147. Personal Note Prepared by the Deputy Secretary of State (Dam)1

The highlight of the day was the Secretary’s meeting at 4 o’clock with the President.2 Bill Clark, Jim Baker and Ed Meese were there. The subject was relations with the Soviet Union. We are now reaching a point where we have to decide what we want our relations with the Soviet Union to be during the remainder of this Administration. If the President is to meet with Andropov before the end of this term, that probably means that it must be done early next year in order to avoid the election season. Working back from then, it means that, if we want the summit to deal with substance and to be a well-prepared summit, a number of things must be set in motion soon.

The Soviets, of course, want to have relations to do largely with arms control, but paradoxically enough, they are not willing to make any concessions on that subject. We in turn would like to have our relations heavily involved in regional matters, particularly Afghanistan, Poland and Cambodia, where the Soviet Union is doing great mischief and harm to innocent third countries. Therefore, we must find some other areas in which there is some opportunity for progress.

There are a number of possible bilateral matters. One is cultural affairs, where the Soviets are able to tour the United States freely upon invitation from private Americans, but there is very little opportunity for the United States to have any contact with Soviet citizens, whether it be in art, music or USIA-type activities. Therefore, a cultural agreement is one possibility. Another possibility is an opening of a consulate in Kiev and a reciprocal consulate in New York, but this initiative has been shelved, because this, like the cultural agreement apparently, is one of the Afghanistan sanctions. Another possibility has to do with a long-term grain agreement, although it is not clear who is the demandeur in this situation, since the Congress is about to push a long-term grain agreement down our throat.3 This was the subject matter of the [Page 581] meeting, but the most immediate question was what will happen in a forthcoming meeting, perhaps tomorrow, with Ambassador Dobrynin.4 (The President decided not to go forward with the cultural agreement or the consulate at the meeting with Dobrynin.)

We had an interesting meeting with an outside informal advisory group. This was the second meeting of the group, which included Abshire and Korologos, as before.5 However, Harlow was ill and not able to be present, but Bill Timmons was here. The questions had to do with what should be the priorities during the remainder of this term and particularly what problems may arise either in politics or in connection with the White House and the White House staff. All of these people are extremely well versed in these matters. It was a most stimulating meeting.

I had an interesting meeting with Paul Nitze at 1 o’clock this afternoon. We reviewed not only the situation with regard to INF and START but also the bureaucratics of the problems on the START delegation. Ambassador Rowny went in closed session before the Foreign Relations Committee this morning and gave his explanation of his “hit list,” and it is clear that his explanation did not really satisfy the committee.6 Beyond that, both the Republicans and Democrats came out of the meeting, in which both Nitze and Rowny testified, with the information that no progress was being made in the negotiations. The Democrats blamed this on the Administration, and the Republicans, represented by Senator Percy, blamed it on the Soviets. Nevertheless, I am told that this played quite harshly on the evening television.

These were the leading meetings of the day, although there were a great number of other meetings of various kinds. It is interesting that [Page 582] after a drought of about three or four days in which things were very quiet, activity exploded today, and tomorrow promises to be another very heavy day. There are certainly ups and downs in this business, and the problem is to use one’s time on relatively free days productively. I tend to use it on light days to catch up on my reading, but even there it is hard to know where to put my priorities. There are so many telegrams and memoranda which one can read that it is very hard to sort out one’s priorities. Indeed, priorities with regard to use of time are perhaps the most difficult aspects of my entire job.

  1. Source: Department of State, D Files, Deputy Secretary Dam’s Official Files: Lot 85D308, Personal Notes of Deputy Secretary—Kenneth W. Dam—Oct. 1982–Sept. 1983. Secret. Dictated on April 6.
  2. The memorandum of the meeting is in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. IV, Soviet Union, January 1983–March 1985, Document 37.
  3. In an April 22 statement, the President indicated that the United States had proposed to the Soviet Union the negotiation of a new long-term grain agreement: “Negotiation of a new long-term agreement is consistent with United States agricultural export policy and reflects our commitment to reestablish the U.S. as a reliable supplier.” (Public Papers: Reagan, 1983, Book I, p. 575)
  4. Documentation on the meeting is in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. IV, Soviet Union, January 1983–March 1985, Documents 38 and 39.
  5. In a note dictated on March 30, Dam indicated that he, Shultz, and Eagleburger had met with Tom Korologos, Bryce Harlow, and David Abshire: “The purpose was to discuss the Congressional and public relations aspects of diplomacy. Henry Kissinger had a similar group, including some of the same people, during his period as Secretary of State. The problems now are different, and Henry started the process at a time when he was in very serious trouble. Conversely, George Shultz started these meetings (at least on the assumption that there is more than one, which I believe there will be) at a time when his prestige is at an unbelievable high. Obviously he is going to run into problems with the press and with the public, or otherwise he wouldn’t be a particularly effective Secretary of State because he wouldn’t be taking on fully difficult issues. Also, the problems are necessarily different.” (Department of State, D Files, Deputy Secretary Dam’s Official Files: Lot 85D308, Personal Notes of Deputy Secretary—Kenneth W. Dam—Oct. 1982–Sept. 1983)
  6. Reference is to a memorandum regarding ACDA personnel matters that Rowny gave Adelman; see Hedrick Smith, “Movement is Cited On Strategic Arms: U.S. Officials Disclose Details of Negotiations as a Show of Interest in an Accord,” New York Times, April 7, 1983, p. A14.