6. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Allen) to President Reagan1


  • Important Information Items

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Soviet Union.]

Moscow “Relaxed” About Relations with U.S.: [1 line not declassified] Aleksandr Bessmertnykh, minister-counselor at the Soviet embassy in Washington, told a [less than 1 line not declassified] source that Moscow is “in a very relaxed mood over the new U.S. administration,” and though the Kremlin expects there to be “some period of drift” in Washington’s policy toward the USSR, the situation is not “totally bad” for the time being. He added that within six months Moscow expects the U.S. to take steps to improve relations. Bessmertnykh also commented that it will be “extremely important” for the U.S. to overcome the [Page 16] tendency of “paying too much attention to perceptions of what is happening in Moscow . . . in contrast to the realities of the situation,” and that “what is going on behind the scenes is more important to Moscow than what is seen to be happening or is being said.” In introducing the subject of SALT II negotiations, the counselor mentioned that they could be a hindrance to normalization of relations unless the administration adopts a position of equality between the superpowers, in which case Moscow would be willing to re-negotiate. (S)

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Soviet Union.]

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Nance Files, Nance Chron January 1981 (2 of 3). Secret. A copy was sent to the Vice President. Printed from an unsigned copy.