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1972 Nuclear Missile Agreement

Caltech President (and former Air Force Secretary) Harold Brown was a high-ranking member of the U.S. SALT delegation with his own ideas on what an appropriate ABM agreement would mean. As Kissinger would have known from reading cable transportation, Brown preferred a ban on the ABM, but if it was not possible, he wanted to avoid an ABM race by limiting the number of systems. When Brown asked if Kissinger was considering a “2-population deal,” he was outraged because he implied that some members of the SALT delegation (“the sons of bitches”) were interested in such regulation when they had to put pressure on the current proposal 2 to 1 (although Kissinger incorrectly said 3 to 1). Later in the interview, Kissinger admitted that he had “no military justification for missile sites” but that it was necessary to stick to that position because 1) the government had asked Congress for these sites and 2) that it would pressure the Soviets to negotiate. In addition, Kissinger wanted the Soviets to have only one location: he would no longer agree with an agreement that was allowed to them. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that it was difficult for the White House to request several ICBM defense sites, as the Soviets had accepted a single-site NCA option. Kissinger said he was confused about his own actions: “I don`t understand how we accepted NCA… I often make mistakes, but most of the time, I know why after that. If, in the future, there are uncertainties about the application of the term “ABM tested” to individual radars that track strategic ballistic missiles or their elements in the flight path, or whether these radars are ABM radars or are not ABM radars, these questions are consulted in the Standing Advisory Committee in accordance with Article XIII of the ABM Treaty. On December 13, 2001, President George W. Bush, who argued that Washington and Moscow were no longer based on their ability to destroy each other, announced that the United States would withdraw from the ABM Treaty, saying it was preventing the United States.

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