181. Note Prepared in the Situation Room1

Soviet Comments on Upcoming Summit

Soviet Embassy First Secretary Gennadiy Domakhin recently asked a former senior-level U.S. official who is a Soviet affairs expert to tell U.S. officials that the Soviets are unsure of the President’s interests and intentions regarding the upcoming summit. Domakhin predicted that if the President intends to use the summit as a vehicle for a message similar to that he presented in London, the summit would be a debacle. Domakhin added:

• If the President wants to strengthen U.S.-Soviet accord, a Moscow summit and Soviet television for the summit are likely. Even if the summit is held in a neutral location, Soviet television would be available for the President.

• The President would gain credibility in Soviet eyes if he takes a more conciliatory approach.

In response to a question, Domakhin said Brezhnev’s attendance at the summit “at this point is certain,” but without elaboration he noted the possibility of an “historical accident” precluding Brezhnev’s attendance.

• Domakhin implied that Brezhnev’s attendance might be contingent upon what President Reagan’s summit objectives are, and perhaps even upon the line the President takes in Bonn and Berlin.

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• The source doubts the latter, but feels perhaps the reality of Brezhnev being at the summit is in doubt and certainly the reality of a positive outcome is in doubt.

Domakhin expressed much interest in the possibility of a joint U.S.-Soviet “action” to insure Lebanon’s integrity. (S)

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Clark Files, US-Soviet Relations Papers Working File. Secret. A stamped notation at the top of the note reads: “WPC has seen.” An unknown hand wrote at the top of the note: “Save (Summit File).”