The 1979 Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II (SALT II) was a bilateral agreement between the United States and Soviet Union that was negotiated during the second round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks from 1969-1972. SALT I, the first round, resulted in two agreements: the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the Interim Agreement. However, due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the treaty was never ratified by the U.S. Senate. The Soviets, likewise, did not ratify it. Regardless, both states honored the terms of the agreement until 1986, one year after the original agreed-upon sunset.
SALT II’s primary objective was to replace the Interim Agreement, which was set to expire in 1979. Each bloc agreed to novel reductions and limitations in their respective strategic arsenals, including:
- The continuation of the Interim Agreement’s reduction of all strategic missile delivery vehicles (including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and heavy bombers) to 2,400 upon entry into force.
- Further reductions of all strategic missile delivery vehicles to 2,250 by January 1, 1985.
- Limitations on multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV)-capable ballistic missiles to 1,320
- A ban of the construction of new land-based ICBM launchers
- Limitations on the deployment of new types of strategic offensive arms
Similar to the Interim Agreement, verification would be carried out through national technical means, rather than a physical presence inside the other’s territory.
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan withdrew from the agreement, citing Soviet violations of the terms, including the development and deployment of a second new type of ICBM (SS-25), exceeding the allowable number of strategic delivery vehicles, and encrypting telemetric data from test flights of strategic ballistic missiles.