298. Electronic Message From Alison Fortier of the National Security Council Staff to Grant Green of the National Security Council Staff and the Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (Powell)1


  • GOP Leadership Meeting of April 21.2

The following summary is not necessarily word-for-word. Direct quotes are noted.

The President followed his talking points. There was a little back and forth on the budget.

The President then turned to Secretary Shultz who made a 45 minute presentation. Shultz opened with a Sakharov quote about disarmament being inconceivable without open society. President has said similar things . . . that tensions produce arms not the other way round. President has always insisted that we follow 4 point agenda with Soviets. Did this in Moscow along with other bi-lateral issues. We had hard talks on the Embassy Moscow situation.3 Also had interesting time with Ryzhkov on the economy.4 Discussed human rights, regional issues, and arms control.

Always a fight to get people to pay attention to human rights and regional issues. But these were front & center in my meetings in Moscow.

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On human rights, things are changing in SU. Whether they’re going in direction we want, remains to be seen. Political prisoners have been released, emigration is up from 100/month to 500; Sakharov back in Moscow. Gorbachev pursuing policy of greater openness. Evidence of this in Seder; Refuseniks came from other parts of SU; Soviets could have prevented this but let it happen.5 Went to suburban area to meet with playwrights, etc.6 They see greater chance to publish, argue now. They feel legitimate, can say what they think. I asked to go on Soviet TV. They said yes. Interview lasted 32 minutes, was not cut though they omitted Russian translation of my remarks on Afghanistan; that Soviets should get out of Afghanistan. They used to stiff arm you on these issues, new leadership willing to talk about it.

On regional issues, had very tough talk from both of us. Unrelenting in their statements on Afghanistan though I personally think we may be near end game on Afghanistan. This is time to keep pressure on. Paks getting bombed. Need help on air surveillance. If Congressional statutes prohibit helping them, we need to fix so we can do this.

On Central America, they declared aggressively their intention to stay there. They see Nicaragua as piece of real estate they intend to have say in. So this is not politics, this is U.S. national security.

Discussion on all arms control issues: Ball didn’t move very much—a little bit. Positions changed but not necessarily together. But what Pres. put on the table in START still there: 50% reductions, on heavy bombers. But they weren’t interested in discussing that or Space much.

There’s a chance for agreement on INF. They’re interested in agreement as are we. The President leaves me in enviable position, if you find something good for U.S., fine; if not, don’t do it. That basic attitude comes across to Soviets and helps.

The Reykjavik formula of 100 INF globally on each side is there. We continued to say we believe 0 is better than 100 for piece of mind of [Page 1325] Japanese and others, for verification, and gets us away from hard question of where the 100 should be deployed. They’re big to get us not to deploy in Alaska and we won’t agree. President Reagan agreed to 100 at Reykjavik; we’ll go with that.

On verification, our detailed treaty tabled at Geneva. They say they’re prepared for intrusive verification; may want to go further than we. That gives tremors to some here. INF & START with intrusiveness will increase transparency of their society. They’re bringing verification proposals to Geneva on April 23.

On SRINF, they have & we don’t. There are 120 or so Soviet launchers (x5 or 6 warheads). Gorbachev tried LRINF formula for SRINF/eliminate in Europe with some in Asia. We said no. Difficult enough to verify with LRINF but SRINF can be put on plane and moved easily. We said it would have to be zero. This is our position since 81—to limit them; must be global limits. We’ve insisted on equality and the right to match. They didn’t accept this but the next day there was evolution in their position. Shev. meeting: equality of zero; they agreed to draw down within one year. We must insist on equality; can’t let go of that principle. Under this agreement, they’d take out 1200 warheads and we’d take out 180 warheads and if (President has made no decision), we were to have zero SRINF, they’d remove 500–600 warheads and we’d remove zero.

We told them sometime ago that we have CW demolition plant which they’re welcome to watch. They’ve said they have no CW. But last few weeks Gorbachev said they have CW and they’re establishing CW demolition facility. Shultz suggested we exchange visits and they agreed. We continue to push global CW ban with great intrusiveness for verification; insist on mandatory challenge inspection.

On nuclear testing, he said CORRTEX has inaccuracy of 30%; their method more accurate. We’re interested in verification with best method you can have. President trying to get them interested in verification for some time. If through Congressional action, we throw the towel in on nuclear testing, we’re throwing in the towel on much more orderly and desirable way to proceed.

We had a brief discussion on conventional arms. As you come down in nuclear arms, conventional imbalance becomes more important. Cites recent Gorbachev speech—recommends it to you to read; he said new things; “this guy’s a firecracker, believe me.”

We went on to Brussels; Soviets taunted me, do you want zero option or not.7 This gave us the chance to say that we’re members of [Page 1326] free alliance; will come back with our position after consultations. Had sensational interagency team with me. Terrific talking points for me to use in Brussels. Told the allies: you can accept the Soviet offer, reject it or make a counterproposal. Made two points. Peace/deterrence in Europe depends on nuclear deterrence; NATO strategy one of flexible response. If decided that we want some SRINF, then alliance must be ready to deploy; we don’t want empty right to match. Make us look dumb. So Allies must face up to whether they want us to deploy.

We don’t have much money; we have one system ready. Convert PIIs to PIb. So we can have the weapon but they must be ready to deploy. So everyone is now trying to consider where to go on SRINF. There’s an HLG (Perle) and a SCP (Holmes) these weeks so active consultations. We need to see whether we have the guts to deploy or whether to go down to zero and what are the problems there.

There are nuclear forces left in Europe: Lance, F–lll’s, fighter bombers. So our capacity to respond flexibly is there.

We must maintain our strength. We’re cutting our security assistance brutally; Spain, Greece, Turkey. Cut Turkey to rivets. Plus there’s talk about passing that crazy Armenian resolution. Look at the map, look at where Turkey is. We’re not providing the funds and we’re roughing them up. They’re not paragons of virtue, neither are the Greeks.

The President then turned to Rep. Cheney who was with Codel Wright in Moscow. Cheney said he started out as a sceptic about the Soviets interest in arms control. But he came away persuaded they are serious about this arms control package. If you believe in arms control, this is as good a deal as we’ll see in the near future.

Bob Michel: Why did the Soviets offer a zero-zero option? Is it to play politics with our allies?

Shultz: If I brought back their side of the deal to you, you’d run me out; they’re playing a political game for FRG. FRG worries that WWIII battlefield will be on German soil; the shorter the range of weapons, the more likely it will look to FRG that battlefield will be there. But I don’t think that strategy will work with our allies.

Boschwitz: What about verifiability of those weapons?

Shultz: 0 easier to verify. Uncertainty about how many are there. Mobile harder to count. Can have certainty about number destroyed. Certainty about production plants you monitor; may not be sure of all production plants though surer of these.

Warner: Did you discuss the broad vs narrow ABM?

Shultz; Broad vs narrow not what discussed in Geneva. Didn’t discuss broad vs narrow. I reiterated our view of negotiating record.

Kemp: Did ATBM come up?

Shultz: No.

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Lott: Don’t feel we have strategy on how to get security assistance funds we’re interested in. We need to get together.

President Reagan: then continues with his talking points on trade. Those on Japan were modified somewhat. The President stated: We took action with the Japanese. We’ll know shortly whether the message got across.

Michel: We need to work on strategy on trade bill; Yeutter and Baldridge are in the Far East; we’re talking to Jim Baker about strategy this afternoon.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Nicholas Rostow Files, Subject File, Arms Control (1); NLR–497–2–8–2–8. Secret; Sensitive. Copies were sent to David Matthews, Linhard, Brooks, Kramer, Schott Stevens, Rostow, Ermarth, and Sommer. Fortier forwarded the message to Rostow at 11:44 a.m.
  2. The President met with the Republican congressional leadership in the Cabinet Room from 9:35 until 10:38. (Reagan Library, President’s Daily Diary)
  3. According to the memorandum of conversation of Shultz and Shevardnadze’s first conversation in Moscow, which took place the morning of April 13: “Then there was the problem of the new US Embassy chancery building. We had been examining the structure for some time. The Secretary had to say that the building was just honeycombed with various types of listening devices. Our intelligence services had to admire Soviet techniques. But at this point it was an open question as to whether we could deal with what had been put there and still have a secure working environment. Some felt that the presence of these devices was so pervasive that the only solution was to tear down the present structure and start over.” (Memorandum of conversation, April 13; Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. VI, Soviet Union, October 1986–January 1989, Document 38)
  4. Shultz met with Ryzhkov on April 14. For the memorandum of conversation, see Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. VI, Soviet Union, October 1986–January 1989, Document 41.
  5. Shultz and Shevardnadze met the evening of April 13 from 8:30 until 10:30 p.m. During the conversation Shultz “said he had attended a seder at Spaso House and had been able to meet some of the people about whom he had talked to the Foreign Minister earlier in the day. He added that Mrs. Shultz had had a very fine day, seeing many things the Secretary wished he had time for.” (Telegram Secto 6027 from Secretary of State Shultz’s Delegation, April 15; Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. VI, Soviet Union, October 1986–January 1989, Document 40)
  6. In telegram Secto 6030 to the President, April 15, Shultz described his “last day in Moscow [April 15],” noting: “The highlight was a two-hour discussion with nine Soviet intellectuals, novelists, poets, and artists. They were all exhilarated by Gorbachev’s openness policy. Some of these writers are only now being allowed to publish works they wrote 20 or 30 years ago. But they all emphasized that this current level of ‘glasnost’ must be considered just a beginning. I left with them a variety of books by current American authors which they eagerly accepted.” ( Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. VI, Soviet Union, October 1986–January 1989, Document 47)
  7. Shultz departed Moscow on April 15 for Brussels, where he briefed the NATO foreign ministers on his trip to Moscow.