307. Memorandum From the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Seignious) to Secretary of State Vance 1

SUBJECT

  • Conventional Arms Transfer Talks

The Conventional Arms Transfer talks with the Soviets are now at an important juncture, given the continued impasse over regions and inability to schedule a new round of talks. I believe it is critical, both for other US arms control objectives and for overall US-Soviet relations, particularly in view of the upcoming summit,2 that we be in a position to move these talks forward in a constructive manner.

I find quite promising the April 28th proposal of Secretary Brown,3 under which both sides would be free to make their case for inclusion [Page 767]of particular regions in a restraint regime, but actual restraint proposals would be limited to those regions which both sides had accepted. We are prepared to support this constructive proposal, with two caveats.

First, I believe that the US should be prepared to listen to Soviet regional presentations at Round V on their merits, and make no comment. I favor presenting our substantive responses, whether rejection or counterproposal, at Round VI. Second, the negotiations should proceed on other important agenda items while regional issues were being resolved. Particularly important are the continued drafting of common criteria and the development of a consultative mechanism; such agreement would be a necessary prerequisite for effective regional restraint and also would offer an opportunity to apply restraints on transfers of certain weapons on a global basis.

I recommend that you convene a PRC at an early date to consider Secretary Brown’s initiative.

George M. Seignious II4
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Global Issues, Bloomfield/Oplinger, Box 31, Chron: 5/79. Secret.
  2. Reference is to the Summit held between Carter and Brezhnev in Vienna, June 15–18, 1979. See Document 309.
  3. See Document 306.
  4. Seignious signed the memorandum “George.”