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START I: Letters on Tacit Rainbow
TC Home > Treaties > START I Treaty > Associated Documents > Letters on Tacit Rainbow


May 19, 1990

Dear Eduard,

I have just finished meeting with my arms control experts, who tell me that we are still some distance from completing an overall agreement on the question of air-launched cruise missiles because of continuing differences over the issue of Tacit Rainbow. In particular, my experts have reported your concerns and the three elements of your proposal.

I have had an opportunity to study your ideas, and am persuaded that Tacit Rainbow need not be an obstacle to resolving the ALCM issue. In this message, I would like to give you a response that I believe offers a constructive means of resolving this matter. Let me make the following points:

First, the December 31, 1988 cutoff date to distinguish between current and future ALCMs is of course acceptable to me. This makes clear (as President Gorbachev agreed) that Tacit Rainbow will be treated as a future non-nuclear ALCM -- which it is -- and will thus be subject to the provisions in the Treaty that will enable both sides to distinguish between nuclear and non-nuclear ALCMs.

Second, I am able to confirm that Tacit Rainbow is a non-nuclear ALCM, and as such would be covered by our proposals of May 12, 1990 on how the START Treaty would identify non-nuclear ALCMs and distinguish them from nuclear ALCMs. In particular, I want to draw your attention to the language we proposed in the Notification Annex* we recently presented in Geneva. (A copy is attached.) Under this provision we would formally notify you at least six months in advance that Tacit Rainbow is a non-nuclear ALCM, would tell you about its distinguishing features and would propose a date on which you could come for an exhibition of this missile.

We have no plans to convert Tacit Rainbow to a nuclear ALCM. But if a non-nuclear ALCM were ever converted to a nuclear ALCM, that missile would then become subject to all of the START Treaty restrictions on nuclear long-range ALCMs.

Third, on your concern about range. I am advised that its range is less than 800 km. As you know Tacit Rainbow only became an issue when we considered accepting your proposal for a 600 km ALCM range threshold. Under our preferred position of 800 km, Tacit Rainbow was not an issue.

I believe that these points are responsive to your questions. You should feel free to share these points with your colleagues if you think this would be helpful. Of course, I am ready to come over to meet with you now to finalize this and any other issues.

Eduard, I would like to conclude by reminding you that you gave me every reason to believe that if I could move to your position on ALCM range, we would finally put the ALCM issue behind us. Let's do so now. Sincerely,

James A. Baker, III

The Honorable Eduard Shevardnadze,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the,
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Moscow


*As written, should read "Protocol"

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