215. Editorial Note

Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko and Secretary of State Vance met in New York to discuss the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) during Gromyko’s annual trip to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Their initial meeting took place on September 27, 1978 at the Soviet Mission in New York. At the meeting both men reaffirmed their commitment to approve and sign SALT II. The September 27 plenary session focused on Gromyko’s presentation of the Soviet SALT views. He asked Vance if the United States would agree to all outstanding issues on the basis of the proposals made by the Soviet Union if the Soviet Union agreed to the U.S.-proposed limit of the duration of the treaty and agreed that each side had the right to test and deploy one new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) during the length of the treaty. He also reaffirmed the Soviet proposal of a 20 long-range cruise missile limit per bomber for the duration of the treaty. Gromyko reiterated that the Soviets were apprehensive about what it considered new and unrelated proposals by the United States, which were put forth at each meeting. Gromyko thought this was not the way to reach an agreement. (Department of State, Marshall Shulman Files, Jan 21, 77–Jan 19, 81, Lot File 81D109, Vance/Gromyko meeting, 9/78)

On September 28, the two men met at the U.S. Mission in the morning to continue their talks. Vance began by responding to Gromyko’s statement of the previous day and reiterating the U.S. proposal. With regard to the new types of ICBMs, the two sides were in agreement on one new missile. However, Vance reiterated that differences remained between the two sides regarding a dismantling protocol and specifically the timing of the reduction of each side to the agreed 2,250 limit on delivery vehicles. He also noted that the definitions of cruise [Page 882] missiles and cruise missile range were still being negotiated. Gromyko followed up by restating the Soviet proposal and agreed that a date for dismantling and destruction still remained undetermined. The meeting concluded with a brief discussion of the Middle East. (Ibid.)