201. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Dinner


  • U.S.
  • The President
  • Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance
  • Secretary of Defense Harold Brown
  • Mr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • Mr. D. Arensburger, Interpreter
  • U.S.S.R.
  • President L.I. Brezhnev
  • Foreign Minister A.A. Gromyko
  • Minister of Defense D.F. Ustinov
  • Mr. Aleksandrov-Agentov
  • Mr. V.M. Sukhodrev, Interpreter (part time)

In the course of a non-substantive social conversation President Carter said that we intended to replace Ambassador Toon in Moscow by Mr. Tom Watson, a former president of IBM and a very distinguished American. This has not been announced publicly and the President wanted to inform President Brezhnev in advance. He handed to Brezhnev a brief biography of Mr. Watson, which the Soviet leader might wish to study. The President added that in his view this was a superior appointment because Watson was an outstanding businessman and an expert on arms control.

Brezhnev, turning to Foreign Minister Gromyko, said, “If they want to change their ambassador, let them.”

  1. Source: Department of State, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Cyrus R. Vance, Secretary of State—1977–1980, Lot 84D241, Box 9, Vance EXDIS MemCons, 1979. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Dimitri Arensburger on June 17. The meeting took place at the Ambassador’s residence.