Politics of Strategic Arms Negotiations

May 13, 1977

Report Outline
Impediments to Salt II Agrement
Efforts to Limit Nuclear Weapons
Outlook for Conclusion of Salt Ii
Special Focus

Impediments to Salt II Agrement

Recent Soviet Rebuff; New Talks in Geneva

The United States and the Soviet Union return this month to the negotiating table for further talks on limiting strategic weapons. Both superpowers are mindful that their relations have cooled since President Carter came to office talking about human rights abroad, and especially since the Kremlin rebuffed his recent proposals for a new treaty to limit strategic arms. Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, who will meet in Geneva with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko, May 18–21, said in Washington before his departure for Europe: “We have put no new proposals on the table, nor have they. We are merely reviewing the existing proposals.” While declining to predict the outcome of the new round of negotiations, Vance held out hope that “any time the parties sit down and start talking to each other, there is always a possibility that something constructive will come out of it.”

The two sides have until Oct. 3 to reach an agreement for a new strategic arms limitation pact, called SALT II. On that date, SALT I, the five-year accord limiting the deployment of all offensive nuclear weapons, expires. That agreement froze U.S. and Soviet land-based missiles and nuclear submarines at existing levels. Without a new agreement, it is feared that there will be a substantial strategic weapons buildup by both the United States and the Soviet Union.

Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev rejected the two SALT proposals that Vance took to Moscow in late March. In the weeks that followed Russian leaders and publications denounced the proposals as a repudiation of the understanding that Brezhnev had reached with President Ford when they met in Vladivostok in November 1974—the so-called Vladivostok guidelines for a SALT II treaty. Gromyko charged on March 31 that the United States was trying to win “unilateral advantages” at the expense of the Soviet Union.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Jul. 29, 2016  Modernizing the Nuclear Arsenal
Mar. 08, 2002  Weapons of Mass Destruction
Jan. 31, 1997  Chemical and Biological Weapons
Jun. 24, 1994  Nuclear Arms Cleanup
Jun. 05, 1992  Nuclear Proliferation
Jun. 29, 1990  Obstacles to Bio-Chemical Disarmament
Apr. 22, 1988  The Military Build-Down in the 1990s
May 24, 1987  Euromissile Negotiations
Jul. 11, 1986  Chemical Weapons
Apr. 27, 1984  Reagan's Defense Buildup
Jun. 04, 1982  Civil Defense
Jul. 17, 1981  Controlling Nuclear Proliferation
Jun. 05, 1981  MX Missile Decision
Aug. 15, 1980  The Neutron Bomb and European Defense
Sep. 07, 1979  Atomic Secrecy
Mar. 17, 1978  Nuclear Proliferation
May 27, 1977  Chemical-Biological Warfare
May 13, 1977  Politics of Strategic Arms Negotiations
Nov. 15, 1974  Nuclear Safeguards
Jul. 01, 1970  Nuclear Balance of Terror: 25 Years After Alamogordo
Jun. 18, 1969  Chemical–Biological Weaponry
Jun. 30, 1965  Atomic Proliferation
Mar. 21, 1962  Nuclear Testing Dilemmas
Aug. 16, 1961  Shelters and Survival
Oct. 12, 1959  Chemical-Biological Warfare
May 13, 1959  Nuclear Test Ban
Dec. 04, 1957  Scientific Cooperation and Atlantic Security
May 15, 1957  Changing Defense Concepts
Jul. 03, 1956  Civil Defense, 1956
Nov. 16, 1955  International Arms Deals
Oct. 04, 1954  Industrial Defense
Apr. 15, 1954  National Defense Strategy
Feb. 10, 1954  New Aproaches to Atomic Control
Oct. 10, 1953  Atomic Information
Apr. 11, 1952  Biological Warfare
Oct. 03, 1951  World Arms Race
Feb. 04, 1948  International Control of Atomic Energy
Dec. 06, 1946  International Inspection
Aug. 27, 1943  Gas Warfare
Jul. 24, 1937  The New Race in Armaments
May 05, 1932  Abolition of Aggressive Weapons
Alliances and Security Agreements
Arms Control and Disarmament
U.S. at War: Cold War