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Letter to the Speaker of the House Transmitting the Antiballistic Missile Treaty and the Interim Agreement on Strategic Offensive Arms

June 13, 1972

Dear Mr. Speaker:

I transmit herewith copies of the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems and the Interim Agreement on Certain Measures with respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms signed in Moscow on May 26, 1972. Copies of these agreements are also being forwarded to the President of the Senate. I am asking the Senate's advice and consent to ratification of the Treaty, and an expression of support from both Houses of the Congress for the Interim Agreement on Strategic Offensive Arms.

These agreements, the product of a major effort of this administration, are a significant step into a new era of mutually agreed restraint and arms limitation between the two principal nuclear powers.

The provisions of the agreements are explained in detail in the Report of the Secretary of State, which I attach. Their main effect is this: The ABM Treaty limits the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems to two designated areas, and at a low level. The Interim Agreement limits the overall level of strategic offensive missile forces. Together the two agreements provide for a more stable strategic balance in the next several years than would be possible if strategic arms competition continued unchecked. This benefits not only the United States and the Soviet Union, but all the nations of the world.

The agreements are an important first step in checking the arms race, but only a first step; they do not close off all avenues of strategic competition. Just as the maintenance of a strong strategic posture was an essential element in the success of these negotiations, it is now equally essential that we carry forward a sound strategic modernization program to maintain our security and to ensure that more permanent and comprehensive arms limitation agreements can be reached.

The defense capabilities of the United States are second to none in the world today. I am determined that they shall remain so. The terms of the ABM Treaty and Interim Agreement will permit the United States to take the steps we deem necessary to maintain a strategic posture which protects our vital interests and guarantees our continued security.

Besides enhancing our national security, these agreements open the opportunity for a new and more constructive U.S.-Soviet relationship, characterized by negotiated settlement of differences, rather than by the hostility and confrontation of decades past.

These accords offer tangible evidence that mankind need not live forever in the dark shadow of nuclear war. They provide renewed hope that men and nations working together can succeed in building a lasting peace.

Because these agreements effectively serve one of this Nation's most cherished purposes--a more secure and peaceful world in which America's security is fully protected--I strongly recommend that the House of Representatives support The Interim Agreement on Strategic Offensive Arms, and that its deliberations be conducted without delay.



[Honorable Carl B. Albert, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515]

Richard Nixon, Letter to the Speaker of the House Transmitting the Antiballistic Missile Treaty and the Interim Agreement on Strategic Offensive Arms Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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