148. Memorandum of Conversation Between Secretary of State Rogers and Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko1 2

U.S. Participants

  • Secretary William P. Rogers
  • Ambassador Charles W. Yost
  • Mr. Gerard Smith
  • Mr. Richard F. Pedersen
  • Assistant Secretary Martin J. Hillenbrand
  • Assistant Secretary Joseph J. Sisco
  • Assistant Secretary Samuel DePalma
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary Emory C. Swank
  • Mr. William D. Krimer, Interpreter
  • U.S.S.R Participants
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrey A. Gromyko
  • Ambassador Yakov A. Malik
  • Ambassador Anatoliy F. Dobrynin
  • Ambassador Lev I. Mendelevich
  • Mr. Yuly M. Vorontsov, Counselor of Embassy in Washington
  • Mr. Valentin M. Falin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Mr. Yevgeniy D. Pyrlin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Mr. Viktor M. Sukhodrev, Interpreter
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[Omitted here is unrelated material.]


Foreign Minister Gromyko wanted to draw the Secretary’s attention to the proposals he had laid before the UN General Assembly. These consisted of two main parts. The first concerns a ban on chemical and biological weapons. This was not a matter of special interest to the Soviet Union alone, but he thought it was in the interests of all powers and states. He would like to have the Secretary study the proposal and approach it objectively to see if some common language could be worked out. The second proposal concerned the maintenance of peace and international security. Although the second proposal was worded in very general language, it did contain some specific provisions. In a word, he wanted to ask the Secretary to study it and he would be very glad if we could find some common language. If our two powers could do anything to lessen international tensions, a great deal would have been accomplished. He thought this was indeed possible.

With respect to the first proposal the Secretary inquired of Mr. Smith if he did not think that this was a matter for the Disarmament Committee in Geneva. Mr. Smith said that would normally be the case. The Secretary went on to say that we were in accord with the objectives stated, but that he, too, was of the opinion that this was a matter normally to be taken up in Geneva. As for the second proposal, he would give it some attention.

Mr. Gromyko said that he did not know what was “normal” with respect to submitting such proposals. There was nothing in the UN Charter to direct any particular approach. He thought the “shortest” way was to lay the proposals directly before the General Assembly. He would like to speed a resolution of this problem, since the passage of time would make its solution more difficult. That was the only consideration the USSR had in putting the matter before the General Assembly.

The Secretary said maybe he had used the wrong word. He felt the CBW issue could be handled more quickly in Geneva. In the GA the proposals were likely to develop into a propaganda exercise.

Mr. Gromyko said that in fact the proposal was already before the Geneva Committee. In any case, he appreciated the Secretary’s remarks.

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  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–1969, POL USUSSR 5/1/69. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by William D. Krimer. The meeting was held at the Waldorf Towers in New York City
  2. Rogers and Gromyko discussed the Soviet proposals to ban chemical and biological weapons and to maintain international security that were before the UN General Assembly.