129. Note From the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs (Burt) to Secretary of State Shultz1
Attached is a “point paper” for use during your lunch with Dobrynin today.2 It gives you a brief background on the likely topics that could arise in your discussion—Grenada, Lebanon, INF, etc.—and suggests some points you might make.
As you know, Larry has suggested an “unbuttoned” approach to the lunch, with you beginning by simply noting that in difficult periods it is important to talk and then letting the conversation proceed in an unstructured manner. Art, on the other hand, favors a more formal probing approach in which you would initiate the conversation by saying that we are genuinely perplexed by recent Soviet behavior—KAL, reneging on human rights commitments, etc.—and wonder whether Dobrynin can shed some light on Moscow’s thinking.[Page 440]
I tend to favor Larry’s approach, although I do not believe the conversation should be a completely unstructured bull session. I think that if you adopt Art’s approach it would invite Dobrynin to launch into a diatribe against the Reagan Administration. In this case, it could be hard for you to get a word in edgewise.
My recommendation is that you begin the lunch with a very simple statement along the following lines:
In the last two years, we have not made a great deal of progress and have been quite critical of one another. At the same time, we have not been involved in any grave confrontations. In fact, in some areas we have accomplished a few things. Unfortunately, the trend now appears to be running in such a way that we could be moving into a dangerous period. From our point of view, we are concerned about your lack of military restraint, your actions in Syria, and your threats to respond to the deployment of INF in Europe. Furthermore, there are regional conflicts such as Iran-Iraq war which pose great dangers. In times such as these, it is critically important that we talk to one another and exercise restraint.
This kind of presentation is designed to avoid an extended Dobrynin diatribe. We can, of course, expect him to be quite critical of our policies. He will blast us on Grenada,3 the President’s discussion of the Soviet role behind events in the Caribbean and the Middle East, and—his favorite theme—on the Reagan Administration’s supposed lack of interest in “real communication” with the Soviets.
You should respond calmly to these criticisms, reminding Dobrynin of their performance during the KAL episode, the discovery of huge amounts of Soviet/Cuban arms in Grenada, their dangerous actions with Syria, their threatening behavior on INF, and the problems their lack of compliance on arms control issues causes for ongoing negotiations. The point to emphasize is that although we may not be able to make great progress at present—though, of course, the U.S. stands ready for progress—the United States and the Soviet Union have an overwhelming responsibility to ensure that things do not get out of control.
The atmosphere you should try to create is one that encourages an informal, candid exchange about real concerns, not one in which the exchange will be set-piece restatements of current policies. In such an atmosphere, you will want to see whether Dobrynin provides any real openings worth exploring. If he engages in his familiar tactic of filibustering, you might tell him bluntly that time is short, that you want to engage in a real dialogue not speeches, and then ask directly [Page 441] what message he has from the Soviet leadership that he wants to convey to the United States.
- Source: Reagan Library, George Shultz Papers, Box 1, Executive Secretariat Super Sensitive Chronology (10/28/1983–11/14/1983); NLR–775–1–58–3–4. Secret; Sensitive. Drafted by Pascoe on October 25. McKinley’s handwritten initials are in the upper-right corner, indicating he saw it on October 29.↩
- See Document 130. Attached with the point paper, but not printed, are talking points on the “Soviets in Grenada” and a memorandum drafted by Pascoe on “Dobrynin’s Comments to FRG Ambassador Hermes.”↩
- See Document 128.↩
- Burt initialed “RB” above his typed signature.↩
- Secret; Sensitive. Brackets are in the original.↩
- On October 26, Andropov gave an interview in Pravda and discussed new INF initiatives. In telegram 9901 from the Mission in Geneva, October 27, the Mission reported on Nitze’s dinner conversation on October 26 with Kvitsinskiy: “Kvitsinskiy asked Nitze whether he had heard the reports of Secretary General Andropov’s press interview. Nitze said he had not and asked Kvitsinskiy what Andropov had said. Kvitsinskiy said that Andropov had said the Soviet side was prepared to talk about aircraft limits, was prepared to reduce its SS–20s in Europe to 140, was prepared to freeze its SS–20 deployments in the eastern Soviet Union as of the time that an agreement might go into effect. He further said that Andropov had said that the Soviet side would break off the talks if U.S. deployed.” (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D830626–0553) The INF delegation in Geneva reported further on the proposal and the statement by the Soviet delegation in telegram 9922 from the Mission in Geneva, October 27. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D830627–0272) For the text of Andropov’s interview, which was published in the October 27 edition of Pravda, see Documents on Disarmament, 1983, pp. 910–914.↩
- NSDD 104, “U.S. Approach to INF Negotiations—II, was issued on September 21 and provided instruction to the INF negotiating team. It is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. V, European Security, 1977–1983.↩
- Discussions were held in Moscow on the Hotline and other confidence-building measures on August 9 and 10.↩
- On October 23, a vehicle loaded with explosives destroyed the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, killing over 200 Marines. For documentation on the barracks bombing, see Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. XVIII, Part 2, Lebanon, September 1982–March 1984.↩
- See Document 127.↩