230. Telegram From Secretary of State Vance to the White House1

Secto 15029. Dept pass SecDef for Secretary Brown. Subject: December 23 Morning Meeting With Gromyko.

1. In three hour meeting, mostly one-on-one without interpreters, the atmosphere was soured compared to yesterday, and we made little progress. Gromyko, however, did not contradict my statement that the 29 July practice would impede verification even under their language.

2. On telemetry encryption, in private session, I read relevant paragraph of instruction. Gromyko did not contradict. He reaffirmed his acceptance of the modified language, and said he would recommend its acceptance to the Politburo.

3. On RPVs, Gromyko took a wholly new and more difficult approach. He maintained that all unarmed cruise missiles be counted, but suggested that there could be an exemption for a specified number. He gave great prominence to our failure to respond to a somewhat casual [Page 922] request yesterday for the numbers of cruise missiles used for what they described as “peaceful purposes”. In side conversations, they made clear they were concerned about ground and sea, as well as air launched, RPVs.

4. On Protocol, he was fixed on three years from entry into force.

5. On cruise missile definition, he agreed with my statement that we had agreed on separate definition. I did not use the precedent statement, judging that it should not be used in the difficult atmosphere that had developed.

6. I handed over draft statement on not deploying more than 20 ALCMs on existing B–52 bombers. Soviets raised issue of omission of B–1 from list. Gromyko suggested that he believed that US would agree not to deploy more than 20 ALCMs on any aircraft. I said that was clearly wrong, that the only aircraft at issue were existing ones, and that the idea of a maximum of 20 on all aircraft, including those built subsequently was inconsistent with the concept of averaging.

7. Gromyko agreed to 10 RVs being permitted on ASBMs.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 56, SALT: Chronology: 10/23/78–1/15/79. Secret; Flash; Nodis; Cherokee. The telegram was sent from Vance’s aircraft. A note on the first page indicates it was read to Brzezinski on December 24 and was sent to the President in Plains.