131. Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to Secretary of State Vance1

The President has approved the following oral message to Brezhnev:


The President has asked me to convey the following message to you for President Brezhnev.

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The President is deeply concerned about the significant unfavorable effect of the trials of dissidents2 taking place in the Soviet Union on the entire climate of US-Soviet relations.

His personal and official interest in these cases arises not from any desire to interfere in your internal affairs or to frustrate your legal and judicial process. Rather, it is an objective fact that the international consequences of your government’s decisions on the treatment of Anatoly Shcharanskiy and others who have supported the Helsinki Final Act can impede the efforts we have made and are still making to preserve stability in other aspects of our relations.

The President, believing fully that you share with him a strong desire to put the relationship between our two countries onto a more positive footing, wishes to convey his hope that you will do everything within your power to avoid such actions which will inevitably create barriers to the development of our cooperative relations.


  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Geographic File, Box 18, U.S.S.R.—CarterBrezhnev Correspondence (1/78–12/78). Secret; Nodis. An unknown hand wrote, “Send to Vance on aircraft 8:30 a.m.” in the upper right-hand corner of the message. Vance was in Geneva, July 11–13, to meet with Gromyko.
  2. See Vance’s July 8 statement about the Shcharanskiy and Ginzburg trials transmitted in telegram 172828 to multiple diplomatic and consular posts, July 8. (Department of State, Office of Soviet Union Affairs, Dissidents and Political Prisoner Subject Files 1974–1988, Lot 91D273, Box 9, Shcharanskiy, Anatoliy, 1978)