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310. Memorandum of Conversation1

PARTICIPANTS

  • Amb. Anatoliy Dobrynin
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski

1. Dobrynin first conveyed warm greetings from Brezhnev to the President. He reported that Brezhnev in his report to the Politburo spoke in personally warm terms of the President as a person with whom one can have a serious discussion over difficult issues, without acrimony, and as a person who is genuinely interested in arms control. Dobrynin also added that Brezhnev said to the Politburo that “even Brzezinski seems to be a decent fellow.”

2. I conveyed through Dobrynin to Brezhnev the President’s regards as well as the two pens that the President forwarded. Dobrynin interpreted one of the pens as a gift for himself and, given the absence of precise instructions, I did not object. In any case the President’s note2 and the pens will go to Brezhnev with Dobrynin, who leaves for Mos-cow tomorrow.

3. Dobrynin raised the question of CAT and Indian Ocean talks. With respect to CAT, I told him flatly that there was no point in having a meeting unless we resolve in advance the agenda; otherwise, the meeting will degenerate into a hassle over the agenda. I pointed out to him that this is in our mutual interest. If CAT is to be serious, we must not use it for political purposes and try to undercut the politically sensitive relationships of either of the participants in CAT. After some sparring, Dobrynin agreed, and I said that in that case Bartholomew will be available to discuss with the Soviet Chairman the timing as well as the agenda of the next round.

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

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 123, Vance, Miscellaneous Communications With: 5–8/79. Top Secret. The meeting took place at the White House.
  2. Not found.