185. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter1


  • Vance-Gromyko SALT Discussion, September 30

Attached is Cy’s report on his talk Friday with Gromyko on SALT.2 In essence, Gromyko:

—Stood firm on 2250 and asked that we not insist on a lower figure.

—Said they insist on 1250 and will accept no other figure.3

—Reacted strongly on Backfire, saying they have gone as far as they can; and refused to refer the issue to Geneva, but agreed to consult further with Cy.

—Proposed to refer testing of new missiles to Geneva and agreed that our proposal on SLBMs could be considered.4

—“Lightly referred” to your press statement indicating the Soviets showed flexibility.5

Cy told him you would be talking to key Senators and he would urge confidentiality. Gromyko said that was for us, but that public statements must be done carefully to avoid the need for Soviet rebuttal.

Cy feels Gromyko was softer on 2160 than 1200 and that Gromyko implied the Soviets would reopen FBS if we continue to press on Backfire.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 55, SALT: Chronology: 9/16/77–10/5/77. Secret; Outside the System. Sent for information. Carter initialed “C” at the top of the page.
  2. The talk took place at the Soviet UN Mission on September 30 during the UN General Assembly meeting. The memorandum of conversation was not attached, but is in the Department of State, Files of Secretary of State Vance, 1977–1980, Lot File 84D241, Vance NODIS Memcons, 1977. Brzezinski sent the President guidance for Vance for his discussion with Gromyko under cover of a memorandum of September 29. Carter approved the guidance with the comment: “Zbig—ok as is, but Gromyko has not agreed to any 2200km radius limit on Backfire. J.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 55, SALT: Chronology: 9/16/77–10/5/77)
  3. Carter wrote “most important” in the margin next to this sentence.
  4. Carter wrote “important” in the margin next to this sentence.
  5. The text of the President’s press conference, September 29, is in Public Papers: Carter, 1977, Book II, pp. 1684–1693; the response to the question on SALT is on pp. 1689–1690.