309. 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 conventional arms transfers.]

When Gromyko turned to conventional arms transfers, the President interjected a few comments on the anti-satellite talks.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to conventional arms transfers.]

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Returning to conventional arms transfers, Gromyko noted that the negotiations had begun some time ago and seemed to move right along, but then the representatives of the United States had proposed to discuss conventional arms transfers on a regional basis. In brief, the regions mentioned were those in which the United States was interested. When Soviet representatives mentioned other areas and countries of concern to both sides, US representatives had simply refused to discuss them. Such a unilateral approach could not possibly be acceptable to the Soviet side, so US representatives had simply walked out of the talks and had returned home. Thus, the conventional arms transfers talks were now in a state of suspense.

The President said with respect to conventional arms transfers that our position has been that we should not begin with areas where each country was deeply involved. We provide military assistance to South Korea and Japan, for example. The Soviet Union provided military assistance to Vietnam and Ethiopia. We would want to concentrate in the beginning on areas where there was not that much controversy, where our two countries were not involved by commitments of long standing.

Gromyko said the Soviet Union would be prepared to resume the conventional arms transfer negotiations.2

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to conventional arms transfers.]

  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. In a June 18 joint communiqué, the two nations agreed “that their respective representatives will meet promptly to discuss questions relating to the next round of negotiations on limiting conventional arms transfers.” (Public Papers: Carter, 1979, pp. 1081–1087)