239. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

323556. Subject: Soviet Military Deployments.

1. (Secret-entire text)

2. You should seek an urgent appointment with Gromyko or highest available MFA official and ask for an explanation of the significant continuing deployment of Soviet military units outside the borders of the USSR into Afghanistan which has come to our attention. You should explain that we wish to know the purpose and scope of these deployments.

3. You should make it clear that we are making this request in the context of the 1972 Principles of US/Soviet Relations and commitment therein to consult so that conflict situations will not arise which would serve to increase international tensions.

4. We will be making a similar request of the Soviet Embassy in Washington.

5. FYI only. Indications are that these new deployments are related to situation in Afghanistan but no firm conclusions have been drawn. End FYI.

  1. Source: 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 17, Afghanistan: Soviet Moves. Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis. Sent for information Immediate to the White House. Drafted by Barry; cleared by Shulman, Jane Coon (NEA), Jane Becker (S/S–O), and Bremer; approved by Vance.