165. Telegram From Secretary of State Vance to the Department of State1

Secto 15012. Department for Christopher. Department pass DOD for Sec. Brown. Subject: First Vance/Gromyko Session 12/22/78.2

1. In two-hour meeting this morning we made continued progress on several issues, referring a few points to heads of SALT delegations to work out possible resolutions and report back to Gromyko and me this afternoon.

2. On cruise missile definition, Gromyko reaffirmed that GL/SLCMs were limited only in the protocol, and the obligations of the protocol would expire with it, so that thereafter there would be only ALCM limits to which the definition could apply. Earle and Karpov are to try to work out language. Our objective is to insure that the treaty definition is cast in terms relating specifically to ALCMs, to forestall the argument that a generic definition should apply automatically to possible future limits on GL/SLCMs.

3. Gromyko raised the issue of how to “formalize” the understanding concerning the de facto limit on number of cruise missiles per bomber. I said we preferred to do this outside the formal document. Gromyko asked if the US might send an official letter and I said that we would consider this and assume the Soviets would give us a similar letter. We agreed to return to this subject.

4. On unarmed cruise missiles (unarmed RPVs), Soviet concern appears to be to insure that unarmed versions of cruise missiles that are normally armed should be covered (e.g., a recce version of Tomahawk). Soviets said they do not propose to treat all unarmed pilotless aircraft as cruise missiles. Karpov and Earle are to try to work out a type rule to settle this issue.

5. On telemetry encryption, I stated that I understood Gromyko to have said yesterday that the sides could arrive at a jointly-agreed principle banning denial of telemetry that impedes verification. I then reiterated US language as embodying this agreed principle. Gromyko emphasized that their “provided” language in their revised common [Page 499] understanding entailed their assuming an obligation, adding that disputes about compliance with that obligation could be considered by SCC. He has not yet expressly acknowledged that telemetry denial could impede, or otherwise directly withdrawing their assertion that telemetry is irrelevant to verification. I will seek such an acknowledgment. On language, Earle will hear out Karpov’s views. Any revised language will be ad ref to me for my decision on whether to recommend to President. I made clear any change in our language will require presidential approval.

6. On protocol, I stressed that it is necessary to have a fixed date of expiration. Gromyko reiterated their view, but agreed to think further and discuss it again with me this afternoon.

7. On MW/CM, I stressed that ban would apply only to ALCMs. Gromyko argued that his earlier statement about the expiration of protocol obligations addressed this issue. Soviet language (in Article IX of JDT) however is a universal ban. Karpov-Earle meeting is also to consider this issue.

8. Before afternoon meeting with Gromyko, I will have Earle’s report on Earle-Karpov meeting, all discussions at which are ad referendum.

  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Subject File, Box 38, SALT—(11/78–4/79). Secret; Cherokee; Flash; Nodis. Sent flash to the White House. Printed from a copy that indicates the original was received in the White House Situation Room.
  2. 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, Box 8, Gromyko/Vance Meeting, December, 1978.