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


  • Secretary Shultz’s Meeting with Dobrynin, October 28

George Shultz has sent you the memorandum at Tab A regarding his luncheon meeting with Dobrynin last Friday, at which only the two of them were present.2

When he briefed Jack Matlock and some members of his senior staff after the lunch, he made the following additional points, which were not included in the memorandum because of their sensitivity:

—In response to George’s mention of their assurances on Shcharansky, Dobrynin said that there had been a misunderstanding, since Kondrashev (Max Kampelman’s KGB interlocutor in Madrid) had never been authorized to give assurances on Shcharansky’s release.3

Dobrynin asked specifically what you had in mind in your reference to “confidential contacts” in your handwritten letter to Andropov.4 Shultz said that you meant restricted contacts through normal diplomatic channels to which only a very few officials would be privy, in order to maintain strict confidentiality.

—When George suggested that communication had to be a two-way street, and that more regular contact must be provided to Art Hartman in Moscow, Dobrynin merely shrugged.

Even though Dobrynin was unresponsive on the matter of Hartman’s access, you should note that Gromyko did in fact receive Hartman on October 19, just before Hartman’s departure for the U.S., and spent an hour and fifteen minutes with him. In that conversation, Gromyko argued that the Soviet leadership is convinced that you are not serious in your efforts to negotiate since you do not recognize the [Page 449] legitimacy of the Soviet Government and seek only to bring it down. Hartman responded vigorously to these allegations. While self-serving (in the sense that they are advanced to “explain” Soviet truculence), such ideas may in fact be held by some members of the Soviet leadership.5

Whether or not that is the case, however, I believe it is important to continue efforts to activate the dialogue, since our public diplomacy will be undermined if the Soviets can argue plausibly that we are unwilling to communicate with them.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC Country File, Europe and Soviet Union, USSR (10/26/83–10/31/83). Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. Prepared by Matlock. A copy was sent to Bush. Reagan initialed the memorandum, indicating he saw it. With the resignation of Clark, Reagan appointed his deputy, Robert “Bud” McFarlane to the position of the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs on October 17.
  2. Tab A is printed as Document 130. This meeting was on Friday, October 28.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 104. Telegram 291811 to Moscow, October 13, summarized a meeting between Dobrynin and Eagleburger in which they discussed this misunderstanding between Kampelman and Kondrashev. (Reagan Library, Jack Matlock Files, Meetings with USSR Officials, US-Soviet-Diplomatic Contacts, (6/8))
  4. See Document 70.
  5. See Document 127.