63. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Middle East


  • US
  • The Secretary
  • Marshall D. Shulman
  • USSR
  • Mikhail Solomentsev, Chairman of RSFSR Council of Ministers, Candidate Member of CPSU Politburo
  • Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin

Meeting in the Secretary’s office before a luncheon in honor of Solomentsev, Dobrynin expressed the hope that the US would not take unilateral action with respect to developments in the Middle East; rather he hoped the US and USSR could move ahead together. He said the Soviet Union would welcome a US representative in Moscow on December 5 to discuss future courses of action in the Middle East. He informed the Secretary that he had not yet received any definite word on how the Soviets would respond to the invitation to the talks being organized in Cairo.

The Secretary told Dobrynin that we had delayed our announcement of US participation in the Cairo meeting, but that we would now proceed to do so. He proposed to indicate that we would have a representative at the expert level. We are weighing the intention of having our ambassador in Cairo serve in this capacity, although this would not be announced at the present time. The UN Secretary General had informed us that he would name Gen. Siilasvuo2 as an observer at the Cairo meeting.

(In translating the foregoing for Solomentsev, Dobrynin commented favorably on the fact that both the US and the UN might be represented by people who are already in the area.) Dobrynin acknowledged that the Soviets had recently held talks with a PLO official and with the Syrian Foreign Minister; he said he hoped to have further information to report on these talks soon.

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After the luncheon, Dobrynin and Solomentsev returned briefly to the Secretary’s office. Dobrynin reported on the basis of a cable from Moscow telephoned to him at the Department that neither Syria, the PLO, Lebanon, nor Jordan would attend the Cairo meeting. Thus the Soviet Union would not attend; he added in an aside to Shulman that of course Moscow would nevertheless receive reports from the Soviet Ambassador in Cairo. He reconfirmed that a US representative would still be welcome to discuss the Middle East in Moscow on December 5. He indicated that, after meeting with this representative, the Soviet Union would like to issue a joint call for the reconvening of the Geneva Conference in January.

  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–Solomentsev, Dobrynin, 11/29/77. Secret. Drafted by Shulman; approved by Anderson on December 6. The meeting took place in Vance’s office.
  2. Ensio Siilasvuo, Finnish general and former Commander of the Finnish contingent to the U.N. peace-keeping force in Cyprus.