148. Editorial Note

Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance met in New York to discuss the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) during Gromyko’s annual trip to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Their initial meeting took place on September 27, 1978, in the Soviet Mission in New York. At that meeting, both men reaffirmed their commitment to approve and sign SALT II. The memorandum of conversation from the plenary session focused on Gromyko’s presentation of the Soviet view on SALT. He agreed that each side had the right to test and deploy one new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) during the term of the Treaty. He also reaffirmed the Soviet proposal to limit to 20 the number of long-range cruise missiles that each bomber could carry. Gromyko reiterated that the Soviets were tired of the new and unrelated U.S. proposals, which were put forth at each meeting. (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/Vance Meeting, 9/78)

The two men continued their talks at the U.S. Mission the following morning. According to the memorandum of conversation, Vance began by responding to Gromyko’s statement of the previous day and reiterating the U.S. proposal. With regard to new types of ICBMs, the Americans and the Soviets were in agreement on one new missile. However, Vance reiterated that two differences remained between the two sides: one, the duration of the protocol, and two, the timing of the reduction of each side to the agreed upon 2,250 limit on delivery vehicles. Additionally, he noted that the definitions of cruise missiles and cruise missile range were still under negotiation. Gromyko followed up by restating the Soviet proposal, agreeing that a date for dismantling and destruction still remained to be determined. The meeting concluded with a brief discussion on the Middle East, during which Gromyko wanted to know how Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan had responded to the Camp David Accords and to Secretary Vance’s recent trip. Vance discussed these countries’ concerns with Gromyko. (Ibid.) For the Camp David Accords, see footnotes 2 and 3 to Document 144. For the schedule of the Vance trip to the Middle East, September 20–24, see footnote 2, Document 145.