227. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Moscow1

302968. For Hartman from Eagleburger and Burt. Subject: Dobrynin Call on Eagleburger October 26.

1. (S—Entire text). Begin summary: Dobrynin called on Eagleburger at his request October 26 to deliver Soviet announcement of same day launch within USSR of “a new type” of light ICBM “RS–22.” Notification states it is made as “gesture of good will” and “guided by the objective to preserve (sic) all positive achievements of the SALT–2 negotiations.” We are analyzing significance of notification and its content. Discussion also touched on Shultz-Gromyko meeting in New York and states of INF and START negotiations. End summary.

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2. On October 26 at 1700. Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin called at his request on Under Secretary Eagleburger to deliver unofficial Soviet Embassy translation of notification of same-day launch [of] a “new type” of light ICBM “RS–22” at Plesetsk. Text of translation is given in para 3 below. Eagleburger was accompanied by EUR Assistant Secretary-Designate Burt, EUR/SOV Director Simons and P Special Assistant Montgomery.

3. Begin text: As a gesture of good will, the Soviet side informs the U.S. side that the first launch of the “RS–22” light intercontinental ballistic missile of a new type was carried out on October 26, 1982 in the Soviet Union, within its national territory.

. . . in submitting this notification the Soviet side is guided by the objective to preserve all positive achievements of the SALT–2 negotiations. The present notification is offered, of course, on a strictly confidential basis. End text.

4. With reference to the specification that the launch was of a “new type” of system, Burt asked if it were possible for us to conclude that this was the USSR’s designated new type under the provisions of SALT II. Moscow saying that other systems which would be tested will be variants of older types of systems? Dobrynin said he “presumed” this was so, but was not 100 percent sure.

5. Burt noted we had observed two new systems under development, one larger than the other, and at least one which appeared to be mobile, and he asked if one of these systems was involved. Dobrynin said he had no information on this point.

6. Burt expressed his view that the notification represented something of a departure for the Soviet side, and Dobrynin reaffirmed that it is indeed a gesture.

7. With reference to the recently concluded conference on democratization in Communist countries, Dobrynin congratulated Eagleburger on being a good crusader. Eagleburger rejoined that the conference had been interesting, and should give the Soviets no cause for concern. Dobrynin replied that they are not concerned, but continue to be surprised at what kind of administration there is in Washington.

8. Eagleburger asked Dobrynin’s off-the-record assessment of the Shultz-Gromyko meetings. Dobrynin said there had been no progress on the issues, but the Soviet judgment was that agreement to move forward with discussions of human rights/CSCE, Southern Africa and non-proliferation was welcome “small movement, even though discussions on some of these and similar topics like Afghanistan had been in train before.” Eagleburger agreed. Dobrynin asked when the Soviet side could expect answers to its proposals for beginning discussion on Southern Africa and non-proliferation the week of November 9. In the [Page 765] case of non-proliferation, it was a question of using experts from the Soviet UNGA delegation or sending them back to Moscow. Eagleburger and Burt said answers could be expected soon, and would probably suggest that discussions begin somewhat later than the Soviets had proposed, perhaps in the late November-early December timeframe.

9. Eagleburger said he would be in New Delhi in mid-November, and asked to be remembered to Dobrynin’s former No. 2 in Washington (now Ambassador in New Delhi) Vorontsov, on the off chance they would have occasion to meet.

10. Dobrynin asked for our assessment of the status of START and INF.

11. With regard to INF, Burt said our assessment is that the Soviet stance is a little tougher this round than last. Dobrynin asked for an example. Burt said it is a general impression, based on the fact that the Soviet negotiator returned to announce that he would be reiterating the basic Soviet position without change. With regard to START, it is too early for us to form the same kind of impression, Burt continued. We think it good that both sides are discussing the concept of reductions and the same type of units of account, but we are still at the stage of exploring views.

12. With regard to the Soviet suggestion of a statement of principles, Burt continued, we are not opposed to the approach per se; the difficulty is that the Soviets are suggesting the wrong principles. It could be helpful to agree on basic principles, and there were precedents, but they must be the same principles. Dobrynin rejoined that if the U.S. sticks to a zero option for a whole year, the Soviets can be expected to put forward a version of their own. Eagleburger noted that the Soviets had put forward a peculiar kind of zero option.

14[sic]. Eagleburger drew Dobrynin’s attention to the fact that in briefing the press following his meetings with Gromyko the Secretary had stressed that the two sides were approaching the negotiations seriously. Dobrynin asked jovially whether this was a message to the “next (Soviet) generation,” as Bernard Gwertzman had claimed in the New York Times.2 Eagleburger replied that in all seriousness our approach is that we deal with Soviet Governments one at a time, and thus with the government in place; Gwertzman may not have invented his story, but he did not get it from George Shultz, or Eagleburger himself, or from Burt.

15. Dobrynin asked whether in Burt’s opinion Rostow’s trip to Europe was helpful to the negotiations in Geneva. Burt replied that he [Page 766] thought it was, since it demonstrated our commitment to progress in the negotiation. Eagleburger said Rostow seemed to have had a useful talk with Soviet negotiator Kvitsinskiy. He had also been talking to our allies. Dobrynin said the trouble was that he appeared to be saying different things in these conversations. Eagleburger surmised that some allies might not have been listening as carefully as Kvitsinskiy, but asked for specific examples. Dobrynin said his was a general impression. Eagleburger concluded that the reports he had did not show such contradictions.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, [no film number]. Secret; Nodis; Stadis; Immediate. Drafted by Simons; cleared by Palmer, Burt, and in S/S–O; approved by Eagleburger.
  2. A reference to Bernard Gwertzman, “U.S. is Preparing its Policies With a New Kremlin Leader in Mind,” New York Times, October 25, 1982, p. A9.