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

2093. Subject: Vasev Call on Shulman January 3.

1. Secret-entire text.

2. After initially seeking a meeting with the Secretary, Soviet Charge Vasev called on Marshall Shulman January 3 to deliver (septel) a non-paper in reply to the Secretary’s demarche of December 182 on NATO interest in TNF arms control.

3. On Afghanistan, Vasev offered his personal view that the US seemed to be overreacting. Shulman wondered how Moscow could have failed to anticipate the effect of such a blatant violation of sovereignty. Vasev allowed that Moscow had expected the US to object, but less severely, he asserted that the Soviet action was not against any US interest and claimed that the Soviets had nothing to do with the change in leadership in Afghanistan. When pressed on how long the “limited duration” of the Soviet intervention would be, he said that this would depend on operational needs. Shulman told him we frankly disbelieved the version of events circulated by the Soviets after the coup, and we were concerned about the implications of the Soviet action for future military action outside their own territory.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Cables File, State Department Out, Box 119, 1/1–9/80. 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 Shulman; cleared by Jane E. Becker (S/S–O); approved by Shulman. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P880025–0698)
  2. Neither the septel transmitting the non-paper nor the démarche was found.