The documentation in this volume illuminates the sustained high-level attention to the negotiations and the difficulties involved in establishing agreement--first on U.S. Government positions and negotiating strategies and then with the Soviet Union. This volume picks up where Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Vol. XXXII, SALT I, 1969-1972 (Print ISBN: 9780160784019) leaves off, with the Nixon administration working to establish objectives and negotiating positions beginning in October 1972. This work is represented primarily through the internal memoranda drafted by National Security Council staff members; the formal interagency process is reflected in minutes of the Verification Panel and the National Security Council, with the subsequent decisions reflected in six National Security Decision Memoranda. As in previous volumes, the reader encounters extraordinary working relationships between top U.S. and Soviet interlocutors in the form of Henry Kissinger's backchannel with Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin and his negotiations with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, as well as Nixon's summit with Brezhnev in June 1974, a period in which his presidency was collapsing.
Throughout these three administrations, critics of the SALT II deliberations warned of the implications for the strategic balance. In a time of rapid modernization and expansion in Soviet strategic forces,
they were especially anxious about the divergence between the United States and Soviet Union when it came to missile throw-weight, an asymmetry of particular concern with the advent of MIRV'd ICBMs. The selections in the this volume include letters from Senator Henry Jackson outlining his concerns; NSC minutes and other memoranda of conversation portray him as a constant thorn in the side of the White House and the Department of State.
While the editor believes this volume stands on its own, it is best read in conjunction with several other volumes. Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Vol. XXXII, SALT I, 1969-1972 (Print ISBN: 9780160784019), documents the decision-making and negotiations on the limitation of strategic arms from the beginning of the first Nixon administration through the signing 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 at the June 1972 Moscow Summit.
In addition, a number of volumes print documentation in full that is presented in part in this volume include documentation relating to Brezhnev's June 1973 visit to the United States, Kissinger's March and April 1974 visits to the Soviet Union, and Nixon's June 1974 meetings with Brezhnev in Moscow is printed in full in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Vol. XV, Soviet Union, June 1972-August 1974 (Print ISBN: 9780160830013) . Full documentation on conversations between Ford and Brezhnev at the November 1974 Vladivostok Summit can be found in Foreign Relations,1969-1976, Vol. XVI, Soviet Union, August 1974-December 1976 (Print ISBN: 9780160884627). Other volumes that provide useful context for the issues covered in this volume include Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Vol. XXXIV, National Security Policy (Print ISBN: 9780160844119), 1969-1972; Vol. XXXV, National Security Policy, 1973-1976; Vol. E-2, Documents on Arms Control and Nonproliferation, 1969-1972; Vol. E-14, Part 2, Documents on Arms Control, 1973-1976; and Foreign Relations, 1977-1980, Vol. IV, National Security Policy; and Vol. VI, Soviet Union.