149. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Carter-Gromyko Private Meeting


  • U.S.
  • The President
  • Secretary Cyrus R. Vance
  • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • Mr. William D. Krimer, Interpreter
  • U.S.S.R.
  • Foreign Minister A.A. Gromyko
  • Mr. V.M. Sukhodrev, Interpreter

Foreign Minister Gromyko said that he had a message for the President from L.I. Brezhnev in response to the brief message the President had sent Brezhnev.2 Inasmuch as Gromyko was coming to the United States in any case, Brezhnev had asked him to hand this message to the President personally. Gromyko handed the President the Russian text of that message together with a “working” English translation.

The President asked Gromyko if he should read the message now, and Gromyko replied in the affirmative.

After reading the translation of the message, the President said that he found this letter to be interesting and constructive. He would want to respond to it more directly in writing, but this morning he would also cover a few of these points in his presentation.

Gromyko said that at the present time the main question in terms of precedence was SALT II, of course. However, it might be useful to exchange views about Soviet-American relations as a whole.

The President thought that it would be advisable to go into the Cabinet Room, where he would offer a few brief general comments on the overall state of relations between our two countries, and then go on to present our SALT position which, he hoped, would resolve all the differences between us and lead to rapid conclusion of a SALT II Agreement.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office, Presidential Advisory Board, Box 81, Sensitive XX: 9/20–25/78. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Krimer. The meeting took place in the Oval Office.
  2. See Document 142.