Courtesy Reuters

Strategic Weapons


In military and technical terms, we can envisage agreements to limit strategic arms which would be sufficiently verifiable to be enforceable and which would enhance both the security of the United States and the security of the Soviet Union. On-site inspection is no longer the immovable roadblock that it has been in the past. Unilateral means of verification, available to both sides, provide forms of inspection as effective for some purposes as on-the-ground surveys.

It remains true that weapons have certain important characteristics that cannot be limited effectively by agreement without disclosures which go beyond what can be obtained unilaterally. And, without such inspection, there would be a greater possibility that we would have to withdraw from an agreement because of uncertainty about weapons improvements by the other side. But these reservations need not block the negotiation of a useful treaty that would increase our national security.

Strategic arms limitations could produce extra bonuses in addition to improved military security-among them the possibility of increasing the resources available for other purposes, of increasing East-West coöperation and of adopting additional arms-control measures. For the present I will leave to others the discussion of these latter hopes, prospects and advantages, as well as the problems of negotiating arms-limitation agreements, and concentrate on what I see as the most critical objective: increased security in a nuclear world.

Exactly how can we judge whether a particular agreement to limit strategic weapons would contribute to the security of the United States? In general, there are three principal goals to be taken into account in considering any strategic policy:

To deter a deliberate nuclear attack by maintaining military forces that could survive such an attack and still inflict an unacceptable level of damage on the attacker, providing thereby a high degree of assurance that no country would decide to attack.

To have the means to limit casualties to some degree in the event of an "irrational" war, or a limited accidental launching of

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