Cold War: Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States meet in Helsinki, Finland to begin SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.
The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) were a series of negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War with the aim of curbing the arms race between the two superpowers. The talks primarily focused on limiting the deployment of strategic nuclear weapons. There were two rounds of SALT negotiations: SALT I and SALT II.
SALT I (1969-1972):
The SALT I negotiations began in 1969, following a period of increased tension and nuclear arms buildup between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The talks resulted in two key agreements: the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
The ABM Treaty aimed to limit the number of anti-ballistic missile systems each country could deploy, with the goal of preventing a strategic imbalance that might undermine the principle of mutually assured destruction (MAD).
The Interim Agreement established certain limits on the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) that each side could deploy.
SALT II (1972-1979):
SALT II negotiations began in the mid-1970s, building on the foundation laid by SALT I. The talks aimed to set more comprehensive limits on various types of nuclear weapons.
However, SALT II was never ratified by the U.S. Senate due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. In response to the Soviet action, the United States suspended its participation in the SALT II negotiations.
Despite the lack of formal ratification, both the United States and the Soviet Union voluntarily adhered to the terms of the SALT II agreement until 1986.
The SALT agreements represented efforts by both superpowers to manage the nuclear arms race and reduce the risk of a catastrophic conflict. While they did not eliminate the nuclear arsenals of either country, they contributed to stability by placing limits on certain types of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. The SALT process marked a significant step in the broader effort to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons during the Cold War.