487. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Vance-Gromyko Meeting


  • U.S.
  • Secretary of State Vance
  • Ambassador Malcolm Toon
  • Ambassador Paul C. Warnke
  • Ambassador Ralph Earle, II
  • Mr. Leslie H. Gelb
  • Ambassador Marshall D. Shulman
  • Mr. Reginald Bartholomew
  • Lt. Gen. Edward L. Rowny
  • DAS of Def. Walter B. Slocomb
  • Mr. Mark Garrison
  • Mr. William D. Krimer (Interpreter)
  • U.S.S.R.
  • Foreign Minister Gromyko
  • First Deputy Foreign Minister Korniyenko
  • Dep. Foreign Minister Semenov
  • Ambassador A.F. Dobrynin
  • Marshal N.V. Ogarkov
  • Col.-Gen. M.M. Kozlov
  • Mr. V.G. Makarov
  • Mr. N. Detinov
  • Mr. V.M. Sukhodrev, Interpreter
  • Mr. A.A. Obukhov, Note Take
  • Mr. V.F. Isakov, Note Taker

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Special Session on Disarmament.]


Gromyko noted that the U.N. Special Session on Disarmament would be convened shortly. He did not know how the Secretary viewed it, and what he thought the prospects were for a successful outcome. If the Secretary had any ideas on this score, he would be pleased to hear them. The Soviet side regarded the SSOD as a broad worldwide forum, and would, of course, set forth its views on disarmament in that forum. It would be very good if the countries of the West as well as the East approached the SSOD in a serious and businesslike manner and adopted positive decisions on the questions involved. The important thing, of course, was not just to adopt decisions but also to implement them. The U.N. adopts quite a few good decisions, but subsequently, when the Secretary General circulates them to member governments, all too often they pile up on desks in various government offices and nothing much happens. He was not trying to reproach anyone in this regard, but simply would not like to see this happen in the case of the SSOD. As he had said, the Soviet side attached great importance to the [Page 1203] SSOD and believed that it should in no way be used to belittle a subsequent World Disarmament Conference.

The Secretary said that he felt very strongly that the SSOD was of great importance. We very much hoped that somehow positive and concrete decisions can come out of the SSOD and that it not simply end up in general statements that had no flesh and bone. Some other unnamed countries have submitted proposals that could not be understood. However, he believed it possible to make real progress at that conference. Ambassador Leonard would be coming to Moscow on the 27th of this month in order to talk to Gromyko’s people about the SSOD. At the United Nations he is working on our preparations for the Special Session.

Gromyko said that Soviet representatives would be prepared to discuss the various issues with Ambassador Leonard.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Special Session on Disarmament.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Special Adviser to the Secretary (S/MS) on Soviet Affairs Marshall Shulman—Jan 21, 77–Jan 19, 81, Lot 81D109, Box 8, Vance to Moscow, April 1978. Secret; Sensitive; Nodis. The meeting took place at the Kremlin. Drafted by William Krimer. The memorandum of conversation is printed in full in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VI, Soviet Union, Document 102.