155. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the White House1

25594. Exclusively for the President from Secretary Vance. Subject: Meeting With Gromyko October 23, 1978.

1. We met again this morning for three hours with Messrs. Gromyko, Korniyenko, and Dobrynin. I spent about 30 minutes alone with Gromyko.2

2. I carried out instructions in your telegram (WH 81382).3 No fundamental new ground was broken, as we reviewed the yet unresolved issues. Gromyko did state categorically that so far as our statement on Backfire was concerned we of course could state whatever we chose to say. I hit him hard on the need for confirmation pointing out that the problem was not merely our problem but also theirs if they wanted ratification to be voted. We have agreed with Soviets to call the talks “useful and constructive” and point out that some issues remain unresolved. We will not go into any detail with the press on which issues are unresolved or what specific progress has been made. I suggest no statements be made back home until I have a chance to report to you tomorrow.

3. I will be meeting with President Brezhnev starting at 6:00 p.m. Paul and Mac will accompany me.

4. Gromyko gave a luncheon for us this noon from which we have just returned. At lunch, Korniyenko suggested to Paul that our position on telemetry encryption was not accurately stated in our proposed common understanding. Without commitment, he asked if it would not be more correct to state that the parties agree that methods of transmitting telemetric information are not limited, including encryption, unless there is deliberate concealment that impedes verification. Also without commitment, Paul invited them to make this counterproposal in Geneva.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office, Outside the System File, Box 51, Chron: 10/22–31/78. Secret; Flash; Eyes Only. The initial C is written in the upper right-hand corner, indicating that Carter saw the telegram. The full 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, Vance Gromyko Moscow 10/78.
  2. The full memorandum of conversation of the private GromykoVance meeting is ibid. In this conversation, Gromyko and Vance further discussed SALT issues.
  3. Not found.