History Timeline 1970's

Photo above: President Richard Nixon. Courtesy National Archives. Right: Statue of Secretariat at Belmont Park, 2014, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Secretariat

U.S. Timeline - The 1970s

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  • Timeline

  • 1972 - Detail

    May 22, 1972 - President Richard M. Nixon makes the first trip of the U.S. President to Moscow. The week of summit discussions would lead to a strategic arms pact, SALT I that would be signed by Nixon and Premier Leonid Brezhnev on May 26. On July 8, the White House would announce the sale of American wheat to the Soviet Union.

    Nixon's 1972 Trip to Moscow


    It was the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, which had been freezing since the end of World War II, sometimes frozen in a nuclear arms race with limited thaws on either military matters or trade. Negotiations on changing that had begun in November 1969 in Helsinki and with Nixon's announcement of a trip to China that would expand his reach in international affairs, the White House announced that the President and his wife would visit Moscow in May 1972 to complete those negotiations with the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. This would be the first trip of an United States President to Moscow, and only the second trip by a United States President to the Soviet Union. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had visited the Soviet Union for the Yalta Conference on February 3-5, 1945 with British Prime Minister Churchill to discuss post World War II reorganization of Europe.

    SALT I, the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, treaty would freeze the number of strategic ballistic missiles launchers at the current levels, address submarine based missiles, and curb the amount of missiles aimed at the northeast United States. The United States had 1,054 Intercontintal Ballistic Missiles and 656 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile launchers at the time of the treaty. An interim agreement had been reached one year before the trip; the final SALT 1 treaties were subsequently signed on May 26, 1972.

    The treaty would go into place on October 3, 1972 with a term of five years. Its signing led to a thawing of relations with the Soviet Union, both in the area of the military, but also trade. Even before the treaty went into effect, an agreement on trading wheat to the Soviet Union had been put into place on July 8, 1972. Unknowingly, that sale of wheat and other grains to the Soviet Union, at subsidized prices, would lead to a ten month rise in higher grain prices in the United States and a fifty percent increase in food prices in 1973. Another outcome, more positive, of Nixon's strategy for negotiations and better relations with both China and Soviet Union was to foster a quicker end to the Vietnam War. Both nations cut back on their diplomatic support of the Hanoi regime and urged North Vietnam to comes to military terms.

    Previous Attempts

    In 1962, the first attempt to limit nuclear arms. The Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee had met in January in Geneva, Switzerland. The United States had proposed a freeze on weapons, but the Soviet Union disagreed due to the U.S. superiority in numbers in 1964. Two years later when the United States offered to halt deployment of ABM missile defenses, the Soviet Union put offensive weapons on the table. This led to a July 1, 1968 agreement, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, that agreed to negotiations on offensive and defensive weapons.


    Full Text, Salt 1 Treaty

    Interim Agreement Between The United States of America and The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Certain Measures With Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.

    Signed at Moscow May 26, 1972. Approval authorized by U.S. Congress September 30, 1972. Approved by U.S. President September 30, 1972. Notices of acceptance exchanged October 3, 1972. Entered into force October 3, 1972.

    The United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, hereinafter referred to as the Parties,

    Convinced that the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems and this Interim Agreement on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms will contribute to the creation of more favorable conditions for active negotiations on limiting strategic arms as well as to the relaxation of international tension and the strengthening of trus between States,

    Taking into account the relationship between strategic offensive and defensive arms,

    Mindful of their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,

    Have agreed as follows:

    Article I - The Parties undertake not to start construction of additional fixed land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers after July 1, 1972.

    Article II - The Parties undertake not to convert land-based launchers for light ICBMs, or for ICBMs of older types deployed prior to 1964, into land-based launchers for heavy ICBMs of types deployed after that time.

    Article III - The Parties undertake to limit submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers and modern ballistic missile submarines to the numbers operational and under construction on the date of signature of this Interim Agreement, and in addition to launchers and submarines constructed under procedures established by the Parties as replacements for an equal number of ICBM launchers of older types deployed prior to 1964 or for launchers on older submarines.

    Article IV - Subject to the provisions of this Interim Agreement, modernization and replacement of strategic offensive ballistic missiles and launchers covered by this Interim Agreement may be undertaken.

    Article V - 1. For the purpose of providing assurance of compliance with the provisions of this Interim Agreement, each Party shall use national technical means of verification at its disposal in a manner consistent with generally recognized principles of international law.

    2. Each Party undertakes not to interfere with the national technical means of verification of the other Party operating in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Article.

    3. Each Party undertakes not to use deliberate concealment measures which impede verification by national technical means of compliance with the provisions of this Interim Agreement. This obligation shall not require changes in current construction, assembly, conversion, or overhaul practices.

    Article VI - To promote the objectives and implementation of the provisions of this Interim Agreement, the Parties shall use the Standing Consultative Commission established under Article XIII of theTreaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems in accordance with the provisions of that Article.

    Article VII - The Parties undertake to continue active negotiations for limitations on strategic offensive arms. The obligations provided for in this Interim Agreement shall not prejudice the scope or terms ofthe limitations on strategic offensive arms which may be worked out in the course of further negotiations.

    Article VIII - 1. This Interim Agreement shall enter into force upon exchange of written notices of acceptance by each Party, which exchange shall take place simultaneously with the exchange of instruments of ratification of the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems.

    2. This Interim Agreement shall remain in force for a period of five years unless replaced earlier by an agreement on more complete measures limiting strategic offensive arms. It is the objective of the Parties to conduct active follow-on negotiations with the aim of concluding such an agreement as soon as possible.

    3. Each Party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from this Interim Agreement if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Interim Agreement have jeopardized its supreme interests. It shall give notice of its decision to the other Party six months prior to withdrawal from this Interim Agreement. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events the notifying Party regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.

    DONE at Moscow on May 26, 1972, in two copies, each in the English and Russian languages, both texts being equally authentic.

    FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
    RICHARD NIXON
    President of the United States of America

    FOR THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS:
    L.I. BREZHNEV
    General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU

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    Protocol to the Interim Agreement Between The United States of America and The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Certain Measures With Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms

    The United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, hereinafter referred to as the Parties, Having agreed on certain limitations relating to submarine-launched ballistic missile launchers and modern ballistic missile submarines, and to replacement procedures, in the Interim Agreement,

    Have agreed as follows:

    The Parties understand that, under Article III of the Interim Agreement, for the period during which that Agreement remains in force:

    The United States may have no more than 710 ballistic missile launchers on submarines (SLBMs) and no more than 44 modern ballistic missile submarines. The Soviet Union may have no more than 950 ballistic missile launchers on submarines and no more than 62 modern ballistic missile submarines.

    Additional ballistic missile launchers on submarines up to the above-mentioned levels, in the United States -- over 656 ballistic missile launchers on nuclear-powered submarines, and in the USSR -- over 740 ballistic missile launchers on nuclear-powered submarines, operational and under construction, may become operational as replacements for equal numbers of ballistic missile launchers of older types deployed prior to 1964 or of ballistic missile launchers on older submarines.

    The deployment of modern SLBMs on any submarine, regardless of type, will be counted against the total level of SLBMs permitted for the United States and the USSR.

    This Protocol shall be considered an integral part of the Interim Agreement.

    DONE at Moscow this 26th day of May, 1972

    FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
    RICHARD NIXON
    President of the United States of America

    FOR THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS:
    L.I. BREZHNEV
    General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU

    Photo above: Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev at meeting in White House, June 18, 1973, Walter K. Leffler. Courtesy Library of Congress. Photo below: SLBM missile being launched from a United States submarine, October 9, 1984, Oscar Sosa, USN. Courtesy National Archives via Wikipedia Commons. Source info: U.S. Department of State, NTI.org; Wikipedia Commons.

    SLBM Missile Launch






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