October 11, 1986
Soviet-American High Level Meeting, Reykjavik, 11-12 October 1986, Record of Conversations in the Working Group on Military Issues
This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation
SOVIET-AMERICAN HIGH-LEVEL MEETING,
11-12 October 1986
of conversations in the working group on military issues
Leader of the Soviet experts - Chief of the General Staff of the SS USSR, Marshall of the Soviet Union, S.F. AKHROMEEV
Leader of the American experts - PAUL NITZE
NITZE: Good evening. I hope that today we will manage to achieve real successes on the issues under discussion.
I propose first and foremost to discuss the issue of strategic offensive arms (SOA) and medium-range missiles. Afterwards, I think, we will talk about the problems of nuclear tests, problems of reducing risk and, finally, ABM [anti-ballistic missile]. Does this suit you?
AKHROMEEV: If you will permit me, we could do this: we really would discuss the problem of strategic offensive arms, then the problem of medium-range missiles. Third, we could have discussed the issue of a Treaty on ABM and the prohibition of nuclear tests, and afterwards discuss the issue which you have called the problem of reducing risk, or in other words - the problem of reducing the danger of the outbreak of nuclear war.
NITZE: Fine, let’s examine these issues in the order you propose.
AKHROMEEV: The General Secretary gave the President a draft document - a Directive to the ministers of foreign affairs of the USSR and the US on preparing an agreement in the area of nuclear disarmament. Perhaps we could, while examining these problems, at the same time, according to procedure, also examine the contents of this document [since] as far as I understand, we also received instructions to get some sort of document as a result of our work which could also be given to the General Secretary and the President.
NITZE: We would also like to work out a document which could be presented to the General Secretary and the President. In order to pave the way for such a document, we would like to ascertain whether or not we correctly understand your last proposals. This would reduce the number of potential differences between both sides. I would like to begin with your proposal on strategic offensive arms. If you note that we are incorrectly understanding your proposals, I ask that you correct us. The first point is that both sides lend primary significance to deep cuts in strategic offensive arms. The second point is that both sides have the aim of reducing their strategic offensive arms by 50%. The third point is that both sides agree to reduce the number of warheads. That is the most serious problem in the issue of strategic offensive arms and should be central in our discussions.
Both sides agree that neither medium range devices nor forward-based systems will be included in the framework of the 50% reductions.
Both sides agree that the basis ceiling on warheads will be for ICBMs or SLBMs. A limitation on air-based cruise missiles will also be stipulated. Sea-based cruise missiles will be limited to a separate level. And insofar as both sides can have different approaches to the issue of levels, we are looking for a compromise outcome. On this condition, we assume that the Soviet side will agree to significant reductions in its heavy ICBMs.
Both sides also agree that an effective system of verification measures and appropriate procedures for effective verification should be worked out in the course of the negotiations.
And, finally, the sides should agree on a level of 1600 units for ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers.
And so, here is a list of point on which we must agree.
AKHROMEEV: Today, we have the same understanding as you on many issues, but there is also a series of issues which must be discussed. On these issues we have different understandings.
If we follow the order you have set out, then we agree that the problems of strategic offensive arms and their reduction is one of the most important and both you and we genuinely lend it priority; the goal which we are putting before ourselves, the goal of fundamentally reducing these weapons is a reduction by 50%. We discussed this for a long time and deemed it possible that the US’s medium-range missiles as well as [its] forward-based weapons [sredstva peredovogo bazirovanie] not be considered in examining this issue. This does not mean that we have wholly given up the consideration of forward-based weapons, but in the given case, we are excluding this issue from the preparation of this agreement.
We agree, it is true, that sea-based cruise missiles must be limited, but the way they are limited must be found outside the boundaries of the triad, that is ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers. But agreement must be found, and a limitation on this sort of armament should be included in the agreement we are preparing.
We agree that verification is an extremely important issue and that it should be reflected in the prepared document.
Two issues remain: the first is about the ceiling. We consider that there should be a single ceiling for all three types of strategic offensive arms, that is, for ICBMs, SLBMs, and for heavy bombers. In our opinion, excluding both heavy bombers and the cruise missiles with which they are armed from the framework of the agreement is not advisable. This triad must be examined as a whole.
And finally, you have said that when examining this issue, the main point is to reduce the quantity of warheads and to define the number which will remain on both sides, and at the same time you talked about 1600 launchers. Today in negotiations with the President, the General Secretary proposed that strategic offensive arms be reduced by 50%, every type of weapon, that is: ICBMs to 50% of their existing level, SLBMs to 50% of their current level, and heavy bombers to 50% of their existing level - both launchers and warheads or cruise missiles. I would ask you to state your thoughts on this proposal.
NITZE: We do not agree with that proposal. Today, the President said that there is a significant difference between the weapons on bombers and cruise missiles, and that as long as we do not come to an understanding on this issue, we will not be able to reach agreement. Insofar as I understood, the General Secretary treated that with understanding.
A proposal was made to establish a general ceiling for warheads on ICBMs, SLBMs, and weapons on heavy bombers, as well as for launchers. We will also have difficulties on that issue. I propose that we discuss the issues on which we have no disagreements and that we set aside those on which differences have been noted [in order to conduct] a more detailed discussion of the problem.
AKHROMEEV: Yes, we really do have differences on the issue which you have raised just now. We do not believe that there is anything exceptional about heavy bombers with cruise missiles on board, or that these weapons are any less destabilizing than any others, and insofar as we know, the General Secretary maintained this point of view in his negotiations with the President and our point of view remains the same. These three sorts of strategic offensive arms should be examined together and their reduction should be carried out on the same principles.
NITZE: I have noted the issues on which we have disagreements. We consider that air-based cruise missiles should be limited. But we do not agree with the establishment of limits on aircraft bombs. Since the 70s we have maintained the same position, that bombers should be armed with weapons capable of overcoming the opponent’s air defenses.
AKHROMEEV: We agree that there can be differing approaches to heavy bombers armed with medium-range cruise missiles and to heavy bombers armed with bombs or ABM missiles. I think that this can be fixed in the document which we prepare with you today, and what they are counted as evidently can be decided according to different parameters, but both of them should be counted. A heavy bomber is a heavy bomber.
Our opinion is in the document under preparation, it could be fixed that an approach to the inclusion of these arms could be different and that the sides could conclusively specify this point in negotiations.
NITZE: For our part, we are ready to agree to the establishment of a sub-level for heavy bombers. We can now proceed on to other issues.
AKHROMEEV: But I would ask you, Mr. Nitze, to return to this issue. If you are talking about some sort of sub-level, should that be understood as meaning that those heavy bombers, let’s say, with long-range cruise missiles on board, which will constitute that level, will go into a general count - the number of strategic offensive arms, while heavy bombers armed with bombs and ABM missiles will not be included. Or do you consider that they can be included in the general count, but only that this count will be a different one [which is] not the same as for bombers with cruise missiles[?]
NITZE: We propose that a single ceiling of 1600 units be established for ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers. We would be ready to establish a sub-level, let’s say of 350 units, for heavy bombers inside this general level for strategic offensive arms of 1600 units. As you can see, we are proposing fundamental reductions in ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers. But we are not proposing a 50% cut within each category of strategic offensive arms. Should we perhaps discuss this issue of sublevels in detail?
AKHROMEEV: Here a difficulty arises, and it consists of the fact that, as you have put it just now, we are nonetheless dividing heavy bombers off from ICBMs and SLBMs. We cannot agree with this. This is a triad, and it was fixed a long time ago in negotiations between the USSR and the US. And we see it a single whole which we call strategic offensive arms. And for this reason, if we are talking about putting some sort of limit on the number of launchers, on the number of warheads, this means that all three types of strategic nuclear forces - both ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers, should be included in this number.
NITZE: We do not have anything against the reduction of all three types of strategic offensive arms. But a difference exists between the different types of strategic offensive arms. As I understand it, both the President and the General Secretary agreed that there really is a difference between the different types of strategic offensive arms. And for this reason, the arming of heavy bombers cannot in any way be equated with warheads on strategic missiles, on SS-18 missiles, for instance.
AKHROMEEV: I do not think that the General Secretary said anything of that sort in his negotiations with the President. We do, it is true, see a difference between strategic bombers with on-board cruise missiles and heavy bombers with bombs and on-board ABM missiles. But both of them are heavy bombers, and they must be entered into a common count, although their count can be different. If you agree with this, then this could be fixed in the document being prepared.
NITZE: We do not object to counting heavy bombers in the aggregate level for strategic offensive arms, but we object to counting airplane bombs and ABM missiles on heavy bombers.
AKHROMEEV: So I am to understand that you propose having a level of 350 bombers with on-board cruise missiles and that they should be included in the general count, while all of the remaining bombers with bombs and SRAM missiles will not be included in the count. Am I to understand you thus?
NITZE: We propose including all heavy bombers in the aggregate level for strategic offensive arms independently of the arms installed on board. If we now have about 550 heavy bombers, after the agreed reductions, we will have 350. Moreover, a certain quantity of these bombers will be armed with cruise missiles. The remaining heavy bombers from this level of 350 units will have airplane bombs and SRAM missiles on board.
AKHROMEEV: And so, all bombers outside of this level would be eliminated?
AKHROMEEV: One more question. Is each side obliged to have 350 bombers? Or is one of the sides free to replace these bombers with some other sorts of strategic weapons?
The USSR for obvious reasons [po opredelennym prichinam] does not plan to build 350 bombers. We consider that if we have fewer bombers, then we should have the right to have that many more ICBMs or SLBMs in the framework of the general limitations, of course, which are set by this agreement.
NITZE: Right. We can settle this issue using different approaches. But the agreement should stipulate a sub-level of 350 units for heavy bombers.
AKHROMEEV: No. Three hundred and fifty is the extreme, highest figure. Each side could have that number. But if a side has fewer than 350 bombers, then it has the right to have that many or fewer. In any case, if it has less than 350 heavy bombers, it has the right to have other sorts of strategic offensive arms against that count while preserving the overall number of 1600 units. Does the American side agree with that?
NITZE: It agrees.
AKHROMEEV: Now in relation to nuclear charges. You have not named the number of warheads which each side would have after cutting their forces by 50%.
NITZE: As I have already said, we object to counting airplane bombs and SRAM missiles. However, we are ready to limit the number of cruise missiles for each side. We propose to cut fundamentally the number of such cruise missiles on heavy bombers.
AKHROMEEV: Mr. Nitze, if you agree that each side can have at most 350 bombers but that [one side] can also have fewer, if it considers this necessary, then it necessarily follows that there will be no strict limit on the quantity of cruise missiles on these bombers. One side can have more cruise missiles on bombers, and another can have fewer, depending on the number of bombers. But in that case, the side which has fewer bombers and fewer cruise missiles on them has more warheads on other launchers: ICBMs or SLBMs. That is, within the limits of a definite quantity of warheads which we will agree on, each side would decide its quantity of warheads on ICBMs, SLBMs, or cruise missiles on bombers.
NITZE: Let us suppose that we were left with 350 bombers and you had a smaller quantity of bombers, let’s say, 200 of them. Then you would be permitted to have, for instance, 150 more ICBMs. In this way, you would receive the appropriate compensation, as well as in warheads.
AKHROMEEV: I agree. But the number is within a single level of warheads on types of strategic offensive arms; that is, each side would independently decide how many warheads it was to have on ICBMs, SLBMs, and on heavy bombers.
NITZE: On the whole, that is correct. But you would be permitted to have, let’s say, 1500 warheads on SLBMs or on cruise missiles. We could have 1500 cruise missiles on our 350 bombers, and you, 1500 cruise missiles on your 200 bombers.
AKHROMEEV: I will be more frank. The Soviet side does not plan to have a large number of bombers. This number will be significantly less than 350. And because of this, the number of warheads on these bombers will be less than the US’s if it has 350 bombers. But then we must have a correspondingly greater number of warheads on ICBMs and SLBMs.
NITZE: It is quite obvious that the USSR will have many more ICBMs than the US. Its ABM system is significantly more powerful. Today, our leaders exchanged opinions as to a possible way to eliminate those disagreements which are connected with the different structures of each side’s strategic offensive arms. Today we are proposing, in our view, the most equitable resolutions possible that take into account the particularities of both sides.
AKHROMEEV: If we are to discuss in detail the ABM system, that will be a lengthy diversion. After all, bombers with on-board cruise missiles with a range of 2500 kilometers have the capability of delivering blows within the zone of the opponent’s ABM. And for that reason, its military capabilities are not an iota less then ICBMs or SLBMs.
NITZE: It is for that very reason that we agreed to a sub-level for cruise missiles.
AKHROMEEV: I think that it is unadvisable to do that. But nonetheless, each side should, within the boundaries of a general limit on warheads which we had agreed on, itself decide how many warheads or cruise missiles to have on this or that sort of weapon.
NITZE: I want to raise another issue. How you propose to limit heavy ICBMs.
AKHROMEEV: Today the General Secretary clearly expressed our position in conversation with the President. He stated that in that case, heavy missiles would be significantly limited.
NITZE: In what way? By establishing a sub-level for warheads on heavy ICBMs? Or by limiting the aggregate throw-weight for these missiles? Or by concretely limiting the quantity of heavy missiles?
AKHROMEEV: We consider that the number of heavy missiles will be significantly reduced and that in this way the number of warheads on them will be significantly reduced.
Perhaps we could already move on to the formulations, starting with the first section? Or would you prefer first to discuss all of the problems and then as a whole look at and formulate the document?
NITZE: I am not entirely clear on the contents of your proposals. Perhaps we should examine strategic offensive arms more carefully?
AKHROMEEV: We are ready to hear you out if you set out your position once again. I hope that we will be able to make a conclusive clarification of our point of view on this problem.
NITZE: On the issue of strategic offensive arms, the sides confirm their commitments to realize as quickly as possible the principle of reducing existing strategic armaments by 50% in an equitable and controlled [or monitored] manner.
In the capacity of a first step, the sides agree to fulfill the following:
The sides will cut the aggregate quantity of deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers to a level not exceeding 1600 units. In the confines of this level, the sides will limit the number of deployed heavy bombers to a number not greater than 350 units. Within these restrictions, both you and we would be able to have a lesser number of heavy bombers.
The sides will cut the aggregate number of warheads on deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, as well as the number of long-range cruise missiles on deployed heavy bombers to a level not exceeding 6000 units.
I direct your attention to the fact that we are limiting not only warheads on ICBMs and SLBMs, but also on cruise missiles. They would all be limited to a single aggregate level.
The sides will limit the aggregate number of warheads on deployed ICBMs and SLBMs to a level not exceeding 4500 units.
The sides will limit the number of warheads on ICBMs to a level not exceeding 3000 units. Besides this, within the given level, the sides will limit the aggregate number of warheads on ICBMs, not counting light and medium ICBMs, which have six or fewer warheads, to a level not exceeding 1500 units.
The sides agree that the throw-weight of Soviet ICBMs will be reduced to 50% of the current level, and that a new ceiling will be established, which would not be exceed by either side. Both sides should agree on an order and schedule of these reductions [the duration of] which would not exceed five years.
As soon as these cuts are achieved, the sides within a six-month period will enter into new negotiations on further cutting strategic offensive arms with the goal of fully eliminating nuclear weapons.
That is our understanding of the issue. I think that the formulation of this proposal can be somewhat delayed while we discuss medium-range forces.
AKHROMEEV: Yes, but new issues have arisen for us, Mr. Nitze. Just now, when you set out everything in summary, more issues appeared which had not arisen at the beginning of our discussion.
I would ask you to reply to several questions. The first is how to deal with heavy bombers armed with SRAM rockets and bombs? Are they counted in the level of 1600 units or not?
AKHROMEEV: Fine. Understood. Now, as I understand, if a side has fewer than 1500 cruise missiles on heavy bombers, then it has the right to compensate for this number with warheads on ICBMs or on SLBMs.
NITZE: Here I made a slip of the tongue [ogovoril’sia]. That is not so. The number of heavy bombers can be compensated against the number of ICBMs and SLBMs. The aggregate level must be 1600 units. If each side has 350 heavy bombers, than 1250 units will remain for ICBMs and SLBMs. If you have 200 heavy bombers, then you could have 1400 ICBMs and SLBMs.
AKHROMEEV: As I understand, neither side has the right to exceed the overall quantity of 4500 units on ICBMs or SLBMs. Is that so or not?
NITZE: I was talking only about the number of heavy bombers and the number of ICBMs and SLBMs.
As for the warheads and cruise missiles, we propose to have a sub-level of 4500 for warheads on ICBMs and SLBMs and a sub-level of 1500 for cruise missiles.
AKHROMEEV: We cannot agree with that. We consider that after the sides agree on the fact that they can have 6000 warheads or cruise missiles, they themselves, each side, will decide where these 6000 will be located.
NITZE: We do not agree with that.
AKHROMEEV: We must clearly fix the differences in opinion which we have on this issue.
NITZE: Perhaps we could try to eliminate this difference in our opinions? After all, we are proposing a sub-level of 1500 units within the aggregate level of 6000 units.
AKHROMEEV: We think that here there should be no sub-limits on the number of warheads. The sides agreed to reduce the number of warheads and cruise missiles to 6000 units and thereafter, each side will decide for itself how many warheads to have on ICBMs, SLBMs, or cruise missiles on heavy bombers.
NITZE: I assumed that you would agree to establish a sub-level for warheads on ICBMs.
AKHROMEEV: No. We have put forward our position fairly precisely. Each side is free to decide for itself how many warheads to have on which launchers.
The General Secretary proposed a good opinion: to take and cut the number of strategic offensive arms existing today by 50% for each type. This proposal was put forward today.
NITZE: I think that the President did not accept that proposal.
AKHROMEEV: The General Secretary did not say that to us.
KARPOV: In any case, in our opinion, the President did not reject it.
FALIN: The President said that the American side would examine that proposal.
AKHROMEEV: In any case, the General Secretary put that proposal before the President. And no rejection of the proposal followed. It is another matter whether you agree or not with this proposal. The General Secretary did not say to us that you agreed with this proposal. Neither did he say that the American side expressed disagreement with the proposal in the course of the discussion itself.
NITZE: I propose not to agree with that proposal.
AKHROMEEV: Then, as I understand, we are left with this disagreement - on the level of cruise missiles. We consider that such a level should not be established.
We also think that levels within the confines of ICBMs and SLBMs should be established. If we define 6000, then each side will decide where to have what number of warheads, but taking into account that heavy ICBMs will be cut to a significant degree. The scale of these cuts could be agreed upon in the course of the negotiations. But now, it can be specified that the scale [of the cuts] will be significant.
NITZE: Permit me to clarify one issue. You are proposing also to establish an aggregate level of 6000 units for warheads on ICBMs, SLBMs, and for cruise missiles on heavy bombers. And within the confines of these 6000 units, each side will itself decide where to place these warhead and how many cruise missiles to have on bombers. Have I understood you correctly?
AKHROMEEV: You have correctly understood our proposals. I would like to say, Mr. Nitze, that we have come here to work in our group with the precise instructions of the General Secretary to examine our position on the reduction of each side’s strategic nuclear forces by 50%; and, moreover, ICBMs, SLBMs, bombers will be reduced by 50%, and in this case we would agree to reduce heavy missiles by 50%. But, as I understand, the American side does not agree with this. This means that everything that we are talking about and will talk about will need to be put before the General Secretary.
After all, it seems like he agreed in principle with the President that we should examine this very proposal today.
NITZE: And we are examining that proposal. I am asking questions with the goal of clearly understanding your proposal. Your proposal on a level of 6000 is unacceptable to our side.
AKHROMEEV: We understand you. Then now we can try to formulate a text of the directives to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR and to the Secretary of State of the US on the problem of strategic offensive arms, or to move on to the problem of medium[-range] missiles with the goal of then formulating the document as a whole. What do you think?
NITZE: I think that we should work out the issue of medium-range missiles in an analogous way.
AKHROMEEV: We have not objections.
Yes, I beg your pardon, but do you think that we could now discuss the problem of sea-based cruise missiles? Otherwise, this issue will remain to one side.
NITZE: I can say that in the course of further negotiations we could discuss limitations for sea-based cruise missiles, and, moreover, that they should not be included in the quantity of 6000 units which we discussed earlier.
AKHROMEEV: I understand, then, that we are specifying that a resolution of this problem which would suit both sides will be found in the course of the future negotiations.
NITZE: Correct. But we will have a serious difficulty on sea-based cruise missiles connected with verification compliance with the level to be established on these cruise missiles. That is a very difficult issue which we will have to discuss for a long time in the future.
AKHROMEEV: I agree that this is not a simple issue. But, on the other hand, probably we should not resolve the issue so that on the one hand, some launchers are reduced by 50% while other launchers grow without bound. That is not a resolution of the issue. For this reason, a resolution to the problems of sea-based cruise missiles should be found. The sides should agree with this and manifest good will when resolving this problem.
NITZE: We understand and assure you that we ill do everything in our power to find a resolution of this issue.
AKHROMEEV: Well, then we can proceed on to the problem of medium-range missiles.
NITZE: In earlier discussions of this issue with Mr. Karpov in Washington, we agreed on two points of principle.
First, it is possible to establish a ceiling on missiles in Europe which would be greater than zero.
Second, it is possible to agree on an equal global level for warheads on medium-range missiles, and moreover, the Soviet side would have these warheads in the Asian part of the USSR, while the American side would have them on the territory of the US.
Of course, in keeping with our longstanding position which was stated back in 1981, we advocate the establishment of a global “zero” for cruise missiles and medium-range missiles. We are for completely eliminating this sort of armament. But, as I understand, this does not figure in your plans.
AKHROMEEV: What you have just said about your conversations with Karpov in Washington, today is already a former stage. Today, a meeting took place between the General Secretary and the President. And in that meeting, the General Secretary put forward a proposal on the full elimination of the USSR’s and the US’s medium-range missiles in Europe without taking into account the corresponding forces possessed by England and France. You have dealt with this problem for a long time and you know to what lengths the Soviet Union has gone [na chto poshel] in the given case. And insofar as we know, the General Secretary plainly said that in favor of the interests of achieving agreement on this problem, the Soviet Union made a concession. At the same time, it was said that we agree that a problem exists with missiles of less than 1000 km range, and that the Soviet Union agrees to begin negotiations on that problem. It was also said that we are also ready to begin negotiations on the issue of medium-range weapons in the East. To this, as far as I understand, the President did not answer with full agreement, but it was decided that this was a very promising proposal which could be examined and on the basis of which agreement could be reached. Essentially, I am only repeating what the General Secretary said today in the negotiations. And this proposal was introduced today so that we could discuss it with you.
NITZE: I understand that the General Secretary presented this to the President today. Recalling the history of Soviet-American negotiations on these issues, I would like first of all to sort out where we agreed and where we did not. We should have a clear conception of the conclusive resolution of this problem. We know that you are ready to conclude an agreement without account of the nuclear forces of England and France. During the negotiations, these issues were also discussed between the Secretary of State and Mr. Shevardnadze. It was then announced that we were ready to agree to a global zero resolution on these weapons, although you spoke against such a resolution. In Washington, we announced that we are ready to agree to leaving some portion of medium-range weapons on either side. Then Mr. Karpov proposed that 100 units be left for each side in Europe. We agreed with this on the condition that these weapons be correspondingly reduced in Asia as well. Then proportional reductions in Europe and Asia were discussed. At the same time, medium-range weapons with greater range were being discussed. Medium-range weapons with a lesser range were not discussed in detail. We believe that the main difficulty in attaining agreement on this issue consists in defining a quantity of medium-range weapons in Asia which would be acceptable to both sides. On this issue we have not heard any proposals from you specifying a concrete figure, a figure which would involve a significant reduction in medium-range weapons. The resolution which would be provided by the zero option in the European zone, but would keep on the order of 500-600 warheads in Asia, is unacceptable both to us and to our allies. Besides this, there exists to this day the problem of agreeing on the ratio of [sootnoshenie]American “Pershing-2” missiles and cruise missiles in Europe.
AKHROMEEV: Mr. Nitze, you and we are empowered to conduct negotiations on a proposal put forward by the General Secretary. What happened before this really did take place. But all of that is in the past. And the General Secretary, I repeat, today proposed to eliminate Soviet and American missiles in Europe without taking account of the forces of England and France. We consider that this is a movement forward by the Soviet Union to which the American side should respond in a positive manner. At the same time, we are beginning negotiations with you on missiles with a range of less than 1000 km. And we could begin negotiations on missiles in the East. But we consider that a reply from the Americans should follow our movement forward in consideration of your wishes.
NITZE: We were supposed to react and are so reacting. I can only repeat that we are ready for a global zero option, but are not ready for a “zero” in Europe with the preservation of a significant number of missiles in Asia. We insist on a significant reduction in the missiles in Asia. We also insist on working out an agreement to limit missiles with a range of less than 1000 km. As you can see, there are substantive differences between our positions.
AKHROMEEV: I understand that, essentially, we still have differing approaches to the problem of medium-range missiles in Asia. If these differences between us are not surmounted today, then, probably, the General Secretary and the President will be able to talk about this. As for now, we can only specify that this issue, that of missiles in Asia, remains unresolved in the problem of medium-range missiles.
NITZE: Perhaps today we could bring our positions on this issue closer? Perhaps we could limit medium-range missiles for some definite period, and in the future, another agreement could be worked out which would stipulate the full elimination of medium-range missiles.
AKHROMEEV: I think that one stumbling block - missiles in Asia, really does remain between us. And, perhaps, we can report to our leaders and they will try to resolve this issue tomorrow.
NITZE: We think that today, you and we could agree a limitation on missiles with a range of less than 1000 km, which are not subject to any limitations in the agreement being prepared on medium-range weapons. I believe that this issue should not be put off until the next negotiations. On version of a resolution of this issue could be to freeze missiles with a range of under 1000 km to the existing Soviet level. In other words, the existing numerical level of Soviet missiles of this class would be a ceiling for both sides. And in the future, it would be possible to begin negotiations on cutting these missiles on both sides.
AKHROMEEV: We believe that if we agree on the problem of medium-range missiles in Europe today, we will give our agreement, in that case, to freeze short-range missiles (with a range of less than 1000 km) to the existing level on both sides, and to begin negotiations on that issue in short order.
NITZE: But we want to know what you propose to do with the missiles in Asia.
AKHROMEEV: On the missiles in Asia. I think that if we report our opinion to our leaders, they will try to resolve this issue.
AKHROMEEV: Then we will move on to examine the proposal on the ABM Treaty. I will allow myself to repeat in essence what the General Secretary said to the President today on this issue. He proposed, in the interests of strengthening the regime of the permanent [bessrochnyi] Treaty on limiting ABM systems, that the USSR and the US agree not to take advantage of the right which they possess to withdraw from the Treaty for 10 years, and during that period to comply strictly with all of its clauses, and that moreover, the testing of all space-based elements of an ABM defense in space, aside from research and testing carried out in laboratories, would be prohibited. This would not prohibit the testing of stationary land-based systems and their components as permitted by the Treaty, and in the course of several years after the 10-year period, the sides should, in the course of negotiations, find further mutually acceptable resolutions in this area. The General Secretary also said that we call upon you to exert additional efforts to achieve mutually acceptable understandings on the prohibition of anti-satellite systems. This proposal, Mr. Nitze, today was presented to the President and we have instructions to discuss it with you.
NITZE: I would ask you to clarify your proposal on a few points. As I understand, you named a period of 10 years; we will call this period “X”. You also talked about a subsequent period after these ten years. This subsequent period we will call “Y”. And in the course of this subsequent period for negotiations, you said that the sides should work out further mutually-acceptable resolutions. Could you not explain your position on this part of the problem in more detail?
AKHROMEEV: Ten years is a fairly lengthy period given the current evolution of science and weapons systems. Now it is difficult to say precisely where we will stand in 10 years, but you know our position. The best resolution of the issue, in our opinion, would be not to deploy this system, but, as we understand it, the American side is not ready for this, and for this reason we are proposing this compromise version.
NITZE: In other words, your proposal, in the form in which you set it forth, permits the deployment of space-based elements of an ABM system at the end of the ten-year period.
AKHROMEEV: As we understand it, after the ten-year period, the sides will have to find a mutually-acceptable resolution relating to how they are to proceed further.
NITZE: We have another question. It concerns the prohibition on testing in the laboratory. You said that research an testing are permissible only in laboratories, but not outside them. On the other hand, you call upon us strictly to adhere to the provisions of the ABM Treaty. But, as far as I remember, in the text of the ABM Treaty, nothing at all is said about a ban on the conduct of research.
AKHROMEEV: I think that the ABM Treaty fairly clearly stipulates that the testing of the stationary ground-based ABM systems and their components that are permitted in the Treaty is allowed. This, it is true, the Treaty permits. But in relation to space-based weapons, Article 5 clearly says that each of the sides is obliged not to create, test, or deploy systems or components sea, air, space, or mobile-ground based ABM systems. Here it is clearly written that the Treaty prohibits testing of space-based systems. And we consider that it should be entirely specified that the sides will not withdraw from the Treaty for 10 years and will strictly comply with it, including Article 5, which I read.
NITZE: An how do you understand the agreed statement “E,” which is considered an inalienable part of the Treaty?
AKHROMEEV: I think that this agreed statement does not at all cancel out Article Five.
NITZE: If you recall the history of the negotiations on ABM relating to Article 5, you can find that our side initially proposed its edition of Paragraph 3 in Article Five. In it, a prohibition on devices which could replace the components of ABM systems was proposed. But this paragraph was declined by your side. Over the course of many months, we tried to obtain your agreement with our edition of Paragraph Three. Initially, it is true, this was Paragraph 3 in Article Six. Over the course of a long time, both sides debated the issues of which components should be limited. We came to the conclusion that there was no sense in limiting sub-components, that it was necessary only to place a ban on the creation of large components: ABM missiles, ABM RLS [radar]. It was decided not to create new ABM systems based on existing technology. And in order to resolve the dispute over a ban on the creation of new systems based on new principle, statement “E” was worked out and agreed. And we do not agree that the ABM Treaty unambiguously prohibit the testing of new components on ground-based stationary objects or in space. The Treaty unambiguously permits testing on ground-based stationary objects. These issues were discussed for more than a year both in the negotiations, and in the PKK [Standing Consultative Commission (SCC)]. They were not resolved, but we believe that given good will, they can be resolved. We, without a doubt, advocate the preservation of the Treaty and the fulfillment of its clauses on condition that corrections are adopted which would assist a strengthening of the Treaty and the elimination of unclear formulae.
KARPOV: I think that we must operate on the assumption that the agreed statement “E” relates to the observance of Article 3 of the ABM Treaty. This is directly said in the text itself. And this means that it can in no way cancel out Article 5 and Article 1 of the Treaty. For this reason, all arguments on the theme that it is permissible to use space-based ABM weapons are deprived of any basis whatsoever. That does not follow at all from the Treaty. Weapons based on new physical principles can be used if they, in keeping with the clauses of Article 3, replace anti-missile launchers, the anti-missiles themselves, or ABM RLS whose deployment is permitted in Article Three. Nothing else is permitted.
I think that this theoretical discussion is now entirely superfluous, insofar as we have proposed a concrete formula to you in order that there be no disagreements between us, in order that both sides clearly know where the limits which must maintained in the very interests of strengthening the regime of the ABM Treaty. Now let us concretely discuss that.
NITZE: We should still clarify what was initially put(?) down in the contents of the Treaty. We propose to specify the meaning of those clauses of the Treaty which were unclearly expressed. Article 3 states what ABM components can be deployed. We should strengthen the regime of Article 3’s clauses. Instead of “created” in Article 3, it should be written “developed and tested, but not deployed.” On this issue, there is an essential disagreement between us. Here we need full clarity. If in the interests of the matter, a correction to the Treaty is needed, then let us propose it. The text of the Treaty should be interpreted identically by both sides.
KARPOV. Mr. Nitze, after all, you know perfectly well that, for example, the term “tested for ABM purposes” was not defined either. However, in the framework of the PKK on your initiative, I mean the American side, this clause was discussed and a mutually acceptable definition of what “tested for ABM purposes” means was found. Here there is an analogous situation, an absolutely analogous situation - defining what is meant in the Treaty. Here we are proposing a concrete definition. What objections do you have? Why are you refusing to discuss it specifically in the way that we are proposing it? We are proposing a concrete formula, [so] let us concretely discuss it.
AKHROMEEV: I can further add that a situation in which, unfortunately, you and we do not have the same understanding of the Treaty. In our opinion, the Treaty firmly and without a time limit prohibits the testing of space-based systems. You, it turns out, have a different conception. Then, we consider, let us come to an agreement on the basis that we are now proposing: that the sides not use the right to withdraw from the Treaty for 10 years, and over the course of subsequent years, we would search for a resolution of the problem. We are now making concrete proposals, insofar as over the course of a fairly long time already, you and we have not managed to come to an identical opinion on this problem.
NITZE: In working on the ABM Treaty, we did not agree on an unambiguous understanding of the term “tested for ABM purposes.” While preparing for this meeting, we carefully studied the course of the negotiations on working out the ABM Treaty. Not all issues were removed according to formulations. I recall that you yourself asked us to clarify what was meant by the term “tested for ABM purposes.” Then we were basically talking about the trajectories of anti-rocket flights. A review of the course of the negotiations on working out the ABM Treaty will, I think, help us to eliminate the present disagreements and to remove several issues.
CAMPELMAN: It will not at all be easy for us to come to a resolution of the issue of definitions in the text of the Treaty. We have, obviously, a different understanding of what happened during the course of the preparation of the Treaty, and different ideas about what we should do. We are ready to discuss those disagreements. I am not sure that we will be able to make progress in discussing these disagreements, but nevertheless, we are ready to discuss them.
I would like to know whether the Marshal is not proposing that we set aside these disagreements and agree to comply with the clauses of the ABM Treaty for “X” years without resolving the issues of our disagreements, which boil down to what each side understands by observing the clause of the ABM treaty? That is how I understand you. And if it is so, then let us examine your proposal through the same procedure that any other proposal would be examined.
AKHROMEEV: The problem is that this is not a theoretical dispute. It obtains a purely practical character. If it had taken place in the 70s, when neither you nor we planned to deploy a space-based ABM formation, then it would be possible to treat calmly the fact that we have some sort of disagreement in the understanding of this or that point or article. No this issue has taken on the character of a fundamental contradiction between you and us. After all, the issue is not of how we understand, but that we are not ruling out your beginning to test space-based components or systems in space. And we will consider this a gross violation of the Treaty with all of the consequences that follow from this. For this reason, we are worried and for a long time have tried to agree on a single understanding. We have not managed to, and now we are introducing another proposal. We would ask for a concrete discussion of this proposal. How does it not suit you?
CAMPELMAN: If you consider that the new proposal which you are inviting us to discuss is a limitation on our activities and on your activities in the confines of research work in laboratories with the exception of improvements to stationary ground-based installations specified in the ABM Treat, then, as we have made clear to you, we will view those limitations as a prohibition on activities which, it is our conviction, are not forbidden by the Treaty. And for that reason, we will not agree with such limitations on those activities which we recognize as legal. Do you understand that?
AKHROMEEV: Yes, we understand that. We consider, and in our proposal it is firmly stated, that research and testing carried out in laboratories, including parts which also impinge upon space-based elements of ABM [systems], would be prohibited. Outside laboratories, such research would be prohibited.
CAMPELMAN: And as you have heard, that is unacceptable to us.
NITZE: I would like to clarify what is meant by the formulation “no single side will take advantage of the right to withdraw from the ABM Treaty.” Does this mean that neither side will use this right under any circumstances? But the situation can change and higher interests of national security can require that extraordinary decisions be made. I would like to clarify this formulation in your proposal.
AKHROMEEV: I think that it is fairly clearly specified in the Treaty that an agreement is reached that the USSR and the US are obliged over the course of 10 years not to use the right which they have to withdraw from the Treaty and for the duration of that period of time to strictly comply with all of its clauses. If there is something here in need of clarification, I am ready to clarify it.
ARBATOV: I would like to say that we are not abstractly resolving simply the issue of the ABM Treaty and its interpretation. This is a package. We are proposing radical cuts in offensive arms and, in order to this, we are also proposing those precautionary measures, which are natural. Here it is proposed that concrete future activities be limited. In response to that, weapons which have been created, tested, and put in place. For that reason, it seems to me that a purely legalistic approach to the issue of what was meant then, although such an approach is also needed and I am not ruling it out, in the given case is not entirely appropriate. We are proposing a way out of the difficulties which have arisen in the negotiations. We tried to understand your interests and the intentions of the President. We want you not to reject our proposals, but to study them carefully and, together with that, to permit us to agree to radical cuts in our offensive arms.
NITZE: But, after all, radical cuts in offensive arms affect both sides.
ARBATOV: Limitations on ABM [systems] also affect both sides.
CAMPELMAN: I do not wish that the issue raised by Mr. Nitze go unanswered. We want you to correctly understand our concern. I will touch on your proposal on the non-withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in keeping with Article 15 over the course of a certain period of time. Article 15 relates to situations when extraordinary events occur which threaten the higher interests of national security. Each of our sides can suppose that over the course of a certain period of time, something extraordinary can happen, not necessarily connected with the strategic arms of each side, which will threated the higher national interests of our country and, possible, of your country. And when reading your proposals, you come to the conclusion that, whatever happens, the sides will not have the option of withdrawing from the ABM Treaty.
We are not proposing to work out a formulation for proposals on the ABM Treaty which would defend the sovereign rights of both sides in case of extraordinary situations which we cannot now foresee. For instance, I would have to explain to the members of the Senate of the Congress of the US that we have tied our hands independently of any extraordinary situations in the future which we cannot now foresee. For that reason, I propose to work out a formula which would not have the character of an absolute probation on the right to withdraw from the Treaty. Suppose that one of our sides discovers that the other side is violating a clause of the ABM Treaty. In that case, what should the side which honorably complied with the Treaty do? Continue to comply with it?
AKHROMEEV: We are looking at this problem from the practical side. And we are forced to do so because of a situation which has arisen in the mutual relations between our countries in negotiations. The situation is such that, although the Treaty is written very clearly and unambiguously, it is understood differently by the USSR and the US. We have come to the situation of an impasse. We are trying to find a way out of it, a way out which would permit the further development of relations between our countries and forward movement in the area of disarmament. A situation has arisen where the precise observance of the ABM Treaty has become a key issue in our mutual relations. Both at the negotiations and outside them, your leaders and you have said more than once that negotiations and agreements must not be constructed on the basis of trust, but on the basis of verification. That is correct. But then it is necessary that each side have a corresponding guarantee of security. It seems that we are working towards an agreement on reducing strategic arms by 50%, and at the same time, on the other hand the other country, in our opinion, is preparing to deploy an ABM defense, with all of the ensuing dangers for the USSR. For that reason, we would like to ensure that for the duration of the next 10 years, this threat will not hang over us. And from the point of view of the fact that some third country could pose such a threat to the US and the USSR, of course, in some sort of area, such a threat could be created, but in the area of ABM, in the area of strategic offensive arms, we do not see, and, indeed, you do not see that someone could create a threat either to you or to us, not only for the next 10 years, but, probably, for a longer period.
Once again I repeat that we approach this problem practically, with the desire to resolve all other issues, to revive trust not only in negotiations, but also in the life of our states and people. And here, the issue of a precise observance of the ABM Treaty has become central. That is the situation.
KARPOV: Now the issue stands in such a way that the US is openly pursing the goal of overlooking or abrogating the ABM Treaty. And let us speak frankly. If the US takes that course, then say so openly, that you are going as far as that [chto vy vedete delo k etomu]. Then take upon yourselves the entire responsibility for that, or otherwise our talks on reducing strategic arms will become a fiction. Either we are pursuing the matter of reducing strategic arms and are correspondingly assuring all of the necessary conditions for that, or the US is consciously taking a course toward a continuation of the arms race. That is the alternative that faces us now. Then let us talk about that concretely. We are proposing an alternative to you: strengthening the regime of the ABM Treaty as we are proposing here, and we propose a deep 50% cut in strategic offensive arms. If you agree with that approach, let us concretely discuss it. If you do not agree with it, say so directly; then there is nothing to talk about. But then take upon yourselves the responsibility for the fact that there will not be an agreement on deep cuts in strategic offensive arms, which we, incidentally, agreed on at the highest level on 21 November of last year.
NITZE: In order to simplify this issue, it can be divided into two problems.
The first is whether the US is permitted to withdraw from the Treaty and to deploy ABM systems which are prohibited by the ABM Treaty?
The second is whether the US must strictly adhere to the clauses of the ABM treaty undil such time as it is ready to deploy its ABM system? As for the second problem, we genuinely want both sides to act in full accord with the demands of the ABM Treaty. As you know, we do not believe that the USSR is fulfilling all of the clauses of the ABM Treaty. We are not violating the Treaty and do not intend to violate it.
We also consider that for the duration of a definite period, the sides will have the right to deploy new ABM systems. Here are two problems which, in our view, should be at the center of attention.
AKHROMEEV: I think that you and we are starting down a path which, unfortunately, has already been traversed at the Geneva negotiations. In the given case, there is our proposal and we would like to know whether either you have some concrete amendments to it which we could examine and come to a common opinion upon, or whether it is unsuitable to you in principle. Then there would be clarity. After all, you and we are limited by our leaders’ frameworks for the negotiations. We cannot put off the resolution of this issue until tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. We must resolve this issue today. Now, the USSR, its leaders, the General Secretary, introduced this proposal to the President. This means that we must examine it with you; if some particulars do not suit the American side, then [we must] try to find a single formulation, in a word, to find a single resolution. But if it does not suit you in principle, then both you and we should be clear on the matter. I would like to say the same thing that comrade Karpov said. In that case, everything will be demolished, what we are trying to construct with you today, including the agreement which we tried to discuss with you on strategic offensive arms. You cannot on the one hand disarm, reduce strategic offensive arms and watch while your country is subject to a threat, and that threat is being created for it. The USSR will never agree to that, although it is full of the desire to agree on all problems, on all isues, and it is introducing its proposal. Our respected opponents have been dealing with the issues which we are discussing today for many years. And you must see how far forward we have come both on strategic offensive arms and on medium-range missiles. You see that. But if we do not achieve a certain degree of assurance, and in particular on the issue of a strict observance of the ABM Treaty, probably no agreement will result. We must clearly understand that. For that reason, I would ask that after we complete the discussion of all issues as a whole, you add your amendments to our proposals. In the absence of the same formulations, the disagreements on each clause must be fixed.
NITZE: We also have proposals. We propose writing: “both sides agree to act in the interests of creating a more stable and secure world. The USSR will create a mechanism jointly with the US in order to increase the reliability of each side’s defensive systems. This mechanism will not have the aim of eliminating the ABM Treaty, although it will represent an addition to the Treaty of the necessary new clauses. This mechanism would include reliable verification measures over the observance of equal security and stability in the process of reducing offensive and defensive strategic arms, which would be culminate in the complete elimination of strategic offensive missiles. The elimination of ballistic missiles would strengthen the stability and reliability of the defensive systems of both sides. This mechanism would present the opportunity to agree on the transfer of new technology in the creation of strategic offensive systems in combination with the complete elimination of strategic offensive missiles. With the elimination of all offensive strategic systems, the defensive systems would be agreed in keeping with the interests of both sides. Both sides will examine the procedure for the transition to strategic defense on an equal basis and in observance of the principle of equal security.”
AKHROMEEV: Understood. That is a different proposal. And, as I understand, these two proposals are very far from one another. Is there anything else on this problem?
NITZE: I propose having 10-minute interval.
AKHROMEEV: Of course.
AKHROMEEV: Mr. Nitze, I would like to devote another few minutes to the problem of ABM defenses in order for you to know the opinion of the Soviet military leadership on this issue.
Of course, we will not disregard the danger represented to the USSR by a US ABM defense. The potential of an unanswered nuclear strike on the territory of the USSR arises. There can be a danger that the country having an ABM defense of the country will use it for its own benefit. Here, both realities and illusions can take place. You understand that the process of developing such a system is a lengthy process and, if the US decides to create such a system, it will take a fairly long time. This worries us and involuntarily we think and look in which directions we can find a response to the development of such a system. You know the statement of the General Secretary, comrade M.S. Gorbachev, about the fact that we will find such a response and that it will be adequate, although it will not be analogous to what is being done in the US. And that is truly the case. There are many paths to finding an answer to this. If an ABM system is deployed, there will be no cuts in strategic offensive arms. In fact, what will occur will be their deployment, their growth, and their improvement. There is also the potential to get around an ABM defense. And we would like to tell you about this. It is your affair whether you develop it or not, and what form of it you develop, just in the same way that responding to it is our affair if you begin to develop it. But in the given case, we are no less worried by the uncontrolled arms race which would go on for many decades in that case, than by the real military danger. And [by] who[m], and when, and where the process of limiting and reducing arms will then begin - now only God knows that, as they say. For that reason, in my opinion, we are standing at a historical boundary when either we can come to an agreement or our countries will be obliged to try to come to agreement in other conditions. That is what I want to say.
NITZE: I thank you. We will take your comments under advisement.
I think that now we should move on to the problem of banning nuclear tests. I hope that we will be able to introduce some constructive proposals on this issue. Permit me to proceed directly to the text of our proposal, with which, I hope, both sides could agree. Permit me to read it.
“The US and the USSR will begin negotiations on the problem of nuclear tests. In the course of these negotiations, the remaining issues on the verification of compliance with existing treaties will be resolved. With the resolution of these issues, the US and the USSR will proceed without delay to the reduction and elimination of nuclear arms together with the further limitation of nuclear tests in stages, which in the end will culminate in the full elimination of nuclear tests.”
I hope that this formulation also takes into account your interests.
AKHROMEEV: We propose starting negotiations on the full banning of nuclear tests. Your proposal talks about nuclear tests.
NITZE: We propose a stage-by-stage [poetapnyi] process of limiting nuclear tests which in the end will lead to the full halting of tests.
ARBATOV: In a hundred years’ time.
AKHROMEEV: I think that there are issues here on which we can find an identical formulation. But we hold to the firm opinion that negotiations must begin as negotiations on the full banning of nuclear tests. But they, it is true, can proceed by stages. And perhaps the first of these stages were the Treaties of 1974 and 1976. I think that we could find identical formulations on this issue.
NITZE: We hoped that our formulations would be acceptable to you as well. But if you propose to postpone them until the next concordance, we will not object.
AKHROMEEV: We have one other issue: on the reduction of risk. We could move on to it.
NITZE: Our proposal is: “both sides without delay begin negotiating with the aim of achieving agreement on the creation of centers for reducing the risk of the outbreak of nuclear war.”
AKHROMEEV: Fine. In principle, this formulation can also be discussed.
Then we should return to the first issue on strategic offensive arms and try to formulate an identical opinion. We propose taking what the President handed to the General Secretary as a basis, and are ready to hear out your comments on point 1.
NITZE: In our opinion, the directives to our Secretary of State and to your Minister of Foreign Affairs should be more detailed.
AKHROMEEV: Fine. What will be your proposals? We are ready to hear them out.
NITZE: Our proposal is currently in the typing office. It is being printed. We will have to wait a little longer.
KARPOV: Mr. Nitze, the document which the General Secretary handed to the President today is formulated with the calculation that it might specifically reflect the positions on which the sides concur. If we now set ourselves the task of resolving in this document every detail, then the task will turn out to be insoluble for the duration of the hours which are allotted to us. For this very reason, we tried to formulate the document in such a way that it would reflect the basic, main, key elements and would leave the concrete details, the realization of these basic theses, for the negotiations. It seems to me that this approach obviously does not provoke doubts on your part. For that reason, the details which can be included in the proposal should specifically reflect points of concurrence.
AKHROMEEV: But at the same time, principled theses should be reflected in the text of the directive. Without a doubt, details are the subject of the future negotiations of the Secretary of State and our Minister of Foreign Affairs. Of course, we will find disagreements over the details which we will not be able to iron out, but the main point is that we must leave work for the Ministers to do.
NITZE: We are of a different opinion. We want to set out precisely where we have disagreements with you and where we do not. To limit ourselves to general statements and directives would be incorrect.
AKHROMEEV: We are ready to hear your proposals. We have stated our opinion, but are also ready to take your way. Let us have your concrete proposals.
NITZE: The text, evidently, is being printed in another building. Permit me to make some clarifications on the issue of medium-range missiles. We propose stipulating concrete verification measures in the text which would include:
1 - a full and precise exchange of data before the start of reductions and after their implementation;
2 - on-site verification of the destruction of missiles up to the agreed levels, as it is carried out;
3 - effective verification of permitted medium- and long-range missiles and associated installations [ob’ekty], including on-site inspections.
During his conversation with the President, the General Secretary spoke about the seriousness and the importance of the problems of verification during the period of arms reductions.
AKHROMEEV: Quite right. But I think that at present we should not write the issue of verification only as it relates to medium-range missiles into the document. Evidently, it should also be applied to strategic offensive arms, to medium-range missiles, and to other problems. Probably we could agree on this formulation. I think that we could write as follows: “in addition to currently-existing verification with national technical resources, other verification measures could and should be worked out, including the exchange of relevant information.” Let us have a look at what can be written about other kinds of verification, including inspections. We can work out this point now. I think that a resolution will be found. We are no less interested in this than you.
And now let us begin with the first point and work through to verification.
NITZE: We fully agree with you that the problem of verification has direct relevance for strategic offensive arms and for other issues aside from medium-range missiles. The principles for verification should be the same for all sorts of armaments.
AKHROMEEV: I want to say that the information exchanged by the sides in the area of strategic offensive arms during the period of the Treaty’s preparation was so detailed and exhaustive that a certain measures of trust between our sides has already arisen.
NITZE: As we already said, the problem of verification can be divided into three parts:
1 - an exchange of information;
2 - careful verification of the course of the agreed cuts in arms;
3 - effective verification of permitted medium- and long-range missiles and of their installations [ob’ekty].
AKHROMEEV: We have no objections. How we will formulate and write this down is another matter. But in principle, we agree with this.
NITZE: The directives to the Secretary of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs could be phrased in the following way: “the US and the USSR will strive for the earliest possible agreement in the following areas:
1 - on strategic offensive arms - an agreement will include a 50% cut in strategic arms;
2 - both sides lend priority significance to the reduction of warheads on ballistic missiles;
3 - an aggregate level of 1600 units will be established for bombers and ballistic missiles;
4 - the sides will strive for deep cuts in warheads on ballistic missiles to a level situated between the Soviet proposal (6000) and the American proposal (4500) which should be secured over the course of the next five years;
5 - reductions of warheads will lead to the establishment of a level of 1500 units for warheads on Soviet SS-18 ICBMs and other heavy ICBMs;
6 - corresponding cuts will be carried out on all ballistic missiles of the sides, including the SLBMs of the US;
7 - levels will be established for warheads on ballistic missiles. No more than 1500 warheads will be located on ICBMs other than silo-based ICBMs with 6 or fewer warheads;
8 - separate levels will be established for sea-based cruise missiles;
9 - effective verification will be important for each side. The negotiations on verification should proceed parallel with measures on limitations and reductions in the sides’ arsenals;
10 - the sides will work out detailed agreements on these issues as soon as possible.
AKHROMEEV: Mr. Nitze, we would like you to give us your text. Good or bad, most importantly it is concise. In order to begin some sort of work and agreement, we must study your text.
NITZE: We can present you with the final text tomorrow morning.
AKHROMEEV: At 10 o’clock, the General Secretary and the President are meeting. They must examine and analyze our materials before that time.
In the interests of saving time, it seems to me that if we took the Soviet text with any of your emendations as a starting point, we could arrive at our goal quicker. Excuse me, I see your work and you, as I understand, have not yet formulated the final text.
NITZE: We would like to consult a bit, in order to clarify a few details.
AKHROMEEV: Mr. Nitze, we would like to know how your position differs from those proposals which your side introduced in Geneva in September of this year.
NITZE: I think that our position is set out clearly.
AKHROMEEV: In the negotiations with the President, the General Secretary introduced new proposals to cut strategic offensive arms by 50%. In doing so, the Soviet Union withdrew its former proposals about counting American medium-range missiles and forward-based forces which [can] reach the territory of the USSR in the 50% cuts. We consider that this is new proposal in principle. In reply, you repeat the proposals which you put forward in September at the Geneva negotiations. Moreover, we agreed to significant cuts in heavy missiles. That is, now it does not seem possible for us to draw up any joint proposals on strategic offensive arms.
NITZE: But we assumed that it would be possible to work out a common formulation on the basis of our text.
AKHROMEEV: Yes, but that is called working out an agreement on American conditions. The Soviet side will not agree to that.
NITZE: How do you propose to alter our proposals?
KARPOV: This text is not fit for any changes, since it [is based on] a different theme and different aims. Yesterday at the meeting with the President, the General Secretary proposed new resolutions which, truly, will cut the strategic offensive arms of both sides by 50% - all categories and warheads by 50%.
In your proposal, under the pretense of a 50% cut, something very different from a 50% cut is made. If we take the existing level of American strategic launchers (2200 units, crudely speaking), and reduce it to 1600 units, the question arises: where is the 50% cut[?] So here, probably, an entirely different proposal is being discussed, the proposal which we know and which you put forward on 18 September of this year. And this proposal cannot at all be seen as a constructive answer by the American side to the new, far-reaching official proposal by the USSR which was expressed to your President yesterday by the General Secretary. For this reason, it does not seem possible to combine your text with ours or to introduce appropriate corrections to your text in order to compose common guiding instructions to the Secretary of State and the Minister of Foreign Affairs relating to implementing the agreements on 50% cuts in strategic offensive arms.
CAMPELMAN: I have a simple question for you. We began our conversation yesterday at 8 o’clock in the evening. And our discussion is proceeding. As I understand it both sides discussed and are discussing the aggregate level of 1600 units. For that reason, we prepared the relevant proposals which would rely on that aggregate level. You never named a different aggregate level to us. If you want to propose a different level, then by all means, please do so; we are listening.
AKHROMEEV: I put forward our proposal at the beginning of the meeting. It was stated yesterday in the negotiations. You already know it.
Your proposal did not make any response to the proposal which was introduced by the General Secretary.
CAMPELMAN: Let us discuss the sub-levels which you do not agree with. Or propose your own sub-levels.
KARPOV: We clearly proposed cutting launchers and warheads by 50% from the existing levels held by you and by us. So go ahead and count how many of your launchers and, correspondingly, warheads, should remain on each. These figures should be well known to you.
CAMPELMAN: What concrete figures do you understand by 50%?
AKHROMEEV: If the US has 1018-1020 ICBMs, then 50% will make about 510 units. If the USSR has 1398 ICBMs, then this number will be cut in half. Incidentally, the General Secretary presented the President with an inventory of [our] strategic offensive arms.
CAMPELMAN: But you are proposing unequal levels for both sides if these levels are measured in absolute terms.
AKHROMEEV: Quite correct. We are proposing 50% cuts for both sides.
NITZE: We are not ready to discuss the levels which would be different for both sides. Insofar as I understand, today we must agree on how we propose to reach equal quantitative levels for both sides. For that reason, we started from the quantitative indices which were named here.
AKHROMEEV: Evidently, we still have to examine medium-range missiles. And so, permit us to acquaint ourselves with your proposals on medium-range nuclear forces.
Permit me to raise the issue of medium-range nuclear forces. Yesterday at the negotiations between the General Secretary and the President, the full elimination of US and USSR medium-range missiles in the European zone was proposed; and, along with this, the nuclear potentials of England and France would not be counted. At the same time, we proposed beginning negotiations, as soon as possible, on Soviet and American medium-range forces in Asia, as well as beginning negotiations on the missiles of a range of less than 1000 km Europe. We proposed formulating this proposal and presenting it to the General Secretary and the President in order to have an agreed position, excepting only the issue of the number of missiles in Asia. This issues will be left for their resolution. As I understand it, the American side does not agree with this proposal.
NITZE: We agree with the zero option for the European zone under the condition of establishing a global zero level.
AKHROMEEV: Understood. Then permit us to acquaint ourselves further with your proposals.
But here, Mr. Nitze, I do not see anything at all in your proposals which would be linked with the ABM Treaty. No proposals. Or, perhaps, this is a mistake?
We will report that you have no more material.
And now I propose having a break.
AKHROMEEV: We reported to our leadership the position designated by the US in today’s negotiations, and also to position which we set out. As a result of the report, we are clarifying one issue in particular, which touches on the agreement on cutting strategic offensive arms which we have proposed. It consists of the following: we are proposing to prepare an agreement to cut the USSR’s and the US’s strategic offensive arms by 50% to an equal number of launchers and warheads for the sides, taking into consideration the particular structures of the sides’ strategic forces which historically have come to pass. At the same time, we note that the American side did not react to any of the far-reaching proposals which were put forward yesterday on practically all issues (strategic offensive arms, medium-range missiles, ABM Treaty, complete ban on nuclear tests) at the negotiations between the General Secretary and the President, and that today it once again set out the proposals which had been put forward in Geneva or in the correspondence between our leaders, between the General Secretary and the President. We hoped that in connection with the proposals we introduced, the American side would come out with corresponding proposals. But this did not happen. That is what I would like to say.
NITZE: The first part of your new proposals differs somewhat from what we were discussing before the interval, and we welcome that. Does this mean that you are ready to discuss concrete levels for launchers and warheads, including cruise missiles? Moreover, these levels would be in the region of 1600 or 6000 units respectively.
AKHROMEEV: Yes, we are proposing that in negotiations, the number of launchers and warheads be specified given a 50% cut, and that they, both the number of launchers and the number of warheads, be equal for both sides.
NITZE: That is important, insofar as it can go into the text of instructions for our ministers of foreign affairs.
AKHROMEEV: Yes, it’s true, if we had acceptable potential agreements on the other issues, then, evidently, we could move ahead here as well. But on medium-range forces, we are proposing a zero option for Europe, not counting England and France’s forces, and negotiations on medium-range nuclear forces in the East, as well as negotiations on missiles with a range below 1000 km on condition of a freeze on what each side has today, and you do not agree with this. On the problem of the ABM Treaty, there are, as we understood, fundamental differences between us. We regard this problem differently, as we do the problem of a complete ban on nuclear tests. Here, I should direct your attention to how we are formulating the theme of the negotiations themselves. We say: on a complete ban of nuclear tests, while your side proposes to conduct negotiations on nuclear tests. We consider that here, the approach is also fundamentally different.
NITZE: Permit me to return once more to the issue of strategic offensive arms. Do you agree to mention our proposals for levels of 1600 and 6000 units in the text?
AKHROMEEV: We think that this number should be discussed in the negotiations in order that it be approximately so. This is a subject for negotiation.
NITZE: In relation to medium-range missiles, we have disagreements with you. As I said earlier, we do not have principled objections to having 100 missiles in Europe and 100 in Asia for each side, and we do not object to 0 in Europe and 0 in Asia, but we object to 0 in Europe while retaining missiles in Asia. The main question consists of how many missiles the sides will leave in Europe and how many in Asia. I think that we could agree on that issue.
As for missiles with a range of less than 1000 km, I do not see any objections to you proposal.
Perhaps we could not work out a common formulation on the issue of levels for medium-range missiles in Europe and in Asia?
AKHROMEEV: Then we would want to go back and examine the issues, starting with strategic offensive arms. The difficulty arises with the fact that even now, at the stage when we are only trying to outline the borders of the problems and give our recommendations to the ministers, you are already bringing in a series of limitations, a series of thresholds. We are, after all, urging you more broadly to examine our issues and to specify the principles on the basis of which the ministers could work out concrete agreements. If we approached the problem thus, I think that we could have a try and work out these principles today even, taking, for example, what we are proposing as a basis, while incorporating the comments and wishes of the American side. But if we begin examining all of the figures you have been talking about right now, we will simply not be in a condition to do anything, since on the quantitative issues we have fairly major differences which we looked at today and which I do not want to repeat.
NITZE: It seems to me that our disagreements are not really that great either on strategic offensive arms or on medium-range forces, if one just excludes the issue of medium-range missiles. This issue comes down to establishing analogical levels for Europe and Asia.
AKHROMEEV: We could forward this issue once again to the General Secretary and the President. At the next meeting, they could also discuss that issue. The issue of strategic offensive arms also comes up for us. Do you agree, without now specifying concrete levels (1600, 6000, etc.), to specify a principled approach to the resolution of this problem in approximately the way we have formulated it, with the consideration of your wishes[?]
NITZE: There have always been difficulties of this sort between us in all negotiations. In my opinion, a document says little about a principle if it does not specify how that principle will be applied in the future. At the same time, I do not insist on specifying a large number of figures in the document. However, the basic, principally important levels of ICBMs, SLBMs, heavy bombers with cruise missiles and heavy ICBMs should be specified.
AKHROMEEV: Look, here we have concrete limitations on SS-18 ICBMs which we cannot now agree to. You also raise the issue of throw-weight, but at present we cannot agree with your proposal. And for that reason, it simply seems impossible to agree to this concrete sub-levels today - and, anyway, is it worth it? Because if we agree to the principled approaches in approximately the form which we are proposing, then, in our opinion, the number of difficulties now faced by the delegations in Geneva will shrink considerably. It will already be easier for the ministers to resolve this issue. But we are not ready to conduct the negotiations today in the form which you are proposing, and, evidently, we will not agree. We can once again discuss the issue of throw-weight, of sub-levels, but we will not come to agreement on these issues today. Before the interval, you correctly stated that it is not physically possible to prepare an agreement in the course of a single night. And if we take those quantitative indices which you are proposing, then it means that a large portion of the agreement will have been prepared.
NITZE: I am changing my previous proposal. I propose writing “not more than 1600 ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers, and not more than 6000 warheads on these launchers.” That would assist the preparation of a single document.
AKHROMEEV: I think, Mr. Nitze, that if we removed the other figures, then we could try to come to an agreement right now.
In the agreement, it could be specified that there will not be more than 1600 launchers and not more than 6000 warheads. If the other figures were removed, then we could try to formulate our document.
NITZE: But in the course of the ongoing negotiations, these additional sub-levels absolutely have to be worked out.
I want to specify one preliminary questions with you: when you talk about taking the historically established characteristics [istoricheski slozhivsheesia otlichitel’nye cherty] of the structure of the sides’ strategic nuclear forces, what do you mean by that?
AKHROMEEV: By that we mean that the sides will not try to destroy the established proportions of the strategic nuclear forces of the sides, and that each side, if we are to agree on this, within a number of approximately 6000 warheads and 1600 launchers, will decide for itself what proportion of ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers, it want to have, and that the sides will take upon themselves the responsibility of significantly reducing the number of heavy missiles. And an approximately identical reduction will take place in each element of the triad.
NITZE: The negotiating sides will have to resolve the issue of sub-levels in talks. This will be a fairly difficult issue for them. Permit me to bring to your attention a portion of the text of instructions for our ministers.
“The sides have agreed to concentrate the attention of their delegations on negotiations directed at 50% cuts in strategic offensive arms for the US and the USSR (ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers) while taking into account the historically established characteristics of the sides’ strategic forces. With such an approach, all categories of nuclear forces are subject to cuts, and moreover, the aggregate level of ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers must not exceed 1600, while the number of warheads and cruise missiles on them must not exceed an aggregate level of 6000. The level of heavy ICBMs will be cut by 50%. Besides this, the latter agreed sublevels on launchers and warheads will have to goal of reducing the destructive potential of nuclear forces.”
AKHROMEEV: I have been listening to you hopefully. We were close to agreement, although then you brought up sub-levels again. I believe that if we agree to a 50% reduction, then afterward the sides will decide themselves what proportion of their warheads will be on each sort of the nuclear forces. And sub-levels will not be necessary if the number of heavy missiles is reduced. That is our position.
And if the issue of sub-levels is removed, than the formulation which you are proposing to us could suit both sides. Here it is: “In the area of strategic arms, the preparation of an agreement on 50% reductions in the strategic offensive arms of the USSR and the US to an equal quantity (of launchers to about 1600 units, and of warheads to not more than 6000 for the sides), taking into account the historically established particularities of the sides’ strategic forces. In addition, within the said framework, all types of offensive strategic arms will be subject to cuts, including a significant number of heavy missiles. A resolution of the issue of reducing and deploying long range sea-based cruise missiles will also be found.”
NITZE: Permit me to draw your attention to the last phrase of your formulation where you speak about sea-based cruise missiles. About these forces it could be written that the “sides will strive to find a resolution by which long range sea-based cruise missiles would be cut on the condition of reliable verification of compliance with the permitted level.” We ourselves are not certain how this will be carried out, but it is necessary to try to find a resolution of this issue.
AKHROMEEV: We think that it is not expedient to do that. We taking on the commitment of cutting the number of warheads by 50% and that is an entirely concrete and binding commitment. At the same time, under the formulation which you are proposing, it is possible that we will not find a resolution on sea-based cruise missiles and then the possibility of deploying them in huge numbers will arise. The question arises as to what the 50% cut will then be worth. I think that the commitments on sea-based cruise missiles should be just as binding as those on strategic offensive arms, or otherwise they cannot be the basis for an agreement.
This, Mr. Nitze, is not an issue of form. This is an issue of essence. Do the sides take upon themselves the problem of cruise missiles, or do they not?
NITZE: I can only repeat that the “sides will search for a resolution on substantive cuts to monitored levels of long range sea-based cruise missiles.” At present, we have no such resolution.
AKHROMEEV: No, we cannot agree to that. We are firmly taking on the commitment to 50% cuts. But you are leaving the issue of limiting cruise missiles in the form of a wish, and not of an commitment for the sides. We cannot agree to that.
NITZE: But first there must be agreement on verification measures on this issue.
ARBATOV: You are obliged to find a resolution to the issue of verification.
AKHROMEEV: Experience show that when it was necessary, we resolved the most complicated problems. We found ways of incorporating each other’s security interests. I recall how we agreed on counting MIRVed missiles. This was a most complex problem and we resolved it in the SALT-2 Treaty. It was not less complicated than this one. Here we are talking about equal security. And for this reason, the formulation must be equally binding both on cutting strategic offensive arms by 50% and on finding a resolution of the issue of limiting the deployment of sea-based cruise missiles.
PERLE: That issue is clear to us and the way it is resolved does not provoke any difficulties for us. But the problem is that sea-based cruise missile launchers do not differ in any way from launchers for other ship-based military forces. We would have to dismantle all ship launchers, both launchers for nuclear-armed cruise missiles and launchers for conventionally armed missiles. I do not think that it would be realistic to ask us to dismantle all of our naval weapons. So it will not at all be easy to find a resolution of this issue. And we repeat: the resolution of this issue must be subject to verification.
AKHROMEEV: I do not wish to go into the details of examining this problem here, but it is serious enough that, evidently, I will have to. This is not the first time that we are confronting these problems. We were faced with no less complicated an issue - how to count heavy bombers with long range cruise missiles and heavy bombers with bombs and SRAM rockets. This was a very complicated problem which we fought over for over a year. We found a solution. And I could cite more than a few of such examples. With good will and the desire to do so, we find a solution to the most complex problems.
Yes, we say that our agreement must be based on verification. But a certain degree of trust exists within that. After all, even the signing of an agreement already assumes some degree of trust, and we cannot avoid this. If we accept such a formulation of the issue of sea-based cruise missiles, we will have to choose the types of “surface ships on which these missiles will be based, and here the rule of the “type” will have to come into play. A series of other verification measures will be thought through. Inspection will work the same way here as it does in the verification of other forces and weapons. If a solution to this problem is not found, we will not have an agreement with you. This is a major issue.
ARBATOV: The arms race will simply be displaced to another plane.
FALIN: If I correctly understood Mr. Nitze, the American side so far does not foresee a realistic solution to this issue. Then permit us to ask you, Messrs., a question. How can you propose a formulation on this issue when it has no real sense and will not have any material relevance?
AKHROMEEV: In Mr. Perle’s remark I also [heard] the inflection of a dictate. Here, he says, there will be no verification, and neither will there be any limitations on sea-based cruise missiles, either.
For us, this is a vitally important problem. One cannot cut some kinds of arms by 50% and deploy other kinds of arms without limit. That does not suit us.
NITZE: And if the sides exchange declarations with a mention of their long-term plans relative to the deployment of long range nuclear sea-based cruise missiles. Of course, I imagine how difficult it will be to work out such declarations. And nevertheless, the exchange of such declarations would be a way out of such a difficult position.
AKHROMEEV: We think that the number of these missiles should be specified. The sides should adopt the commitment to deploy a strictly specified number on strictly defined types of naval ships. Sea-based nuclear missiles must not be deployed on other types of ships. The sides must take this commitment on themselves.
ARBATOV: What do all of these difficulties count in comparison to a 50% cut in strategic arms[?] Where are our priorities in examining problems? Which problem are we putting out in front, anyway? Because of the difficulties of verifying one, far from the most important, kind of nuclear weapon, we are putting the entire agreement under threat. This is not a constructive approach, but an subterfuge not to permit the agreement. This is not a real concern about security.
NITZE: Our problem on this issue is explained by the fact that we have deployed a significant number of sea-based cruise missiles with conventional warheads. We are ready to specify the level for long range sea-based nuclear cruise missiles which the sides would be obliged not to exceed.
It is very difficult to distinguish between launchers for conventional and nuclear sea-based cruise missiles. They are indistinguishable. This is what explains the problem of reliable verification relating to this kind of armament. The Soviet side would have to rely upon the statements of the American side in the verification process. And that is not enough.
AKHROMEEV: Both you and we in this case are in equal measure taking commitments upon ourselves. We also specify verification measures mutually. For this reason, the USSR is not looking for some sort of advantage for itself. And the fact that these nuclear forces should be limited, and limited to a modest number is indisputable. Because one cannot, for instance, cut strategic offensive arms to 6000 warheads and simultaneously permit, let’s say, the deployment of 2000 sea-based cruise missiles with nuclear warheads. This number must be modest. It will be necessary to agree on this, as well as on verification measures, in negotiations. But we must take on an commitment.
PERLE: We do not at all object to sharply cutting the number of these cruise missiles. On this issue, we do not disagree with you. The issue consists of how to verify nuclear cruise missiles on naval ships in conditions when we have already deployed a significant number of conventional missiles which are launched from typical launchers. As for the quantitative limitations on sea-based nuclear cruise missiles, there are no difficulties here for the verifying side. We permit only the number of armaments of all categories which is permitted by the Congress of the US, and these data are not classified. So that we could exchange statements to the effect that the number of long range, sea-based nuclear cruise missiles will not exceed the agreed level.
AKHROMEEV: We respect the Congress of the US, but the figure which is confirmed by Congress cannot be binding for the USSR. We consider that this figure should go into the agreement which we are preparing, and that it should be decided how to verify [it]. We must work out a procedure for verification and monitor one another. There is no other way. We have been conducting negotiations on limiting arms for almost 20 years now. We have searched for and found resolutions to the most complex problems. We will also find a solution on verification now.
PERLE: The US is ready to limit the number of long range, sea-based nuclear cruise missiles. Of course, we do not consider that data from the US Congress on financing arms programs can serve as the only basis for you in verifying the level of cruise missiles, but, at the same time, we believe that they can serve as reference data and serve as a definite point of reference in the process of verification. Of course, we will have to agree on mutually acceptable verification measures. But this will not be easy in the case of sea-based cruise missiles.
AKHROMEEV: I think that the USSR must not search for verification methods alone, but that the US and USSR together will search for ways to verify this agreement on a definite number of sea-based, nuclear-armed cruise missiles on certain types of naval ships. This resolution should be adopted and implemented by the two sides.
For you, this is a difficult issue. But we had many difficult issues which we successfully resolved in the end. The issue of not counting England and France’s nuclear forces was a difficult issue for us, a very difficult issue for the security of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, in the interests of achieving agreement, we deemed it possible to agree to that. The US does not want to put itself in the same sort of position in which we put ourselves for the sake of achieving general agreement.
NITZE: Believe us, we are doing everything possible to find a solution to this issue. Taking into account your concern, in future we will spare no effort in order to resolve this problem. At present, the difficulty is how to differentiate launchers on surface ships for conventional and nuclear cruise missiles. In the capacity of a way of resolving this issue, we propose that the sides exchange declaration with statements of the existing quantity of long range sea-based cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads. But we do not intend to destroy conventionally-armed cruise missiles for the sake of the verification of nuclear cruise missiles.
AKHROMEEV: The issue is not one of destroying something. But the issue is posed such that the sides might firmly limit ships which can have nuclear-armed missiles. If there are cruise missile launchers on ships and the existing cruise missiles are only conventionally armed, evidently, this will not be prohibited. A verification right exists. A side can verify whether there is nuclear ammunition there or not. There will be inspections, and we can agree with about this with you. If doubts arise on the part of one side, then the other must afford it the right to check whether there are nuclear weapons on the given ship or not. We understand that this is awkward. But, I repeat, there was plenty that was awkward for us. However, in the interests of agreement, we agreed to these awkward elements. Our ships will be checked to an equal degree. After all, we also have cruise missiles, Mr. Perle.
FALIN: As Mssrs. Nitze and Perle state, the American side wishes very much to find a resolution of this issue. Let us write this down: both you and we wish to find a resolution to this issue. The model for the resolution of this issue will be specified in the future. Let our ministers take our statement and decide how concretely how compliance with the given commitment will be verified.
AKHROMEEV: We should write: “Both sides will find a resolution to this issue.”
PERLE: We are ready to find a solution to this issue. However, the problem of organizing verification remains a serious.
AKHROMEEV: We must find a resolution to this issue together with you so that there will be some sort of functional data which would permit us to differentiate nuclear-armed cruise missile launchers from non-nuclear-armed cruise missile launchers. We must find a way out. We did fin such a resolution on heavy bombers. But a verification right remains with each side. This, Mr. Perle, is not caprice, not a desire to create some sort of difficulty. A resolution of this issue must be found if we are to agree a reduction as major as 50% with you.
PERLE: A solution on heavy bombers was possible and easily realized. The airplanes were given a certain configuration for equipping them with the appropriate armaments at the beginning of their deployment. In the given case with sea-based cruise missiles, we were late. The cruise missiles are already deployed. It is not possible now to give the launchers of nuclear cruise missiles differentiating characteristic. We have passed the stage when it would have been easy to do so.
AKHROMEEV: Evidently some sort of modernization will be needed and we, evidently, will agree to that.
Here you are saying that heavy ICBMs pose a special danger to you and are saying that we should destroy them. There is little that is pleasant for us in that. But, nevertheless, taking into account your concern, we are responding to it. But in the given case we are telling you that you can in no way respond to our concern. That is inequitable reasoning. We are sitting at the table on an equal basis and so let us overcome our difficulties together, you, yours, and we, ours, but let us find solutions. This means that we must not only understand, but also find solutions.
NITZE: Right now we are trying to work out a mutually acceptable formulation which would help us to resolve this entire problem. I propose the following formulation: “Both sides will strive to fine a resolution to the problem of limiting long range, sea-based nuclear cruise missiles.”
AKHROMEEV: That formulation is not an commitment. It is a wish. In the given case, it is unsuitable. We must agree on an commitment to find a solution to this problem and it must be written down. We propose the following formulation: “The sides will find a solution to this problem.”
NITZE: Fine, let us write: “Will search for and find a solution to this problem...”.
AKHROMEEV: Let us leave this issue without agreement. We have reported on this issue on more than one occasion and this is not our personal understanding; it is the position of the Soviet Union.
Then, well, we can accept the formulation which I read out. If it is necessary, I could repeat it once again.
In the area of strategic offensive arms, an agreement on reducing the strategic offensive arms of the USSR and the US to an equal number of launchers (to about 1600 units) and warheads (to no more than 6000 units for each side), taking into account the historically established particularities of the structure of the sides’ strategic forces. All types of strategic offensive arms will be subject to the reductions, including a significant number of heavy missiles.
(A solution to the issue of limiting the deployment of long range sea-based nuclear cruise missiles will also be found).
On all issue relating to the problem of strategic offensive arms, the sides will conduct negotiations taking into account their mutual interests and concerns will manifesting a political will in favor of agreement.
NITZE: Permit me to clarify one issue. As we understand, the level of 600 in your formulation includes warheads on ICBMs, SLBMs and long-range cruise missiles, but does not include SRAM missiles and airplane bombs.
AKHROMEEV: Our formulation does not include SRAM missiles and bombs in the level of 6000 units, but bombers with SRAM missiles and bombs are included in the level of 1600 units, and each of them is counted as a launcher with a single warhead.
You can see to what difficult ends we are going. You must do this as well.
NITZE: And the level which would not exceed 6000 units includes only warheads on ICBMs, SLBMs, and air-based cruise missiles. Is that so? Is that all?
KARPOV: And heavy bombers armed with SRAM missiles and bombs.
NITZE: They are not included in the level of 6000 units.
AKHROMEEV: Each bomber equipped with SRAM missiles and bombs will be counted as a launcher with a single warhead. And it will accordingly be counted in the 1600 count as a bomber and in the 6000 count as a single warhead. Let us write that down precisely.
NITZE: That circumstance changes the issue. We are not ready to equate a single air-based cruise missile with bombs and SRAM missiles on a heavy bomber.
AKHROMEEV: Reason it out this way. You have a Minuteman-1 missile; it is a single-warhead missiles. We count it as a launcher in the overall number of launchers, and at the same time its warhead is counted as one warhead in the overall number of warheads. This is how heavy bombers with SRAM missiles and bombs would be counted, as a one launcher and one warhead.
NITZE: All the same, that does not clarify the situation. Assume we have 100 bombers armed with cruise missiles and also with SRAM missiles and bombs. In that case it is counted as one in both levels as well? Is that so?
AKHROMEEV: Let me explain. A heavy bomber with SRAM missiles and bombs on board is counted as one launcher. But at the same time it is counted as one warhead in a number of 6000, if we agree with you on this. If you hypothetically accept your proposal and put still another long-range cruise missile on that bomber, then it will be counted as one launcher, but with two warheads.
NITZE: Since we are discussing details, they must also be reflected in the agreement in keeping with the 50% reduction, although equating [them] them with bomber armaments is not entirely fair.
AKHROMEEV: Here everything is clear. The bomber is counted as a launcher. That is logical, right? But it carries weapons on it. And since the range of these weapons, SRAM missiles and bombs, is limited, we count them as a single warhead.
NITZE: Fine. But this must be clearly set down in the text.
AKHROMEEV: We are not formulating an agreement right now, Mr. Nitze. We are not signing an agreement. Why would we do that[?] You asked a question. We cleared it up. In the future, an agreement will be formed and it will be written down there.
And lastly. If you have doubts as to the last sentence on sea-based cruise missiles, let’s write: “a resolution on the issue of limiting the deployment of long range sea-based nuclear cruise missiles will also be found.” And we will adopt the sentence as a whole.
NITZE: In our text, it will remain in parentheses as follows (“will strive to find a resolution”), and from there on - as it is in yours.
AKHROMEEV: No, then I am withdrawing my clarification and we return to the original clause. Then let this issue be resolved by our leaders.
Can we go further and discuss the issue of medium-range missiles.
NITZE: Not yet. Here we would like to write: “other sub-levels, identical for both sides, will be established.”
AKHROMEEV: I think that it would not be advisable to write that. The ministers will have the right to discuss these issue, but so far that formulation should not be written here.
The issue has already been decided by the fact that the general quantity of launchers and warheads has been specified, and it is stated that all of this must be done in consideration of the historical development of the sides’ forces, and the level of heavy missiles is specified. Enough has already been written in order for the sides to decide [the issue] for themselves, later on.
NITZE: The more we discuss this, the more I become convinced that it crucial to limit sub-levels as well.
AKHROMEEV: I do not think so. Because in doing so we will once again create a loophole with the help of which they will try to destroy the structure of the sides’ strategic nuclear forces. We are against this.
NITZE: Without stipulating sub-levels for strategic offensive arms, our instructions will be weak and incomplete. I do not understand how the established sub-levels can destroy the structure of your strategic offensive arms.
AKHROMEEV: We have taken into account your concerns. I think that this is entirely sufficient. And we do not see the need for some sort of additional sub-levels. As it is we already have enough limitations. I think that we should move on to other issues.
NITZE: Let’s go on. I see that we do not have enough time to discuss sub-levels for strategic offensive arms. I ask you only to clarify the formulation on strategic offensive arms once again. I think we should include: “a mutually acceptable resolution will be found.”
AKHROMEEV: By all means. We can write: “a mutually acceptable resolution will also be found on the issue of...” and so on as the text reads.
In relation to sub-levels, as we agreed, we are not writing anything down here, but at future negotiations, each side can ask its questions.
Mr. Nitze, permit me to clarify one issue. We need some sort of preamble for the document. Will the preamble which we proposed to you serve[?]
NITZE: I would make several changes. No, actually, only one change. You have written: “the texts of the understandings and agreements.” We do not fully understand that. We usually write: “the texts of the documents, based on...”. Will you perhaps accept our amendment?
AKHROMEEV: You propose: “the texts of the document based on the key theses mentioned below.” Let us write it that way then.
Fine. Now permit me to proceed to medium-range missiles.
The following is proposed: (he reads out the text of the Soviet proposal).
As I understand it, we have un-agreed issue of missiles in Asia left over. And we leave it for our leaders.
NITZE: We have not resolved either that or the other problem: how to deal with the missiles in Europe nor how to deal with the missiles in Asia.
AKHROMEEV: No, as I understand, we have it written as follows on Europe: “negotiations are beginning on missiles of less than 1000 km range deployed by both sides in Europe.”
Permit me to express myself in a little more detail so that I can explain how we understood our foregoing work. I understand that there are no objections to the full elimination of the USSR and US’s medium-range missiles in Europe when the nuclear potentials of England and France are not affected and are not counted. But at the same time, the issue arises of how to solve the problem of medium-range missiles in Asia. We are putting the situation with medium-range missiles in Asia in parentheses and are proposing to leave this issue for resolution by the General Secretary and the President.
NITZE: We do not agree with that. We proposed a global zero option, and not only a zero option for Europe.
AKHROMEEV: Then we will put the problem of medium-range missiles in parentheses.
The next issue is on the ABM Treaty. You have our relevant formulations on this issue.
NITZE: Here is our proposal on this issue. (He reads out the text in English. A text of the proposal is translated into Russian and handed to the Soviet experts.)
AKHROMEEV: We cannot agree with this proposal, largely for the following reasons: we altogether concretely agreed with you while examining the problem of reducing strategic offensive arms by 50% and, evidently, the ministers in completing their negotiations will also specify the concrete duration of these cuts. We always said that in this case, we must be provided with a guarantee that both sides will comply with the ABM Treaty. For this reason, we are proposing that the USSR and US come to an understanding not to use their right to withdraw from this Treaty for 10 years and, for the duration of that period, to comply strictly with its provisions. At the same time, the testing of all space-based elements of an ABM defense in space would be prohibited, aside from research and tests conducted in laboratories. We would ask that you understand our concern and the unbreakable tie between the condition I just stated and the reduction of strategic offensive arms by 50%.
NITZE: Our formulation takes into consideration the entire situation and proposes to remove your concern. With the cuts and subsequent elimination of strategic offensive arms, the sides will not only discuss issues of strategic defense, but will also share technology and discoveries in this area. In the future, a schedule for a joint transition to strategic defense would be discussed. We really do intend to remove your concern on this issue.
AKHROMEEV: We are skeptical of a resolution of the issue in which the US would begin to share new military technology with us. You do not even want to share technologies from civilian branches of industry.
So we believe that your proposal is not realistic and is not very necessary. We believe that there is no need to create ABM defenses over and above the limitations already specified in the ABM Treaty.
At the same time, we believe that we should guarantee ourselves security and strengthen the regime of the ABM Treaty.
NITZE: But we will be ready to share the achievements of new military technology in the area of strategic defense and this stipulation will be agreed in an amendment to the Treaty.
AKHROMEEV: If nuclear weapons tests are begun, any realistic chance and opportunity to avert and arms race in space will be lost. For this reason, we have expressed our concern to the US on this issue.
We are carefully setting out our proposals on this issue.
NITZE: We are exchanging views on this issue and in no way are imposing our position on you. Unfortunately, on this issue we have few points of mutual understanding with you.
AKHROMEEV: Your proposals are based on unequal rights [neravnopravny] and again do not have a binding character. And there can be no agreement on this basis.
We must not permit the testing of space-based elements of an ABM defense in space. That is unambiguously prohibited. By the ABM Treaty.
ARBATOV: We have serious disagreements on this point. You know that we will not sign a treaty on significant cuts to strategic offensive arms if you develop your ABM defense in violation of the existing ABM Treaty. You are proposing simultaneously to cut strategic offensive arms and to create a new strategic defense system. But that is impossible to synchronize. What you are proposing demands an exceptional degree of trust.
We cannot accept your position.
NITZE: Our proposals on this issue could not contain any binding stipulations. It is a directive to the ministers. They will decide which stipulations to make binding and which not to.
AKHROMEEV: We ask you to take our position too into account. In our directive to the ministers, the proposals on cutting strategic offensive arms and on ABM defenses will have a binding character.
NITZE: We must find a means to resolve the existing disagreements on the issue of ABM defense which would not contradict the interests of both sides. We believe that an ABM defense will assist increased stability in our relations. And upon the elimination of strategic offensive arms, stability in our relations will guarantee the stability of relations throughout the entire world. Besides this, developments in this area should not be cut short.
AKHROMEEV: Research work on the problems of ABM defenses are going on in the USSR. We also have work continuing on the improvement of an ABM defense in one region. But we are not conducting work on the creation of space-based elements of an ABM defense. And we consider the fact that such work is going on in your country to be a violation of the Treaty. Let us engage in cuts in strategic offensive arms. This is the correct path for both sides. The ABM Treaty has been signed in perpetuity, and it must be strengthened. I repeat that fundamental scientific research and tests in this area can only be carried out in laboratories.
NITZE: SDI does not at all violate the provisions of the ABM Treaty. At the beginning of our meeting, we set out in detail our opinion on this issue, referring to Articles 3 and 5 of the Treaty, and also to agreed statement “D.”
AKHROMEEV: You are not violating the Treaty in the parts affecting the land-based echelon your ABM system. In the part that affects the creation of a space-based echelon, you have no basis for excuses in the clauses of the ABM Treaty. This will be a violation of the Treaty. Implementation of SDI will unavoidably lead to a withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. I think that you and we should strengthen the regime of the Treaty, and not violate it.
NITZE: And nevertheless, we intend to eliminate our disagreements on this issue. For this, we need good will and good wishes.
ROWNEY: As long as there exist offensive weapons systems, defensive weapons systems will exist as well. Defense is necessary in all circumstances, even if you do not have weapons.
NITZE: Perhaps we will return to the issue of medium-range missiles? (He reads his proposals).
AKHROMEEV: We should report that in examining the issue of medium-range missiles, the problem of medium-range missiles in the East remains. We should write: “the sides agree that this problem will be resolved.”
NITZE: We do not object.
KARPOV: What should we do on ABM defenses?
NITZE: There will remain two differing positions.
AKHROMEEV: Read out to us your position once again.
NITZE: (Reads out the position.)
AKHROMEEV: (Reads a translation of the text with a statement of the American position.) And so, we will consider that we did not come to agreement on this point.
We will move on to the next issue on banning nuclear tests. (The sides study the texts with an exposition of the sides’ positions.)
KARPOV: I see that something does not suit you in our formulation.
NITZE: No. Simply, our formulation seems more acceptable to us. It proposes graduated [noetapnyie] limitations on the conduct of nuclear tests.
KARPOV: Your proposal is ambiguous.
NITZE: We do not think so.
KARPOV: You have neither the themes nor the objectives of the negotiations. We are proposing a broad spectrum of issues which, when examined, could lead to a complete ban on nuclear tests.
NITZE: We are linking the issue of nuclear tests with cuts in strategic offensive arms.
AKHROMEEV: We are proposing that you follow our example. We consider that we are taking the bull by the horns. And we are ready to take on additional commitments. For more than a year now, we have not been conducting nuclear tests.
We are proposing to agree stage by stage on a nuclear test ban. At the first stage, you could decisively resolve the issue of threshold nuclear tests. The goal, after all, is not to legalize nuclear tests, but to end them. In your version of the directives, you should clearly formulate the idea of the goals and the start of the negotiations on nuclear tests.
NITZE: We have clearly proposed to begin these negotiations without delay. The theme of the negotiations is well known - nuclear tests. And this will be a stage-by-stage process.
AKHROMEEV: We are proposing to write: “negotiations on a complete ban on nuclear tests.”
On anti-missiles. We propose writing: “the sides agree to exert mutual efforts with the goal of banning ASAT anti-missiles.”
NITZE: We cannot agree to that.
AKHROMEEV: We have brought our positions together well on strategic offensive arms, but have gone in completely opposite directions on ABM defenses. And that makes it impossible to cut strategic offensive arms.
KARPOV: The proposals on negotiations to create centers for lessening the risk of the outbreak of nuclear war are clear in the extreme.
AKHROMEEV: These negotiations will take place more quickly than the others.
Yes, unfortunately, our work today has not led to great results.
We thank you for your cooperation.
Goodbye until the next meeting.
The conversations were reported by
20 October 1986
Record of conversation between US official, Paul Nitze, and USSR Chief of General Staff Sergey Akhromeev. The two discuss the minutiae of nuclear disarmament, particularly the relative disarmament value of each part of the triad (nuclear-equipped bombers/ICBMs/submarine-launched missiles).
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