101. Telegram From Secretary of State Vance to the Department of State1

Secto 4131. For Christopher from the Secretary. Dept pass White House for the President and Mr. Brzezinski. Pass DOD for Secretary Brown. Subject: SALT Meetings With Gromyko, April 21.

[Page 321]

1. In a two-hour private meeting with Gromyko this morning, we covered the following ground.2

2. On the new ICBM types issue, he did not give a substantive reaction, but suggested the definition be handled in Geneva. He said the Soviet Union is prepared to include the ban on new ICBM types in the treaty, but only if the exempt type is required to be non-MIRVed. I repeated that any exception and any settlement of the ICBM new types issue depends on satisfactory resolution of the definition issue, and that our proposal for an exception required that each side have a choice of whether the new ICBM would be MIRVed or not.

3. I reviewed our position on an SLBM new types ban and we agreed to refer the issue (including exceptions from the ban) to Geneva.

4. On aggregates, he reiterated his offer of yesterday to accept 2250/1320/1200/820. On the related issue of duration of the protocol, they continued to object to the principle of a fixed date.

5. On timing for reductions, Gromyko stressed again the practical obstacles to completing dismantling and destruction in less than 18 months. He said, however, that they will offer us specifics on his concept, first advanced yesterday, of measures to increase confidence that launchers on which dismantling and destruction has been started will be ruled out for combat use.

6. He reaffirmed our agreement on the non-circumvention fall-back language.

7. We agreed that the Statement of Principles will be handled urgently in Geneva, within the agreed concept of a more general approach. (While I was meeting with Gromyko, Korniyenko and Ogarkov took up this issue with Warnke and others, and agreed to proceed in Geneva; the Soviets declined to discuss principles language in Moscow, and reiterated their desire for a reference to GBS.)

8. On Backfire, Gromyko was slightly more forthcoming than yesterday, agreeing to give a flight profile for their radius claim and to consider modifying the phrase “for your information” which they inserted into their production rate statement yesterday.

9. On procedure, we agreed that the remaining issues would be addressed urgently in Geneva, with the objective of resolving as many as possible prior to Gromyko’s SSOD visit. As many as possible of those still unresolved then will be settled at that time in Washington, with the goal of positioning us for a summit to settle one or two remaining questions.

[Page 322]

10. SALT came up only briefly in the afternoon session, but a very critical point was underlined. In all my sessions with Gromyko, I stressed that the positions advanced are an integrated whole, with no one point to be considered agreed until all are agreed. Gromyko stressed the same point with special force this afternoon. He said that the issues have been discussed as a complex, thus we have not repeat not yet reached new agreements.

11. Gromyko went on to say that, if there is any inaccuracy about this in reporting by the U.S. press, his government will feel compelled to correct it publicly. In this regard, he stressed the discussions on the exception for a new ICBM.

12. I feel very strongly that we should say nothing beyond that the Moscow talks were helpful and that some progress was made, any statement beyond this, public or private, would put every step the Soviets have taken into jeopardy.

13. Non-SALT issues in afternoon session reported septel.3

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office, Unfiled Files, Box 152, [USSR]: 1/77–4/78. Secret; Cherokee; Immediate; Nodis. Printed from a copy that indicates the original was received in the White House Situation Room.
  2. The memorandum of conversation prepared following this meeting is in Department of State, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Special Adviser to the Secretary (S/MS) on Soviet Affairs Marshall Shulman—Jan 21, 77–Jan 19, 81, Lot 81D109, Box 8, Vance to Moscow, 4/20–22, 1978.
  3. Secto 4135 from Moscow, April 21. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840153–1715, D780171–0758)