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Letter to Ambassador Gerard C. Smith on the Opening of the Second Round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in Geneva.

November 21, 1972

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

Three years ago you and your colleagues embarked on one of the most critical negotiations in our history. At that time there was little assurance that we could find common ground for discussion, let alone agreement on issues that had not been fully faced in the post-war period and that affected the vital security of the United States and the Soviet Union. The successful conclusion of the agreements signed on May 26 was a milestone not only in Soviet-American relations, but in the larger effort to create a more peaceful world.

These agreements, important as they are, cannot be a cause for complacency. We have taken the first step and the foundation for new agreements has been created. Now you face a task which in many respects is even more complex and more difficult, for both sides will now be obligated to make long term commitments. in a permanent agreement, to a stable strategic relationship for this decade and beyond.

In my letter to you three years ago 1 I observed that no one could foresee the outcome of the negotiations, but I also expressed my conviction that arms control was in the mutual interest of our country and of the Soviet Union. We have learned in the last three years that such mutual interests do, in fact, exist. The achievement of the SALT agreements, as well as the Basic Principles governing our relations with the USSR, lead me to believe that your current efforts will meet with new success.

1See 1969 volume, Item 444.

As you and your Soviet colleagues begin a new round of discussions, you have with you the hopes of all the American people--and indeed the hopes of all mankind.



[The Honorable Gerard Smith, Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Washington, D.C. 20451]

Note: The letter was dated November 20, 1972, and the text was released November 21 at Camp David, Md. Ambassador Smith, Chairman of the United States delegation to the strategic arms limitation talks, read the letter at the opening session of the talks at the Soviet Mission in Geneva on November 21.

Richard Nixon, Letter to Ambassador Gerard C. Smith on the Opening of the Second Round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in Geneva. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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