55. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • US-Soviet Relations


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

Ambassador Dobrynin came in at his request, saying he had something to present which would be useful. It turned out to be a non-paper [Page 212] informing us of a series of planned ICBM test launches the last few days of this month and in November (see text attached).2

The following subjects were also discussed:

1. Middle East. The Secretary recalled that the letter from the co-chairmen of the Geneva Conference went to the Security Council, and recommended that this precedent be followed again, as well as in the matter of having the working groups report to the plenary conference, without having this specified in the working paper.

On the subject of Palestinian representation, the Secretary said he had the impression that Arafat was showing signs of beginning to move toward presenting names which could then be checked out with the other participants; Dobrynin said, however, that this was not his impression.

2. SALT. The Secretary reviewed his recent testimony and consultations with the Congress, including the information that had been provided to the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees on a confidential basis. He said that every effort was being made to avoid leaks, but that leaks might nevertheless occur. He indicated that the Congress was raising very serious questions about the issues under negotiation, and stressed the importance of having more specific assurances on Backfire range and production rates. Dobrynin said that Moscow was aware of our concern, since the matter had been raised with Gromyko. The Secretary also stressed the interest expressed by Senator McIntyre,3 among others, in an agreement limiting new missile systems, reflecting the view, which he shared, that significant arms limitations would be achieved when this kind of agreement was combined with an agreement limiting numbers.

Dobrynin remarked that Semenov, the chief of the Soviet delegation in Geneva, thinks things are moving fairly well.

3. Radiation. The Secretary informed Dobrynin that a book would be published during the coming week on the subject of the Soviet radiation of the US Embassy in Moscow. Dobrynin said he could not understand why the US was raising the issue, since Deputy Undersecretary Read4 had been able to cite only one instance in the preceding week in which this radiation had been observed. Shulman pointed out that at least a dozen bursts of radiation had been recorded in recent weeks, and said that information underlining the seriousness of the matter would be put before Dobrynin.

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4. CSCE. Dobrynin, saying he was speaking on his own personal initiative and not under instructions, said the Soviet Union had received the impression from Western delegations at Belgrade that Goldberg5 had received new instructions recently, to raise the level of attack on human rights issues, and to discuss specific issues. The Secretary said that Goldberg had been authorized to mention specific countries, as, for example, the recent egregious trials in Czechoslovakia, but he said the main intention remained to develop the broad sweep of the issue, and to avoid confrontation. He added that Goldberg would be coming home in the near future for consultations.

5. Soviet UNGA Detente Resolution. Dobrynin asked why the US had not given support to this omnibus proposal to the UNGA on strengthening detente.6 The Secretary said he would examine the resolution, but as a general proposition, he urged that advance consultation before resolutions were introduced would help to eliminate some problems.

6. Lithuanian Hijackers. Dobrynin raised the question of the two Lithuanian hijackers now in the United States,7 and urged their extradition, relating the matter to the recent hijacking episode. The Secretary said in the discussion which followed that early action by the UN on the hijacking resolution would be important.

7. Patolichev. Dobrynin said in response to a question that travel plans for Foreign Trade Minister Patolichev were not yet firm, but the Minister would probably prefer to stop in Washington before proceeding to Los Angeles for the Joint Trade and Economic Council meetings in November.

8. Trade Relations. In the course of the earlier discussion of Congressional attitudes toward SALT, Dobrynin mentioned that Senator Jackson had expressed an interest in addressing the meeting of the Trade and Economic Council in Los Angeles, and wondered what he might say. There then followed a discussion of recent exploratory conversations with members of Congress on the possibility of resolution that would provisionally extend MFN and Ex-Im Bank Credits, subject to Presidential finding that this action would be in the national interest. Dobrynin, asked about the Soviet attitude toward this approach, shrugged and indicated that it would be better than no action at all.

  1. Source: 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, CV–Dobrynin, 10/22/77. Secret. Drafted by Shulman on October 25. The meeting took place at the Department of State.
  2. Not attached and not found.
  3. Senator Thomas James McIntyre, (D-New Hampshire).
  4. Ben Read, Deputy Under Secretary for Management.
  5. See footnote 7, Document 48.
  6. For the text of the “Declaration on the Deepening and Consolidation of International Détente” and the resolution’s history, see Yearbook of the United Nations, 1977, pp. 120–126.
  7. In 1970, two Lithuanians hijacked a Soviet airplane. After having entered the United States illegally, they were denied political asylum and deportation seemed likely. (“U.S. to Deport 2 Jet Hijackers,” Chicago Tribune, May 14, 1977, p. 5)