After the SALT talks with the Soviet Union in May 1972, President Nixon returned to the United States to encourage the congressional ratification of this agreement in June of that year. RN appeared before five congressional committees in order to make a few remarks about the agreements reached in Moscow and to emphasize the importance of Congress’s cooperation. Although RN was convinced of the necessity of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, he wanted the understanding and support of the Congress:
In other words, this is not one of those cases where the President of the United States is asking the Congress and the Nation to take on blind faith a decision that he has made and in which he deeply believes.
I believe in the decision, but your questions should be directed to Dr. Kissinger and others in the Administration for the purpose of finding any weaknesses that you think in the negotiations or in the final agreements that we have made.
President Nixon described the Antiballistic Missile Treaty as a victory for both the United States and the Soviet Union because neither nation was left with a sense of having gotten a raw deal. For this reason, RN believed that the ratification of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty was the best course of action for disarmament and last peace between the United States and the Soviet Union:
I have noted a great deal of speculation about who won and who lost in these negotiations. I have said that neither side won and neither side lost. As a matter of fact, if we were to really look at it very, very fairly, both sides won, and the whole world won.
Let me tell you why I think that is important. Where negotiations between great powers are involved, if one side wins and the other loses, clearly then you have a built-in tendency or incentive for the side that loses to break the agreement and to do everything that it can to regain the advantage.
This is an agreement which was very toughly negotiated on both sides. There are advantages in it for both sides. For that reason, each side has a vested interest, we believe, in keeping the agreement rather than breaking it.
In his closing remarks, hoping to drive his point home before his departure, President Nixon made a poignant reference to the failure of Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations that resulted from insufficient cooperation with Congress. Having done his best to present a case for the ratification of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, President Nixon ended his statement with an appeal to the members of Congress for an objective consideration of the 1972 agreements in spite of the fact that it was an election year. Busy man that RN was, he had to leave the briefing early in order to welcome the President of Mexico to the White House, but he left the congressional committees in the capable hands of his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger.