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The assertions have been made that there have been massive Soviet violations, that the Administration colluded with the Soviet Union in masking these violations, that the Administration has not pursued the issue of violations diplomatically, and that senior officials, especially the President, have not been kept informed about the facts with respect to these violations.
it is important to keep in mind that with respect to SALT or with respect to the strategic forces on both sides, we are dealing with military establishments of great technical complexity that are constantly engaged in military activities. These military establishments ... on both sides are in the process of constant change so that there is great fluidity in what one observes. . . . Therefore ... the information that is obtained has to go through various stages of analysis.
... first of all, what is meant by a violation? ..
A violation can be a deliberate violation of a SALT limitation, aimed at increasing the Soviet strategic capability in ways which the agreement was intended to preclude.
Second, a violation can be an action inconsistent with the sense or the spirit of the agreement and tending to undermine its viability even though it is not prohibited by the agreement. There can be borderline situations where a technical violation cannot be established but where the activity strains the interpretation of particular provisions.
Third, there can be unintended violations occurring, for example, through negligence of higher officials responsible for insuring compliance by their subordinate organizations.
Fourth, there can be actions not banned by an agreement but which complicate verification of the agreement.
Fifth, there can be ambiguous activities resulting from differing interpretations of the provisions of the agreements.
Sixth, there can be activities that are assessed as ambiguous due to inadequate information or misinterpretation of information which suggests a violation where in fact none exists.
Any one of these categories would be initially reported in intelligence channels, either from the Central Intelligence Agency or from the Department of Defense. The Department of State and the White House have no independent means of acquiring any of this information.
There is no instance in which . an alleged violation ... was not immediately reported to the President. ...
In order to deal with the problem of compliance, there are four institutions. There is a special intelligence committee, which was established by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the summer of 1973. This committee makes a quarterly report on the problem of SALT compliance. This committee . . . has met quarterly since July '73, . . . and all of its reports have gone directly to the President as well as to every senior member of the Administration that is dealing with the problem of strategic arms.
In addition, there are three other bodies. There is the Verification Panel of the NSC (National Security Council). There is the Verification Panel's Working Group. And there is, of course, the NSC itself.
The Verification Panel Working Group of the NSC has met on SALT matters 11 times since the middle of 1973. The Verification Panel has met four times on SALT matters—has met four times on compliance issues exclusively since 1973. But in addition, it has met 40 times on SALT matters since 1973. Each of these meetings, each of these 40 meetings, is preceded by a CIA briefing that includes all compliance issues. So that, in addition to the four formal meetings, there were 40 meetings of the Verification Panel where whatever compliance issues existed at the time were brought to the attention of the Verification Panel.
The procedure is that the working group will attempt to determine what is going on and will devise either options or recommendations for consideration by the Verification Panel. The Verification Panel then reviews it and makes a recommendation or defines options.
... All the decisions of the Verification Panel with respect to compliance have been unanimous.
The President receives daily, unabbreviated and without a covering summary, the President's daily brief and the daily intelligence bulletin of the Central Intelligence Agency. ..
Secondly, any memorandum from a Cabinet member or from the head of an agency is transmitted to the President, usually in those cases with a summary by the NSC staff on top of it. But never is the summary alone sent to the President. Therefore, any Cabinet member, any member of the Joint Chiefs, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, all have the opportunity, and know they have the opportunity, to address the President directly. Never has the Assistant to the President held up any memorandum from any of these individuals or any other memorandum addressed to the President by the head of an agency.
With respect to the handling of intelligence, all intelligence concerning alleged noncompliance was immediately distributed to all the members of the Verification Panel and by them to those of their senior members that were concerned with SALT.
For the period that a preliminary investigation was going on, the intelligence was not distributed in the technical publications
that were addressed to those whose primary responsibility was not concerned with SALT at a level below the Cabinet level. ...
... in one instance ... there were reports of unidentified construction in Soviet missile fields. We received this report on June 20 (1973) at a time when Brezhnev (Leonid I. Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) was in the United States. It seemed improbable that the Soviet Union would violate the agreement by blatantly building additional missile silos, and therefore a further study of the subject was ordered.
Nevertheless, on June 26 the United States sent a note to the Soviet Union in the Presidential channel raising the issue of that construction, even before we had begun our detailed examination of the issue. ... the distribution of that information was kept out of . journals that went to individuals not concerned with SALT matters until August 8, when it was generally distributed. In that interval two American notes had been sent to the Soviet Union in the Presidential channel raising that issue.
There appeared in the summer of 1973 in a number of Soviet missile fields, the beginning of some construction that clearly looked like additional silos. If these had been converted into missile silos, there was no question that they would have represented a clear violation of the agreement.
when we approached the Soviet Union within six days of receiving that information in the White House, we were told that these would be command and control silos and that as the construction proceeded it would become increasingly evident that they would be command and control silos.
This, incidentally, was also the judgment of our intelligence community. Our intelligence community believed that almost certainly these were command and control silos. The question being raised was whether, at some later time, they could be converted into missile silos.
It is . . . fair to point out that the Soviet Union in reply raised certain questions about certain ambiguities in American practices. ..
There were six exchanges in this channel of increasing specificity, in which we began to advance criteria which could be met in order to assure us that these silos were in fact intended for command and control. This extended over a period of a year. At that point in 1974, we moved the discussion from the Presidential channel to the Standing Consultative Commission and made formal representations building on the previous exchanges.
We have since received assurances, and I believe it is the unanimous opinion of all agencies, that we are dealing with command and control silos. We have been given criteria which seem to us for the time being adequate; and there is no agency that today disputes that this issue is for the time being quiescent, though we will be vigilant in making certain that any unusual construction activity at these silos would raise profound questions.
I would ... mention one other (alleged noncompliance), which is the most serious one and which comes closest to the borderline of a possible violation, which has to do with the testing of certain antiaircraft radars in what might be considered an ABM (antiballistic missile) mode.
... at American insistence, the ABM treaty includes a provision that antiaircraft radar could be used—could be tested-in a manner in space for range-instrumentation purposes. ..
We received information that some testing was going on with respect to the SA-5 radar in 1973. At that time it was routinely distributed, and nobody paid any attention to it because it was not put into connection with a possible ABM testing program. Between April and June 1974 some more tests took place which at least raised the problem that the radar might be tracking incoming missiles. That clearly is not permitted by the treaty, though it raises an ambiguity with respect to whether this is done for range-instrumentation purposes.
In any event, several meetings of the working group and the Verification Panel took place. The first decision in December 1974 was, on the recommendation of the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, that this issue not be raised because we did not wish to reveal the source of our intelligence.
In January 1975 the Defense Department reversed itself and recommended that the issue be raised. As a result, the issue was raised in February 1975. Since then, within a 17-day period after we had raised the issue, this activity has stopped—has not since been resumed. It was at the borderline of violation, but it has now stopped.
There are other issues, some having to do with unilateral American statements which the Soviet Union specifically disavowed. I think it is at least open to question whether the United States can hold the Soviet Union responsible for its own state ments when the Soviet Union has asserted that it does not accept that interpretation. Therefore the issue of SALT compliance has been handled in a serious manner. It stands to reason that no responsible U.S. official could wish to make an agree ment with the Soviet Union and permit the Soviet Union to violate it with impunity. It stands to reason that the United States would not accept noncompliance with an agreement that had any conceivable impact on the strategic equation.
For the full text of Secretary Kissinger's news conference of Dec. 9, 1975, see Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXIV, No. 1906, Jan. 5, 1976, pp. 1-12.
Following up on the subject of alleged SALT violations, Secretary Kissinger stated in an address at San Francisco on February 3, 1976:
No charge is more irresponsible and potentially more dangerous than the allegation that the United States has knowingly tolerated violations of the first SALT agreements.
What are the facts? A Standing Consultative Commission was created by the agreements of 1972 precisely to considér disputes or ambiguities in implementation. Such incidents were almost certain to arise in a first, quite limited agreement between longstanding adversaries possessing weapons systems of great complexity whose growth is verified not by some neutral policing mechanism but by each side's own intelligence systems. Every questionable activity that has arisen has been systematically analyzed by this government and considered by the President and his advisers. Whenever any question remained, it was then promptly raised with the Soviets. All instructions to the American representative on the Consultative Commission reflected the unanimous views of all U.S. agencies concerned and the data and assessment produced jointly by them. No one had a bias in favor of absolving the Soviets—an inherently malicious charge. No one prevented all questionable or suspicious activities from being raised with the Soviets. And not all the questioned activities were on the Soviet side.
All of these issues have been and will continue to be seriously handled and dealt with through a process that has proved effective.
I can assure you that this Administration will not tolerate violations. It will continue to monitor Soviet compliance meticulously. It will pursue energetically all ambiguities or signs of noncompliance. But it will not be driven by demagoguery to make false or hasty judgments. No department or agency charged with responsibility for this problem holds the view that any violations have occurred.
See Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXIV, No. 1913, Feb. 23, 1976, pp. 206–209. The U.S.-Soviet memoran m of understanding signed Dec. 21, 1972 (TIAS 7545; 24 UST 238), established a U.S.-Soviet Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) to "consider questions concerning compliance with the obligations assumed and related situations which may be considered ambiguous” (Art. XIII of the ABM treaty). Following established procedures set forth in a U.S.-Soviet protocol signed May 30, 1973 (TIAS 7637; 24 UST 1124), both sides have raised questions in the SCC, as well as in diplomatic channels. See TIAS 7503, 23 UST 3456, for agreed interpretations, common understandings, and unilateral statements concerning the ABM treaty.