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

323581. Subject: Soviet Military Deployment. Ref: A) State 323556;2 B) Moscow 27491.3

1. (S-entire text.)

2. Shulman called in Soviet Charge Vasev December 15 and made points in reftel. Vasev agreed to transmit request for information to Moscow. However, he said, speaking personally, he believed Moscow would be disturbed by our request. While he had no information on Soviet deployment in Afghanistan, any such actions would be in the context of Soviet-Afghan relations and would constitute no threat to the US. Moscow might conclude that US focus on Afghanistan was designed as a diversion to detract attention from planned US action against Iran.

3. Shulman assured Vasev that there was no foundation for any such supposition and that our concerns regarding Afghanistan were related only to the situation we saw developing there.

4. Re Ref (B), we are providing you additional information in separate channel. However, you may not rpt not use this information in your discussions with the Soviets because of its sensitivity.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Cables File, Afghanistan, Box 1, 12/14–22/79. Secret; Sensitive; Immediate; Nodis. Sent for information Immediate to the White House. Printed from a copy that indicates the original was received in the White House Situation Room. Drafted by Barry; cleared by Seton Stapleton (S/S–O); approved by Shulman. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840150–1864)
  2. See Document 239.
  3. Telegram 27491 from Moscow, December 15, describing Ambassador Watson’s attempt to get an appointment with Gromyko to discuss Soviet troop movement into Afghanistan, is in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840150–1863.