On May 26, 1972 Leonid Brezhnev and President Richard Nixon agreed two documents known as SALT I consisting of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) and the Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. SALT II was signed on June 18, 1979 by Leonid Brezhnev and President Jimmy Carter. Although SALT II was not ratified both the US and the USSR voluntarily adhered to the provisions for reduced limits on strategic weapons.
Facts about SALT Treaty
The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) were negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union as part of the policy of Detente, that would contain the Cold War Arms Race by curtailing the manufacture of strategic missiles that were capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
SALT I was the first of the Strategic Arms Limitation talks between the USSR and the U.S. that began in November 1969 and ended in January 1972.
Leonid Brezhnev met with U.S. President Richard Nixon in May 1972 in which they agreed to produce a treaty that would contain the arms race.
The talks known as SALT 1 resulted in the signing of two treaties: the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty (ABM) and the Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABMT) was ratified by the U.S. Senate on August 3, 1972.
The provisions of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty (ABMT) included the regulation of antiballistic missiles that could be used to destroy incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM’s) launched by other countries.
In the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty both the US and the USSR agreed that each side would be limited to 100 interceptor missiles and only one launching area for Anti-Ballistic Missiles (ABM’s).
The Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms had a five year duration period that would freeze the number of strategic ballistic missiles, such as the ICBM’s and the submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM’s), at the current 1972 levels.
Following SALT I the two nations had developed different nuclear arms strategies. The U.S. concentrated on developing missiles with a greater accuracy whilst the Soviets focused on developing larger warheads for their weapons
The change in strategies resulted in the continuance of negotiations referred to as SALT II. On June 18, 1979 Leonid Brezhnev and President Jimmy Carter signed the SALT II treaty.
The SALT II treaty provided for more specific regulations on the different types of missiles. Each side was limited to no more then 2400 weapons systems and caps were set on the number of strategic launchers and the various types of missiles.
In September 1979, three months after the signing of SALT II, the United States discovered that a Soviet ground forces combat unit was stationed in Cuba. Then, in December 1979 the USSR invaded Afghanistan beginning the Soviet–Afghan War (December 1979 - February 1989).
The relations between the US and the USSR deteriorated to such an extent that the period of Detente ended.
SALT II was sent to the Senate to be ratified, but due to the increased tensions between the two nations, President Jimmy Carter pushed the treaty aside.
Although SALT II was not ratified both the Americans and the Soviets voluntarily adhered to the provisions for reduced limits on strategic weapons for many years to come.
Subsequent negotiations between the two super powers began in 1982 and were named the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START).
The Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) were aimed at reducing the US and Soviet arsenals of nuclear warheads and of the missiles and bombers capable of delivering such weapons.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) spanned a period that witnessed the Collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.
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