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

287283. Subject: Muskie-Dobrynin Meeting: Reply to Oct 4 Demarche.2

1. (S-entire text.)

2. Dobrynin called on Secretary Muskie on October 27 to provide Gromyko’s response to re Secretary’s Oct 4 demarche on those US-Soviet issues which could not be covered in Sept 25 bilateral in New York. Text of oral statement follows:

3. Begin text:

—We, for our part, have considered and presently consider it useful to continue a dialogue on various questions concerning relations between our countries and on international issues. Such discussion, in our view, must be aimed at bringing as close together as possible the positions of the sides, at finding points of overlap, in order to move toward the solution of questions of mutual interest.

—In the conversation with A.A. Gromyko in New York, the Secretary of State said that the US side also wished to have normal relations with the Soviet Union. Regretfully, this wish is not to be found in what was said by the Secretary of State on October 4. The choice of the questions and the way they are posed do not indicate a readiness by the US side to seek mutual understanding. We have no desire to engage in po[Page 905]lemics for the sake of polemics. But we, understandably, cannot silently pass over statements and actions of the US side with which we cannot agree.

—We would like in this connection to point out the inappropriateness of the US side’s raising questions regarding the situation in Poland. Such questions in general cannot be subject of discussion between the USSR and the USA.

However, since the Secretary of State did touch upon this question, we cannot help noting that all sorts of statements, including those made at the official level, as well as certain actions by the US side, cannot be regarded in any other way but as being directed at interference in the affairs of a sovereign state, the Polish People’s Republic. We, together with the Polish leadership, resolutely condemn such a line of conduct.

—Recently, on many occasions including the meeting of A.A. Gromyko with the Secretary of State in New York we have assessed the present unconstructive policy of the USA on questions of arms limitation. Unfortunately, the considerations put forward by the Secretary of State introduce nothing new in this respect. The position held by the USA is, in fact, impeding progress toward the solution of these questions; Washington at the same time continues in practice to increase the arms race.

—We expressed in an explicit and clear-cut manner our sharply negative attitude toward the so called “new nuclear strategy” of the USA. This attitude remains as it was stated by L.I. Brezhnev in his recent speech in Alma-Ata.3 It was also set forth during the conversation with the Secretary of State in New York. We will follow carefully the activities of the United States in this regard.

—Neither is any useful purpose served by attempts to put doubt, without any grounds whatsoever, [to?] the conscientious implementation by the Soviet Union of its obligations under the agreements and understandings in force in the field of arms limitation and disarmament. We are convinced that such a course, which is in fact aimed at disrupting what we succeeded in achieving in this area, does not correspond to the interests of the United States itself.

—We reaffirm our position on the question regarding an outbreak of anthrax in the area of Sverdlovsk and on the observance of the agreed yield threshold of 150 kilotons during the conduct of underground nuclear explosions.

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—We would like to express the hope that the US side will after all embark on the path of a realistic policy and will exert necessary efforts so as to facilitate the working out and adoption of practical measures in the field of arms limitation and disarmament. This applies to both the negotiations already under way for a certain period of time, and to the just started discussion of questions concerning the limitation of nuclear arms in Europe. Such efforts on the part of the USA would meet a positive response throughout the entire world. For its part, the Soviet Union is ready as before to cooperate effectively in the resolution of the said questions.

—The present situation dictates in a particularly forceful way the necessity of taking urgent measures to reduce military danger. In this connection, we would like to draw the attention of the Secretary of State to the concrete proposals introduced by the Soviet Union at the current session of the UN General Assembly: to renounce the extension of existing military-political groupings and the creation of new ones; to undertake not to increase from a certain date armed forces and conventional armaments of states; to strengthen security guarantees of non-nuclear states; and to establish a one-year moratorium on conducting any nuclear explosions by all nuclear powers. We call upon the United States to cooperate in implementing these initiatives, that would without doubt have a positive impact on the international situation.

—We have noted the words of the Secretary of State to the effect that the USA is determined to work constructively at the Madrid meeting. For our part, we also resolutely favor this, as we are convinced that only such a policy corresponds to the interests of all states-signatories of the Helsinki Final Act and to the objectives of a genuine strengthening of security and the development of cooperation in Europe. However, the above-mentioned pronouncement of the Secretary of State is in no way corroborated by the present line of conduct adopted at the preparatory session by the US Delegation, which is doing everything possible to create there a situation of conflict, even in the coordination of organizational and procedural questions for the principal meeting in Madrid. We will be ready to carry on a balanced and business-like discussion there. But it must be clear that, should this be forced on us, we will respond appropriately to attacks in regard to Soviet foreign policy as well as to any attempts to interfere in our internal affairs.

—We again resolutely reject the attempts of the US side to raise questions which pertain totally and entirely to the internal competence of the Soviet state, particularly with regard to all kinds of renegades engaging in hostile antisocial activity. We reaffirm also our position concerning the broadcasts of the “Voice of America”.

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—We see no basis for the expression of concern by the US side in connection with the construction of the new US Embassy building in Moscow, and in particular with regard to the importation into the USSR for these purposes of construction materials and customs examination thereof, if, of course, no aims of some different nature are being pursued in this matter. On our part we seek to achieve a mutually acceptable solution of specific questions that arise, being strictly guided by the 1972 Agreement and acting, of course, in the framework of the customs regulations existing in our country. We proceed on the assumption that as a practical matter such questions will continue to be discussed and resolved between the relevant Soviet organizations and the US Embassy in Moscow.

—We would like to invite the attention of the Secretary of State to the problems associated with carrying out the flights of Aeroflot aircraft in the USA and their servicing there. We expect the proper assistance in this regard on the part of the US authorities. End text

4. For the Ambassador: At October 28 quadripartite meeting, you may brief in general terms on the purpose of Dobrynin’s call on the Secretary. You should not go into details pending receipt of guidance for briefing which will also be given at NATO.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 84, USSR: 10/80. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by George Rueckert (EUR/SOV); cleared by Barry, Robert K. German (EUR/SOV), Gary Matthews (S/MS), Bremer, Leon Sigal (PM), and W. Scott Butcher (S/S–O); approved by Christopher.
  2. See Document 303.
  3. For the text of Brezhnev’s August 30 speech in Alma-Ata, see The Current Digest of the Soviet Press, vol. XXXII, no. 35, October 1, 1980, pp. 1–5.