150. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State1
15915. Subject: Letter to Andropov. Ref: State 363464.2
1. Secret—Entire text.
2. Upon receipt reftel December 24, I immediately requested through MFA an appointment with Andropov or an assistant such as Aleksandrov. On December 26 I was given an appointment with Gromyko at 3:00 p.m. local, and delivered to him the version of the message without repeat without paragraph regarding special emissary. Gromyko was accompanied by USA Division Chief Bessmertnykh and an interpreter. I was alone.
3. Gromyko explained that Andropov was busy with the preparations for this week’s activities (a Supreme Soviet session, presumably preceded by a Party Plenum), and Andropov had thus asked him to receive the message on his behalf. Gromyko opened the message and read through it.
4. Gromyko said he would not attempt to respond on the spot, but he did seek clarification whether the paragraph concerning ballistic missiles pertained to START. I indicated that it did.
5. He said he could react to the paragraph concerning a meeting with the Secretary in Stockholm. It had been decided that he would attend the opening of CDE, and he would be prepared to meet with the Secretary.[Page 515]
6. As for the remainder of the message, he thought we would receive a Soviet response soon. It was not clear whether he meant at Stockholm or before.
7. Gromyko said Andropov and he had received New Year’s greeting cards from the President and asked me to convey their thanks. The President would be receiving New Year’s greetings from the Soviet leaders in the near future.
8. I told Gromyko I planned to say nothing public about this meeting. Gromyko interjected that it was always Washington that had something to say about such meetings. I reiterated that I did not plan to comment on it, nor on the information Gromyko had provided about his intentions for Stockholm. Obviously, the two sides would have to have some further contact on the timing of a Stockholm meeting.
9. Comment: All my previous meetings with Gromyko have been announced by TASS. I do not know how they will treat this one, but if announced I do not plan to offer any comment on the purpose of the meeting.