185. Memorandum From Secretary of State Haig to President Reagan 1

SUBJECT

  • My Meeting with Gromyko June 18

Gromyko and I will meet Friday afternoon and, if we decide we need more time, again Saturday morning. I expect to find Gromyko in a complaining mood following your successful European trip and the beating the Syrians and PLO have taken in Lebanon. The meeting is therefore likely to be a sober affair with few if any immediate results.

It is nevertheless an important opportunity to register the essential continuity of our overall approach to the Soviets at a moment when the spotlight is on arms control. The full scope of your negotiating program is now on display, and we have the high ground. But I also want to use this meeting to make clear to Gromyko that the Soviets are not off the hook with regard to the agenda of regional concerns we have set before them: Poland, Afghanistan, southern Africa, Central America and Kampuchea.

The message, once again, will be that the constructive East-West relations we want are not possible without serious adjustments in Soviet behavior on these issues. In particular, I will want to probe for openings toward progress concerning Poland, where the situation remains unstable. In the same spirit, I plan to suggest intensified bilateral discussions of what it would take to achieve political solutions in Afghanistan and in southern Africa. Explaining to the Soviets our policy on southern Africa seems to me particularly important at this point, since we are entering a critical phase on Namibia/Angola and need to deprive them of the excuse that they were unaware of what we are [Page 584] doing. On the Middle East, I will be responding to—and deflecting—Gromyko’s complaints.

On arms control, I will take advantage of your initiatives and Alliance support for your negotiating program to put Gromyko on the defensive, building on your UNSSOD speech. The message will be that we have a sensible and comprehensive program for negotiating improved security for both sides through significant reductions; that the Soviets cannot be serious when they accuse us of not being sincere; and that it is up to them to demonstrate in negotiations that they really favor arms control.

I do not plan to raise a possible meeting between you and Brezhnev myself, because it is important at this point that we not appear anxious to get to the summit. When Gromyko raises it, as he almost certainly will, I will make very clear that we do not favor the kind of summit without substance that has occurred in the past, and will therefore be looking for real progress on our agenda as we assess the prospects of a summit in the months ahead.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC: Country File: USSR (6/16/82–6/17/82). Secret.