239. Note From Stanley Moskowitz of the National Intelligence Directorate to Director of Central Intelligence Casey1

Tom Simons gave me an oral brief on the Vice President and Secretary’s meeting with Andropov:

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Andropov read from a script but he did not slavishly follow it. He was at ease with the material.

Simons (or the VP) characterized Andropov as unyielding on substance, but “positive” and procedurally inviting”.

Andropov started by expressing appreciation for the respect we showed Brezhnev and the rank of our delegation.

• He said that the President’s statements about desiring better relations had not gone unnoticed.

• The USSR desired the peaceful development of relations. The international situation was complex. The USSR was showing restraint, but the US should be under no illusion regarding its strength.

• US actions have squandered the reserve of good will from the detente period. It’s important to maintain stability in US–USSR relations.

• Erosion in relations should not be allowed to continue.

• More than verbal promises are needed to improve relations.

• It is desirable to halt the arms race spiral in a way that won’t prejudice either side’s interests, and on the basis of equality, non-interference and mutual advantage.

• Both sides should refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of the other. We have different standards, (for internal behavior, presumably) and they should be respected. (Simons said that Andropov showed the most passion on the question of non-interference in internal affairs.)

To me, from the brief run-down, the most interesting aspect is Andropov’s raising the question of interference. The Soviets are enormously sensitive on this subject, and they have gotten the message from the President’s democratization effort. That’s not surprising. What is surprising is that Andropov would be so clearly willing to express their sensitivity and—we might guess, their vulnerability—on this issue. We have not heard the last of this, particularly as we move ahead on Soviet minorities programs, etc.

Simons told me that it may be a while before a Memcon is finally approved. Apparently there is some back and forth with Ambassador Hartman on what to say in the memorandum about the Vice President’s remarks. I got the impression that the Vice President may have misspoken, but that is only conjecture. I would guess that there is probably some sensitivity, particularly at the NSC over the Vice President’s fairly positive remarks in Moscow. Note that he had described Brezhnev as a prominent world “leader”. The word leader had been explicitly changed to “figure” in the official letter of condolence.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, Job 84B00049R: Subject Files (1981–1982), Box 14, Folder 341: DCI/DDCI Meeting With Secretary of State Shultz 19NOV82. Secret; Sensitive. Copied to Gates. Printed from an uninitialed copy.