222. Memorandum From Secretary of State Shultz to President Reagan1


  • My Second Session with Gromyko—October 4

Today’s return meeting with Gromyko at the Soviet U.N. Mission went four-and-a-half hours. The atmosphere, as at our first session, was serious and devoid of polemics. Basic differences were not narrowed, but I believe we laid the foundation for future discussions.

Gromyko dealt at length on the Middle East. His main point was that as a major power close to the region the Soviet Union must be included in diplomatic efforts to achieve Middle East peace. While he reiterated familiar Soviet support for a Palestinian state, he went out of his way to repeat several times that the USSR also supports Israel’s right to exist.

Discussion proceeded from the Arab-Israeli dispute to the Iran/Iraq war. This gave me the opportunity to tell Gromyko we consider the Gulf an area of vital importance to us, and if the conflict spreads to endanger our friends in the area this would be a matter of grave concern to us.

On human rights, I stressed Jewish emigration, and mentioned Anatoly Shcharanskiy as well as people with a claim to American citizenship who wish to emigrate. Gromyko claimed that emigration had declined because our relations have turned down, but did not budge on substance.

On Afghanistan, Gromyko sounded the same two notes as in the first meeting: the problem is mainly the result of outside interference, and the USSR favors the talks taking place under the UN Secretary General’s auspices with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

I stressed the disruptive influence of Soviet support for the arms buildup and political subversion in the Caribbean/Central America by Cuba and Nicaragua. I told Gromyko that the introduction of jet fighter aircraft or armed Cuban forces in Nicaragua would be unacceptable to the U.S.

On southern Africa, I described the efforts we and the Contact Group are making to achieve a Namibia settlement, and how Cuban [Page 757] troop withdrawal from Angola is related to it. Gromyko replied that the Soviets would like to see the problem solved, but emphasized that Cuban troops would only leave after the South Africans were out of Namibia.

Turning to nuclear proliferation, I said this seemed to us to be an area where the two countries might be able to work together. He replied that the Soviets stand firmly in support of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and “are prepared to act accordingly”.

At the close of our meeting, I reiterated a point made last week: We are prepared to go in a more constructive direction in our relationship, or continue as we are. For our part, we would prefer to embark on a more constructive path, but the choice is up to the Soviet Union.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC: Country File, USSR (9/30/82–10/07/82). Secret; Sensitive. Drafted by Simons; cleared by Hartman, Palmer, Burt, and Eagleburger. The President initialed the top of the memorandum.