In August 1972, the U.S. Senate approved the agreements by an overwhelming majority. Salt-I, as we have learned, served as the basis for all the discussions on weapons limitation that followed. As its title states, “the interim agreement between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on certain measures to limit offensive weapons” was limited in duration and scope. It is expected to remain in effect for five years. (See previous section of LA SALT.) The two countries pledged to continue negotiations for a broader agreement as soon as possible, and the provisions of the 1972 agreement should not undermine the scope and terms of a new agreement. However, a broad coalition of republicans and conservative Democrats has become increasingly skeptical of the Soviet Union`s crackdown on internal differences, its increasingly interventionist foreign policy and the treaty review process. On December 17, 1979, 19 Carter Senators wrote that “the ratification of a SALT II treaty will not reverse the development of the military balance that is detrimental to the United States.” On December 25, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and on January 3, 1980, Carter asked the Senate not to consider SALT II for its advice and approval, and it was never ratified. Washington and Moscow then pledged to abide by the terms of the agreement, although it did not enter into force. Carter`s successor, Ronald Reagan, a vocal critic of SALT II during the 1980 presidential campaign, agreed to respect SALT II until it expired on December 31, 1985, while he followed the Strategic Arms Treaty (START) and argued that research conducted under the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) maintained the 1972 ABM Treaty. The resulting set of agreements (SALT I) included the Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM) Treaty and the Interim Agreement and Protocol on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Weapons.
Both were signed by President Richard M. Nixon for the United States and Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, for the U.S.S.R. on May 26, 1972 at a summit in Moscow. The two agreements differ in duration and inclusion. The ABM Treaty “is indefinite,” but each party has the right to resign within six months if it decides that its ultimate interests are compromised by “exceptional events related to the purpose of this treaty.” The interim agreement spanned a five-year period and covered only some important aspects of strategic weapons. The agreements are linked not only in their strategic implications, but also in their relations with future negotiations on the restrictions of strategic offensive weapons. An official statement from the United States stressed the crucial importance it attaches to achieving broader restrictions on strategic offensive weapons. The Vladivostok Summit in November 1974 led to a major breakthrough in favour of the agreement, when President Gerald Ford and Secretary General Leonid Brezhnev agreed on the basic framework of the SALT II agreement. The elements of this agreement were declared in force until 1985. The most important element of the summit was the salt agreements. Discussions on SALT have been going on for about two and a half years, but with little progress.