101. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Third Plenary Meeting between President Carter and President Brezhnev
  • Topics: SALT III and other arms control issues


  • U.S.
  • The President
  • Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance
  • Secretary of Defense Harold Brown
  • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • General David Jones
  • Mr. Hamilton Jordan
  • General G. Seignious
  • Ambassador Malcolm Toon
  • Mr. Joseph Powell
  • Mr. David Aaron
  • Mr. Wm. D. Krimer, Interpreter
  • U.S.S.R.
  • President L.I. Brezhnev
  • Foreign Minister A.A. Gromyko
  • Marshal D.F. Ustinov
  • Mr. K.U. Chernenko
  • Deputy Foreign Minister G.M. Korniyenko
  • Marshal N.V. Ogarkov
  • Ambassador A.F. Dobrynin
  • Mr. A.M. Aleksandrov-Agentov
  • Mr. L.M. Zamyatin
  • Mr. V.G. Komplektov
  • Mr. A.M. Vavilov
  • Mr. V.M. Sukhodrev, Interpreter

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to chemical weapons.]

Turning to chemical weapons and the possibility of reaching agreement to prohibit such weapons, Gromyko noted that the negotiations on this question are proceeding badly and in an unsatisfactory way. It would evidently be difficult to go into detail at this meeting, but he wanted to make two points in this connection. First, we had major differences between our views on questions relating to verification in this connection and, secondly, for an agreement on chemical weapons to be effective, it was important that all major powers, and certainly the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, join in such an agreement. What kind of an agreement would that be without the participation of China? Could one really agree to a situation in which the Chinese alone would have a free hand to manufacture chemical weapons? These were the major points to which he wanted to draw the President’s attention.2

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to chemical weapons.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Cyrus R. Vance, Secretary of State—1977–1980, Lot 84D241, Vance Exdis Memcons 1979. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Krimer on June 20; and approved by Aaron. The meeting took place at the Soviet Embassy. The memorandum is printed in full in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VI, Soviet Union, Document 203.
  2. Carter did not address the issue of chemical weapons after Gromyko’s comments and in his final two meetings with the Soviets. However, in the joint communiqué issued after the Summit, the “two sides reaffirmed the importance of a general, complete and verifiable prohibition of chemical weapons and agreed to intensify their efforts to prepare an agreed joint proposal to the Committee on Disarmament.” (Documents on Disarmament, 1979, pp. 225–229)