153. Message From Secretary of State Vance to President Carter1

WH81377. CommCen Camp David: Deliver immediately to Phil Wise for the President. Note: A memorandum from David Aaron to the President will be forthcoming. Exclusively for the President from Secretary Vance. Subject: Meeting With Gromyko.

1. We (Paul [Warnke], Mac [Toon] and I, plus interpreter) met for two-and-a-half hours with Gromyko, Korniyenko, Dobrynin and interpreter.2 After some sparring around Gromyko agreed in principle to accept the concept of averaging for ALCM’s on heavy bombers.

2. He recessed for a consultation with higher authority and came up with the following proposed package: a) an average of 25 ALCM’s per carrier; b) no multiple independently targetable warheads on ALCM’s through 1985; c) all ALCM cruise missile limits to be in the treaty/agreement; d) the maximum number of warheads on existing types of ICBM’s not to exceed 10 through the period of the treaty/agreement.

3. I said I would be prepared to recommend to you for your consideration an average of 30 ALCM’s per aircraft. As to the other items I said I would have to study them but that my initial reaction was: that 10 was too high, 25 was too low, and that any provisions concerning multiple independently targetable warheads should be in a statement as you had stated in Washington, and not in a treaty.

4. Gromyko then came back with the statement that inasmuch as you had stated in Washington that we would not equip air launched cruise missile with MIRV’s for the term of the agreement through 1985 he didn’t see why it couldn’t logically be included in the agreement. I pointed out to him the political difference.

5. Gromyko then summarized again their proposal and added that if we would agree they would raise the number on their proposal of 6 warheads for new repeat new ICBM’s to 10. He said in so doing he was taking into account our position that we wanted 10 rather than 6.

[Page 478]

6. We have an important concession on the averaging concept. 25 is too low but I believe there is room for some bargaining on this issue and perhaps also on a) the proposal of 10 warheads per modernized ICBM and b) whether the statement on MIRV’d ICBM’s should be in the agreement or in an exchange of letters. I do think it will be hard if not impossible to get agreement on a straight unilateral statement of the latter matter.

7. I would appreciate your guidance for my meetings tomorrow,3 if possible, starting at 10 am with Gromyko and including a meeting with Brezhnev at about 5 tomorrow afternoon.

  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Box 7. Secret; Eyes Only. Sent from the White House Situation Room Immediate to Carter at Camp David. This telegram is a retransmittal of telegram 25514 from Moscow. The initial C written in the upper right-hand corner indicates that Carter saw the telegram. Vance was in Moscow to meet with Brezhnev and Gromyko from October 21 to 24. The telegram included a note indicating that a memorandum from Aaron to Carter was following. The memorandum was not found.
  2. Reference is to Vance’s October 22 meeting with Gromyko at the Kremlin. The entire memorandum of conversation is in the 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, VanceGromyko Moscow 10/78.
  3. Carter provided Vance with instructions for his meetings in telegram WH81345, dated October 19.