INT: Did the campaign for nuclear disarmament - I'm thinking particularly the Aldermaston marches of the late fifties, early sixties in Britain - did that have any political ramifications in the United States?

RG: Um, there really never developed in the United States the same kind of broadly based popular opposition to nuclear weapons per se that did develop in a number of countries in Western Europe for example. And... I think perhaps one reason is that... the... nuclear weapons had been part of the American military... a central part of the American military power ever since the end of World War Two and had been seen as the mainstay of Western defence in the Cold War, as it had developed, and they were simply regarded as not only a fact in being, but an important and desirable fact in being, because of the perceived threat from the Soviet Union were it not for these nuclear capabilities. There did develop a strong interest in the United States, as well as in other Western countries, and indeed in other countries in the world, to cease nuclear testing, after it became clear that there was serious ecological and environmental costs of continuing... development of nuclear weapons through atmospheric testing. But when a treaty was finally reached in 1963, that banned further atmospheric testing, there was no strong opposition to the fact that continued nuclear weapons development would occur through underground testing, which remained throughout the Cold War. The first really strong, I believe, American public reaction against... a military aspect of the Cold War was in ultimate response to the war in Vietnam, rather than to nuclear weapons as such or to the arms race as such, although there was always strong popular support for efforts at arms control and disarmament if this could be done on a basis which continue to assure security. So as the serious negotiations on arms control developed in the late 19 60s, through the 1980s, there was always strong bi-partisan support in this country for negotiated, reciprocal, verified arms control and reduction.

INTERVIEWER: Then if we talk in quite brief terms, 'cos it's going to be a short part of the programme, do you remember much in 1967 during the war in the Middle East what the reaction was in politics and particularly, from what I read, it became quite tense at one moment, with Kosygin declaring that if you want war, you'd get war. Is that an accurate reflection of the situation?

RG: Um, there was concern about what was seen as a Soviet role in helping to prompt the opening of hostilities in the June 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, but there was never any real feeling, I think, in the government that there was likely to emerge any direct intervention or direct East-West conflict from it. Of course it was a time of concern with respect to what would happen in the area and politically in the afterand what this might mean in terms of Soviet political opportunities for expanding their influence in some of the Arab countries and so on, but it was not seen as something which was primarily a Cold War conflict situation.

INT: Had the cease-fire not been agreed would there have been any intervention by the super-powers, do you think?

RG: I'd better start that over again.... there was always concern about even lesser or remote possibilities of Soviet direct intervention in a situation such as the 1967 war, but I think it should be looked at in that context. It was not absent as a concern, but it was also not in the forefront. The real feeling was that the Soviet Union would be unlikely to involve its own military forces in the region. The greater concern was that the political situation in the Middle East, as a result of the war, would develop in such a way that there would be opportunities for Soviet expansion of its political influence.

INT: Fine. Now can we move on to the story of SALT really. Who were the prime motivators for SALT?

RG: Um, the United States had been gradually working toward the idea of serious strategic arms control during the 1960s. We had in 1964 proposed a freeze on further production of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles. This was quite frankly not an entirely serious proposal. That is to say, we would have been happy had the Soviet Union agreed, but it was recognised to be very unlikely, because the United States had a very considerable superiority in numbers and it was unlikely that Moscow would be interested. Still, there was a hope that they would respond in some what that would begin to move into negotiations. This however did not occur and the next step that did lead to strategic arms talks was prompted by internal deliberations over the American military defence budget, and in particular over the question of whether we should move to deploy an anti-ballistic missile system, ABM system. this was discussed in particular at a meeting of the key military and political leaders at President Johnson's ranch in Texas in December 1966, at which time MacNamara suggested that before actually committing ourselves to such a deployment of an ABM system and spending the money for it and so on, we ought at least to make a try and see whether the Soviet Union would be responsive to a proposal that both sides forego, in effect, ABM defences. And President Johnson agreed, this was supported by Secretary Rusk and others in the government, and the first approaches were made through Master Thompson, in December 1966 and January '67. The Soviet response was quite interesting. They did not reject the proposals, they also were cautious and said in the very first response that they believed such talks should include strategic offensive as well as defensive weapons. I think to the Soviet surprise, we agreed. but it was then a very slow process in trying to move toward agreement on beginning actual exploratory talks. And I think the reason for that is that the Soviets were still very much concerned that they did not have parity or anything approaching parity at that time yet in numbers, even though they had a substantial nuclear strategic capability, and indeed we later found that at the time when the Soviet leaders did have a rough equality in numbers of strategic weapons in view, they did become seriously interested and were prepared to move ahead into strategic arms talks in 1968, but during 1967, we continued to raise the matter and they did not reject the idea, but they also weren't yet prepared to talk specifics. In addition, there was some difficulty in getting agreement in Moscow that we would put even an equal emphasis, shall we say, on banning anti-ballistic missile systems. I think it took a little thinking through the problem by the political leadership before they recognised that something which after all was intended to defend might nonetheless be destabilising and therefore should be limited or even banned. That recognition did come, but not immediately. In addition, the Soviet leaders were probably held back in part, at least they told us they were and made the argument because of the American involvement in Vietnam. So that may have been a factor in holding back somewhat the readiness in 19 '67 to move into strategic arms talks, although I don't think myself that that was the principal reason. By 1968 of course, the United States was beginning to prepare itself for disengagement in Vietnam, and as I've mentioned, the Soviet Union was moving toward numerical parity in strategic arms and talks were in prospect. Indeed, an announcement was about to be made of a summit meeting and of the opening of such talks when Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia put the whole process off again and with a change of administration in Washington, and then the... desire of the new Nixon administration to establish its... overall foreign policy and defence policy before settling on terms for arms negotiation, it meant that

INT: Much has been made during this period of what became known as the back channel communications between Kissinger and the Soviets. Can you tell me what that was about and how important that was in terms of SALT?

RG: The SALT talks began with an exploratory session of six weeks or so in Helsinki in November-December 1969. then the first real exploration of possible packages of limitations and reductions began to be discussed in the spring of 19 70. But important difficulties arose, problems arising in part from the differences in the strategic forces and posture of the two sides, including the fact that the United States through its alliances and forward bases, had many nuclear delivery systems deployed around the Soviet Union, which the United States did not regard as strategic. and yet from the standpoint of Moscow, they didn't much see the difference between a one megaton warhead coming in an ICBM from the United States or a one megaton warhead hitting that same target delivered by a fighter bomber that had taken off from a base in Turkey. So from their standpoint, what they called forward based systems, FBS, needed to be counted in the strategic equation. we were very much opposed to that, not... only because we tended to characterise and see the nature of strategic forces somewhat differently, but also because while it was true that many American and allied forces in Europe in particular, and to some extent elsewhere were capable of striking targets in the Soviet Union, these were also forces which were part of the strategic... defences of... these areas against Soviet and other Warsaw Pact forces, which, while they could not strike targets in the United States, could indeed, and would in time of war, strike targets in allied countries. So from our standpoint the... American weapons capable of striking in the Soviet Union should not be dealt with in the same form, and in any case should be paired off against comparable Soviet systems, including missiles that could strike throughout Europe from the Soviet Union, and yet if we were to include all of the nuclear forces of the two sides, it would expand the task very much more than dealing with efforts to stabilise the strategic competition in inter-continental systems, which we wished to keep the focus on.