Richard Perle was an aide to U.S. senator Henry Scoop Jackson from 1969 to 1980 and assistant secretary of defense from 1981 to 1987. In the interview he discusses Senator Jacksons position during the SALT I and II negotiations. Although Jackson vote for SALT I and the ABM Treaty in Congress, Perle notes that he did not support them completely, and goes on to point out the flaws with both. He argues against Nixon and Kissingers policy of detente, which he felt was unsound. He disputes claims that Jackson has authority over firing the SALT I team or hiring the SALT II team. He discusses the Jackson-Vanik amendment, including Kissingers reaction to it. He also criticizes Kissinger handling of SALT II. He discusses the MIRV ban proposal, and its failure.
WAR AND PEACE IN THE NUCLEAR AGE – TAPES E07001-E07002 RICHARD PERLE 
Senator Jackson's Understanding of the SALT I Treaty
I THINK I'M GOING TO PLUNGE
RIGHT INTO THE SAFEGUARDS DEBATE IN 1969 AND '70. WHAT WAS SENATOR JACKSON'S FEELING ABOUT THE
SAFEGUARD ABM PROGRAM, WHETHER HE SUPPORTED IT AND WHY?
Senator Jackson was a keen
supporter of the safeguard anti-ballistic missile defense program, and in fact, I think, had it
not been for Scoop's adroit management of the issue in the Senate, it would never have been
WAS HE SORT OF GOING OUT ON A
LIMB TO DEFEND THAT PROGRAM ON BEHALF OF PRESIDENT NIXON WHEN A LOT OF HIS COLLEAGUES WERE SO
ADAMANTLY AGAINST IT?
Well, as a Democrat, it was
not the most comfortable position to be in, but Scoop Jackson was the most unpartisan,
non-partisan senator I've ever known, where issues of national security were concerned. He
believed that it was ahistoric to continue without any defense whatsoever, that sooner or later
there would be defenses, that the United States ought not to be behind in their deployment, that
safeguard was about the best technology we could manage at the time, and a good place to start.
And he didn't care much that that was not the predominant view within the Democratic Party, and
in fact he succeeded in bringing a great many Democrats along with him and without that
coalition which he was, in which he was the center it would not have survived a test in the
Senate when in 1969 it was approved by a single vote.
DID HE FEEL A LITTLE BETRAYED
BY IT BEING TRADED AWAY AT SALT I?
He was unhappy with the
outcome of the SALT I agreement. I wouldn't say that he felt betrayed by... I'm sorry, I've left
Scoop out again. Senator Jackson felt that the SALT I agreement was a poor agreement, and not in
the security interests of the United States. He voted for it. But he only voted for it after the
resolution supporting it was amended to provide that future agreements would provide for
equality between the United States and the Soviet Union. So he didn't like the offensive arms
agreement, the interim agreement reached in 1972. He voted for the ABM Treaty without serious
reservation; he thought that was a reasonable treaty at the time, although he never interpreted
it to mean that it was desirable to be vulnerable to attack by the Soviet Union. He didn't turn
it into an ideology. I don't think he felt betrayed by the decision to abandon defenses. He did
think it was unwise, having negotiated one site which came subsequently, to make that one site
around the national capital, because he thought that that was unwise and wouldn't be approved,
and in effect it meant we would have no defense at all.
COULD YOU REPEAT THE LAST PART
OF THAT? STARTING WITH THE DEFENSE SITE AROUND WASHINGTON. SAYING SENATOR JACKSON...
Senator Jackson thought it
unwise, if we were entitled to only one defensive site, to place it around the national capital,
around Washington, and he was convinced that the decision to do that meant that there would be
no defense at all. And of course he was right.
WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE
LIMITED OFFENSIVE AGREEMENT? THE NEGOTIATORS AND HENRY KISSINGER ARGUED THAT IT WAS FINE BECAUSE
THE FORCES WERE ASYMMETRIC AND OUR BOMBER FORCES, WHICH WERE FAR SUPERIOR, WERE NOT RESTRICTED,
AND THERE WERE OTHER ADVANTAGES WE HAD. AND WE DIDN'T HAVE A LOT OF BARGAINING LEVERAGE BECAUSE
THEY HAD AN ONGOING PROGRAM, AND WE DIDN'T. WE WERE BETTER OFF STOPPING IT SOMEWHERE THAN
LETTING IT GO. WHAT WAS SENATOR JACKSON'S FEELING ABOUT THAT?
Well, Senator Jackson was
highly critical of the interim agreement on offensive arms: he was amused by Henry Kissinger, on
the one hand maintaining that it was the best we could do given the scant leverage we had, and
on the other hand arguing that it was a profound victory for the United States. It was not a
profound victory for the United States -- it was an unbalanced lopsided agreement in which the
Soviets were entitled to higher levels of weapons than the United States. In the areas in which
the Soviets had an advantage, that advantage was frozen in the agreement; in the areas where the
United States had an advantage, the competition was permitted to go forward under the terms of
the agreement, so it was simply a matter of time before the American advantages that were
claimed to offset the Soviet advantages would be eroded by Soviet developments. And that, of
course, is what happened with the result that years later, one could look back at that agreement
and see in it the beginning of a radical shift in the nuclear balance between the United States
and the Soviet Union. I think it's significant that some of those involved in that SALT I
negotiating experience, eventually, with the passage of time and the benefit of hindsight,
concluded that it had not been a good agreement: I know that's Paul Nitze's view.
I ASSUME THAT WHEN YOU'RE
TALKING ABOUT AREAS THAT WERE TO AMERICA'S ADVANTAGE THAT WEREN'T FROZEN, YOU'RE SPEAKING ABOUT
THE MIRV PROGRAM. COULD YOU RESTATE THAT AND USE THE SPECIFIC PROGRAM?
Yes, the SALT I interim
agreement permitted competition to continue in some areas where the United States was ahead. We
were ahead of the Soviets in the deployment of multiple independently targeted re-entry
vehicles, but the treaty allowed the Soviets to deploy MIRVs. Where the Soviets were ahead in
numbers of submarines, for example, the treaty froze the submarine level and thereby froze the
United States in a permanent inferiority.
NOW IN THE DECISION TO GO
INTO SALT NEGOTIATIONS, HOW DID SENATOR JACKSON FEEL ABOUT THIS IDEA THAT WE WERE GOING TO ENTER
INTO NEGOTIATIONS WHICH WERE BASICALLY GOING TO RATIFY OR CONDONE A SITUATION OF PARITY BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES AND THE SOVIET UNION? DID HE FEEL THAT IT WAS UNWISE TO DO THAT, AND MAYBE WE
SHOULD HAVE PUSHED AHEAD WITH OUR TECHNOLOGICAL SUPERIORITY AND NOT GIVEN THEM THE CREDIBILITY
OF BEING AN EQUAL POWER?
Senator Jackson never
quarreled with the concept that the Soviet Union was a superpower in the same and distinct class
as the United States. But he believed that our advantage in anti-ballistic missile defenses, the
ability rapidly to commence deployment of the safeguard ABM system could be used in the course
of negotiations to obtain significant restraint on the momentum of the Soviet strategic
offensive build-up. I know he thought it was a fatal mistake to conclude the ABM Treaty before
we had any firm outline of a conclusion to the negotiations on offensive arms. It was the sort
of mistake that a careful negotiator would not make. He also believed that...
CAN YOU START "SENATOR
Okay? Senator Jackson also
believed that the SALT I interim agreement focused on the wrong things; it limited the wrong
things; it limited the numbers of launchers for ballistic missiles, for example. But it was
either silent or ineffective and vague on the issue of what kinds of weapons one could place in
those silos. And he correctly anticipated that the growth in Soviet strategic forces would come,
not through the construction of additional missile silos, but through the improvement of the
missiles placed in those launchers, buried in the ground. And in fact in October of 1970, he
sent Henry Kissinger a secret memorandum, which said, "You are headed down the wrong path; you
are restraining the number of launchers, but within the number of launchers the Soviets would be
permitted under the agreement you are negotiating, they could treble their effective forces by
resorting to better missiles, improved fuels, lighter alloys, new launch techniques, and
multiple warheads." That is exactly what happened. The Soviets did all of those things: better
fuels, new alloys, new launch techniques, with the result that they more than trebled their
effective ballistic missile forces, within the total number of launchers that was agreed.
I JUST WANT TO CLARIFY ONE
THING: WHEN I ASKED ABOUT THE PARITY-SUPERIORITY ISSUE, I THINK WHAT YOU'RE SAYING IS THAT HE
THOUGHT THAT WE WEREN'T GOING IN THERE TO GIVE UP OUR LEAD AND ACCEPT PARITY. IT WAS USEFUL TO
GO INTO SALT NEGOTIATIONS IN ORDER TO STEM THEIR ONGOING DEVELOPMENT.
No, he wasn't troubled about
parity, this was a completely phony argument that we wanted to cling to superiority. That never
BUT WHAT HE WOULD WANT TO GET
OUT OF THE SALT NEGOTIATIONS. WHAT HIS CHIEF MOTIVE WAS FOR WANTING TO GO?
He wanted to slow the
momentum of the Soviet buildup, because he could see the curves they were on, and where it would
CAN YOU RESTATE THAT SAYING
THAT SENATOR JACKSON, THAT SALT NEGOTIATIONS WOULD BE... AND SO FORTH.
Senator Jackson thought that
the critical function of the SALT negotiations in the beginning was to halt the momentum of the
Soviet strategic buildup, because he could see the trends, and where the Soviets would
eventually arrive if those trends were permitted to continue unencumbered. When the SALT I
agreement was concluded, the argument for it from Mel Laird and Henry Kissinger and Richard
Nixon and others, was that it had in fact halted the momentum of the Soviet strategic buildup,
and Scoop Jackson's opposition to the interim agreement was that it hadn't done that at all, and
we have the advantage of hindsight that Scoop was right. It didn't halt the momentum, it
permitted it to continue.
NOW I WANTED TO ASK YOU HOW
HE FELT ABOUT PRESIDENT NIXON AND KISSINGER'S STRATEGY OF DÉTENTE. WAS IT AN APPROPRIATE WAY TO
DEAL WITH THE SOVIET UNION?
No, Senator Jackson thought
that the Kissinger-Nixon concept of detente was fundamentally unsound. He believed that
Kissinger, in attempting to tie the Soviets down in a series of agreements that would somehow
lead to a moderation of their behavior, that he was really kidding himself, that we were going
to get tied down, that in any effort to encumber the monolithic, or near-monolithic institutions
of the Soviet state, dealing with free and independent and widely disparate institutions in the
United States, that you would not wind up with an American hand on the lever, you'd wind up with
a Soviet hand on the lever. I think that was all rather badly said.
YOU MIGHT WANT TO SAY THAT...
I DON'T UNDERSTAND THE HAND ON THE LEVER. IT'S GOOD. THEIR IDEA WAS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF
PEACE AND TRADE TIES WOULD BE TO THE ADVANTAGE, OUR ADVANTAGE. AND YOUR SAYING NOT.
The Kissinger-Nixon concept
of détente was that we would engage the Soviets in a broad number of agreements, covering many
fields: science, technology, medicine, transportation nuclear weapons and the like. And that the
Soviets would become dependent on the United States, in a manner that would cause them to
moderate those of their international policies that we found most objectionable. We would end up
exercising influence and leverage over Soviet decisions. But Scoop Jackson was acutely aware of
the fact that you had a democracy with its free and disparate institutions being put into a
series of relationships with the Soviet state, and whether one talked about transportation or
medicine or energy there were many agreements between the United States and the Soviet Union, it
was our universities and our research institutes and our professors dealing with officials of
the Soviet government, who had a single purpose, and under those circumstances, Scoop believed,
the Soviets would end up manipulating us, and not the other way around. And I believe that's
what happened: we turned the business community into a virtual lobby for the Soviet Union when
they saw the prospects of increased trade. We turned the scientific community into a sympathetic
voice in our own politics, when they saw the prospects of scientific cooperation. So the theory
was not only wrong, it was a hundred and eighty degrees wrong.
I'M GOING TO ASK YOU TO JUST
MAKE ONE MORE CONCISE STATEMENT SAYING THAT THE NIXON-KISSINGER THEORY WAS WRONG, AND WHY.
Senator Jackson thought that
the Kissinger-Nixon concept of detente was fundamentally wrong, because it would not lead to a
moderation of Soviet behavior and greater American influence over Soviet decisions, but on the
contrary it would lead to greater Soviet influence over American decisions.
AFTER THE SALT I AGREEMENT
WAS RATIFIED, THE WHITE HOUSE APPARENTLY GAVE SENATOR JACKSON CERTAIN CONCESSIONS, BECAUSE OF
HIS DISSATISFACTION WITH THE SALT I AGREEMENT. ONE OF THEM WAS THAT HE WOULD HAVE THE
OPPORTUNITY TO HANDPICK THE NEXT SALT NEGOTIATING TEAM AND ALSO A LOT OF THE ACTIVE STAFF. CAN
YOU TALK ABOUT HOW SENATOR JACKSON HAD THAT POWER AT THAT TIME, AND WHAT HIS PURPOSE WAS IN
TRYING TO RESTRUCTURE THE PEOPLE MAKING THOSE MOVES?
It has been claimed that,
following the SALT I agreement Senator Jackson was given extraordinary authority to restructure
personnel involved in arms control. This is simply false. The story's been around a long time
Gerard Smith, who had been our chief negotiator and decided to resign, and a new negotiator had
to be selected. Scoop was under no illusions about who had who was responsible for the
unbalanced, as he saw it, SALT I agreement. It wasn't the negotiators, and it wasn't officials
of the arms-control agency, it was Henry Kissinger, and Richard Nixon. And he was never under
any illusion that you could improve the performance of the administration by changing relatively
YOU'RE SAYING THAT HE DIDN'T
HAVE A ROLE IN PICKING THE SALT TEAM AND THE ACTIVE STAFF. THE OTHER STORY IS THAT HE WAS
FEELING PRETTY STRONGLY THAT GENERAL ALLISON SHOULD BE RELIEVED OF HIS DUTIES AND THAT ALLISON
HAD FAILED TO SERVE THE INTERESTS OF THE MILITARY OF THIS COUNTRY. CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT
MISTAKES ALLISON MADE?
Scoop was unhappy with
General Allison's performance, when he represented the joint chiefs of staff in the
negotiations, and I think what led him to that conclusion was the frequency with which Allison
seemed unable to answer questions about the treaty, when the negotiating team came before the
Senate in hearings on the treaty, and that shook Senator Jackson. I remember him saying to me "I
deal with these issues from time to time when they're before the Senate, and I know the answers
to questions. He's been doing this full-time, for the last two and a half years, and he can't
answer the questions I can answer. There's something wrong here."
DID HE FEEL THAT GENERAL
ALLISON HADN'T REPRESENTED WELL THE NATIONAL SECURITY OR MILITARY INTERESTS OF THE JOINT
I think Senator Jackson
thought that the SALT I agreement was hopelessly ambiguous, that critical details had not been
nailed down in the negotiations, and that unlike the broad policy, was the responsibility of the
negotiators, and in particular on the technical military questions, the responsibility of the
representative of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Pitfalls of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
BECAUSE HE SAYS, HE ACTUALLY
SAID TO US IN AN INTERVIEW, "I THINK IT WAS A BIG MISTAKE OF MINE THAT I LET SENATOR JACKSON
PICK PEOPLE, BECAUSE THAT PUT THE WHITE HOUSE, INSTEAD OF MEDIATING IN THE MIDDLE, THAT THE
WHITE HOUSE WAS FAR TO THE LEFT OF EVERYBODY ELSE." KISSINGER SAID THAT. DO YOU HAVE ANY
COMMENTS ON THAT?
I think it's, it's flatly
Yes. Any changes that were
made in personnel following the SALT I agreement were made by the White House, and by Henry
Kissinger, and not by Scoop Jackson. And if Henry Kissinger says otherwise, it's because that
was an easier way to explain firing his own people, than accepting the responsibility
OK. KISSINGER CAME
INCREASINGLY UNDER FIRE, IN THE FIRST NEGOTIATIONS OF SALT II, IN NIXON'S SECOND TERM. WHAT WAS
THE FEAR ABOUT HIS HANDLING OF THOSE NEGOTIATIONS?
We feared that there would be
a repetition of the SALT I agreement, another agreement that was unbalanced and that conferred
unacceptable advantages on the Soviet Union. We were very doubtful about a negotiating process
that led to agreements that permitted significant increases above the levels in effect on the
date the agreements were signed. Because it seemed to us that the purpose of arms control should
have been to constrain the military forces on both sides, and not simply to provide for their
increases, legitimized through a bilateral agreement.
WAS THERE A SENSE OF DISTRUST
THAT BECAUSE OF WATERGATE AND PRESIDENT NIXON'S DECREASING, WHAT'S THE WORD FOR IT, CREDIBILITY,
THAT THEY WOULD BE WILLING TO GIVE MORE CONCESSIONS TO THE SOVIET UNION IN ORDER TO GET SOME
There, there was a point when
Nixon was enmeshed in Watergate, when we feared that there would be a desperate effort to
conclude an agreement in order to substitute one set of headlines for another recurring set of
headlines. And that our national security was being put at risk in order to help the President
solve a personal problem of his own making. And Scoop Jackson had no sympathy at all for that,
and worked rather hard to assure that that would not be permitted to happen.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE
PURPOSE BEHIND THE JACKSON-VANIK AMENDMENT, THE AMENDMENT TO THE TRADE BILL THAT WAS TO GRANT
THE USSR MOST-FAVORED-NATION STATUS?
The purpose behind the
Jackson amendment, which ultimately became known as the Jackson-Vanik amendment was to condition
concessions to the Soviet Union, trade concessions, credits, and most-favored-nation status, on
an improvement in the emigration policies of the Soviet Union, which, when the amendment was
introduced, threatened to bring emigration to a grinding halt. The Soviets had introduced an
education tax, and anyone with any formal education was subject to prohibitive and punitive
taxes that people were simply unable to pay. And it looked as though this might be the device by
which emigration would be brought to an end. By offering an amendment that made trade
concessions to the Soviets contingent upon an end to the education tax, and an improvement in
the plight of would-be emigrees. We hoped to create the conditions in which the administration
could negotiate some kind of compromise with the Soviets, and our biggest disappointment was the
reluctance with which the administration regarded the leverage that we placed in their
KISSINGER SAID TO US THAT
EMIGRATION, DURING HIS TENURE, SOARED FROM 300 A YEAR IN 1968 TO 35,000 A YEAR IN 1973, AND THAT
AFTER THE JACKSON-VANIK AMENDMENT PASSED IT DROPPED BY 20,000 AGAIN. AND THAT WAS A SIGN THAT
HIS STRATEGY OF WREAKING LIBERALIZATION FROM THE SOVIET UNION WAS MORE EFFECTIVE THAN TRYING TO
LEGISLATE CHANGES, INTERNAL CHANGES IN THEIR SYSTEM. WHAT WAS SENATOR JACKSON'S RESPONSE TO
Well, Senator Jackson was
quite convinced that the improvement in emigration figures was directly related to the Soviet
effort to prevent the Jackson amendment from being legislated, and that the threat of
legislation was a very effective tool that could be used by a willing administration, if one had
one to try to increase the flow of emigrants and diminish the suffering inflicted on people who
applied to leave. The, the figures subsequent to the passage of the Jackson amendment have gone
up and down reaching higher levels than ever, in 1979 when fifty thousand people where permitted
to leave. What I think the Kissinger view of history, and here I think he's... distorted the
facts both in his memoirs, and evidently in what he's had to say to you. What that overlooks is
that from the beginning, Scoop Jackson's view was that Kissinger should use the imminence of
legislation to work out a compromise with the Soviets. Kissinger refused even to attempt such a
negotiation for a very long time, and when he finally did begin negotiations under pressure of
the amendment, an agreement was reached, and an agreement that provided for a substantial
increase in emigration. We have Kissinger's testimony for that. He now says that that agreement
unraveled when it was made public, but he was very much involved in the drafting of the public
statement that was to be issued on the day that the agreement was concluded. So it's a, it's a
wildly distorted account. Scoop's effort from the beginning was to bring pressure to bear in the
hope that a compromise would ultimately be reached, and it was.
CAN YOU JUST SUMMARIZE FROM
THE POINT YOU MENTION KISSINGER'S MEMOIRS?
Kissinger's account of the
battle over the Jackson amendment and its implications has been greatly distorted in his
memoirs, and in things he has said elsewhere. The fact is that from the beginning we attempted
to work with him, making it plain that the imminence of legislation gave him the kind of
leverage that, had he been willing he might have used to produce a compromise. For a long time
he resisted a negotiation of that sort, and when eventually he undertook it, under pressure from
the amendment, it did lead, on October 18th, 1974, to an exchange of correspondence between
Senator Jackson and Henry Kissinger that constituted an agreement with the Soviet Union. The
Soviets subsequently reneged on that agreement, for reasons that we cannot possibly know, or at
least we can't know for sure.
CAN YOU JUST GIVE US A
SUMMARY OF WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE NIXON-KISSINGER CONCEPT OF DÉTENTE? HOW SHOULD WE REGARD THE
SOVIET UNION AND DEAL WITH THEM IN ARMS-CONTROL NEGOTIATIONS AND IN TRYING TO GAIN MORE
INFLUENCE OVER THEIR ACTIVITIES? WHAT DID SENATOR JACKSON FELT AT THE TIME?
Senator Jackson who read
history a great deal, and in particular the history of the Soviet Union, believed that in
dealing with a totalitarian state, it was necessary for the United States to have clear
negotiating objectives. To mobilize our own military strength in order to create favorable
conditions, that the Soviets refer to as the correlation of forces, and then to negotiate fairly
but firmly. What he objected to most of all was the tendency to seek agreement for agreement's
sake, to lower continuously one's sights, to abandon one objective after another, and wind up in
the end with a piece of paper that didn't serve our interests. And he objected to that
strenuously because he believed it was unnecessary to wind up with agreement for agreement's
sake. If one kept one's objectives clear, it was possible to negotiate them.
IS THERE A WAY TO NEGOTIATE
AN AGREEMENT WITH THE SOVIET UNION IN WHICH... IS EVERYTHING THAT THEY WOULD AGREE TO NOT TO OUR
I believe it's possible to
negotiate agreements with the Soviet Union that are in the interest of both the Soviet Union and
the United States, but we'll never know whether that's true unless we put propositions to them
that have that quality, and have the courage, the political courage, and the patience to stand
firm for the, an outcome of that nature. If we abandon agreements of that type early in the
negotiating process, as we've had a tendency to do, then we wind up with agreements that don't
serve our interests, and may not serve the interests of the Soviet side either.
DO YOU HAVE A CONCLUDING
ANALYSIS OF WHAT SALT I DID FOR THE UNITED STATES?
The great failure of the SALT
I interim agreement was that it did not do the thing that it was claimed, it was intended to do,
and that was halt the momentum of the Soviet strategic buildup. On the contrary, it legitimized
that buildup, by limiting the wrong things. It permitted the Soviets to add enormously to their
military forces, under the terms of an agreement, which therefore had the effect of creating a
very misleading impression that the Soviets were not in fact rapidly building up their strategic
forces. The fact that everything they were doing was taking place under the terms of an
agreement created the misleading impression that it was okay, and that it was not inimical to
the interests of the United States.
CAN YOU JUST SAY THAT IN ONE
SENTENCE, SORT OF?
Far from halting the momentum
of the Soviet strategic buildup, the SALT I agreement permitted the Soviets to continue a
massive buildup of their strategic forces, without creating the normal apprehensions that would
have been associated with an unrestrained, because it largely was unrestrained, military
buildup, because what they were doing was being done pursuant to an agreement, it did not touch
off the apprehensions that it should have touched off.
DOES THAT MEAN WE SHOULD HAVE
TRIED FOR A MIRV BAN? WOULD SENATOR JACKSON HAVE PUSHED FOR A MIRV BAN AT THAT TIME?
Well, we did early in the
negotiations, propose a MIRV ban, but we didn't know how to verify a ban on the development of
MIRVs, so we proposed a ban on the deployment of MIRVs, with on-site inspection, and the Soviets
would not accept that proposal, they wouldn't accept the on-site inspection and I'm convinced
that they were determined to develop their own multiple independently targeted reentry
WAS SENATOR JACKSON IN FAVOR
OF ACTUALLY TRYING THE MIRV BAN? WOULD HE HAVE PREFERRED IF WE HAD CONCLUDED ONE?
Senator Jackson supported the
MIRV ban when it was proposed early in the first rounds of the SALT I negotiations. It was a
The, the American position
early in the SALT I negotiations was to ban the deployment of MIRVs. We knew that we couldn't
ban the development of MIRVs, because it would be unverifiable, and we could only ban the
deployment of MIRVs with on-site inspection, so we insisted on on-site inspection, and the
Soviets flatly rejected it. The Soviet position was that we should cease development of
WAS SENATOR JACKSON IN FAVOR
OF BOTH SIDES NOT MIRVING, OR WAS HE IN FAVOR OF FREEZING A US ADVANTAGE IN MIRVING AT THAT
Senator Jackson supported the
administration when it proposed a MIRV ban to the Soviets. When that proved unachievable, he was
very much in favor of the United States proceeding to deploy MIRVs on US forces.
THE PROPOSAL THAT WAS MADE
WOULD HAVE FROZEN A US ADVANTAGE, BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE STOPPED THE SOVIETS FROM TESTING, AND
WE'D ALREADY ACHIEVED TESTING. SO WAS HE IN FAVOR OF ONE THAT WOULD HAVE FROZEN AN ADVANTAGE TO
THE US TO REMAIN AHEAD OF THE SOVIET UNION IN TESTING ON MIRVS?
No, the American proposal was
for a ban on the deployment of MIRVs, and it was a ban that could only be verified by on-site
inspection. That was the American proposal. The Soviets proposed a ban on MIRV testing but no
ban on deployment and no on-site inspection. And that was unacceptable to us because it was too
risky. But the MIRV agreement really foundered on the issue of on-site inspection.
AND A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY THAT
WAS DELIBERATE ON THE ADMINISTRATION'S PART. THAT THEY DIDN'T REALLY WANT A MIRV BAN THAT IT WAS
BETTER FOR US TO PUSH AHEAD WHERE WE HAD SUPERIOR TECHNOLOGY AND HAD A LEAD IN THAT. DO YOU
THINK THAT WAS TRUE?
I think, I believe that this
business of always attributing dark motives to people who agree with very soft negotiators is
not helpful to understanding the debate, and the issues. On-site inspection was necessary if you
were to have any confidence at all that the Soviet Union was not cheating, and the suggestion
that the demand for on-site inspection was intended to prevent an agreement is the kind of
unfair argumentation that really confuses issues.
SO YOU THOUGHT THAT IN THAT
SITUATION IT WAS BETTER FOR US TO GO AHEAD AND MIRV, KNOWING THAT WHEN THE SOVIETS MIRVED THEIR
SS-9s THAT IT WOULD PUT OUR LAND-BASED FORCE IN A MORE VULNERABLE POSITION.
Well, we did not know how to
prevent the Soviets from MIRVing in a verifiable manner without the ability to inspect, and they
wouldn't agree to the inspection. So that made it impossible to agree to a ban on MIRVs, despite
the obvious consequences of that.
KISSINGER SAID THAT IN
WORKING ON SALT II, ON THOSE NEGOTIATIONS, THAT THE EQUIVALENCY AMENDMENT PLACED UNNEEDED
RESTRICTIONS ON THE PROCESS, THAT HE WOULD HAVE RATHER HAD SOME UNEQUIVALENCY IN THE NUMBERS OF
LAUNCHERS, IN RETURN FOR MORE RESTRICTIONS ON THEIR MIRVING, BECAUSE WE WERE MORE VULNERABLE TO
THEIR MIRVING AT THAT POINT. WAS THERE ANY SENSE THAT THE EQUIVALENCY RULE WAS SORT OF STILTED
IN DEALING WITH THE ASYMMETRIC FORCES, AND COULD GET IN OUR WAY IN TERMS OF STOPPING THIS
MIRVING WHICH WASN'T IN OUR INTEREST?
I, when Henry Kissinger was
in charge of negotiations and had no equivalency rules, and no other encumbrances of any kind,
he succeeded in negotiating an agreement that was lopsided in favor of the Soviet Union, and my
sympathy is limited for a negotiator who says he can do a better job if those who insist on
equality would not encumber his freedom to negotiate.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS THE
MAIN PROBLEM WITH SALT II? WITH THE BEGINNING OF SALT II. HENRY KISSINGER AT ONE POINT IN 1974
SAID, "IF I'D REALIZED WHAT A MIRVED WORLD MEANT, I WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE SERIOUS ABOUT OBTAINING
A MIRV BAN." BECAUSE BY THAT TIME WE HAD A REAL PROBLEM ON OUR HANDS WITH THE MIRVING. WHAT WAS
SENATOR JACKSON'S ATTITUDE?
Well, Senator Jackson
realized what a MIRVed world would mean. He didn't come lately to discoveries of this kind.
There's a somewhat extraordinary remark that Henry Kissinger after two years in office was
beginning to understand one of the fundamentals of the negotiation that he was superintending. I
think the record will show that Scoop Jackson saw further into the future, including the
problems eventually discovered by others, and I would offer as some evidence of that his
memorandum to Henry Kissinger in October of 1970, in which he correctly anticipated Soviet
developments if the administration was so unwise as to conclude an agreement in which the only
significant constraint was on launchers, and there were no further constraints on numbers of
warheads or the size of the missiles in those launchers, or improvements in the missiles in
those launchers, all of which had the potential for adding significantly to the military
capability of the Soviet missile forces. And that is exactly what happened.
HE SAID THAT IN SALT II WE
WENT FOR LEVELS OF LAUNCHERS THAT WERE FAR BEYOND WHAT WE EVER BUILT, BECAUSE OUR FORCES ARE
STRUCTURED DIFFERENTLY THAN THEIRS, AND THEREFORE WE GAVE AWAY CRUCIAL BARGAINING LEVERAGE ON
THINGS THAT WE WOULDN'T UTILIZE.
Henry has a million
rationalizations for why he produced an agreement that was unbalanced in favor of the Soviet
Union. That is one of many such rationalizations. You, if his view is that we didn't want
additional launchers, and therefore there was no reason why we should insist on additional
launchers one can turn that around and say, "As we did not desire additional launchers, we
should have insisted that the Soviets reduce their launchers down to our lower and satisfactory
level." That at least would have produced an agreement balanced in terms of the numbers of
WHAT DO YOU THINK IN GENERAL
ABOUT WHAT THE PURPOSE OF ARMS CONTROL IS, AND ABOUT THIS, WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THIS SORT OF
"BARGAINING CHIP" ARGUMENT THAT'S USUALLY APPLIED TO WEAPONS SYSTEMS? IN THAT WE CAN'T HAVE A
MORATORIUM ON MIRVS BECAUSE ONCE WE STOP WE'LL NEVER GET AHEAD AND WE NEED TO BUILD THEM. AND
THE OTHER SIDE SAYS WELL WE CAN'T FREEZE A SITUATION WHERE WE'RE AHEAD. WHAT IS YOUR
In my view the purpose of
arms-control negotiations is to achieve agreements that diminish the military threat that we
face, and that enhance the stability of the strategic relationship between the signatories. That
is not a description of most of the arms-control agreements in history, many...
[END OF TAPE E07002 AND TRANSCRIPT]