What Was The Salt 1 Agreement Designed To Do



-December 20, 2020-

What Was The Salt 1 Agreement Designed To Do

Mike Burroughs

After the initial attempts to reach a comprehensive agreement failed, the Soviets tried to limit negotiations to anti-ballistic missile systems and said restrictions on offensive systems should be postponed. The American position was that limiting ABM systems, but allowing full growth of offensive weapons, would be inconsistent with SALT`s core objectives and that it was important to make at least a start in limiting offensive systems. A long deadlock on this issue was finally broken by trade at the highest levels of both governments. On May 20, 1971, Washington and Moscow announced that an agreement had been reached to focus on a permanent contract limiting ABM systems, while extending certain restrictions on offensive systems and continuing negotiations for a broader and long-term agreement on them. Negotiations continued from November 17, 1969 to May 1972, in a series of meetings that began in Helsinki, with the U.S. delegation led by Gerard C. Smith, Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. The following meetings took place between Vienna and Helsinki. After a long deadlock, the first results of SALT I arrived in May 1971, when an agreement was reached on the ABM systems. Further talks ended negotiations on 26 May 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 to limit strategic offensive weapons. [5] As its title states, "the interim agreement between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on certain measures to limit offensive weapons" was limited in duration and scope. It is expected to remain in effect for five years.

(See previous section of LA SALT.) The two countries pledged to continue negotiations for a broader agreement as soon as possible, and the provisions of the 1972 agreement should not undermine the scope and terms of a new agreement. Two initial dissents were obstacles. Soviet officials tried to define as "strategic" any American or Soviet weapons system capable of reaching the territory of the other party - that is, negotiable in SALT. It would be a system based on the United States, mainly short- and medium-range bombers stationed on aircraft carriers or in Europe, but it would have excluded, for example, Soviet medium-range missiles directed towards Western Europe. The United States decided that salt-negotiated weapons included intercontinental systems. Its forward-facing armed forces were used to fight Soviet medium-range missiles and aircraft aimed at American allies. Accepting the Soviet approach would have had an impact on the alliance`s commitments. Official text: media.nti.org/documents/salt_1.pdf The two agreements differ in duration and inclusion. The ABM Treaty "is indefinite," but each party has the right to resign within six months if it decides that its ultimate interests are compromised by "exceptional events related to the purpose of this treaty." The interim agreement spanned a five-year period and covered only some important aspects of strategic weapons. The agreements are linked not only in their strategic implications, but also in their relations with future negotiations on the restrictions of strategic offensive weapons. An official statement from the United States stressed the crucial importance it attaches to achieving broader restrictions on strategic offensive weapons.

The discussions culminated in the STARTs, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties, which are based on START I (a 1991 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), limiting capabilities with several warheads and limiting the number of nuclear weapons on both sides.


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