[Page 484]

201. Memorandum of Conversation1

SUBJECTS

    • SALT, CTB, Africa, Human Rights
  • U.S. PARTICIPANTS

    • President Jimmy Carter
    • Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance
    • Secretary of Defense Harold Brown
    • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
    • Ambassador Paul C. Warnke
    • Ambassador Malcolm Toon
    • Mr. David Aaron
    • Mr. Reginald Bartholomew
    • Mr. Hamilton Jordan
    • Mr. Jody Powell
    • Mr. Wm. D. Krimer, Interpreter
  • USSR PARTICIPANTS

    • Foreign Minister A.A. Gromyko 2
    • Ambassador A.F. Dobrynin
    • Deputy Foreign Minister G.M. Korniyenko
    • Ambassador V. Makarov
    • Minister Counselor A.A. Bessmertnykh
    • Mr. V.G. Komplektov
    • Mr. N.N. Detinov
    • Mr. V.M. Sukhodrev, Interpreter
    • [Omitted here is a discussion about SALT.]
    • CTB

As for CTB, the President did not see any need for detailed discussion here of verification and other matters. He believed that one primary issue he and Gromyko might discuss was the duration of the agreement being negotiated. We would like to see it have a five-year term, and then renegotiate the agreement if both sides considered it advisable to enter into a new agreement. To be perfectly frank, we had concerns with our own nuclear arsenal which required3 occasional [Page 485]testing in order to assure us that its capabilities were intact. We believed that five years was the maximum period of time we could go without some testing. He hoped that this would be satisfactory to the Soviet Union. As for the details4 they could be left up to the negotiating teams.

Gromyko said that in the course of the negotiations encouraging progress had been achieved on this issue. There were still some unagreed questions—not many—including the question the President had just mentioned, i.e., the duration of a possible accord. He would ask the President to take into consideration some of the other outstanding matters involved in the CTB negotiations. Immediately prior to his departure from Moscow Gromyko had looked into the status of those negotiations and could say now that if the other issues can be resolved—and on some of them U.S. representatives had taken a very hard position—he believed that a positive solution could be found to the question of duration of the agreement.

The President asked Ambassador Warnke to touch on the other issues involved.

Ambassador Warnke said there appeared to be agreement in principle on the concepts of authenticated national seismic installations and on on-site inspections. Considerable differences still existed on the extent to which specific equipment to be used would be agreed upon at the present stage of the negotiations. There were also differences on the question of how on-site inspection would be carried out and what equipment would be permitted for that purpose.

The President said there was no need this morning to discuss the technical questions involved. He believed that one political question could be resolved, i. e., the length of the agreement. He thought that as termination of the agreement approached, negotiations could be held regarding extension of the agreement.5 His position was that five years was a reasonable term. As termination approached, negotiations could be resumed.

Gromyko repeated that if the other questions could be resolved in a positive manner, if the President’s negotiators would manifest greater flexibility, he did not think a five-year term would present any difficulties.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to a comprehensive test ban.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office, Outside the System File, Box 50, Chron: 5/78. Secret; Nodis. The meeting took place in the Cabinet Room at the White House. Drafted by Krimer. Printed from a draft that bears numerous handwritten edits. Bartholomew noted on the first page: “ZB: Krimer memcon with RB fixes. Reg.” The memorandum is printed in full in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VI, Soviet Union, Document 115.
  2. Bartholomew underlined “Gromyko.”
  3. Bartholomew put brackets around “which required” and wrote “and” in the margin above it.
  4. Bartholomew added “on compliance,” after “details.”
  5. Bartholomew added “or a new agreement” after “extension of the agreement.”