The Big Five and the Small Five
From the late 1960s into the 1970s, the strategic arms control talks with the United States required little or no technical expertise, because of the relative simplicity of the task facing the negotiators: they simply set numerical ceilings for individual weapons systems. This task was easily accomplished by the military experts who were involved in the preparation of the documents; the Big Five required no additional information upon which to make more complicated decisions. The Instructions to the Delegation rarely had to be altered, and the few changes that were made related mostly to emphasizing, clarifying, or amplifying political goals or priorities rather than to any issues dealing with the details of military technology. It was only at the final stage of the SALT I talks--when the ABM problem appeared on the agenda--that special technical questions began to crop up which the members of the Politburo Commission themselves were unable to resolve. It was at this point that the Big Five had to turn to technical experts.
Initially during SALT I, Dmitri Ustinov personally selected experts invited them to participate in discussions on a case-by-case basis. The advice that the experts gave covered such topics as major radar systems related to ballistic missile defenses, and heavy ICBM. During the meetings of the Big Five, however, its other members also sought advice from the