SALT II Accord

Signing the Agreement

The S.A.L.T. II Accord was reached in June of 1979. The Accord allowed both nations to build up to 2,250 missiles, of which 1,320 could have MIRV (Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle) warheads. These were able to carry many warheads. The agreement was received with disdain by critics of the Soviets, who believed that the accord granted the Soviets the advantage. The S.A.L.T. II agreement was never ratified, as the subsequent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan eliminated any support for the treaty. Its terms, however, continued to be observed by both sides.

After the meeting between President Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev in 1972 negotiations began to reach an agreement on a comprehensive treaty limiting strategic offensive weapons. Those negotiations which were designated SALT II started in November 1972. The goal was to provide both sides with an equal number of delivery systems and thus provide a basis for further reductions.

At the Vladivostok meeting between President Ford and Brezhnev in November 1974, a breakthrough was achieved when a framework was agreed to. That framework consisted of an equal number of MIRV systems (Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles, one missile with multiple warheads) that number would be 1,320. There would be no new land-based ICBM built by either side. There would be a limit on new types of weapons that could be deployed and the total number of the strategic launch vehicle to 2,400

Negotiations continued to try to work out the details of the framework agreement. While there were a number of disagreements between the sides, the major issues that they were not able to easily resolve were how to count cruise missiles and how to count the new Soviet bomber the Backfire.

When the Carter Administration took power negotiations were redoubled. After high-level talks took place over a two year period and treat was signed by President Carter and General Secretary Brezhnev in Vienna on June 18, 1979. After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1980, President Carter asked the Senate not to ratify the agreement.