Strategic arms limitation talks have resumed in Geneva to work out a SALT II Agreement to be signed at the next summit meeting with the Soviets this fall. Before we go any further, it is important for the American people to understand how we were fooled by the SALT I Agreement of 1972.
Dr. Henry Kissinger sold the SALT I Agreement to Congress with assurances that he had achieved the most critical U S. objective - that is, stopping the Soviets from replacing their existing light missiles with additional heavy missiles capable of destroying our Minuteman missiles in their silos.
At his White House briefing on June 15, 1972, Dr. Kissinger made this flat statement: The SALT I Agreement contains “the safe guard that no missile larger than the heaviest light missiles that now exists can be substituted.”
If there is such a safeguard in the SALT I Agreement, then the Soviets are in open and notorious violation because they are now replacing their light SS-lls with their new heavy SS-17s and SS-19s. Both these new Soviet ICBMs have three to five times the throw weight of the SS-11, which was the heaviest light missile existing at the time the SALT I Agreement was signed.
But we have heard nothing from Secretary Kissinger about the Soviets’ violating the SALT I Agreement. Even though the Soviets are openly substituting missiles that are three to five times more powerful, and hence heavier and larger, Dr. Kissinger acts as if nothing has happened to disturb our broad new relationship of detente with the Soviets.
However, Secretary Kissinger is correct in not accusing the Soviets of violating the SALT I Agreement because (contrary to his 1972 statement) there is no such “safeguard” against substitution of heavy missiles for light missiles either in the SALT I Agreement or in any of its subsequent documents. The SALT Agreement specifically permits modernization and replacement of missiles and launchers, and the Soviets expressly refused to agree to a definition of a heavy missile.
The proof of this vital defect in the SALT I Agreement is that our own SALT Delegation labored and brought forth a document labeled “Noteworthy Unilateral Statements” which includes this sentence of frustration and pleading: “The U.S. Delegation regrets that the Soviet Delegation has not been willing to agree on a common definition of a heavy missile.”
Fortunately, the 1972 Agreement itself provides a way to escape from the straitjacket of SALT. Article VIII, Section 3 grants the Soviet Union and the United States “the right to withdraw from this Interim Agreement if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Interim Agreement have jeopardized its supreme interests.”
The giant Soviet 30 billion ruble program to substitute their recently-tested heavy missiles is most certainly jeopardizing our “supreme interests” in the survival of the United States as a free nation. We should withdraw from the SALT Agreement immediately, and cease and desist from negotiations leading into a new SALT trap.