87. Editorial Note

In a September 22, 1981, memorandum to President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Richard Allen, Dennis Blair of the National Security Council staff reported that he and Richard Pipes of the National Security Council staff observed that the changes made by Allen and Pipes were not incorporated into the version of President Ronald Reagan’s letter to Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev (see the attachment to Document 85) that was transmitted to Moscow. Blair attributed this oversight to a communications error between himself and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Mark Palmer—not “a calculated move by State to undercut the NSC.” To this memorandum, Blair attached an annotated copy of the letter indicating the discrepancies. (Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC: Head of State File: USSR: General Secretary Brezhnev (8105567, 8105658))

In telegram 252408 to all North Atlantic Treaty Organization capitals, Moscow, Canberra, Madrid, Tokyo, and Wellington, September 21, the Department noted: “As part of our campaign to take the political offensive away from the Soviets, the President has decided to send a letter to Brezhnev timed to the start of the UNGA fall session and the Secretary’s meetings with Gromyko, describing his views on the future direction of US-Soviet relations.” The Department instructed the Chargé in Moscow to deliver the letter to the Acting Soviet Foreign Minister or highest-ranking official before noon Eastern Daylight Time, [Page 257] September 22. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D810444–0892) In telegram 13306 from Moscow, September 22, Chief Political Officer Sherrod McCall reported that he had an appointment at the Soviet Foreign Ministry that day at 3 p.m. Moscow time. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D810445–0385) In telegram 13383 from Moscow, September 23, McCall reported a conversation with Deputy USA Institute Director Radomir Bodganov, who conveyed Soviet Foreign Minister Anatoly Gromyko’s annoyance at Washington’s having sent the letter after his departure from Moscow. McCall commented: “We take Bogdanov with a grain of salt, but we tend to believe he did consult on the analysis of the President’s letter and that he may be accurately reporting Gromyko’s reaction.” (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D810448–0174)