167. Message From Secretary of State Vance to President Carter1

WH81701. The following was just received from Secretary Vance. Subject: December 23 Morning Meeting With Gromyko.

1. In three hour meeting, mostly one-on-one without interpreters, the atmosphere was soured compared to yesterday, and we made little progress. Gromyko, however, did not contradict my statement that the 29 July practice would impede verification even under their language.

2. On telemetry encryption, in private session, I read relevant paragraph of instruction. Gromyko did not contradict. He reaffirmed his acceptance of the modified language, and said he would recommend its acceptance to the Politburo.

3. On RPVs, Gromyko took a wholly new and more difficult approach. He maintained that all unarmed cruise missiles be counted. But suggested that theirs could be an exemption for a specified number. He gave great prominence to our failure to respond to a somewhat casual request yesterday for the numbers of cruise missiles used for what they described as “peaceful purposes”. In side conversations, they made clear they were concerned about ground and sea, as well as air launched, ARPVs.

4. On protocol, he was fixed on three years from entry into force.

5. On cruise missile definition, he agreed with my statement that we had agreed on separate definition. I did not use the precedent state[Page 503]ment, judging that it should not be used in the difficult atmosphere that had developed.

6. I handed over draft statement on not deploying more than, 20 ALCMs on existing B–52 bombers. Soviets raised issue of omission of B–1 from list. Gromyko suggested that he believed that US would agree not to deploy more than 20 ALCMs on any aircraft. I said that was clearly wrong, that the only aircraft at issue were existing ones, and that the idea of a maximum of 20 on all aircraft, including those built subsequently was inconsistent with the concept of averaging.

7. Gromyko agreed to 10 RVs being permitted on ASBMs.

  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Subject File, Box 38, SALT—(11/78–4/79). Secret; Cherokee; Nodis. Sent from the White House Situation Room. The telgram is a retransmittal of Secto 15029 from Moscow, December 24. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840153–1453) Carter wrote in the upper right-hand corner, “They seem not to want an agreement at this time. J.” No other record of Vance’s December 23 meeting with Gromyko was found.