47. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • US
  • The Secretary
  • Mr. Paul Warnke
  • Mr. Marshall Shulman
  • USSR
  • Ambassador Dobrynin

In the course of a luncheon meeting, September 10, held at our request, the following subjects were covered:

1. Aeroflot Office Bombing. In response to Dobrynin’s protest of September 7 regarding explosion damage to Aeroflot Washington office earlier that day, the Secretary reported measures taken to seek to apprehend the persons responsible and to prevent further such occurrences. Dobrynin indicated satisfaction with the report.

2. Brezhnev remarks to Justice Burger. 2 The Secretary expressed surprise at the tenor of the reported remarks of Brezhnev concerning the US attitudes toward SALT and other matters, and said he hoped this did not represent his actual perception of our position. Dobrynin sought to explain the intensity of Brezhnev’s feelings about the departure from the Vladivostok agreement and the disappointment of his hopes for this Administration. He emphasized that Brezhnev’s remarks reflected his genuine emotional outlook and should not be regarded as a tactical move. In a personal statement, Dobrynin discussed at length the effect in Moscow of leaks and statements in the US—usually not denied—which emphasized our contingency plans for fighting the Russians in the Middle East and elsewhere, built on US estimates (which he said were erroneous) of putative Soviet reactions to shortages of oil, etc., all of which appeared to maintain an impression of the Soviet Union as “the number one enemy.” TASS reported this daily fare to Moscow, he said, and he could refute it only when there were official denials of such stories, which was not often.

3. Arrangements for Gromyko’s visit. Dobrynin opened by saying he hoped there would be no change in the usual arrangements for Gromyko’s plane to arrive at Andrews and remain there during his visit. [Page 196] The Secretary assured him that this would be handled as usual. The Secretary then sketched plans for meetings on SALT on the morning and afternoon of the 22nd, and asked whether Gromyko would prefer to have luncheon time free or to have lunch at the Department. Dobrynin indicated a preference for the latter, and this was agreed upon, with the understanding that it would be an unstructured working lunch, following the morning session which would start at 10:00. It was also agreed that another session would be held on SALT on the morning of the 23rd, to be followed by a meeting with the President that afternoon, and by another meeting with the Secretary later that afternoon on the Middle East and other subjects, which would also be continued in New York during the following week. Dobrynin indicated that Gromyko would be in New York until September 30. It was agreed that Shulman would discuss with Dobrynin arrangements for the Gromyko visit in further detail on September 12.

4. Middle East. Dobrynin transmitted to the Secretary a proposed joint statement3 which he hoped could be issued by the US and the USSR as co-chairmen of the Geneva Conference following Gromyko’s conversations in Washington. He stressed that it contained some softened language on two points: the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from occupied areas and the establishment of a Palestinian state. He implied that these reflected the discussions with Arafat in Moscow, and said that Gromyko would be reporting on these discussions in fuller detail when he came. The Secretary said that the draft joint statement would be studied, and that Dobrynin would be given our reaction before Gromyko’s arrival. In any case, he said, he hoped that it would be possible before Gromyko’s departure from New York to announce a specific date for the resumption of the Geneva Conference, preferably in December.

5. SALT. Following an introductory statement stressing the US concern about achieving reductions in strategic delivery vehicles, MIRV aggregates and Soviet MLBMs, the Secretary gave Dobrynin a non-note summarizing some principles which could meet both Soviet and US concerns,4 and expressed the hope that Dobrynin could elicit a reaction from Moscow as soon as possible, so that these responses could be taken into account in the discussions with Gromyko. Dobrynin agreed to try to do so, although he cautioned that the Politburo would not ordinarily meet before Thursday or Friday, and things might not move that quickly. There followed a lengthy discussion of the major issues in dispute, in the course of which the Secretary and Warnke sought to explain the rationale for the positions taken by the [Page 197] US in the negotiations, and also expressed hope that Gromyko would be prepared to be forthcoming in his responses.

6. Extension of the Interim Agreement. In response to the Soviet draft joint statement previously received, the Secretary explained that the language of the Arms Control Act would require Congressional action if a joint statement were issued. He also made it clear that the US preferred not to include a reference to the time period for the extension, and that the sentence in the Soviet draft statement which would ban testing and deployment of weapons under negotiation was in our view not appropriate for inclusion. The Secretary gave Dobrynin language for a proposed unilateral US statement on its intention to continue to observe the restraints of the Interim Agreement,5 and expressed the hope that the Soviet Union would issue a similar unilateral statement. Dobrynin said he would communicate our position to Moscow.

7. Reaffirmation of the ABM Treaty. The Secretary said he thought it would be desirable for both of us to make a statement during Gromyko’s visit reaffirming the ABM Treaty, subject only to minor modifications following a review by the SCC after its scheduled meeting in November. Dobrynin will communicate our view to Moscow.

8. China. The Secretary told Dobrynin that, despite erroneous press reports to the contrary, the United States did not discuss military assistance to the PRC during his visit.

9. Visas to Soviet Trade Unionists. In a private comment to Shulman, Dobrynin expressed satisfaction with the US issuance of visas to the four Soviet trade unionists, and made the purely personal observation that the US had missed an opportunity in not giving the Soviet Union advance word of this action as a goodwill gesture, even though the action, as he understood it, was really motivated by a desire to improve our position at Belgrade. Every positive gesture could help at this moment, he said, to help dispel misimpressions of US attitudes.

10. French Participation in the CCD. Warnke communicated to Dobrynin our response to the Soviet paper concerning the Giscard-Brezhnev conversation on French participation in the CCD. While agreeing to a receptive attitude to the French initiative, Warnke suggested that we should not press the French at this time, and that we should leave the question of the co-chairmanship in abeyance for the time being.

  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Subject File, Box 38, SALT—(9/1/77–9/15/77). Secret. Drafted by Shulman. Brzezinski wrote in the upper-right corner, “DA Your info. ZB.” The luncheon meeting took place in the Secretary’s Dining Room on the 8th floor of the Department of State.
  2. Chief Justice Warren Burger. For a summary of Brezhnev and Burger’s discussion, which focused on SALT, see “Brezhnev Confers with Burger,” The New York Times, September 10, 1977, p. 2.
  3. Not found attached.
  4. Attached but not printed.
  5. Attached but not printed.