Created: 2/19/1970

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Soviet Attiiudcs Toward Salt





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following intelligence orgamrauons pertiapeted in the preparation of thit estimate:

The Central Intelligence Agency end ine intelligence orgamnt .om of the Oepan-menu ot Stale end Detenu, the AEC, end the NSA.


Or. fl. J. Smith, tor the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence

Mr George C. Dennev.or the Dceetor ot Intelligence end fleaearch. Oeperirnerrt ot Stale

Lt. Gen. Doneld V. Bennett, tht Director. Defer-to Intelligence Agency

oli W. Tordella, for the Olrtctor, National Security Agency

Dr. CherlM M. Reiohardt. for the Aulttant General Manager, Atomic Energy Com miaiion

Mr. Wiibem C. Soil van. the Anntant Director. Federal Bureaurr^ganon

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Hov The Soviets Saw Helsinki 2

Boaring On Soviet negotiating 5

The Strategic Belatlonshlp with the


SAW and Current Soviet Foreign

Decoatic Politic*

Kilitary Attitudes

Possible Soviet Positions at Vienna12


Boon Weight and Accuracy17


Coeibinationsrce EInnehtH to bo Limited

IRm/KHHto, SLCMs, and Air Defense

Other Subjects

Concluding Observations21





The Soviet Approach tc AnnsECRET, dealt with the attitudes the Soviets slight be expected to bring ton limiting strategic weapons (SALT). It discussed hov such factors as the USSR's economic position and its view of the strategic relationship with the US might be thought to bear on tho Soviet approach to SALT. The present paper examines some of these questions again In the light of the attitudes and positions the Soviets revealed at Helsinki in Hovember ardnd offers some conjectures about possible Soviet positions on certain key issues in the next stage of talks, scheduled to open in Vienna on


hc Soviets Saw Helsinki

1. It was plainly the view of the Soviet delegation at Helsinki that the first round of talks was to be no more thanand exploratory. But the Soviets were also intent on demonstrating by their deeeanorthe avoidance of propagandistie or tendentious debating tacticsthat Moscow was readyerious exploration of the prospects for strategic arms control. They wanted. In return, renewed evidence of American "seriousness.'

?. The essential test of this seriousness, in the Russian view, is whether the US ls ready to acknowledge that it does not think of itself as bargainingosition of strategicand will treat with tho USSR as an equal. Thus, at Helsinki, the Soviets tried to satisfy theaselves that the US did not aim to use the talksever to obtain concessions froa the USSR on other international issues; among other reasons, because they did not want tho impression to be left that tho USSB needed armsmore than the US did. So too, the Soviets insisted that an arms control agreement must assure "equal security" ror both sides and notilitary advantage to eithor.


3. Other than to carry out thin kind of broad reconnaissance of US intentions, the instructions of the Soviet delegation at Helsinki seemed to call generally for letting the US take the lead in opening substantive issues. The Soviets were quick, however, to endorse certain broad propoait-ions vhich the US put forward as essential premises for an agreement. Thus, they affirmed that they understood mutual deterrence to be the governing principle of the US-Soviet strategic relationship. And they recognized officially for the first time the interrelationship between offensive and defensive strategic systems and acknowledged that defensive, as well as offensive, systems canhreat to stability.

Generally, on broad concepts underlying the problems at issue the Soviets demonstrated sophistication; this was apparently intended to ahov their seriousness aa well as to assert their claim to equality. Insofar aa thc Soviet statements approached moreIssues, they reflectedoncern to lay theat least for bargaining purposes, for definitions which would include or exclude weapon systems to the Soviet advantage. But it did not appear that the Soviets had even In their ownully coherent view of the various elements which might go Into anagreement, and some of their points were madeesponse to an illustrative negotiating outline offered by the US.

5< Moscow's willingness to move onecond round of talks Indicates that it found US motives in SALT to be oufficiently "serious." So doubt scow in the Soviet leadership were already persuaded of this, but others probably argued that the resells of Helsinki should be awaited. In any case, It appears that Moscow was uneortain until the discussions were nearly ended whether they had gone well enough to warrant the conclusionecend phase would have reasonable chances of success from thc doviet pcint of view. The decision to go ahead onlyour-month interval may have been due to foot-dragging by suae elements in Moscow, though It could equally have resulted from recognition that much more elaborate preparation would be needed than had been thought.

6. Probably the Soviets left Helsinkilear understanding of the shape and content of an agreement at which the US might be aiming. That the US presented categories andwhich the Sovietn took to be self-serving presumably did not disturb then greatly, though they probably ciuao away uneortain as to how flexible the US would be in this regard. Some features of the US presentation may have genuinely puzzled them, notably the tentative approach to the AM problem and the mention of MIRV only in passing, as portist of component parts of missile

systems. They may still be uncertain concerning the degree to which the "Illustrative elements" outlined to them actually repra-sented an initial US negotiating position. They are also probably confused concerning the extent to which tho US intends to press for qualitative aa well as quantitative limitations.

7- In particular, the Soviets arc probably uncertain as to how cceprehonnive and complex an agreeoent the US will eventually seek. Evenairly simple agreement, thc standards ofwill be difficult to establish, due to asymmetries in the structure of strategic forcesact that both aides acknowledged at Helsinki. And the Soviets are probably not mire whether the US will be satisfied to rely for verification on national means only-Nevertheless, they have probably concluded tentatively that the US approach did not disclose any insuperablo obstacles to anagroooant and that the chances of working out an agreement satisfactory to the USSR wero good enough to bo worth pursuing


Factors Bearing or. Soviet Negotiating Tactics

B. The Helsinki round was altogether too preliminary and tentative to have clarified Soviet motives in entering SALT.


nevertheless, it strongly suggests that Moscov is seriously interested In discovering whether the intensity or the strategic anna competition can be contained, through SALT, on terms which do not prejudice Soviet security. The USSR's interest inthis avenue seems to rest, in *he first place, on itsof the present state of the strategic relationship with the US. Economic considerations also bear on the Soviet attitudeSALT, as do certain Soviet foreign policyestern Europe, HATO, and China. But, at the same tine, thereumber of factors which set limits to how far and how fast Moscow will go ln SALT.

9- The Strategic Relationship with the US. Ve have no way of knowing with certainty whether the Soviet leaders believe that the present strategic relationship ia the best they can now hope for and, if they do, whether they also think that long-termof this relationship io desirable or oven possible. It my be that the decision-making apparatus in Moscow has not comeirm consensus on such questions. There is agreement in Moscow, of course, that the USSR must have rough parity at least. It is possible that some Soviet leaders believeseful margin of advantage ln strategic weaponry is attainable. We do think, however,

that aa tho Soviet leaders now see the future they believe that it will not be feasible to attain superioritylear and decisive nature. They any fear, in fact, tbat thc technical and economic capabilities of the US will enable it to reduce the USSR's relative position once again.

MaJ. Oen. Rockly Triantafellu, the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligonce, USAF, disagrees with the aaseorunnnt in this Ho believes as follows:

While tho Soviets are sensitive to the possibility of the US embarking on on expanded strategic military program (including MIRVs, hardening, nobility, andhey are also sensitive to thc aiood of the US toward decreasing militaryudgment as to whether the Soviets would consider feasible the attainment of clear and decisive superiority must bein th* context of pas- Soviet decisions. The Soviets mounted an enormous effort to develop and deploy strategic nuclear systems (iCOta, SUHs, aircraft, sndo overtake the US in numbers and weapon yield and to achieve an initial advantage in AHK capability. While the decision to catch upovere technological and economic challenge to thc Soviets, thoy accepted the challenge and have now achieved at least parity. At the same time, they have continued to greatly extend their military research programs, have continued to develop new systemssuch as fractional orbit and depressed trajectory missilesnd have continued the pace of their deployment of strategic systems. Therefore, in reviewing past Sovlat achievements and weighing thoir present and fuluro actions, there in no evidence toiew that the Soviets will ignore an opportunity to forge ahead. Thc goal may now scorn to then closer at hand than it wasears ago. The resources in terms of technical and scientific personnel, production capacity, and internal political control areto motivate andoviet decision to achieve clear and decisive strategic superiority.

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If these sire tho views tho Soviets entertain about the present situation, they may see value ln an agreement which would stabilize the preoont situation- They might want suchorm which would not foreclose their options if and when thoy cameifferent view of whet the strategic relationship might be. They would be realistic enough to recognize, however, that an agreement loose enough to then some future freedom of choice would also give the same to the US.

IX. Economic Considerations. ime when the rate of industrial growth is declining, when the agricultural sector remains in parlous condition, and when It is openly acknowledged that the Soviet economy Is lagging bohind technologically, the Sovietmust bo reluctant to face the prospect of additional heavypendlturas. Any easing of the strategic aims burden would make possible the redistribution of scarce investment funds and high-quality human resources. On those grounds, some Soviet loaders probably wish SALT well. Others would probably welcome theto shift resources within the military establishment itself. Nevertheless, given itc present size, nature, and rate of growth, the Soviet economy could, ir need be, support even higher levels of arms upending than at preRent. Though probably an Important

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consideration, the state of the Soviet economy vill not be the decisive factor in the Soviet approach to SAW. It does not oblige the USSR to seek agreement.

12- SAW and Current Soviet Foreign Policies. While ita assessment of SALT'a impact or. the US-Soviet strategic relationship la paramount in Soviet thinking, Moscow must also realite that SALT is now involved in the total context of Its foreign policy, and particularly its relations with the OS. ailure In SALT were to be added to differences over Vietnam and the Kiddle Bast,between the two great powers would tond to deteriorate. rend at present would probably cause the USSR considerable Tho USSR's current Eujxppoan diplomacy, which alma atan atmosphere of detente, wouldetback. Moreover, the Russians could expect the Chinese, seeing the failure of the US-Soviet enterprise and foreseeing the possibility of further overtures toward themselves from the US, toorelino toward Moscow. On the other hand, the Soviets could calculate that, If SALT were to show signs of progress,issues in Us-USSR relations might become more manageable from their point of view.

13- Takon together, considerations of this kind do give Moscow incentives forositive approach to SALT, at least initially. On the other hand, tho Soviets will not wish the US to believe that it has leverage in SALT because of the USSR's broader policy concerns, and thoy willn fact, make importantbecause of such concerns- Actually, they will hope that as SALT develops they will have opportunities to exploit weaknesses and divisions in the US and between the US and its allies. They are likely to exercise restraint in this respect, however, so long as they think theyood chance ofatisfactory agreement-

l-'i. Domestic PoMtjas. The deliberations which led up to Moscow's acceptance of the US proposal for SALT were long andhard. There is no reason to suppose that tho decision to go ahead, sc deliberately reached, is likely to be easily reversed. Most signs Indicate, however, that the prevailing instinct ir. Moscow is to move into SALT slowly and carefully. Tho momen-toueness of the negotiations for the national security of the USSR, as for that of the US, inevitably impresses itself on the minds of the Soviet leadership- Thc intrinsic complexity of the issues involved and the lack of experience of negotiation in this

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sensitive' area also makeautious approach. Decisions which night not cccio easily in any circumstances will, moreover, In this case be affected by the ungalnllness of the Soviet decision-taking process and the conservative reflexes of the collective leadership.

15- oviet official at Helsinki confirmed that control over tho delegation's activities came, as might hove been surmised, from the Politburo itself, through the foreign ministry machinery. This procedure will presumably bo maintained through the Vienna phase. The Politburo's watchfulness is not surprising, given not only thc Inherent of the issues but also thedomestic effects of the decisions to be made and theirfor relations among the top leadero. Sono of the decisions faced by the present governing committee have cut across so many bureaucratic interests. Though aome of these Interests willositive attitude toward SALT, nary of then will have misgivings. Among the latter will be thst part of the economic bureaucracy whichested interest ln defense Industry and it6 many allies In tho party apparatus. And, of course, the Politburo will need to give weight to military views, toward which it has beenattentive in recent years.


arge part of the Soviettab- probably the bulk of itndoubtedly hasreservations about strategic arms limitations. But some of leaders have long resisted tho high priority givenweapons at the expense of the traditional arms of In recent years, the militarization of the Sino-Sovietgreatly enlarged requirements for general purposesome military writers see in the nuclear stalemate aimprove capabilities for conventional warfare, especiallyof KATO's adoptiontrategy of "flexible response." limitation agreement which freed resources to meetwould surely be welcome in some militarythe political leadership will probably not receivefrom tho military eotublinlJui-nl oa thc negotiations develop.

Posslblo Soviet rwftflop* Ag Vienna

ia unlikely that the Soviets will come to Viennafully formulated package for negotiation. They willof the next stage asurther and perhapsout" period. Their aim a'- the outset will be to makeprecise assessment of what is negotiable- They wouldprefer tooherent set of proposals from the US side,

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hoping that thoy con then bring these closer to their own positions. And the Soviet delegation itself will be unsure as to precisely what its superiors in Moscow will accept or reject.

18. Vhen tho negotiations reach the stage of concrete formulations, the Soviets are liiely toreferenceimited, quantitative agreement affecting only the principal weapon systems, as opposedore comprehensive and complex one. This approach would be basedearooagreement might involve disadvantages they could notor foreclose developments by which they might eventually improve their relative position. Further, they would expect that the more complex the agreemont, the more the US would be disposed to press for model of verification unacceptable to them. Xn any ease, they probablyomplex agreement as too difficult to negotiate.

19. When they first ccae to Vienna, however, lhe Soviet negotiators will probably not be completely clear as to what the categories and content ofimple, quantitative agreement ought to be. Thoir uncertainty will relate in particular to what scale of deployment of ABM and Kim the US is committer! to and to what extent these programs are negotiable.

issue. They seemed to regard control of /IBM deploymentoy to determining whether an early, limited agreement ls At Vienna, theirhis area will undoubtedly be continued and probably intensified because or the US decision relating to Safeguard announced since Helsinki. Soviet Interest in tho ASM question probably rests not only on concern for the potentially destabilising effect of any extended deployment but alsoear that US technology could pjt it ahead in this field. The Soviets may be concerned as well about the cost of the effort

deployment of an ABM system.

At Helsinki, the Soviets listed for consideration three possible levels of AEM deployment: zero, light, and heavy. Their apparent preference wasight level of ABM defenses, out they did not rule out the zero level option, though obviously this would necessitate dismantling the Moscow system. They seemed to regard heavy ABM levels as tho Jeoot acceptable. They pointed out that these would entail the "highest levels of both offensive and defensive strategicince each side would presumablyto compensato for the defenses of the other by enhancing the

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capabllltieo ofown strategic systoes in bom way. Ihey alio noted, calling attention to similar US expressions of concern, that "the deployment by one side of an ABM systemevel which night give it confidence in the sufficiency of its invulnerabilityetaliatory strike mightemptation to use strategic offensive weapons against the. other side."

22. It is not clear how the Soviets would define "light" ABM defenses In terms of the scale and coverage the two sides would be allowed to have. Their reference to the danger of third-country attack suggests that they might want the system toignlfl -cant capability against such attack, but they did not make clear howystem they would want for this purpose. They may have Inystem deforcing only the national capitals andew additional command centcro.

23- It seems clear, in any case, that the Sovieto win argwr strongly at Vienna against arrangements which permit deployment by the USountrywide ABM systemhin one. They will register their concern that by moving into the second phase of Safeguard deployment the US could be laying the foundationseavy-nationwide system intended to defend its population against large-scale attack, and will argue that this would be destabilising



to mutual deterrence. They say indicate tnat ireployaent is heldelatively low level, they night oe prepared, in return, to hold deployment of their offensive systems,o levels at which these would noterious threat to tbe US land -based retaliatory capability. -We think that an atteapt to probe US intentions concerning ATMs will bo an immediate Soviet objective at Vienna, and that Moscow's conclusions on this score will bear heavily on its positions on other issues.

HIRVfl. Clearly the Soviets recognize the linkage botween AIM and MIRV. Their failure officially to broach the MXRV question at Helsinki and thoir privately expressed interest in having the US do so may have represented no more than their cuutceary caution in approaching critical issues. They must believe, however, that the US is ahead ln MIRV development and must fear that an agreement could trap themituation In which the US wasosition to deploy and they were not. At present, they evidently tell eve that HTJTV deployment, and perhaps even tostlng, cannot bo monitored by any moans of verification they could accept. On the other hand, they face the dilemma that, if MXPVs are not controlled, they could find themselves at some disadvantage, at leastine.

25- If tho Sovietn do not see any way to bring MTRVs directly

under an agreement, they may well argue at Vienna that thofor KLRVs ls dependent on the level of ABM deployment and that the control of these linked systems car. best be approached from the ABM sice. They could argue that, if the ABM were heldow limit and the number of ICBMs suitably limited to reduce oaeh aide' counterforce potential, the deployment of MTRVs would add little or nothing to each side's security; hence, there would be so little incentive to deploy themninspected, ban on MIRV deployment would suffice. In any case, lt seems altogether unlikely that they would change their position on verification in order to allow Inspection of HDTV deployment.

26. Throw Weight and Accuracy. Limitations pertaining to elements such as the throw weight and accuracy of missiles are unlikely to appeal to the Soviets. They would not want to be asked for concessiono to compensate for the size of thoarhead, and, in any caoe, thoy would believe that approaches of this kind would present Impossible problems of verification. They may not rejectS attempt to develop such approaches, but In the end they would probably find then too complex and uncertain to be negotiable at this time.

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27- Verification. The Soviets have aecepttd the principle that there oust be adequate aeons of assuring both sides of conpli-anee, but have once again assorted that national swans should suffice to monitor an ams limitation agreement. The Sovietsaxe not sure that the US will be satisfied to rely on national means only. They vould expect that the more complex the agreement, the moro the US would be disposed to press for modes of verification unacceptable to them. It io not clear what the Soviets include in national moans, or how they rate their own capabilities- It is likely, however, in view of dissimilarities in national moans of verification, that measures which the US considers could be verified by national means would not appear in this light to the Soviets, und vice versa.

?6. Although specific cooperative measures were not actually discussed at Helsinki, the Soviet attitude suggested that Moscow might be willing to consider sow fairly simple measures that would increase tho effectiveness of national means of(examples might be: teats only at agreed missile ranges or an agreement to prohibit the use or cover for certain weaponn addition, the Soviets seem well disposed to the idea of supporting an agreement by continuous consultation which might, among other


thlnga, gradually lead to progress in developing new modes of verification.

f Force-e Malted1. Tlie Soviets recognise that there areand, for geographic and other reasons, are bound to be asymmetries between the US strategic forces and theirs. The idea of allowing the two sides to have difforent conbl -nations of forces under agreed ceilings and to vary them over time does not seem to cause then any trouble in principle- But they will obviously be very sticky when It canes to agreeing on on initial combination for the two sides, and perhaps even more so In agreeing on what construction can be cropleted or whet improvements and replacements are permissible within an agreed total. On this subject, the Soviets will probacly not have firm proposals but will leave it to tho US to take the load.

ZRlfc/HRaU. SLCMs. and Air Defense SysLems. Ve ooe little chance Uiat the Russians will alter the position tbat they took ot Helsinki, namely that ISIW/MHrKo pose no threat to the security of the US but are an essential part of tho USSR's defenses against third countries. They will continue to argue that OB forward-based aircraftore pertinent issue. They will probably contond that available means of detection give the US reasonable



assurance against the possibility that IREWs night be converted into ICBMs. The Russians will attempt to discover vhctbor thc US io willing to concede any of these points. If not, thoy nay attempt to discover what US thinking is onrade-off which would exclude both IRBMs/mRBMb and forward-based aircraft from an initial agreement. With regard to SLCMs, the'Soviets opposed their inclusion among strategic systems. Wc believe,that they would be willing to consider some trade-off here as well- We think it unlikely that they will ngree to the inclusion of air defense systems, whether or not the US is willing to include its heavy bombers, and they are almost certain to continue in their refusal to discuss SAMs in an ABM context.

31- Other Subjectit. ariety of additional issues were rAised by the Russians at Helsinki. Among these were: measures to guard against accidental cr unauthorized firing of nuclear weapons, or to deal with attackhird party designed to provoke thc USSR and US into conflict; prohibition on the transfer of strategic delivery vehicles and related technology to third parties; limitations on the operational spheres of nuclear-capable aircraft and submarines. The last of these has the earmarkscre bargaining point; although it ls sure tc be raised again at Vienna, the Russians are unlikely to press it, especially If



prospects for progress in other areas sees reasonably good. They are likely, however, co press the subject of transfer withvigor, ln part because they may he concerned about; defenses by U3 allies- In connection with third-party attack, they may have in ijind audi things as additional "hot line" ccamsunicatlons between the US and USSR, or even explicit understandings ac tc how to handleituation.

the course of discussions on theseSoviets evidently see some valuo in preserving the forumprovides for exchangesroad range of matters relating

to the Soviet-American strategic relationship. They seem, moreover, to recognise that continuing talks might be useful to facilitate

the execution and perhaps tho eventual expansion of any SALT agreement.

Observations. Giver, the distances thatthe two sides on most of the above key Issues andthat will need to be overcome, the Soviets havenot yet decided whether, in the end, an agreenenttocan be achieved, "for isingle view inpresent as to whether Soviet long-term interests would boby stabilising the strategic relationship under ar. agreement

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rather than tyompetitive situation. The play of group interest and personal ambition which will surround this choice is bound to be intense.

Clearly there is much in the traditional Soviet outlook

which would generate negative attitudes toward the idea of agreed stabilisation. Long-hold promises about the inevitability of conflict. Mistrust of American motives, fear of being duped, even ignorance of the relevant toehnical facts would help to sustain such uttltudes. And it is true that conservative instincts seem to be dominant in the present leadership.

35- On tho other hand, there areumber of people, including some military men, who have the ear of theand will be able totrong casecrlous try at stabilisation by agreement. The argument for easing economic pressurestrong one, particularly for those who want more margin to experiment with economic reform, it will be said that as tho arms raceew technological phase Soviet chances of lagging seriously behind are high. Some will argue that at present levels of strength strategic weapons are no longer as critical to the power competition, that, in fact, if the strategic arms ruco con be contained by agreement, other factors. Including

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conventional military power, could be enhanced and would better serve lhe security and ambitions of the USSR.

e see no way of forecasting how such arguments will net out. Obviously the concrote choices prcoonted by the interaction of the two sides In negotiations will be more determining than arguments made In the abstract. We would Judge, however, that at present tho Soviet leadersonsensus,haky one, that the option of strategic stabilisation by agreement should beong, hard look through SALT.




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