54. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • INFCE; South Africa, Horn of Africa, Rhodesia No. III of IV


  • US
  • The Secretary
  • Marshall D. Shulman
  • USSR
  • Ambassador Anatoliy F. Dobrynin

Dobrynin came in Monday afternoon, October 17, 1977, at the Secretary’s request. The meeting lasted approximately two hours.

1. International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation Conference—The Secretary asked Dobrynin if he knew who the Soviet delegate would be to the INFCE Conference beginning October 19. Dobrynin did not know (but later Bessmertnykh called with the name). The Secretary informed Dobrynin he was planning to add three more countries to the list: Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. Dobrynin inquired whether there would be any African objection to these additions, to which the Secretary replied that the participants were coming in as experts and it was necessary to include the threshold countries.

2. South Africa—The Secretary said that we were continuing satellite monitoring of the nuclear sites and nothing new had been reported. He said the South Africans had given their commitment not to explode any nuclear devices, whether peaceful or military; not to acquire nuclear capabilities, except for the purpose of nuclear power; and that they were not planning an explosion at the Kalahari test site. It was agreed that the two countries would keep each other informed on this subject.

3. Horn of Africa—The Secretary inquired how the Soviet Union saw the problems in the Horn of Africa developing. Dobrynin said, “We are more eager to end the fighting there than you are,” but he indicated a reluctance to shut off supplies to the Ethiopians, which had not yet reached the level previously supplied to the Somalis. The Secretary [Page 211] raised the question of the OAU’s seeking to mediate and whether there was anything that anyone could do with Ethiopia that would be helpful. He also raised the question of how the Nigerians could be helpful in working out a ceasefire acceptable to both sides. Dobrynin did not think that any outside intervention would be useful. He said that although an autonomous solution for the Ogaden was a reasonable basis for a settlement, the Somalis want to remain in place and the Ethiopians’ position was that Somalia should first withdraw. The Secretary asked about the possibility of greater restraint on what is furnished to the Ethiopians. Dobrynin replied that the level of supplies had not reached the level formerly supplied to the Somalis. He said that the problem was that the Ethiopians did not have enough trained people to use the material they had received. Dobrynin made it clear that, in his opinion at least, it would be shortsighted for the Soviet Union to send technicians or military advisers. He cited the experience of the Soviet Union and Egypt as a case in point.

4. Rhodesia—The Secretary filled in Dobrynin on the Anglo-American initiative on Rhodesia, saying that the UN representative might go to London first and then to Africa to consult about internal security problems and what should be done during the transition period with the Rhodesian army and the Liberation Forces in setting up a security force.

  1. Source: Department of State, Office Special Adviser to the Secretary (S/MS) on Soviet Affairs Marshall Shulman—Jan 21, 77–Jan 19, 81, Lot 81D109, Box 3, DobryninVance, 10/17/77. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Shulman on October 18; approved by Anderson on October 31. The meeting took place at the Department of State. Part III of IV; parts I and II are printed as Documents 52 and 53. Part IV, which addresses the Governors’ Exchange, is in 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 3, DobryninVance Meeting, 10/17/77.