, Jenkins discovered that members opposed fiddling with the deduction no matter how low their own state’s taxes were,” recounted Birnbaum and Murray.

Eventually, Rostenkowski and his negotiating partners in the Reagan administration were forced to acknowledge that full repeal of the SALT deduction was a nonstarter. Ultimately, the 1986 Tax Reform Act eliminated the deductibility of state sales taxes, but it preserved the deductibility of income and property taxes.

1986 is instructive. Then, as now, advocates of repeal vested their hopes in the provision’s disparate geographic impact. But then, as now, those disparities proved inadequate to the task of assembling a consensus for repeal.
Opponents of the SALT deduction, of course, can make a strong case on the merits: Despite the intricacies of its operation and its interaction with other elements of the tax system, the deduction is still regressive and it still operates as a subsidy for state spending.

But curbing any tax provision with such a large — and geographically diverse — constituency will always be hard. That’s especially true when offered up more or less by itself. Without the company afforded by other big-ticket base broadeners, repeal of the SALT deduction will always be inherently vulnerable.

SALT Treaties

SALT Treaties (1972 1979).Over the decade from November 1969 to June 1979, the United States and the Soviet Union conducted strategic arms limitation talks (known as SALT). The first set of accords, called SALT I, were reached in less than three years and signed at the first summit meeting of President Richard M. Nixon with Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev in Moscow on 26 May 1972. It took seven years before a follow‐on treaty was reached, SALT II, signed at the only summit meeting between President Jimmy Carter and Brezhnev, in Vienna on 18 June 1979.

These were the first substantial arms control agreements between the two countries. Originally proposed by the United States in December 1966, the Soviet Union equivocated until May 1968, when the Soviets had numerical strategic parity in sight. A planned opening of SALT at a summit meeting in September 1968 was derailed by the Soviet‐led Warsaw Pact occupation of Czechoslovakia in August. With the defeat of the Democrats in the 1968 presidential election, SALT had to await a new administration and its review of defense and foreign policies. The delay of the opening of SALT from fall 1968 to late fall 1969 had one significant adverse effect: during that year, the United States successfully tested and developed deployable MIRV (multiple, independently targeted reentry vehicle) warheads for its strategic missiles𠅏ive years ahead of the Soviet Union. As a result, the negotiations placed no restrictions on these missiles and a significant continuing growth in numbers of warheads, seriously undercutting the value of the SALT I and SALT II agreements limiting strategic offensive delivery vehicles.

The two SALT I accords reached in May 1972 were the Anti�llistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which severely limited defenses against ballistic missiles (ABM defenses), and an Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, which froze the total number of strategic offensive missile launchers pending further negotiation of a more comprehensive treaty limiting strategic missiles and bombers. (A separate agreement on measures to avert accidental use of nuclear weapons had been concluded in September 1971.) The ABM Treaty, of indefinite duration, restricted each party to two antiballistic missile sites, with 100 ABM launchers at each. In the only later amendment to the treaty, a 1974 protocol, the two parties agreed to forgo one of those sites, so that each was thereafter limited to a single deployment location. Further constraints included a ban on the testing and deployment of land‐mobile, sea�sed, air�sed, and space�sed systems. Only fixed, land�sed ABM systems could be deployed at the one allowed site. The Soviet Union kept its existing ABM deployment around Moscow. The United States completed its deployment at a site for defense of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers near Grand Forks, South Dakota, but in 1975 “mothballed” the complex as too expensive.

The ABM Treaty was a significant achievement in arms limitation, although agreement had been facilitated by doubts on both sides as to the cost�tiveness of available ABM systems. Although the treaty headed off a costly and useless ABM deployment race, it did not have the desired effect of also damping down deployment of strategic offensive missiles, especially because MIRVs were not constrained.

The Interim Agreement froze the level of land‐ and sea�sed strategic missiles (permitting completion of launchers already under construction). The Soviet Union had a quantitative advantage with 2,348 missile launchers to 1,710 for the United States. This was, however, offset in two important ways. First, neither strategic bombers nor forward�sed nuclear delivery systems were included, and the United States had a significant advantage in both categories. Second, although the Soviet Union had more missile launchers and deployed missiles, the United States had a larger number of strategic missile warheads and by 1972 had already begun deploying MIRV warheads. Overall, the Interim Agreement placed only modest limits on strategic missiles. In contrast to the ABM Treaty, it was not significant as an arms control measure.

President Gerald R. Ford and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev reached an agreement at Vladivostok in November 1974 to place a cap of 1,320 on the number of MIRV warheads and equal overall levels of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles at 2,400, including strategic bombers. This was not, however, a formal agreement and efforts to reach a SALT II Treaty to replace the SALT I Interim Agreement remained stalemated for another five years.

Another abortive attempt to conclude an early SALT II Treaty was made by President Jimmy Carter in March 1977, soon after assuming office. He attempted to set aside the Vladivostok accord and plunge into deeper cuts, but the attempt failed because it abandoned the earlier basis for agreement by seeking reductions of Soviet intercontinental systems not covered in the proposed treaty. The negotiations got back on track, but by that time other geopolitical differences between the two sides made agreement more difficult and the negotiations more protracted.

The SALT II Treaty was finally signed at the summit meeting of President Carter and President Brezhnev at Vienna in June 1979. It provided equal levels of strategic arms (2,400, to be reduced over time to 2,200, strategic delivery vehicles) and included strategic bombers as well as strategic missiles. Intended to be in effect for ten years, during which a third SALT negotiation for further reductions was envisaged, the SALT II Treaty fell afoul of the collapse of the Soviet𠄊merican detente of the 1970s after the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1979, and was never ratified. Its major constraints, however, were formally observed by both sides until 1986, and for all practical purposes even thereafter.

Pursuant to the SALT I agreements a Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) was established to resolve questions regarding the meaning of and compliance with the SALT agreements. It was also stipulated that there would be no interference with the use of national technical means of verification, such as observation satellites. SALT thus helped at least to stabilize, if not greatly reduce, the military balance. The SALT process and the agreements reached, while causing some friction and disagreements, did contribute to the overall political detente of the 1970s. Although not sufficient to sustain that detente, the SALT process helped ensure that even under renewed tension the risk of nuclear war remained low.

The SALT process was a success in demonstrating that adversaries could reach arms limitation agreements. Nonetheless, owing to the very cautious and conservative approaches of both sides, the limitations on strategic offensive arms were unable to keep up with the military technological advances given precedence by the two countries. The SALT I Interim Agreement and the unratified SALT II Treaty did, however, bridge the period until later strategic arms reduction treaties (START) were reached in the early 1990s.

The ABM Treaty proved surprisingly durable over at least a quarter of a century. To be sure, it was challenged in the 1980s by advocates of President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, and especially by an ill𠄌onceived attempt by the Reagan administration at unilateral reinterpretation to allow greater testing of space�sed ABM systems through a 𠇋road interpretation” of the treaty, later repudiated. In the 1990s, a renewed interest in limited defense of the United States against possible missile proliferation or accidental missile launchings, and difficulty in defining the dividing line between strategic ABM systems limited by the treaty and tactical or theater ABM systems not limited by it, again posed a serious challenge. The ABM Treaty continues to be in effect and constitutes an important consideration in making possible the deep reductions in strategic offensive arms under the existing and contemplated START Treaties.

Overall, the SALT Treaties made a significant contribution to containing the dangers of the Cold War and provided a foundation for continuing arms control measures to reduce the risk of nuclear war.
[See also Arms Control and Disarmament Cold War: External Course Cuban Missile Crisis Nuclear War, Prevention of Accidental.]

John Newhouse , Cold Dawn: The Story of SALT , 1973.
Strobe Talbott , Endgame: The Inside Story of SALT II , 1979.
Gerard C. Smith , Doubletalk: The Story of SALT I , 1980.
Coit D. Blacker and Gloria Duffy, eds., International Arms Control: Issues and Agreements , 2nd ed., 1984.


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 President’s 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.

May 1982 and After: START Talks Supplant SALT Negotiations, Make No Progress

President Reagan, giving a speech at his alma mater, Eureka College, renames the US-USSR SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) negotiations START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks). The renamed negotiations reflect profound dissension within the administration for and against arms limitation talks (see January 1981 and After and Early 1981 and After). State Department official Richard Burt, formerly opposed to arms negotiations, wants to ramp up the SALT talks and seek reductions in warheads and launchers. Defense Department official Richard Perle, the neoconservative who is working to block another arms limitation with the Soviet Union (see September 1981 through November 1983), wants to focus on payloads and “throw weight.” The administration’s compromise between the two positions—START—“ma[kes] no sense whatsoever,” according to author J. Peter Scoblic.
Initial Proposal Unacceptable to Soviets - START’s initial position—reducing each side’s deployment to 850 nuclear missiles and 5,000 warheads, of which no more than 2,500 can be on ICBMs—sounds like a significant reduction on paper, but many experts on all sides of the nuclear arms issue worry that such an agreement, putting so many warheads on so few missiles, would actually encourage each side to consider a first strike in a crisis. Arms control proponent Paul Warnke says, “If the Russians accept Mr. Reagan’s proposal, he’ll be forced to reject it himself.” But because of the disparity in missile configurations between the US and the Soviets, such an agreement would require the Soviets to drastically reduce their nuclear arsenal by 60 percent, while the US would lose almost nothing therefore, the Soviets would never agree to such a proposal. Scoblic will note that as an opening gambit this proposal might be successful, if the Americans were prepared to back down somewhat and give the Soviets something. But the US negotiators have no intention of backing down. The Soviets are keenly interested in the US agreeing to reduce the number of cruise missiles it has deployed, but Reagan signs a National Security Directive forbidding US negotiators from even discussing the idea until the Soviets made significant concessions on “throw weight,” essentially tying his negotiators’ hands.
Chief US Negotiator Insults Soviets - The negotiations are made more difficult by the US team’s chief negotiator, Edward Rowny. Rowny, a former national security adviser to hardline Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), does not believe in diplomacy with anyone, particularly the Soviets. According to Scoblic, Rowny believes in “telling it like it is” to his Soviet counterparts, which Scoblic calls “insulting one’s negotiating opponents.” As he has no real negotiating latitude, Rowny’s diplomacy consists of little more than insults towards his Soviet counterparts. He tells them they do not understand the issues, boasts of his own Polish (i.e. anti-Russian) heritage, even stages walkouts over the seating arrangements. Rowny feels that he is opening a new era in negotiations, but in reality, the START talks are making no progress. [Scoblic, 2008, pp. 123-124]

Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty I

The negotiations known as Strategic Arms Limitation Talks began in November 1969 and ended in January 1972, with agreement on two documents: the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) and the Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. Both were signed on May 26, 1972.

Interim Agreement between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. of five-year duration which froze the number of strategic ballistic missiles at 1972 levels. Construction of additional land-based ICBM silos were prohibited, while SLBM launcher levels can be increased if corresponding reductions are made in older ICBM or SLBM launchers. Modernization of launchers is allowed, however, if kept within specific dimensions.


SALT I, the first series of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, extended from November 1969 to May 1972. During that period the United States and the Soviet Union negotiated the first agreements to place limits and restraints on some of their central and most important armaments. In a Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, they moved to end an emerging competition in defensive systems that threatened to spur offensive competition to still greater heights. In an Interim Agreement on Certain Measures With Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, the two nations took the first steps to check the rivalry in their most powerful land- and submarine-based offensive nuclear weapons.

Soviet and American weapons systems were far from symmetrical. The Soviet Union had continued its development and deployment of heavy ballistic missiles and had overtaken the U.S. lead in land-based ICBMs. During the SALT I years alone Soviet ICBMs rose from around 1,000 to around 1,500, and they were being deployed at the rate of some 200 annually. Soviet submarine-based launchers had quadrupled. The huge payload capacity of some Soviet missiles ("throw-weight") was seen as a possible threat to U.S. land-based strategic missiles even in heavily protected ("hardened") launch-sites.

The United States had not increased its deployment of strategic missiles since 1967 (when its ICBMs numbered 1,054 and its SLBMs 656), but it was conducting a vigorous program of equipping missiles with "Multiple Independently-targeted Re-entry Vehicles" (MIRV). "MIRVs" permit an individual missile to carry a number of warheads directed at separate targets. MIRVs thus gave the United States a lead in numbers of warheads. The United States also retained a lead in long-range bombers. The Soviet Union had a limited ABM system around Moscow the United States had shifted from its earlier plan for a "thin" ABM defense of certain American cities and instead began to deploy ABMs at two land-based ICBM missile sites to protect its retaliatory forces. (The full program envisaged 12 ABM complexes.)

Besides these asymmetries in their strategic forces, the defense needs and commitments of the two parties differed materially. The United States had obligations for the defense of allies overseas, such as Western Europe and Japan, while the Soviet Unions allies were its near neighbors. All these circumstances made for difficulties in equating specific weapons, or categories of weapons, and in defining overall strategic equivalence.

In a summit meeting in Moscow, after two and a half years of negotiation, the first round of SALT was brought to a conclusion on May 26, 1972, when President Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev signed the ABM Treaty and the Interim Agreement on strategic offensive arms.

Intensive research had gone into finding ways of verifying possible agreements without requiring access to the territory of the other side. Both the ABM Treaty and the Interim Agreement stipulate that compliance is to be assured by "national technical means of verification." Moreover, the agreements include provisions that are important steps to strengthen assurance against violations: both sides undertake not to interfere with national technical means of verification. In addition, both countries agree not to use deliberate concealment measures to impede verification.

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Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, died on June 5, 2004, at his home in California. His presidency spanned one of the most tumultuous periods in U.S.-Soviet relations and the history of the nuclear arms race. This article summarizes the Reagan record on nuclear weapons and arms control with the Soviet Union. Some parts of the essay are drawn from “Arms Control and National Security: An Introduction,” published by the Arms Control Association in 1989.

Ronald Reagan came to the presidency as a long-time critic of arms control and detente with the Soviet Union, the preeminent U.S. strategic adversary during his eight years in office. Throughout the 1970s, Reagan had argued that the United States was falling behind the Soviets in the nuclear competition and that U.S. long-range ballistic missiles were becoming increasingly vulnerable to Soviet attack. During his 1980 election campaign against President Jimmy Carter, Reagan contended that the unratified Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II (SALT II) was “fatally flawed.” As president, Reagan accelerated strategic nuclear modernization plans and launched modern efforts to build a national missile defense system through his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), raising tensions with the Soviet Union and prompting widespread public concern about the possibility of war between world’s two major nuclear superpowers.

Yet, Reagan’s early opposition to U.S.-Soviet arms control negotiations gradually gave way to a more conciliatory approach that was consistent with his growing concern about the threat of mutual assured destruction. By the time he had left office, Reagan had overcome the reluctance of many of his closest advisers to engage with the Soviets and had forged an enduring diplomatic partnership with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. That partnership, combined with strong U.S. and European public pressure for nuclear restraint, led to some of the most sweeping arms control proposals in history and helped usher in a new age in U.S.-Russian relations.

Reagan and Gorbachev eventually concluded the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement and established the foundation for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which was concluded in 1991. Nevertheless, the full promise of Reagan’s and Gorbachev’s proposals for radical nuclear weapon reductions remain unfulfilled. U.S. and Russian nuclear forces, although smaller, still confront each other, and many of the strategic weapons systems promoted by Reagan remain in place or have been revived.

INF and the Reagan Buildup

Soon after taking office, and under pressure from NATO allies, the administration resumed talks to limit intermediate-range nuclear forces based in Europe, a process that had begun under Carter. At the outset of these negotiations, the United States proposed the elimination of all U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range (1,000-5,500 kilometers) nuclear weapons on a global basis, the so-called zero-option, which the Soviets rejected. The two sides would gradually move closer to an INF agreement over the next six years.

Reagan’s first nuclear initiative, however, went in the opposite direction. In October 1981, he unveiled his plan for a major, strategic modernization program to add thousands of additional warheads and a variety of new delivery systems to the U.S. arsenal, while improving U.S. command and control capabilities. The strategic package, which in large part built on previous programs, called for a big increase in bomber forces, including 100 B-lBs and the development of stealth bombers, a new land-based 10-warhead strategic missile (the MX), and new intermediate-range missile deployments in Europe. In addition, he proposed deploying more than 3,000 air-launched cruise missiles on bombers. Reagan called for accelerated development and deployment of the Trident II D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missile and sea-launched cruise missiles.

The MX missile was among the most technically and politically controversial programs of the first years of the administration. The MX was more precise and more powerful but was considered by many to be a destabilizing first-strike weapon. Due to strong bipartisan opposition, the original plan to shuttle MX missiles on an extensive rail network in the western United States was scrapped. In November 1982, after considering more than 30 basing plans, the Reagan administration proposed deployment of 100 MX missiles in fixed silos.

The nuclear buildup also led to increased activity at more than a dozen major aging and unsafe nuclear-weapon production plants and called for continued nuclear testing. Under Reagan’s watch, spending on nuclear weapons research, development, testing, and production totaled $39.5 billion (in constant 1996 dollars), a 39 percent increase over the previous eight-year period.[ 1 ] The cost of environmental remediation at these sites now exceeds $6 billion annually.

The aims of the U.S. strategic buildup were twofold: to reduce U.S. vulnerability by expanding the number and diversity of nuclear weapons and to increase Soviet vulnerability so that the United States could acquire the capability to fight and win an extended nuclear war. The prospect of an arms race seemed less frightening to Reagan, who said in 1978 that “the Soviet Union cannot possibly match us in an arms race,” than to his predecessors. Continued Soviet missile programs and a skyrocketing U.S. budget deficit, however, called into question the validity of this judgment.

The proposed buildup was based on the controversial notion that U.S. nuclear superiority would provide greater military and political leverage vis-à-vis the Soviets. The Pentagon’s 1984-88 Defense Guidance document, which was leaked to reporters in 1982, stated that, in the event of nuclear war, “[t]he United States must prevail and be able to force the Soviet Union to seek earliest termination of hostilities on terms favorable to the United States.” To many observers, this statement appeared to reflect a belief that nuclear war could be won, a view that Reagan and his top aides had attributed to Soviet leaders. In public statements, Reagan denied he held this view and said, “Everybody would be a loser if there’s a nuclear war.”

Nevertheless, public concern about the possibility of nuclear war grew as the superpower relationship degenerated into exchanges of hostile rhetoric. An NBC/Associated Press public opinion survey in December 1981 found that 76 percent of Americans believed that nuclear war was “likely” within a few years, an increase from 57 percent just six months earlier. Many arms control advocates argued that Reagan was using dubious claims of Soviet superiority and resisting calls to re-engage the Soviets on strategic nuclear arms control talks in order to achieve U.S. nuclear strategic superiority. They said the effort would only backfire, spurring the arms race to new heights. Moreover, critics of the Reagan buildup feared that an effort to make Soviet forces vulnerable could increase Soviet incentives to launch a first strike in a crisis.

By early 1982, a broad-based citizens’ campaign had coalesced behind the idea of a verifiable, bilateral freeze on nuclear weapons development, deployment, and testing. That year, more than 200 city councils and nine state legislatures passed resolutions endorsing the freeze and, in November, voters in nine out of 10 states passed freeze referenda. Although it was sharply criticized by the White House, growing congressional and popular support for the freeze proposal helped put public pressure on the Reagan administration to initiate strategic arms talks with the Soviets.

Strategic Arms Control

In mid-1982, Reagan agreed to resume strategic nuclear arms reduction talks, dubbed START. The initial U.S. START proposal required much greater cuts in Soviet than in U.S. forces, especially land-based missiles, which comprised the bulk of the Soviet strategic nuclear arsenal. The proposal also omitted constraints in areas where the United States held a lead, such as strategic bombers and air-launched cruise missiles. The Soviet Union rejected the U.S. approach and proposed further reductions within the SALT II framework. Two years of fruitless negotiations followed. Then, in 1983, as the United States began deployment of Pershing II and ground-launched cruise missiles in Europe, the Soviet Union left the bargaining table.

Meanwhile, Reagan’s revised MX deployment plan remained unpopular in Congress. Reagan responded by appointing a commission on U.S. strategic nuclear forces, led by Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft. The commission would later endorse MX deployment and a proposal pushed by some congressional Democrats for research for a smaller intercontinental ballistic missile with one or possibly two or three warheads. The Scowcroft commission also took issue with the claim of hard-liners in the Reagan camp who charged that U.S. forces were vulnerable to a Soviet first-strike and urged the administration to pursue a more flexible and pragmatic approach to the strategic arms talks.

According to some historians of the era, Reagan became increasingly disturbed about the possibility of an inadvertent nuclear exchange after U.S. nuclear war planning exercises in 1983 and 1984, which led the Soviets to upgrade their nuclear alert level. This incident rattled Reagan, who said in a January 1984 speech that the highest priority in U.S.-Soviet relations should be reducing the risk of nuclear war and reducing nuclear arsenals. In a speech delivered to the United Nations just six weeks before the 1984 presidential election, Reagan positioned himself as a peacemaker by calling for a new round of comprehensive arms negotiations with the Soviets.[ 2 ]

With the arms talks deadlocked and public and congressional support for a nuclear weapons freeze mounting, Reagan initiated a new chapter in the strategic debate on March 23, 1983, when he announced his aim to develop space-based anti-ballistic missile systems that would render nuclear weapons “impotent and obsolete.” The administration would subsequently call the comprehensive research effort SDI, but it was quickly dubbed “Star Wars” because of the systems’ planned reliance on high-technology laser and beam weapons deployed in space.

In recent years, Reagan administration officials have claimed that the actual technical success of such a system was unimportant what really mattered was convincing the Soviets that they would have to make unsustainable technological and financial commitments to keep pace with the United States. The Kremlin would therefore be more amenable to arms control agreements. Reagan’s national security adviser, Robert C. McFarlane, claimed that the administration “primarily committed to launching it with the expectation that we would never have to build it because the Soviets would come our way in the arms control setting.”

That was not the public case made by the administration at the time. Reagan and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger repeatedly held out the promise of an anti-ballistic missile defense system that could provide a “security shield” to protect the population and eliminate the prevailing strategic situation of mutually assured destruction.

Critics of Star Wars asserted that these futuristic defenses would not work effectively, would stimulate a defensive and offensive arms race, and would make war more likely in a crisis by provoking a preemptive strike. SDI also threatened the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which was designed to constrain such a program and which would have to be abrogated or violated long before a deployment decision could be made.

To circumvent these constraints, the Reagan administration in October 1985 advanced a controversial reinterpretation of the ABM Treaty that would allow for the development and testing of space-based and other mobile ABM systems and components. This so-called broad interpretation actually contradicted the treaty, which prohibited the testing and development of space-based defenses and/or development of a nationwide missile defense system.

Twenty years and $124 billion since Reagan’s 1983 speech, the old strategic missile defense program continues[ 3 ] and the ABM Treaty is gone. Still far from being operationally effective and reliable, such defenses are now ostensibly designed to counter ballistic missile threats from smaller states, though Russia and China remain wary and ready to counter future deployments.

Nonproliferation Under Reagan

The Reagan administration’s efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to other states were often secondary to countering the Soviet threat. Although his administration led the way in creating a missile export control organization (the Missile Technology Control Regime), efforts aimed at constraining Pakistan’s emerging nuclear weapons program proved too little, too late. Pakistan was able to leverage its support for anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan into a waiver of proliferation penalties and a grant of U.S. military assistance. In place of the penalties, the Reagan administration sought assurances from Pakistan’s military dictatorship that they would not enrich uranium to a level suitable for making nuclear weapons. By 1987, however, Pakistan had already produced enough highly enriched uranium for one or two nuclear bombs. By the 1990s, leading Pakistani nuclear scientists had developed a black-market nuclear trading network.

A New Partner and New Thinking

In January 1985, as the United States deployed new missiles in Europe, the Soviet Union agreed to Reagan’s proposal for resuming arms control negotiations on strategic, intermediate, and defensive weapons. In November 1985, Reagan held a summit meeting with the new Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, which was Reagan’s first with any top Soviet leader. The Geneva meeting brought a new note of civility to superpower relations but achieved no immediate results. Both sides continued publicly to advocate radical, presumably non-negotiable, solutions to the nuclear dilemma. At the same time, each side continued to develop and deploy new and more advanced weaponry.

In July 1985, Gorbachev proclaimed the first of several unilateral moratoria on Soviet nuclear testing. Despite congressional resolutions urging the start of negotiations on a comprehensive test ban treaty, Reagan did not reciprocate, believing that continued testing was crucial to nuclear modernization efforts and SDI. As a result, comprehensive test ban talks were delayed for another nine years. In January 1986, Gorbachev countered Reagan’s Star Wars initiative with a three-part plan for nuclear disarmament by the year 2000. Although the proposal was uniformly rejected by his administration, Reagan’s private response to his secretary of state, George Schultz, was, “Why wait until the end of the century for a world free of nuclear weapons?”[ 4 ]

Prospects for arms control received a major setback when, in May 1986, after several reports alleging Soviet treaty violations, Reagan renounced his previous “political commitment” to SALT I and II on strategic offensive arms, which led to a strong negative reaction from Congress and U.S. allies in Europe and, ironically, added to pressure for limitations on the nuclear buildup.

Meanwhile, the Reagan White House sought to respond to Gorbachev and counter the perception that the Soviet Union was leaning further forward to reduce the nuclear threat. Reagan proposed the abolition of all nuclear-armed missiles with the continued development of SDI, a proposal that was radical even if it would result in a balance of nuclear forces more favorable to the United States. The proposal was rejected by Gorbachev, but the two sides continued negotiations on nuclear arms reduction proposals.

Expectations ran high in the run-up to the Reykjavik summit of October 1986. To the horror of some Reagan advisers, the two leaders privately spoke of the elimination of all nuclear weapons. In the end, however, the meeting defined more modest areas of agreement and remaining problems for a new arms control regime. Although the two sides agreed in principle to the “zero-option” for no intermediate nuclear forces in Europe and to a halving of strategic offensive arms, the meeting deadlocked over the issue of strategic defenses and the proper interpretation of the ABM Treaty.

Closing the Deal

In early 1987, the Reagan administration intensified its efforts to make strategic defenses a key component of U.S. nuclear strategy. A formal move to adopt the new “broad” interpretation of the ABM Treaty and prepare for early deployment of SDI was seriously contemplated by the administration. At the same time, the political furor over the administration’s Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scheme led many in the White House to push for an arms control breakthrough that could revive Reagan’s sagging popularity.

At this critical juncture, Gorbachev’s flexibility helped achieve a breakthrough. Gorbachev decided to de-link the INF negotiations from the larger strategic discussions (including Soviet calls for limiting SDI to a research program) and essentially agreed to accept the zero-option position of the United States on intermediate-range missiles. Gorbachev’s shift was apparently informed by the growing sense that it would be many years before SDI could be deployed. This move set the stage for agreement on an INF Treaty that was signed at a Washington summit in December 1987 and entered into force six months later. The INF Treaty proved to be a political and strategic watershed that helped transform the U.S.-Soviet relationship. The pact established new verification provisions and eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons, many of which had been deployed under Reagan’s watch.

Work on the draft strategic arms agreement continued during 1988 and at the next summit meeting in Moscow in late May and early June 1988. Despite the earlier success on intermediate-range nuclear forces, the sides failed to resolve remaining differences over the interpretation of the ABM Treaty and the terms of the offense/defense relationship under START. The START negotiations under Reagan would, however, lead to the eventual negotiation and signing of START I by Gorbachev and President George H. W. Bush in July 1991. By 2003, each side had reduced their deployed arsenals to the START ceiling of 6,000 warheads and eliminated many of the missiles and bombers affected by the treaty. Yet, Reagan’s “trust but verify” axiom of arms control has been abandoned in the latest U.S.-Russian strategic arms reduction agreement, which will lower deployments to no more than 2,200 warheads but will not require dismantlement of retired systems or new verification provisions.

Reagan’s mixed legacy has permitted rival claimants to offer divergent views of his role in the end of the Cold War and the easing of nuclear tensions in the 1990s. Some facts, however, are beyond dispute. Reagan presided over a massive nuclear buildup and launched an expensive effort to build a defense against strategic missiles, which exacerbated tensions with Moscow. His military policies catalyzed widespread anti-nuclear activism that increased the political impetus for nuclear arms control. Yet, Reagan’s unconventional leadership style and determination also allowed him to reach out to the Soviet leadership and relate to Gorbachev’s new and bold thinking. Together the two leaders set their nations on a path toward arms control arrangements that reflected their personal abhorrence for nuclear war and addressed domestic and international concern about where Cold War nuclear rivalry might eventually lead without such restraint.

1. Schwartz, Stephen, et al, Atomic Audit: the Cost and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1998, Table A-2.

2. Powaski, Ronald E., Return to Armageddon: The United States and the Nuclear Arms Race 1981-1999. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

3, For fiscal years 1984-2004. Christopher Hellman, Council for a Livable World, personal conversation, June 2004.

4. Shultz, George P., Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1993.

Shuttle Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1974–1975

In January and May 1974, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger engaged in “shuttle diplomacy,” a term coined by the members of the media who followed Kissinger on his various short flights among Middle East capitals as he sought to deal with the fallout of the October 1973 war. After three weeks of fighting, a ceasefire found Israeli forces entangled with the Egyptian and Syrian forces. This presented President Richard Nixon and Kissinger with an opportunity to play a lead role in disengaging these armies from one another and possibly laying the groundwork for further steps to peacefully resolve the 25-year conflict. In January 1974, Kissinger helped negotiate the first Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement in eight days, and in May, he arranged a Syrian-Israeli disengagement after a month of intense negotiations. Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy secured one last deal in September 1975 with the conclusion of a second Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement.

The origins of the first shuttle started with Israel’s proposals for disengagement with the Egyptians on January 4 and 5, 1974. Israel’s proposals demonstrated to Kissinger that the two sides were close enough for him to engage in intensive diplomacy between Jerusalem and Cairo to find a way to negotiate a solution. Nixon, who had become severely distracted by the growing Watergate crisis, encouraged Kissinger to make the trip, but Nixon’s involvement in this negotiation and the ones to follow before his resignation was minimal.

On January 11, Kissinger arrived in Aswan, Egypt where President Anwar Sadat worked during the winter. The negotiations would center around three key items: first, where the forward line of each army would be located second, the size of the zones where armor was to be limited and third, the types of armor to be limited in these zones. The Israelis also wanted the Egyptians to reopen the Suez Canal and sought assurances guaranteeing Israeli passage through the Suez Canal, the Straits of Tiran, and Bab el-Madeb. Furthermore, Israel desired Egypt to reconstruct cities along the Suez Canal so as to ensure that the danger to Egyptian civilian populations would deter Egypt from starting another war. Kissinger shuttled between Israel and Egypt for a week, reaching an agreement on January 18. The highlights of the agreement included limited Egyptian and Israeli forces divided by a U.N. buffer zone on the east bank of the Suez Canal. Egypt also agreed to most of the assurances that Israel had requested.

Following the conclusion of this Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement, commonly known as Sinai I, U.S. attention moved to Syria, the other country with armies entangled with Israel’s forces. Kissinger hoped moving on the Syrian-Israeli front would lead the Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) to lift the oil embargo they had imposed on the United States in retaliation for American assistance to Israel during the war.

Unlike the relatively short negotiations that led to the Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement, negotiations for a Syrian-Israeli disengagement proved far more arduous and took much longer. By March 18, OPEC lifted the oil embargo, but it would be subject to review on June I. With a need to show progress in negotiations between Israel and Syria before then, Kissinger moved forward in laying the groundwork for another shuttle. Through the end of March and most of April, Kissinger met separately in Washington with Israeli officials and a senior- level Syrian emissary to discuss the groundwork for negotiations.

By the end of April, Kissinger decided the time was right to begin his second shuttle in the Middle East. On May 1, he left for Jerusalem to begin nearly a month of intense negotiations between the Israelis and Syrians. The negotiation centered on the town of Quneitra in the Golan Heights, three kilometers within the zone Israel had captured during the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Since Quneitra did not include any Israeli settlements, the Syrians wanted the town returned as part of any agreement, as well as the territory taken during the October war. After the first week of negotiations, the Syrians and Israelis had shared with Kissinger their views of a line of disengagement. They were close to one another however, control of Quneitra and three hills that surrounded the town remained the key stumbling block. By mid-May, both sides had agreed to compromises that put their proposals within a few hundred meters of each other, and Israel had assented to a civilian Syrian presence in Quneitra. Despite the progress, neither side would close the gap needed to complete an agreement. On May 16, Kissinger offered an American proposal that sought to find the common ground necessary to reach a compromise. Both sides wanted modifications to this American proposal, however, and negotiations dragged on for another two weeks with Kissinger almost ceasing the negotiations on three separate occasions. Finally, on May 31, Syria and Israel signed a disengagement agreement.


The family returned to Utah in 1885 and Enos engaged in mining at Mercur and elsewhere. Wall first visited the Bingham Mining District in 1887 and immediately detected signs of copper. At once he stalked three claims, and by 1900 owned all or part of nineteen claims, covering an area of two hundred acres.

In his attempts to gain financial backing for development of these low-grade properties, he approached Joseph R. DeLamar. Sometime later DeLamar obtained an option on a portion of Wall's holdings and had tests made by Daniel C. Jackling, then a young metallurgical engineer. Many negotiations ensured during the next three years until the Utah Copper Company was incorporated in 1903.

It was Wall's copper properties that netted him his vast fortune, although that venture was probably the most unpleasant and frustrating in his fifty-year mining career. He eventually sold his holdings, receiving $2,700,000 on the New York market. In 1904, Wall purchased a two story adobe home at 411 East South Temple, which had been built in 1880 by Mormon Bishop James Sharp. He hired architect Richard Kletting to transform the home into a palatial dwelling resembling a Renaissance villa. He lived the remainder of his life there, and on 29 June 1920 died of cancer at the age of eighty-one. Following the death of Mrs. Wall three years later, the home was bought by the Jewish community to be used as a social center. The building is presently occupied by the LDS Business College.

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