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56. Memorandum of Conversation1

SUBJECT

  • Third Plenary Meeting between President Carter and President Brezhnev
  • Topics: SALT III and other arms control issues

PARTICIPANTS

  • 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
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[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to anti-satellite systems.]

The President said we were ready to sign a partial agreement with the Soviet Union on anti-satellite systems, an agreement to bar any damage or destruction of satellites and announce publicly that neither side has plans to test anti-satellite missiles or systems.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to anti-satellite systems.]

Turning to anti-satellite systems, Gromyko said that Secretary Vance and he had discussed this matter just two days ago.2 He did not believe it necessary to repeat what he had said to Secretary Vance. The President was well aware of the Soviet position. The difference between our respective positions was very great indeed, and he would ask the President to take a more objective look at this matter. An agreement could not possibly be one-sided, benefiting the United States alone.

When Gromyko turned to conventional arms transfers, the President interjected a few comments on the anti-satellite talks. We had not complained about the Soviet-manned Soyuz/Salyut flights, and had not asserted that they were anti-satellite systems. Our space shuttle will not be designed as an anti-satellite system. It was the very center of our space effort in the future. The President hoped that this would not be allowed to block progress in the talks because we are going to continue developing this vehicle. This was not a departure from our overall space effort, and if the Soviets took the position that the shuttle was being developed as an anti-satellite system, we would only assure them that it definitely was not.

Gromyko said that the Soviet Union was in favor of continuing these negotiations, but it would be impossible to reach agreement on the basis of the US position.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to anti-satellite systems.]

  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 of conversation is printed in full in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VI, Soviet Union, Document 203.
  2. See Document 55.