121. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • SALT, Cyprus


  • U.S.
  • Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance
  • Ambassador Paul C. Warnke
  • Ambassador Malcolm Toon
  • Mr. Reginald Bartholomew
  • Mr. Wm. D. Krimer, Interpreter
  • USSR
  • Foreign Minister A.A. Gromyko
  • Deputy Foreign Minister G.M. Korniyenko
  • Ambassador A.F. Dobrynin
  • Ambassador V.G. Makarov
  • Mr. V.M. Sukhodrev, Interpreter


The Secretary led off the conversation by addressing the issue of new types of ICBMs and SLBMs. He said that we had reviewed the three variants contained in the paper Gromyko had given President Carter. None of those variants was acceptable to us. As the President had indicated in his response, we believed that there were two valid alternative proposals on the negotiating table concerning this issue, between which a choice should be made. [Page 399] The first alternative applied to the Protocol which, as the President had indicated, is of relatively brief duration. Under that proposal there would be a ban on the deployment and testing of any new type of ICBM during that relatively brief period. The other alternative provided for one exemption from that ban for each side for the period of the entire Treaty through 1985, rather than the term of the Protocol. We believed, however, that if this alternative was followed, then it should be such that either side would have a choice in determining whether it wanted to test and deploy a new type of ICBM with a single reentry vehicle or with MIRVs. We believed that these were the two alternatives between which a choice should be made.

Minister Gromyko asked if he was correct in understanding the Secretary to say that the United States insisted on the proposal the Secretary had advanced in Moscow, in its pure, unchanged form.

The Secretary replied in the affirmative.

Gromyko said that that proposal was unacceptable to the Soviet Union. Everyone would clearly understand that a free choice between a new type of ICBM with a single reentry vehicle and a new type of ICBM with MIRVs would provide an advantage to one side—the side that would choose the MIRVed missile. Superficially the U.S. position sounded as if it was in accord with the principle of equality of rights. In actual fact, however, under either of those alternatives the United States would have an advantage for a long period of time. He said that the Soviet side had emphasized this fact a number of times. Such a situation would thus be totally contrary to the principle of equality, equal security and inadmissibility of unilateral advantage. On this basis we cannot reach agreement. He would add that the U.S. side seemed to have treated the Soviet-proposed variants very lightly. He would remind the Secretary that three variants had been proposed.

The Secretary noted that in the third variant the Soviet side had proposed that the flight testing and deployment of all new types of ICBMs, without exception, whether or not they were MIRVed, be banned for the duration of the Treaty, i. e., through 1985. Our first alternative suggested that this be limited for the period of the Protocol. If time was of concern in this respect, why not accept this ban for the period of the Protocol? The Secretary would ask Ambassador Warnke to say a few words on this subject.

Ambassador Warnke pointed out that, as the Secretary had said, the Soviet third variant was essentially like ours with respect to ICBMs, except that we were suggesting that the ban last for the period of the Protocol, and that it be determined in the course of the SALT III negotiations whether it would be continued. If the Soviet side was willing to accept a ban for the period of the Treaty, we could see no reason why it should not also accept it for the period of the Protocol. As for our two alternatives, we felt that they were indeed in accord with the principle of equal security, because each recognized that our force structures were different. Today the Soviet side felt that its force structure required it to modernize ICBMs with a single reentry vehicle. We, on the other hand, were not interested in modernization of non-MIRVed ICBMs. Therefore, the exception suggested by the Soviet side would not ensure equal security.

The Secretary added that we would in any case have to operate within the sub-level of 820 MIRVed ICBMs.

Gromyko said it was obvious that the sides would have to remain within the 820 sub-level. That question did not arise at all.

[Page 400]

Warnke pointed out that the actual constraint on the United States would be greater because we would also have to operate within the sub-ceiling of 1,200 for all ballistic missiles equipped with MIRVs, ICBMs as well as SLBMs. Because of the fact that we would be limited by the 1,200 ceiling and because we had more MIRVed SLBMs, we would not be able to deploy more than 500 MIRVed ICBMs in any case. The balance of roughly 700 would have to be applied to MIRVed SLBMs. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, had more ICBMs than we did, and therefore felt the need for one new type of ICBM with a single reentry vehicle. For the above reasons the exception suggested by the Soviet side was of no interest to us, and this was why we had suggested the other alternative.

Gromyko said that what had just been said had added absolutely nothing to the rationale advanced in Moscow earlier this year. The U.S. side had evidently decided to go around in circles. Since there were no new elements in what had just been said, he did not believe we should go all over the detailed rationale again. The Secretary of State had set forth all this during his visit to Moscow. He was sure that the U.S. side realized full well that if the Soviet Union were to accept either of the U.S.-proposed alternatives the United States would have an advantage for a long period of time, not just months but years.

Warnke said that he could not see that at all. The different needs of the two sides ensued from the fact that their force structures were different. The Soviet Union claimed that it needed a new ICBM with a single reentry vehicle. We did not need that kind of a missile. The fact was that the Soviet Union did not need any new MIRVed ICBMs, because it already had three types of new ICBMs—SS–17s, SS–18s and SS–19s. The fact that the Soviet Union did not need new MIRVed ICBMs was no reason that we should forego that option in the event that the Soviet Union insisted on modernization of its forces.

Gromyko asked how anyone could assert that the United States would not have an advantage, when it was certainly a fact that a MIRVed missile was a far more threatening weapon than a missile with a single reentry vehicle. If the U.S. side were to argue that the Soviet-proposed exception would give the Soviet Union the possibility to deploy a missile with a single reentry vehicle of such tremendous yield that it would surpass any MIRVed missile in destructive capability, that would be one thing. But that was out of the question in any case, because we already had agreed criteria beyond which neither side could go in respect of any missile. These were the criteria of throw-weight and launch-weight as specified in the Draft Treaty. He would ask the U.S. side not to compel the Soviet side to harden its position. (Ambassador Warnke interjected that that alternative was open to both of us.) Gromyko said that the United States was trying to get an advan[Page 401]tage over the Soviet Union in connection with this issue for several years. He could not in any way agree to such a possibility.

Warnke wanted to point out what the situation would be if the Soviet proposal were accepted. The Soviet Union would still have its SS–17, SS–18 and SS–19 MIRVed missiles, among them 308 SS–18s that were bigger than anything we were allowed to build. We, on the other hand, would retain the same 450 Minuteman II, 550 Minuteman III and 54 Titan missiles. Thus we would not have a single new type in our arsenal, while the Soviet Union would have four new types. That was completely unacceptable to us. The exception proposed by the Soviet side would allow the Soviet Union to modernize its ICBM force, which was already more modern than ours. There was nothing for us in the Soviet-proposed variants which thus were not in accord with the principle of equality and equal security.

Gromyko said that the number of new types was not really relevant in this context. One had to take a look at the overall balance resulting from acceptance of either of the U.S. alternatives—within agreed ceilings, of course. Which side would have an overall advantage as a result of these alternatives? He was sure that the experts of the United States could provide the Secretary with the correct answer to this question. That answer was clear—the United States would have a major advantage if either of its alternatives were accepted. He noted that Warnke had mentioned SS–18 heavy missiles when talking about various types. He certainly knew, however, that when the question of heavy missiles had been settled, all sorts of other factors had been taken into account in reaching agreement, factors that both sides were clearly aware of. Quite some time ago in Geneva the Soviet side had accepted the principle that if at least one missile of a type had been tested with MIRVs, all missiles of that type would be considered and counted as MIRVed. How had this Soviet move affected the situation at Derazhnya and Pervomaysk? The actual situation there differed from the theoretical type rule, and that difference was not in favor of the Soviet Union. The principle adopted in Geneva was in effect, and yet most of the missiles at Derazhnya and Pervomaysk remained non-MIRVed. How much time would the Soviet Union require to MIRV all the missiles at Derazhnya and Pervomaysk? U.S. experts probably had made appropriate calculations of the time required. It was clearly necessary to take into consideration the final balance resulting from any of the proposed alternatives or variants, and only such an approach would provide a scientific answer to the problem. All sorts of contrived arguments could not change anything in fact. The Soviet Union wanted to conclude an honest agreement. It was not claiming the right to deploy a new type of missile with a single reentry vehicle that would equal the [Page 402] destructive power of the SS–18 heavy missiles; nor was it claiming the right to add to its arsenal of heavy missiles by calling some of them new. The Soviet Union had not suggested that, because agreement had been reached on heavy missiles, an agreement that was fair and mutually acceptable. If one were to put the advantages each side enjoyed on a scale and compare them, the advantages enjoyed by the United States would outweigh Soviet advantages several times over. He would suggest that just one factor operating here be looked at—the geographic factor.

The Secretary asked what bearing the geographic factor had on this situation.

Gromyko replied: “Forward-based systems.”

Gromyko asked if the Secretary had something to say on the second question they had talked about—the question of Soviet medium range bombers. He was asking this not because he wanted to talk about it, but because the U.S. side had talked about it. If the Secretary could address this question now, Gromyko could then provide a response on both issues.

The Secretary said that he frankly did not understand the meaning of the words contained in the statement concerning the Backfire Gromyko had suggested, where reference was made to in-flight refueling. The statement said that in this connection the Soviet side states that it will not increase the radius of action of this aircraft in such a way as to enable it to strike targets on the territory of the United States, and that the Soviet side does not intend to give this aircraft such capability in any other manner, including by means of in-flight refueling. The Secretary said he did not understand the precise meaning of these words.

Gromyko said that the Secretary would surely recognize the fact that any aircraft can be modified to take aboard larger quantities of fuel by adding certain devices. If he recognized this, and he surely could not but recognize it, then it can certainly be said that he understands the meaning of these words. If an aircraft required only one or two refuelings to reach a certain area, that was one thing. But if it had to be refueled five or six times to reach that same area, that was something else again. Furthermore, such refuelings could certainly not be concealed. All these facts had to be taken into account. When the Soviet side had changed the wording of its unilateral statement, it had done so for the purpose of accommodating the U.S. side to a greater extent by saying that nothing would be done to give this aircraft the capability of reaching the territory of the United States in any manner, including by in-flight refueling. If everything Gromyko had said on this score was nothing but “small change” in the view of the United States, he would suggest a return to the old language. The Soviet side had acted on the [Page 403] basis of good intentions in wording the unilateral statement, but it seemed that these good intentions had boomeranged against the Soviet side, or at the very least had produced nothing at all. If that was so, the Soviet side would simply have to revert to its original language. The same thing applied to the question of the flight profile, the question the Secretary had raised in Moscow toward the end of their discussion. Furthermore, they had deleted the words to which the Secretary had taken such great dislike—“by way of information.”

The Secretary said he would start with the assumption that the language of the unilateral statement was intended to be helpful in terms of resolving the Backfire issue. However, when we tried to understand the meaning of that language, we were at a loss. When the Secretary had been asked what it meant, he had not been able to explain it. To us it seemed to say that no structural changes would be introduced and no wing tanks added to enable the aircraft to take on more fuel than it could take on now. The second thing seemed to be that there would be no intent to refuel the aircraft more than once. He was not sure of that, but that is what the statement seemed to be saying. However, he did not know whether it also covered such things as not holding training exercises involving refueling and not creating a tanker force to support this aircraft. He was trying to understand what was included in the statement.

Gromyko replied that training exercises and maneuvers would have to remain at the discretion of the Soviet side. As for refueling, it was entirely possible that the Soviet side may want to refuel it five or six times for purposes other than intercontinental missions. The Secretary had mentioned two things—wing tanks and structural changes. But these were not the only things, they had only been cited as examples and did not exhaust all possibilities. Gromyko said that this aircraft’s being in the air would not disturb the sleep of the Secretary or any other American.

Gromyko now proposed that this question not be discussed any further. He could not make any further concessions on this issue because it was impossible to do so. This was a medium range weapons system and it was not strategic. Otherwise the Soviet side would be compelled to table an official proposal to consider certain types of U.S. aircraft, including Phantoms, in order to ensure that equivalent aircraft be discussed on a par basis. The Secretary could judge for himself—would this ease the situation? That should be explained to the U.S. Congress and to others talking about the Backfire. Would it be to their liking if the Soviet Union officially raised this question at the next meeting and threw even more questions at the U.S. side about refueling exercises, deployment, etc.? As for the Phantom, there were good [Page 404] grounds why it was of a hundred times greater concern to the Soviet Union than the Backfire to the United States.

Gromyko asked if the Secretary had something else to address today. If so, he would ask him to tell Gromyko; if not, Gromyko would propose to make a brief statement summing up the discussions. He suggested a short recess.

The Secretary said he had nothing further at this moment.

(The discussion was recessed for a few minutes.)

After the recess Gromyko wanted to tell the Secretary very frankly that the Soviet leadership had not at all been pleased by the fact that simultaneously with conducting negotiations with the Soviet Union the U.S. side had set everything out in detail to the Chinese leadership. This had made an exceptionally negative impression upon the Soviet leadership. Had that been done simply to bring pressure on the Soviet Union?

The Secretary said that we had provided general descriptions rather than detailed information about the Soviet-American negotiations.

Gromyko noted that the U.S. press had reported that China had been given detailed information. In this connection he wanted to register the vigorous objection of the Soviet Union against such a practice.

The Secretary said he had not seen anything about detailed information.

Gromyko repeated that the Soviet side objected resolutely, and he could say that quite officially.


Before presenting his concluding statement, Gromyko wanted to address an entirely different subject “for the purpose of relaxation.” He had a conversation with the President of Cyprus, and he understood that the Secretary had also talked with him. He had told Gromyko that his discussions with Turkey had apparently reached a dead end, and that he would not object to the United States and the Soviet Union taking matters into their own hands. Gromyko had replied that he did not quite know how that could be done. He would ask the Secretary what role the two of them could play in this respect. Should they act as intermediaries? The Soviet Union had good relations with both sides and would not be averse to rendering its assistance provided the United States cooperated. He would like to learn the Secretary’s views in this regard. He was fully prepared to consider the request of the President of Cyprus, although he was not at all sure that this would help matters.

The Secretary wanted to tell Gromyko what the President of Cyprus had asked us to do. He had asked if we could arrange for him to [Page 405] meet with Ecevit.2 The Secretary had met with Ecevit this morning and had passed on the message. Ecevit had said that he would consider the request and then decide if he would meet with Kyprianou. Perhaps he might prefer a meeting between Caramanlis, Kyprianou, Denktash and himself.3 The Secretary would not rule out a possible meeting between Ecevit, Kyprianou and Denktash, provided the latter two agreed. An approach had been made to the Secretary General in these terms. That was where matters stood now, and the Secretary would suggest to wait and see what would happen.

Gromyko agreed and said they might return to this matter subsequently.


Gromyko said that he had listened attentively to everything the Secretary had said. He had to tell the Secretary directly that the U.S. position as set forth by the President and restated by the Secretary today left him with an ambivalent impression. He would even go further and say that now he had greater doubts than ever about the direction in which the United States was moving with respect to the new agreement on the limitation of strategic offensive arms. President Carter and the Secretary had both assured the Soviet side that the United States wanted to conclude the new agreement, and wanted this to be done at an early date. Gromyko and the Soviet leadership had duly appreciated these assurances and had proceeded from that premise when working out their positions on specific matters in preparation for the current discussions. For their part they had once again displayed their readiness to take into account the wishes of the U.S. side as far as possible, in order to find mutually acceptable solutions to the remaining questions. He wanted to remind the Secretary briefly what proposals he had brought to these discussions. The Soviet side had proposed three variants for resolving the outstanding question of new types of ICBMs. These provided for a ban on the flight testing and deployment of new types of ICBMs for the term of the three-year Protocol, or for the term of the Treaty, i.e., through 1985, except that each side could flight-test and deploy only one new type of ICBM equipped with only a single reentry vehicle. Alternatively the flight testing and deployment of new types of ICBMs could be banned for the term of the Treaty, i.e., through 1985, without exception, i.e., the ban would apply to ICBMs with a single reentry vehicle as well as to MIRVed ICBMs. The Soviet side had also expressed its readiness to reach agreement on not increasing the [Page 406] number of reentry vehicles on existing types of ICBMs. He recalled that the United States had attached exceptional importance to such a limitation, and the Soviet side had accepted that. Its acceptance was contingent on finding a solution to the question of new types on the basis of one of the three variants proposed by the Soviet side. In this connection, it was also necessary, of course, to find a mutually acceptable solution to limits on the modernization of existing types of ICBMs and to the question of limiting the number of cruise missiles which could be installed on a heavy bomber to no more than 20. This had been emphasized on a number of occasions. Gromyko wanted to confirm that if a mutually acceptable solution was found for the new types issue, the Soviet side could agree to establish a ceiling of 1,200 instead of 1,250 for the total number of ICBMs, SLBMs and ASBMs equipped with MIRVs. He emphasized that the Soviet Union would agree to the 1,200 level only in the event a mutually acceptable solution was found to the question of new types of ballistic missiles. He pointed out that in effect he was replying here to what Warnke had said. This was another example of Soviet Union’s taking into account the insistent requests of the U.S. side. Further, the Soviet Union had amplified substantially its unilateral statement regarding the Soviet TU–22–M medium range bomber. It had done so, being guided by good will and in a desire to reach agreement, although this bomber had no bearing at all on the subject matter of our negotiations.

Thus, Gromyko said, the Soviet Union once again made some new, major and constructive proposals moving toward the position of the U.S. side, thereby reaffirming its determination to bring the SALT II negotiations to a successful conclusion. In so doing the Soviet Union had taken into account the firm intention expressed by the U.S. leadership in the course of recent discussions in Moscow to act in a similar manner in order to reach agreement. The Soviet side had been assured that the U.S., too, believed that both sides had to undertake vigorous effort to arrive at mutually acceptable resolution of outstanding questions. He would ask, however, what had he found in reality? If one examined the position taken by the U.S. side on specific issues during the current talks, it became clear immediately that the U.S. position on any of the issues under discussion had not changed from the position stated in Moscow. Furthermore, on the very next day after his meeting with the President in Washington he had been astounded to hear a high official of the U.S. Administration state publicly that the United States had put forward a good and balanced proposal, and now would simply wait for the Soviet Union to accept it. It must be clear that an approach of this kind, one that was not far away from an ultimatum, could hardly be accepted. People who talked that way in reality are not unaware of how the U.S. side would look if the Soviet side were to make public the actual proposals it had tabled and if it were to state its views regarding [Page 407] the proposals made by the United States. Did the Soviet side have the moral right to react or to respond officially to such a statement by a high U.S. official? There was no question about it at all, it did have the right to do so, at least to explain the true state of affairs to its own public opinion. Such a way of proceeding could only dismay the Soviet side. It was not at all in line with the assurances that had been given by President Carter and by Secretary Vance. After all, negotiations were negotiations. He, too, could say: “Here are our proposals and there is no need to discuss them. Accept them and we will have an agreement; do not accept them and we will not have an agreement.” He found himself compelled to state that due to such an approach the two sides had not moved forward in preparation of the agreement.

Gromyko said that he might now talk to the Secretary about what to say in public about what had happened here. Of course, usually the two sides did not state the complete truth; they usually “spoke around the truth,” softening things here and there. He was not saying that this was wrong, but if the two sides were to tell the truth now, many people in both our countries would be shocked indeed to find out where we stood. And to all this another complicating factor had been added—the information provided to the Chinese. During the negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union the U.S. side had decided to provide detailed information regarding these negotiations to the Chinese leadership. He would ask: “On what grounds?” This had never been discussed with the Soviet side, and he simply did not know how to understand such a manner of proceeding.

Furthermore, instead of engaging in businesslike discussions, attempts were made to impose so-called solutions on the Soviet side, and in so doing a knowingly incorrect interpretation of Soviet policy was used in order to substantiate these solutions. He would say that the atmosphere was being charged with tension, and this becomes a heavy burden and has a negative effect on the negotiations. He had simply wanted to touch on this point without going into detail.

Returning to the question under discussion, i.e., SALT, he wanted to emphasize again that the Soviet Union was prepared to move toward rapid conclusion of the work on the new agreement so as to sign it in the near future. The Soviets had not lost interest in concluding an agreement, but what was required now, of course, was a similar approach by the United States. In spite of the situation that had now emerged, he still wanted to express his hope that the U.S. side would find it possible to take another look at the proposals he had tabled. It would go without saying that it would be very bad indeed if at the next meeting the same kind of an atmosphere were to prevail and the same kind of positions were to be restated. That would be bad indeed and, who knows, it might lead to complete loss of the opportunity of [Page 408] reaching a new accord. But, as he had said, the Soviet Union was still determined to continue the negotiations and apply further efforts.

Displaying some emotion, Gromyko said he had been asking himself what interests the Chinese might be pursuing with regard to these negotiations and what sort of advice they could give the United States in this connection. He had come to the conclusion that the Chinese could only advise the U.S. as follows: “To the devil with this new agreement on the limitation of strategic offensive arms.”

Gromyko said that quite frequently he had heard from the Secretary and from other representatives of the Administration that many representatives in the Congress of the United States and many people in the United States opposed conclusion of the SALT II agreement. Was this really so surprising when the U.S. Government had not taken any substantive steps to defend the new agreement and to speak out in its favor? He and the Soviet leadership were struck by the timidity displayed by the U.S. Administration in SALT matters. Everyone in his country knew that these negotiations were of prime importance. Virtually every statement at the Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly had referred to the enormous importance of this matter and he was personally convinced that it was indeed enormously important. But, he would ask, what about the U.S. Administration? Why does it not speak out in a bold voice, and clearly state that this agreement is in the interests of both our countries and in the interests of world peace? That was a very valid question, one that he as Foreign Minister had been asked by many people. Indeed, no such firm voice had been heard in defense of the agreement in the United States. When he was asked this question he could only shrug his shoulders in bewilderment. He was genuinely astounded by the absence of a firm stand in defense of the agreement on the part of the U.S. Administration. Voices were heard in the Congress of the United States to the effect that it was a risky thing to conclude an agreement with the Soviet Union, because the Soviet Union might violate the agreement. But, he would point out, people on his side could say the same thing about the United States. A firm reply should be provided. It should be said that the agreement being worked out would be based on the ability of each side to verify compliance with complete reliability. Under those conditions it surely must be made known to the public at large that violation of the agreement was ruled out by all the verification arrangements contained therein and by our extensive experience of implementing the SALT I agreements. That experience had surely been most positive. Whenever misunderstandings had arisen, they had been promptly resolved by appropriate discussions and explanations between the two sides.

Gromyko repeated that no firm voice had been raised on the part of the U.S. Government. For the sake of truth it should be said that the [Page 409] State Department had indeed provided some explanations, that Ambassador Warnke had publicly taken a positive stand, and that this had had some effect. But, what he was talking about now was that it was necessary for the U.S. Administration to speak out in a firm and determined voice to put things into the right perspective. Soft spoken statements were not enough.

It was being asked: “Suppose the Soviet Union violates the Treaty? What then?” One could not base policy on that kind of an argument. One might just as well ask: “What if an earthquake were suddenly to occur and everything come tumbling down?” He was reminded of a couple of characters in one of Gogol’s4 stories called “Old World Landowners.” In that story there is a conversation between an old couple where one asks the other: “What if our house should burn down?” The other replied, “Well, in that case we shall move into the storehouse.” The first continues, “What if the storehouse should burn down?” The other replies, “In that case we shall move into the barn,” and so on and so forth. It must be pointed out firmly that both sides have experience in implementing bilateral agreements between us and are fully resolved to use the positive experience of SALT I to move on to SALT II.

The Secretary said that, while he would not try to respond to all the statements Gromyko had made, he would like to say a few words. First, it was correct that the President and the Secretary himself had said on numerous occasions that they wanted to see an early conclusion of the negotiations, conclusion of the new agreement, and that they were doing all in their power to bring this about. He would stand on this statement. Just two days ago he had made a statement to that effect in Congress. As far as defending the ultimate agreement was concerned, perhaps Gromyko’s information was not very good. The Secretary had said countless times that the agreement that would be achieved would be fair to both sides and was essential for stability not only between our two sides, but also for general stability and peace throughout the world. Mr. Warnke had also said so on numerous occasions, and not just last week or two weeks ago, but on countless other occasions. After his return from Moscow the Secretary had called on all but one of the leaders of Congress, and had talked to each privately regarding the importance of reaching agreement and his belief that the agreement that will be achieved will be very much in the interests of the United States, the interests of the Soviet Union and the interests of world peace. As recently as last Friday, Warnke and he had testified at length in a positive fashion before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and had expressed their hope that the negotiations would be brought to a successful conclusion. Therefore, he simply could not accept the sugges[Page 410]tion Gromyko had made to the effect that we were not willing to speak out about the importance of concluding the SALT II agreement at an early date. There were indeed those in the United States who did not want to see us reach agreement, and they did speak out. It would be impossible to answer every allegation made. However, he believed that we were doing a good job of speaking in favor of the agreement. Finally, we were engaged in organizing a major effort that would be launched soon, in which a large number of Senators and of people outside the Government would come out with statements speaking in favor of the SALT agreement. As for the exact timing of that effort, that was a delicate matter, and we would have to decide.

Coming back to our own SALT negotiations, the Secretary would say that the suggestions we had made in Moscow had displayed flexibility, had taken into account the views expressed on the Soviet side, and were constructive. He would tell Gromyko that we had very carefully studied the three variants Gromyko had proposed in his discussions with President Carter, and as he and Warnke had pointed out, we did not believe that any one of them provided for equality and equal security, which were necessary if we were to reach agreement. We felt that our proposals as outlined by the President did meet, in a fair and equitable way, the requirements of both sides, and he would hope that the Soviet side would continue consideration of these proposals. On the definition of new missiles, we had taken note of what Gromyko had said the other day and recognized that this was conditional upon a number of matters that were now the subject of discussions. As for the 1,200 sub-level as opposed to 1,250, Gromyko had correctly stated that this was conditioned on a number of other matters. The Secretary wanted to point out that our agreement to the 2,250 overall aggregate was contingent upon agreement on the definition of new missiles, as well as agreement on the timing of the dismantling or destruction that will be required.

On the matter of the Backfire bomber the President had outlined our views and concerns and our position, and the Secretary had nothing to add to that.

Having commented on those matters, the Secretary now wanted to turn to the general proposition of where we would move from here. He would also say that we believed that both sides should strive to achieve a fair and equitable agreement that would be acceptable and fair to both sides. We were ready to move in that direction and bend every effort to achieve that goal at an early date. He would agree with Gromyko that in any negotiations it was necessary for each side to listen to the other and to take into account its positions. We had done so all along and would continue to do so. Finally, on the question of our bilateral relations, certain comments Gromyko had made had been dis[Page 411]cussed at great length at the private meeting between himself and Gromyko today, and there was no need to return to that question now.

In conclusion, the Secretary wanted to say that our task now was to see how we could move forward toward successful conclusion of the negotiations. He believed that we had made a great deal of progress when one looked back at the questions that had been resolved. We would bend all efforts to resolve the remaining difficult questions before us.

The Secretary also noted that he and Gromyko had agreed to meet again fairly soon on a mutually convenient date which would be arranged through their respective Embassies.

Gromyko agreed and thought they could now in good conscience conclude their current meeting, having met for more than five hours. But then again, he noted, that five hours was nothing as compared to eternity.

  1. Source: 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, Gromyko to US, 5/26–27, 1978. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Krimer on June 2. The meeting took place at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. An unknown hand made minor edits to this version of the memorandum.
  2. Bülent Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey.
  3. Constantine Caramanlis, Prime Minister of Greece; Spyros Kyprianou, President of Cyprus; and Rauf Denktash, President of the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus (recognized only by Turkey).
  4. Nikolai Gogol, Ukrainian author.