167. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

128087. Subject: Haig-Dobrynin Meeting May 7, 1982.

1. (Secret)—Entire text.

2. Summary: Secretary called in Dobrynin May 7 to inform him of President’s intention to begin START negotiations, as well as to clarify our position on an eventual summit. Secretary balanced the current focus on START by stressing the geopolitical issues on which we seek Soviet restraint—Afghanistan, Poland, Falkland Islands, and Southern Africa. Secretary also informed Dobrynin of great concern of administration and American people over decreased level of Soviet Jewish emigration, noting that emigration and situation of Soviet Jewry were critical to overall U.S.-Soviet relationship. At the end of the meeting, Dobrynin raised two bilateral issues: Joint fishing agreement and consulates. Copy of Secretary’s talking points being pouched to Embassy. Highlights of meeting given below. End summary.

3. START and Summit: Secretary outlined the contents of the President’s letter to Brezhnev on START,2 that Embassy Moscow would deliver it in Moscow on the President’s behalf. Secretary told Dobrynin we would be in touch shortly regarding the modalities for commencing START negotiations. On the summit issue, Secretary said the President’s suggestion for a meeting with Brezhnev in New York still stood, but if Gromyko led the SSOD delegation, the Secretary would look forward to meeting with him. Asked about a formal summit in October, Secretary said in principle we had nothing against an eventual summit, provided conditions were right.

4. Geopolitical Issues: On Poland, Secretary emphasized that dialogue, not confrontation, was the only solution to the Polish crisis, that recent demonstrations only underlined the need for a process of national reconciliation, and that further regime brutality could sour the atmosphere of the U.S.-Soviet relationship. Dobrynin said the Soviet side saw things differently; if the U.S. would ease up on Poland, the U.S. would be surprised at the response. The Secretary indicated that the Polish leadership was well aware that we were prepared to be forthcoming on economic relations once our three conditions were met. [Page 543] On South Africa, the Secretary said we were fully aware of Soviet efforts to undermine our peace efforts, and gave Dobrynin a non-paper (being pouched) on this score. Dobrynin claimed the Soviet side also wished to see the problems of that region solved, and said the Soviet side might be able to assist if it knew more precisely what the U.S. was up to. The Secretary responded that, as he had made clear to Gromyko, we hoped for Moscow’s cooperation and were prepared to discuss the problem further with the Soviet side. On Afghanistan, the Secretary said this issue remained a major impediment to progress in the relationship. Dobrynin remarked that the Soviet side was still awaiting a U.S. response on experts’ talks; the Secretary said we had the matter under active review and would be back in touch on this shortly. On the Falklands, the Secretary underscored our earlier warnings that the USSR remain uninvolved (Dobrynin predictably insisted that the Soviets were uninvolved).

5. Jewish Emigration: The Secretary said that Soviet Jewish emigration had come to a virtual halt, and this was of great concern to the administration as well as to the American Congress and people. Dobrynin replied that this issue should not be placed at the center of U.S.-Soviet relations. The Secretary emphasized that no matter where one placed the issue, it remained critical to the overall relationship.

6. Bilateral Issues: Dobrynin raised the recent U.S. decision to extend the West Coast cooperative fishing venture, saying that “top levels” in Moscow took note of a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow that this USG decision should not be read as a political signal. Dobrynin ridiculed this statement, remarking that since the agreement was of substantial economic benefit to the U.S., it was hard to see how any sort of “signal” was involved. Dobrynin also raised the consulates issue, noting that the Soviet Embassy had recently been informed that the Soviet-owned consulate building in New York could not be occupied by even one or two Soviet families, while the U.S. was free to use its apartments in Kiev. The Secretary indicated that the U.S. decision on joint fishing spoke for itself, and that he would look into the consulates question.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, [no film number]. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Stadis. Drafted by Combs; cleared by Holmes, Bremer, Goldberg, and in S/S–O; approved by Eagleburger.
  2. See Document 166.