130. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • Anatoliy Dobrynin

1. Dobrynin brought up the question of the Woodbridge Two.2 He asked if there is any way in which the issue could be terminated and the two men released. I made it clear that we regard the use of spies without diplomatic immunity as not covered by previous rules of the game. Thus we cannot release them without some quid pro quo. Dobrynin asked what kind of a quid pro quo could be arranged, and I told them that we would submit some names to the Soviets.

2. I suggested also that both sides might find it useful to have an informal understanding regarding the restriction of intelligence activity to personnel covered by diplomatic immunity. Dobrynin expressed an interest in exploring this matter further.

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3. Dobrynin expressed an explicit preference for dealing on such matters with the White House.3

4. Dobrynin and I discussed ways in which the Carter-Brezhnev dialogue could be resumed even before the Summit. Dobrynin indicated he would discuss this matter with Brezhnev and he expressed the view that resumption in direct contact would be beneficial. He also asked if the President might have any oral message4 for Brezhnev for Dobrynin to communicate. Dobrynin is leaving Monday night.

5. We also discussed the African situation, and I pointed out to Dobrynin that Soviet insensitivity to our concerns has contributed to the present deterioration in the atmosphere of our relationships. Dobrynin countered by claiming that our human rights campaign also contributed to this situation, though he conceded perhaps the Soviets did underestimate the depth of our concern over Soviet/Cuban activity in Africa. I stressed to him the need for both sides to develop better understanding of the “rules of the game” in the Third World, along the lines of the reciprocal restraint that has developed over the years in Europe and regarding strategic issues.

  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Geographic File, Box 19, U.S.S.R.—U.S.-Soviet Relations: 7/78–3/80. Secret. The meeting took place at the Soviet Embassy. Carter initialed the upper right-hand corner of the memorandum, which he received under a July 7 covering memorandum, from Brzezinski.
  2. Reference is to Enger and Chernyayev; see footnote 6, Document 109.
  3. Carter wrote “no” beside this paragraph.
  4. Carter underlined “oral message” and wrote in the margin, “Yes—‘release Shcharanskiy.’”