241. Note Prepared by the Deputy Secretary of State (Dam)1

I had a very interesting lunch today with Cyrus Vance and his family, who were here for the unveiling of his portrait. George Shultz was unable to be present at the lunch, although he was present just before lunch and was there again for the unveiling. It gave me an opportunity to have some impression of Vance’s personality. He came through as stronger than I had been led to believe by the media, but at the same time, he did not seem as multi-faceted as I suspected that he might be. He is very much a public person—a slow, deliberate, balanced figure on all occasions. I see in him, deeply etched, the senior Wall Street corporate partner, as well as the experienced man of foreign affairs. I liked him very much, as I gather all people who have dealt with him have liked him.

We had a long meeting this afternoon at 6 o’clock concerning a question involving negotiations with the union over senior Foreign Service performance pay. What was interesting about it was not the details about bonus systems but rather the Secretary’s great interest in improving the management of the Department. An entire hour was spent on the subject, and the Secretary probed very deeply into the way in which bonus systems work and should work.

Somewhat earlier, at 5:15, we had a meeting called a Pre-Brief for a lunch that the Secretary is having tomorrow with Soviet Ambassador [Page 800] Dobrynin.2 It quickly turned into a discussion of what our policy toward the Soviet Union should be in this period of change just after General Secretary Andropov has come to power. Obviously everyone fears that the public euphoria over a possible looser situation in the Soviet Union will lead us toward short-sighted measures. One element in this appears to be Andropov’s willingness, perhaps a result of his experience with disinformation as the head of the KGB, to try to manipulate U.S. opinion and the opinion of other countries through planted messages and signals.

For example, William Verity, the head of the U.S.–U.S.S.R. Commercial Commission, came back with what he thought was a message, which was a series of Soviet suggestions that they were ready for a summit. They were interested in whether he would be speaking to the President. This led Verity into great enthusiasm, apparently, about the prospects of a move toward detente and greatly expanded U.S. commercial relations wih the Soviet Union.

Similarly, it is quite apparent that Andropov distorted the conversation that he had with Vice President Bush in a subsequent conversation with President Carstens of West Germany. Essentially Andropov told Carstens that Bush had linked Soviet policy in Afghanistan and Poland to our position on the missile deployments in Europe. Quite to the contrary, Bush had simply made the point that our relationship with the Soviet Union would depend upon the actual actions that the Soviet Union took. Our position is that we believe the missile deployments are needed to offset the effects of the Soviet SS–20. Obviously Andropov is trying either to browbeat the Germans or to find some formula by which he could eliminate the threat of new U.S. missile deployments without in any way affecting the existing Russian SS–20 deployments.

I am dictating this on the way home en route to pick up Marcia for a black tie dinner being given for us by Ambassador and Mrs. Jacovides of the Cyprus Embassy.

  1. Source: Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/S-I Records: Deputy Secretary Dam’s Official Files, Lot 85D308, Personal Notes of Deputy Secretary—Kenneth W. Dam—Oct. 1982–Sept. 1983. Secret.
  2. In a note he dictated on November 23, Dam added: “The Secretary met with Ambassador Dobrynin today. The meeting was the result of a conversation at a reception that the Secretary and Dobrynin had several weeks ago, but the actual date was not set until after the Secretary returned from the Brezhnev funeral. I would suspect that the fact of the lunch will get a considerable amount of press play. I heard some of the de-briefing of the Secretary by the staff. Apparently it was a business-like lunch which might lead to closer contacts and more comprehensive discussion, but nothing at all definitive came out of it. It seems likely that the Secretary and Dobrynin will not meet again until close to Christmas because of the Secretary’s travel schedule, and the meeting may not even occur then because of Dobrynin’s return at Christmas to the Soviet Union.” (Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/S–I Records: Deputy Secretary Dam’s Official Files, Lot 85D308, Personal Notes of Deputy Secretary—Kenneth W. Dam—Oct. 1982–Sept. 1983)