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  American HistoryUnited States: General History and DescriptionLate 20th Century, 1961-2000Jimmy Carter's Administration, 1977-1981
 
Carter and Brezhnev exchange treaty copiesCarter and Brezhnev after signing the SALT II treatySALT II

On June 18, 1979, President Jimmy Carter and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev signed a treaty in Vienna, Austria, that had grown out of a long round of negotiations known as the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.

Left: Carter and Brezhnev exchange signed copies of the SALT II treaty.
Right: Carter and Brezhnev after signing the treaty.

The treaty signed by the two nations limited the number of nuclear delivery systems (long-range bombers and missiles) each nation could have. In the first step of the treaty, each nation agreed to limit its number of delivery systems to 2,400. In the second step, the number was to be reduced to 2,250 by 1981. The treaty was to remain in effect until 1985, at which time it was hoped that further talks would have set the stage for a SALT III treaty.

Cyrus Vance, Harold Brown, and Howard BakerThe Senate Committee on Foreign Relations opened preliminary hearings on the treaty on July 9, began consideration of the treaty itself on October 15, and voted 9 to 6 on November 9 to send the treaty to the full Senate.

Left: Senator Howard H. Baker (right) chats with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Secretary of Defense Harold Brown before SALT II committee hearings begin.

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This page was last updated on August 16, 2016.

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