196. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter1


  • Decisions on Summit Objectives

Much of what we do at the Summit must be prepared beforehand. Accordingly, we need your guidance on the particular objectives we should pursue on the major Summit agenda topics. As we discuss these with the Soviets, we will come back to you for further guidance.

I will also shortly give you an agenda paper for your use at the Summit, with suggested points keyed to the topics and our objectives.

I have divided the objectives into two categories (following the order of the agenda in each):

A. Agreements/Understandings: Specific outcomes that would be agreed between you and Brezhnev.

B. Positions. Areas where specific outcomes are not attainable or appropriate, but where we want to use the Summit to register/advance our positions and increase mutual understanding.

You will see that there are no regional issues under Agreements/Understandings and that all come under Positions. As I describe in my strategy memorandum, specific outcomes are unlikely at the Summit. This said, it will be critically important to convey our perspectives and positions clearly and firmly to the Soviets so they know where we (and they) stand. This may, at a minimum, heighten their sensitivity to our concerns and possible actions and reduce the chances of miscalculation. Opportunity to go further and reach some understandings could conceivably develop before and during the Summit. We will position ourselves to capitalize on it in the unlikely event that it does.2


Communique vs. Declaration. The Soviets have hinted interest in a broad declaration of principles on the relationship, picking up on the [Page 561] 1972 Basic Principles.3 The communique can do the job and it is best to avoid sonorous statements that create unreal expectations and standards. We will push a communique, but come back to you if the Soviets push hard on a declaration.

Yes: _____ Other _____4

Consultations. Communique or, as an acceptable concession to the Soviets, a declaration on period consultations: Summits, Foreign Ministers, Defense Ministers/Chiefs of Staff.

Yes: _____ Other _____5

SALT II (apart from signature)

Backfire: Brezhnev acknowledgment that will not exceed 30 per year to 1985 and that will not significantly increase range/payload capability. (Previously approved by you.)

Yes: _____ Other _____

Telemetry: Brezhnev confirmation of agreement based on your March 14 letter. (Previously approved by you.) Perhaps even a ban, but that’s a long shot.

Yes: _____ Other _____6

Reductions: Brezhnev agreement to 2200 or 2175 vice 2250 by 1985 (you directed “exploration of symbolic cut” by 3%).7

Standstill: Agreement not to take any actions inconsistent with the Treaty between signature and entry into force.

Yes: _____ Other _____

SALT III. Agreement to reduce to 1800 as SALT III goal.

Yes: _____ Other _____8
[Page 562]

TNF. Communique reference that “any future arms control limitations on the theater nuclear systems of the two sides should be “mutual” (but no formal commitment to negotiate to avoid preempting Allied TNF deployment and arms control decisions).

Yes: _____ Other _____9

ASAT. Sign initial agreement. If not ready, announce progress or agreement in principle with target date for completion set after SALT ratification (so as not to complicate the process).

Yes: _____ Other _____

Non-proliferation. Communique reference to South Asia problem or maybe a separate joint statement.

Yes: _____ Other _____

CTB. Soviet agreement to negotiate actively on NSS (details will take several months) without prejudice to differences on size of UK NSS network, and some public acknowledgment in the communique of the progress already made.

Yes: _____ Other _____

MBFR. Agreement on framework for a US-Soviet Phase I agreement to be negotiated by Vienna MBFR delegations (looks doubtful at this point). At a minimum, Soviet public acknowledgment of importance of associated measures for verification, stability, and confidence in any reduction agreements; stress importance of data.

Yes: _____ Other _____10

RW. Agreement on a joint-initiative to be submitted to summer session of Committee on Disarmament in Geneva.

Yes: _____ Other _____

Economic (Jackson-Vanik, etc.). Private mutual understandings regarding “assurances” strategy for waiver, and a public statement by you later.

Yes: _____ Other _____
[Page 563]

Bilateral Exchange Agreements. Soviet commitment in communique to more access and freer flow of information and people in exchange programs (we have problems).

Yes: _____ Other _____

Agreement to renew the Cultural Agreement (if can be renegotiated in time to take care of problem of balance, restrictions, etc.—otherwise only general communique endorsement).

Yes: _____ Other _____

Media and Commercial Representation. Soviet agreement to greater equality and reciprocity in access, treatment, etc.

Yes: _____ Other _____


Exchange on the Overall Relationship. Put your view of US-Soviet relations on the record so the Soviets are clear about what we want and do not want.

SALT II. Stress need for Soviet restraint during ratification. Give Brezhnev your assessment of ratification process and, in that context, turn Soviets off if they raise non-circumvention or MPS.

Yes: _____ Other _____

SALT III. Stress commitment to prompt start of SALT III after ratification. Explore our general SALT III approach.

Yes: _____ Other _____

TNF. Make clear our concern with Soviet TNF (SS–20) and Western intent to respond. Convey interest in exploring arms control possibilities without commitment to negotiations (Allied problem).

Yes: _____ Other _____

CTB. Affirm high priority and intent to move expeditiously, but avoid impression that CTB can/will be finalized in next few months.

Yes: _____ Other _____11
[Page 564]

Indian Ocean. Register our concern that Soviet activities in the region burden the prospects for arms control. Agree to explore in regular diplomatic channels with Soviets the basis on which the negotiations might be resumed. (More would be counter-productive, given the need to maintain US military presence in the area.)

Yes: _____ Other _____12

CAT. Stress need to focus on practical regions—Latin America and Africa—if talks to move ahead. Suggest heads of delegations meet to settle mutually agreeable agenda, including regions, for Round V of talks.

Yes: _____ Other _____

Middle East. Press Soviets not to oppose UNEF Sinai role.

Yes: _____ Other _____

Southern Africa. Press Soviets to reduce Soviet/Cuban military involvement in Rhodesia. Make clear that deeper involvement will damage overall relations, force freeze on various fronts, including economic.

Yes: _____13 Other _____

Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula. Make clear we have vital interests at stake and will act firmly and expeditiously to protect them. We will counter Soviet or Soviet-supported attempts (Yemen) to destabilize region.

Yes: _____ Other _____

Iran. Stress respect for independence and territorial integrity and non-interference in international affairs. Warn Soviets of mutual dangers of turmoil and instability and effect of Soviet media accusations of US plotting against new regime.

Yes: _____ Other _____
[Page 565]

Afghanistan. Press Soviets to show restraint and urge DRA restraint on relations with Pakistan and Iran; press acceptance of Durand Line as international boundary between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Yes: _____ Other _____

Horn of Africa. Press reduction in Cuban troops and Soviet arms transfers (see also Cuba).

Yes: _____ Other _____

Cuba. Press Soviets to exert restraining influence on Cuban foreign involvement, noting that if it continues, increased pressure on Cuba rather than an easing of tensions will result. Stress that Soviet introduction of new and sophisticated weapons (MIG–23, attack submarines) and construction of new bases (Cienfuegos) to support them—in effect, the creation of a unique offensive capability—is inconsistent with the spirit of the 1962 Understanding and the demands of stability and our security. Make clear that it will result in expanded US military presence and activities in area, increased pressures on Cuba, strains in overall US-Soviet relationship, and it would relieve the US of the obligation we undertook to exercise self-restraint.

Yes: _____ Other _____

Southeast Asia. Stress that Soviet operational military use/presence involving Vietnamese facilities will be met with stepped-up US security presence in area and cooperation with Japan, ASEAN—China.

Yes: _____ Other _____

Urge Soviets to cooperate in resolving SEA conflict on terms acceptable to all parties.

Yes: _____ Other _____

China. Only if the Soviets raise the subject, assure Soviets that China opening means no diminution in importance we attach to good relations with Soviets. Hint that development of US–PRC security relationship will be influenced by Soviet actions (e.g., Vietnam). Encourage continued Soviet restraint vis-a-vis PRC.

Yes: _____ Other _____

Global Social and Economic Development. Press Soviets to cooperate on global issues (LOS, WARC, space, grains) and to increase aid to poorer LDCs.

Yes: _____ Other _____
[Page 566]

Economic. Make clear that the political climate will not permit credits and will hinder trade, and that this climate depends on the overall relationship.

Yes: _____ Other _____

Human Rights. Register our concern regarding non-compliance with Helsinki (I will be back to you with specifics).

Yes: _____ Other _____

Three sets of consultations are necessary concerning the Summit:

1. With the Soviets before the Summit, as indicated above. Talking to Dobrynin may suffice. But I still think a mission to Moscow is best. Your views?14

2. With the Allies before and after. Personal letters from you to major leaders (Schmidt visit) and Cy Vance’s May 30 NATO meetings will do the job before. I suggest that David Aaron stop in Europe to debrief after the Summit.

Yes: _____ Other _____15

3. With the PRC before and after. This is important so that the PRC does not misperceive the Summit as a slide into a US-Soviet condominium. I suggest you authorize me to brief Chai before, and that during the Tokyo Economic Summit (whose rules do not provide for my attendance) I spend two days in Peking to debrief my dear and personal friends (including Deng, whom I consider to be an international treasure!).

Yes: _____ Other _____16
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Trip File, Box 21, President, US–USSR Summit in Vienna, 9/16–18/79: Aaron Briefing Book. Secret. Sent for action. Brzezinski handwrote the date on the memorandum. Carter wrote in the upper right-hand corner of the memorandum: “Zbig, CC Warren [Christopher]. J.” Carter checked “yes” for each option, unless otherwise indicated.
  2. Carter wrote in the margin: “Too Timid. We should have clear goals & strive for them.”
  3. See footnote 3, Document 4.
  4. Carter checked yes and wrote in the margin, “Either suits me.”
  5. Carter checked yes and wrote in the margin, “As firm a schedule as practical.”
  6. Carter checked yes and wrote in the margin, “We should work for a ban.”
  7. Carter wrote in the margin, “Yes.”
  8. Carter checked neither option and wrote in the margin, “Too timid. Let us list what we want & work for it.”
  9. Carter checked yes and wrote in the margin, “‘mutual’?”
  10. Carter checked yes and wrote in the margin, “As much as possible—get clear among us what we want.”
  11. Carter checked yes, struck through the last clause “but avoid impression that CTB can/will be finalized in the next few months.” and wrote in the margin, “Let’s see what develops.”
  12. Carter checked neither option and wrote in the margin, “Spell out clearly what we want.”
  13. Carter checked yes and wrote in the margin, “Plus—ask them to join with us in effort to resolve issues.”
  14. Carter wrote in the margin, “Dobrynin ok at this late date.”
  15. Carter struck through David Aaron’s name and inserted “someone.” Additionally, he checked yes and wrote in the margin, “David needs to be here with Fritz [Mondale] during Summit.”
  16. Carter checked neither option and wrote in the margin, “I think afterward is enough. Let’s check with Cy.”