Strategic Arms Limitation Talks

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The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) were two rounds of bilateral conferences and corresponding international treaties involving the United States and the Soviet Union—the Cold War superpowers—on the issue of arms control. The two rounds of talks and agreements were SALT I and SALT II.

Negotiations commenced in Helsinki, Finland, in November 1969.[1] SALT I led to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and an interim agreement between the two countries. Although SALT II resulted in an agreement in 1979, the United States Senate chose not to ratify the treaty in response to the Soviet war in Afghanistan, which took place later that year. The Soviet legislature also did not ratify it. The agreement expired on December 31, 1985 and was not renewed.

A belief commonly held during this time was that the Helsinki negotiations were designed to completely terminate the military rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, or result in ultimate cooperation between the two countries. This was not the case, considering neither of the countries were ready to disarm themselves, rendering themselves totally vulnerable to the opposing side.[2]

The talks led to the STARTs, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties, which consisted of START I (a 1991 completed agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union) and START II (a 1993 agreement between the United States and Russia, which was never ratified by the United States), both of which proposed limits on multiple-warhead capacities and other restrictions on each side's number of nuclear weapons. A successor to START I, New START, was proposed and was eventually ratified in February 2011.

SALT Advisement

There were a multitude of agencies that were a part of advising the President about SALT. These agencies included: Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. The Special Coordination Committee, which discussed SALT issues included : the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Secretaries of State and Defense, Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of Central Intelligence.[2]

SALT Objectives

The first objective of the two SALT agreements was to permit the United States and the Soviet Union to be essentially equivalent in their arsenal of strategic forces.[3] This was to ensure that the Soviet Union could not gain advantage over the United States and its allies and that the two countries were equally as strong as the other. Second, they were to maintain and enhance (if possible) stability in this balance in order to prevent future nuclear warfare between the two. This stability meant that both countries had large enough forces so that the other side had no incentive to make the first move. The stability that the two countries had was made clear when the restraint of arms improvement was made. This was included to ensure that neither country could enhance their arsenal, which consequently, could threaten the balance and make one country have the advantage once again. The talks also provided a stable foundation for the political relations between the US and the Soviet Union and kept both their interests in respect.[4]

SALT I Treaty

SALT I is the common name for the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks Agreement signed on May 26, 1972. SALT I froze the number of strategic ballistic missile launchers at existing levels and provided for the addition of new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers only after the same number of older intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and SLBM launchers had been dismantled.[5] SALT I also limited land-based ICBMs that were in range from the northeastern border of the continental United States to the northwestern border of the continental USSR.[6] In addition to that, SALT I limited the number of SLBM capable submarines that NATO and the United States could operate to 50 with a maximum of 800 SLBM launchers between them. If the United States or NATO were to increase that number, the USSR could respond with increasing their arsenal by the same amount.

The strategic nuclear forces of the Soviet Union and the United States were changing in character in 1968. The total number of missiles held by the United States had been static since 1967 at 1,054 ICBMs and 656 SLBMs but there was an increasing number of missiles with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads being deployed. MIRVs carried multiple nuclear warheads, often with dummies, to confuse ABM systems, making MIRV defense by ABM systems increasingly difficult and expensive.[5] Both sides were also permitted to increase their number of SLBM forces, but only after disassembling an equivalent number of older ICBMs or SLBM launchers on older submarines.

One clause of the treaty required both countries to limit the number of deployment sites protected by an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system to one each. The idea of this system was that it would prevent a competition in ABM deployment between the US and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had deployed such a system around Moscow in 1966 and the United States announced an ABM program to protect twelve ICBM sites in 1967. After 1968, the Soviet Union tested a system for the SS-9 missile, otherwise known as the R-36 missile.[7] A modified two-tier Moscow ABM system is still used. The United States built only one ABM site to protect a Minuteman base in North Dakota where the "Safeguard" Program was deployed. This base was increasingly more vulnerable to attacks by the Soviet ICBMs, because of the advancement in Soviet missile technology. When the United States recognized this problem, there was discussion of whether or not to deploy a "mobile and more survivable basing mode for ICBMs under the MX program."[2] Due to the system's expense and limited effectiveness, the Pentagon disbanded "Safeguard" in 1975.

Negotiations lasted from November 17, 1969, until May 1972 in a series of meetings beginning in Helsinki, with the US delegation headed by Gerard C. Smith, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Subsequent sessions alternated between Vienna and Helsinki. After a long deadlock, the first results of SALT I came in May 1971, when an agreement was reached over ABM systems. Further discussion brought the negotiations to an end on May 26, 1972, in Moscow when Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev signed both the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Interim Agreement Between The United States of America and The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Certain Measures With Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.[8] A number of agreed statements were also made. This helped improve relations between the United States and the USSR.

SALT II

Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev signing the SALT II treaty, June 18, 1979, at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna.

SALT II was a series of talks between United States and Soviet negotiators from 1972 to 1979 which sought to curtail the manufacture of strategic nuclear weapons. It was a continuation of the SALT I talks and was led by representatives from both countries. SALT II was the first nuclear arms treaty which assumed real reductions in strategic forces to 2,250 of all categories of delivery vehicles on both sides.

SALT II helped the United States to discourage the Soviets from arming their third-generation ICBMs of SS-17, SS-19 and SS-18 types with many more MIRVs. In the late 1970s the USSR's missile design bureaus had developed experimental versions of these missiles equipped with anywhere from 10 to 38 warheads each. Additionally, the United States debated whether or not to include the Soviet "Backfire" bomber into the aggregate total of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles. The U.S. panel stated that if there was a failure to include them in the total, it could potentially lead the Soviets, at the rate of their production, to have approximately 400 Backfire bombers by 1988, therefore exceeding the limitations set by the SALT agreement.[3] The Soviets secretly agreed to reduce Tu-22M production to thirty aircraft per year and not to give them an intercontinental range. It was particularly important for the United States to limit Soviet efforts in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) rearmament area.

The SALT II Treaty banned new missile programs (a new missile defined as one with any key parameter 5% better than in currently deployed missiles), so both sides were forced to limit their new strategic missile types development and construction, such as the development of additional fixed ICBM launchers. Likewise, this agreement would limit the number of MIRVed ballistic missiles and long range missiles to 1,320.[9] However, the United States preserved their most essential programs like the Trident missile, along with the cruise missiles President Jimmy Carter wished to use as his main defensive weapon as they were too slow to have first strike capability. In return, the USSR could exclusively retain 308 of its so-called "heavy ICBM" launchers of the SS-18 type.

A major breakthrough for this agreement occurred at the Vladivostok Summit meeting in November 1974, when President Gerald Ford and General Secretary Leonid Breshnev came to an agreement on the basic framework for the SALT II agreement. The elements of this agreement were stated to be in effect through 1985.

An agreement to limit strategic launchers was reached in Vienna on June 18, 1979, and was signed by Leonid Brezhnev and Carter at a ceremony held in the Redoutensaal of the imperial Hofburg Palace.[10]

Six months after the signing, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and in September of the same year, the United States discovered that a Soviet combat brigade was stationed in Cuba.[11] Although President Carter claimed this Soviet brigade had only recently been deployed to Cuba, the unit had been stationed on the island since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.[12] In light of these developments, the treaty was never ratified by the United States Senate. Its terms were, nonetheless, honored by the U.S. until 1986.[13] SALT II was superseded by START I in 1991.[14]

Reagan's Attitude Towards SALT II

SALT II was devised during the Carter Administration. His goal was to continually strengthen the regulations proposed in SALT I and push forward into more advanced future arms control plans. However, when Ronald Reagan took office, he openly criticized the quality of the SALT II plan.[15] According to President Reagan, SALT II contained fundamental errors that needed to be addressed.[15] This open criticism of the past president’s foreign policy plan was an unusual occurrence, and it resulted in the overall rejection of SALT II. It is usually customary for a president to reassess their predecessor’s foreign policy plans and make adjustments based on what is going on in the world.

Despite Reagan’s criticism and SALT II’s inability to become ratified by the US Congress, his administration continued to follow to the terms laid out in the treaty until November 1986.[15]

Reagan's Decision to Follow SALT II

There are several reasons for the Reagan administration’s adherence to the terms of SALT II. First, there were not very many constraints for weapon systems development detailed in the plan.[15] This allowed the United States to continue testing and developing new weapon systems. Additionally, the SALT II plan offered some unique strategic advantages for the United States and the Reagan administration. It prevented the Soviet Union from increasing the number of nuclear warheads in their stockpiles. It also prevented them from developing and implementing several different types of missile launchers. Finally, adherence to the SALT II plan allowed the Reagan administration to ease the pressure that was being directed towards them to make progress in the arms control movement.[15] When Reagan came into office, there was not a better solution than SALT II that could be immediately implemented, so he and his administration decided to follow its guidelines in order to appease Congress.[15]

The decision to accept the SALT II provisions was also influenced by European allies to the United States. The United States had installed missile launch sites in several locations across Europe.[15] The Reagan administration wanted to make sure that the worries of their European allies regarding arms control were put to rest. In order to do so, Reagan decided to continue following the plan until one he saw as more appropriate was developed.

Therefore, the political, technological, and strategic advantages provided by SALT II led to Reagan choosing to uphold its guidelines, despite his initial distaste for the plan.

Protocol for SALT Agreements

This provision was to place limits on the systems that were not yet ready to be discussed. The provisions for this would remain in force until December 31, 1981. Overall, the United States and the Soviet Union came to an agreement on banning the deployment of mobile ICBM launchers and flight-testing of those ICBMs from launchers. Development of these systems was permitted though, as long as there was no deployment action.[4] Additionally, the Protocol banned the deployment of long range cruise missiles on ground and sea based launchers. Finally, the Protocol banned the flight-testing and deployment of air-to-surface ballistic missiles (ASBMs).[4]

Verification of SALT Agreements

In order to confirm that the both the United States and the Soviet Union were in compliance with all provisions set in the SALT II agreement, both countries used NTM, or National Technical Means of verification, which included photo-reconnaissance satellites.[4] Both sides came to an agreement that interference with the opposing side's national technical means would be prohibited and all activity must be easily distinguishable, not concealed, to confirm that there was no hindrance of verification. Otherwise the provisions would be consider to have been violated. One way that monitoring was done using NTM's was by collecting "telemetry", or electronic signals that are used to transmit information while system tests are being performed. Both the United States and the Soviet Union agreed upon a provision stating that when one country asked about the telemetric signals, the other country could not withhold that information or deliberately deny the allegations.[4]

The second verification method was confirming that the Multiple Independently Targetable Re-Entry Vehicle (MIRV) limits were being adhered to. Both the United States and the Soviet Union agreed that if a missile had been tested using MIRVs, then it would be presumed that every missile of that type would be equipped with MIRVs, even if they had been tested previously using non-MIRV methods.[4] The missiles would then be included in the 1,320 that had been set by the agreements.

To monitor the provisions, the US and Soviet Union were required to maintain and update a data base containing each of the countries weapons that were encompassed in the SALT-limited categories at each of the sessions of the Standing Consultative Commission (SCC).

The Incrementalism Approach

The goal of both SALT I and SALT II was to create a set of policies that would gradually evolve through revisions and adjustments. The initial policies set forth in SALT I would gradually change according to current situations, and policymakers would be able to more easily adjust to new rules and regulations.[15] Additionally, incrementalism in policymaking, and therefore treaty making, allows for there to be similarity and consistency between multiple iterations of the same plan. This consistency helps ensure that both sides of the treaty are on the same page and that their relationships with one another would not become strained.[15] SALT II was therefore intended to act as a step towards SALT III and greater control of the growing Arms Race. The final element of SALT II set up a framework in order to take the step towards SALT III. This third element, the "Joint Statement of Principles" was to accomplish three main goals : further reduction of available strategic arms, further qualitative limitations on these strategic arms, and finally to resolve the issues in the Protocol of the SALT agreements.[4]

Without SALT

Without the SALT agreements providing stability between the United States and the Soviet Union arms restraints, there would have been the scare of yet another strategic arms race between these two countries. The Soviet Union had deployed some 2,250 nuclear delivery vehicles and were capable of producing and deploying many more missiles by the middle of the 1980s. If this was to occur, the United States would then begin to retain the equipment necessary to build and increase their production of missiles to match that of the Soviet Union. This would increase the costs and security over the United States, nonetheless, making sure that neither side reached ultimate superiority over the other.[2] In addition, the failure of SALT consequently would have led to "increased political insecurity, and the inherent instability of an unrestrained, and more costly, strategic arms competition".[2]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Paterson, Thomas G. (2009). American foreign relations : a history (7. ed. ed.). Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth. p. 376. ISBN 978-0547225692. 
  2. ^ a b c d e United States. Department of State. Office of Public Communication. The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. Washington: Dept. of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Public Communication : for Sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1978. Print. Department of State Publication. General Foreign Policy Ser. ; 308.
  3. ^ a b United States. Congress. House. Committee on Armed Services. Intelligence Military Application of Nuclear Energy Subcommittee. Panel on the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. SALT II : An Interim Assessment : Report of the Panel on the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of the Intelligence and Military Application of Nuclear Energy Subcommittee of the Committee or Armed Service, House of Representatives, with Dissenting and Supplementary Views, Ninety-fifth Congress, Second Session. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1978. Print.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g United States. Department of State. Office of Public Communication. The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. Rev. May 1979.. ed. Washington]: Dept. of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Public Communications, 1979. Print. Department of State Publication. General Foreign Policy Ser. ; 308.
  5. ^ a b SALT I, 1969-1972, US State Department's Foreign Relations Series (FRUS)
  6. ^ "INTERIM AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS ON CERTAIN MEASURES WITH RESPECT TO THE LIMITATION OF STRATEGIC OFFENSIVE ARMS (SALT I)" (PDF). Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  7. ^ Smart, Ian. “The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.” The World Today, vol. 26, no. 7, 1970, pp. 296–305., www.jstor.org/stable/40394395.
  8. ^ http://www.atomicarchive.com/Treaties/Treaty8.shtml
  9. ^ Formigoni, Guido (2000). Storia della politica internazionale nell'età contemporanea (in Italian). Bologna: Il Mulino. p. 463. ISBN 88-15-07617-4. 
  10. ^ Schram, Martin (19 June 1979). "Carter and Brezhnev Sign SALT II". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  11. ^ Peters,Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "Jimmy Carter: "Peace and National Security Address to the Nation on Soviet Combat Troops in Cuba and the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty.," October 1, 1979". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara. 
  12. ^ Gaddis, John (2005). The Cold War: A New History. New York: Penguin. p. 203. ISBN 978-0143038276. 
  13. ^ "U.S. to Break SALT II Limits Friday". The Washington Post. 27 November 1986. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  14. ^ "Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II) | Treaties & Regimes | NTI". www.nti.org. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i Diehl, Paul F. (Winter 1990–1991). "Ghosts of Arms Control Past". Political Science Quarterly. 105 (4): 597–615. JSTOR 2150937. doi:10.2307/2150937. 

Bibliography

  • Burr, William (ed.), The Secret History of The ABM Treaty, 1969-1972, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 60, The National Security Archive, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., 8 November 2001, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB60/index.html
  • Calvo-Goller Karin and Calvo Michel, The SALT AGREEMENTS: Content, Application, Verification, Brill, 1987, 428 p, [1] at Google Books
  • Clearwater, John Murray, Johnson, McNamara, and the Birth of SALT and the ABM Treaty, 1963-1969 (Dissertation.Com, 1999) ISBN 978-1581120622
  • Garthoff, Raymond L., "Negotiating SALT," Wilson Quarterly, vol. 1, no. 5, Autumn 1977, pp. 76–85, JSTOR 40255284
  • Garthoff, Raymond L., Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan, 2nd ed. (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1994), esp. pgs. 146-223
  • Haslam, Jonathan and Theresa Osborne, SALT I: The Limitations of Arms Negotiations. U.S.-Soviet Talks Leading to the Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, 1969-1972, Pew Case Studies in International Affairs, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., 1987
  • Mahan, Erin R. and Edward C. Keefer (eds.), Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XXXII, SALT I, 1969–1972 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2010),
  • Newhouse, John, Cold Dawn: The Story of SALT (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973)
  • Payne, Samuel B. The Soviet Union and SALT (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1980)
  • Savel'yev, Alexander' G. and Nikolay N. Detinov, The Big Five: Arms Control Decision-Making in the Soviet Union (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1995)
  • Smart, Ian. “The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.” The World Today, vol. 26, no. 7, 1970, pp. 296–305. JSTOR 40394395
  • Smith, Gerard C., Doubletalk: The Story of SALT I by the Chief American Negotiator (New York: Doubleday, 1980)
  • Smith, Gerard C., Disarming Diplomat: The Memoirs of Ambassador Gerard C. Smith, Arms Control Negotiator (Toronto, Ontario: Madison Books, 1996)
  • Talbott, Strobe, Endgame: The Inside Story of Salt II (New York: Harpercollins, 1979)
  • United States. Congress. House. Committee on Armed Services. Intelligence Military Application of Nuclear Energy Subcommittee. Panel on the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. SALT II : An Interim Assessment : Report of the Panel on the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of the Intelligence and Military Application of Nuclear Energy Subcommittee of the Committee or Armed Service, House of Representatives, with Dissenting and Supplementary Views, Ninety-fifth Congress, Second Session. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1978. Print.
  • United States. Department of State. Office of Public Communication. The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. Rev. May 1979.. ed. Washington]: Dept. of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Public Communications, 1979. Print. Department of State Publication. General Foreign Policy Ser. ; 308.
  • United States. Department of State. Office of Public Communication. The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. Washington: Dept. of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Public Communication : for Sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1978. Print. Department of State Publication. General Foreign Policy Ser. ; 308.

External links

  • Text of SALT I
  • Text of SALT II
  • Text of SALT II (cont.)
  • Text of the treaty from the U.S. Department of State
  • NuclearFiles.org Text of SALT II 1979
  • Arms Control Today: U.S.-Soviet/Russian Nuclear Arms Control, June 2002.
  • Soviet Violations from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives
  • Annotated bibliography on the SALT treaties from the Alsos Digital Library
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