159. Memorandum of Conversation1
- Meeting between Secretary Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko
- The Honorable George P. Shultz, Secretary of State
- The Honorable Arthur A. Hartman, U.S. Ambassador, Moscow
- The Honorable Jack F. Matlock, Senior Advisor, NSC Staff
- The Honorable Richard R. Burt, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs
- William Krimer, Interpreter (Notetaker)
- A.A. Gromyko, First Deputy Premier, Minister of Foreign Affairs
- G.M. Korniyenko, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
- V.G. Makarov, Ambassador, Personal Aide to Gromyko, MFA
- S.P. Tarasenko, Counselor, Deputy Chief, USA Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- V. Sukhodrev, Counselor, 2nd European Department, MFA, Interpreter (Notetaker)
Foreign Minister Gromyko thought it would probably be advisable to agree at the outset of today’s talk that the subject matter of discussions will cover two main areas: (1) the current international situation, i.e. questions of the foreign policy of the Soviet Union and the United States; and (2) the bilateral relations between the two countries. Of course, these two areas were extremely broad and included a variety of elements. If some element or other were considered by one of the sides to be unsuitable for discussion, it would of course be senseless to discuss it. Thus, the discussions should cover those questions where both sides agree there was room for discussions, taking into account past experience.
Secretary Shultz said that prior to leaving Washington he had discussed this and other matters with Ambassador Dobrynin.2 They [Page 547] had touched on the question of the agenda for this meeting. The Secretary took it that Dobrynin had received some response from Gromyko with regard to the general outline of the agenda. Depending on how broadly the two items named by Gromyko were viewed, he would think that their views should be compatible. We had identified arms control as one item for discussion; regional issues, such as the Middle East, as a second item; and human rights as a third item. Then there were a variety of strictly bilateral issues, such as trade, as a fourth item. Of course in each of these items there were various categories and, while the words were perhaps different, generally he felt that both sides meant the same thing.
Gromyko said that he had not consented to all the specific issues mentioned by the Secretary, but, as he had said, the two broad areas for discussion would be the international situation and bilateral relations. He thought that, as he had told Dobrynin, this was the direction in which the discussions should go. He noted that the Secretary had named a number of other items, among them, for example, human rights. Since the Secretary had named this matter, he would tell him at the very outset of their discussion that he did not intend to discuss any such topic. Of course, the Secretary could talk about it if he insisted, but Gromyko would not enter into discussion of this item.
The Secretary said that of course it would be up to Gromyko whether he would wish to respond to something the Secretary would say. That was Gromyko’s privilege. But the Secretary said that he must make some comments.
Gromyko repeated that he would tell the Secretary at the very outset that he would not enter into discussion of this topic. The two of them already had some experience when one side does not wish to discuss some specific issue. He would only say again that he would not discuss this item because the Soviet Union would not allow anyone to interfere in its internal affairs. To raise this issue would therefore be an evident waste of time. Surely it would be too much of a luxury for foreign ministers to lose time on that sort of item. As for himself he had no wish to lose time. As for the Secretary, he could of course do so, but without Gromyko’s participation. He would suggest that the Secretary feel free to speak on the two items named, i.e. the international situation and bilateral issues. Or, if the Secretary preferred, Gromyko would lead off and talk on our bilateral relations. He thought that neither of them would feel constrained and they would have enough room to exchange views, particularly about the Stockholm Conference. At the Conference the Secretary had expressed the views of the U.S. Administration and today Gromyko had expressed the views of the [Page 548] Soviet Government and the Soviet leadership.3 He thought it would not be superfluous if he said something in addition to what he had stated publicly.
The Secretary thanked Gromyko and said he would proceed to some items. The first thing he would say was that he had come to listen to Gromyko’s speech and had been disappointed. He entirely disagreed with some, in fact most, of Gromyko’s statements, and found many of them unacceptable. However, he did not want to take the time to go through that speech now, but would instead address the nature of our relationship and its content.
As the Secretary had told Dobrynin upon the latter’s departure from Moscow at the end of last November,4 the President wanted to see our relations in a more constructive state. Therefore he would speak not only in the context of the various issues we had been discussing with Gromyko in one forum or another, but also address the mechanisms for achieving a more constructive relationship. He would note that contacts between himself and Gromyko had been greatest in well-publicized forums, generating a great deal of public attention. On the other hand, it seemed to President Reagan—and the Secretary had the impression that Dobrynin had agreed with this—that it would be useful to establish a private channel for discussions which would be out of the limelight and not open to public commentary. The President had said that he would like to see something like that take place.
For that to be effective he thought it would be necessary to manage things carefully so that it would be clear that an individual speaking in such private discussions was speaking for his country and that this would be known to each side. For the United States, the President had asked the Secretary to help him manage this process. We would expect [Page 549] the people on our side of this table to take part in such discussions as well as other designated people at times. He believed it would be appropriate for such discussions to be held between Ambassador Dobrynin and himself or whomever he would designate. Ambassador Hartman would be the appropriate interlocutor in Moscow, and the President would expect him to be used in this capacity. Whenever he and Gromyko met it was a public event, but beyond this sometimes experts on a specific subject would have to be designated and it should be clear to both sides that they spoke for their country.
The Secretary had one further point. When Dobrynin had returned from Moscow he had discussed this with the Secretary and told him that Gromyko had authorized this process. Both he and Dobrynin had emphasized to each other the importance of such discussions carrying real content, so as to make progress, and not just be dialogue for the sake of dialogue. To sum up, beyond the publicly known meetings between officials of the two countries there was room for private discussions. Dobrynin had said that Gromyko had approved of this and, if that was indeed the case, one should reflect on how to proceed from here.
Gromyko said he first wanted to address the Secretary’s comments about his speech at the Conference. In that speech he had outlined in some detail the Soviet attitude to some of the questions that were within the context of the task facing the Stockholm Conference. He had focused attention on some specific matters and saw no need to expand on this now. On the other hand, it was absolutely impossible to regard the issues before the Stockholm Conference in isolation from what happened beyond the Conference hall. From this standpoint, he naturally had to touch on U.S. foreign policy. In his speech in Washington President Reagan had talked about the international situation as a whole and commented on Soviet foreign policy. As is his custom, he had not minced words or spared words in choosing expressions to depict Soviet foreign policy from a very broad perspective. The Secretary had said that a number of statements in Gromyko’s speech today—in fact almost all of them—were unacceptable to him. He had to tell the Secretary that he regarded this statement as praise for his speech. This was precisely the reaction he had expected. Indeed, he would have been put on his guard if the Secretary had said that the Soviets were quite right in saying what they had.
The Secretary interjected that he was glad to hear that Gromyko was not on his guard.
Gromyko continued by saying that he had pointed to U.S. policy as the principal cause of the increase in tensions in the world today and of the dangerous situation currently existing. He also had to tell the Secretary that the speech he had delivered yesterday, as well as [Page 550] the President’s speech, were unacceptable to the Soviet side in many respects, in fact with regard to most of their elements.
Of course, the Secretary’s speech5 and the President’s speech6 had contained some individual words or phrases which, taken separately, had not generated any Soviet doubts. But the entire structure of the two speeches was hostile to the Soviet Union, to the Soviet policy of peace; and that was the only assessment of the two speeches that he could arrive at. He would point out that what was important for the Soviet leadership were not individual phrases or words, not the music, so to speak, but the actual content of those statements.
He would ask the Secretary what sort of a thesis it was to speak of the “artificial division of Europe,” Gromyko continued. What kind of a proposition was that? Obviously the Secretary and the President did not like the fact that there were some socialist states in Europe and, obviously, the Soviet side did not like the fact that there were some capitalist states on the other side. He would put it even more broadly. The U.S. did not like the fact that there were socialist states in the world and, of course, the Soviets did not like it that there were imperialist states in the world. But, he would ask, what were they then to do? If both sides stood on such a position, there would be a wall between them, a blank wall built of steel or concrete or whatever. In that case it would of course be impossible to find any points of contact in any of the discussions. He would recall that after arriving in Stockholm, just as previously in Madrid and in Belgrade and Helsinki before that, he had believed it important to find the points of contact between various positions. Such contacts were sought consistently by all the 35 participants in the Conference. If points of contact were found, this [Page 551] would indeed be tremendously important for the international situation as a whole.
Gromyko said this was his response to the Secretary’s comments regarding the unacceptability of Gromyko’s speech. He would point out that the essence of his speech today consisted of trying to seek and find common language between the socialist states and the capitalist states, as well as between the Warsaw Treaty Organization states and the NATO states. This was the main objective the Soviet delegation would strive for at the Stockholm Conference.
The Secretary interrupted at this point to say that before Gromyko proceeded further, he wanted to clarify something that was evidently based on a misunderstanding. Our position was that if any country wanted to have a socialist system, that would be up to the people of that country to decide; we believed it would be up to them. Based on his observation, socialist systems did not work very well, but that was a separate question. It was not the cause of the wall between us. The main problems were those of free movement across the wall, free interchange of people and ideas. Both the President and he had tried to say as clearly as possible that we recognized that our two systems were very different and that we did not care if any country chose either system of its own free will. If indeed a country chose socialism, so be it. However, we did not believe that the difference between our systems should preclude a constructive relationship between us. These were two different things.
Gromyko continued by noting that the Secretary had touched on a question of procedure. He thought we had agreement that certain specific matters could be discussed in private discussions out of the limelight of the media and public. It was clearly agreed that on the U.S. side the Secretary would speak for the President, as would whomever he designated, for example Ambassador Hartman. But this was purely a matter of procedure, an organizational matter. It was high time for such private discussions to take place. Today it seemed useful to talk about international politics because the world situation was very acute, relations between our two countries were bad, and the general situation throughout the world was very tense. He had intended today to touch on some of these matters, but had not felt that the Secretary was prepared to discuss them. On the other hand, where else should these most acute and timely matters be discussed if not at meetings such as the present one?
Gromyko noted that in his interjection the Secretary had ended by stating the correct proposition that, if a country wanted to have a socialist system, it should be allowed to live; and if a country wanted its people to live under a capitalist system, it should equally be allowed to live. This was basically a correct conclusion. However, the trouble [Page 552] was that the actual policy of the United States was not in line with that conclusion. Why was it necessary to consider that the evil or the cause of the present tensions was the division of Europe into socialist and capitalist countries? This statement by the Secretary was in conflict with what he had said just now. Somehow he was not making ends meet.
Further, if the Secretary’s last comment was correct, that meant people must have the right to live under whatever system they preferred, why then declare a crusade against socialism? This false—and he would even say illiterate—slogan concealed efforts to motivate people to fight against the socialist system even in the countries that had chosen that route. The Soviet side categorically objected to anything of the sort. Furthermore, this was a clearly unscientific primitive concept, but it was precisely this that made it impossible to reach agreement on the questions facing the forum in Stockholm today.
The Secretary said that he would try once again to explain his views. Socialism as a system of organizing economic activity had been advocated by many people. In his opinion it did not work well for people, but, as he had said, if people wanted to organize their activities that way, that was their privilege. It was not this that he objected to in Gromyko’s comments on what Gromyko had picked out of the Secretary’s speech. It was not economic activity, but the lack of freedom of people that had led to the division as represented by the Berlin Wall, not socialism as such, but the restrictions on interaction between the people on both sides. Taking the Soviet Union and the United States as two countries existing in this world, we believed, and Gromyko had said that he believed, that it should be possible to find areas where we can reach mutually satisfactory conclusions. Indeed, we would not be engaged in discussions if this were not so. We were not trying to reform the socialist countries and did not think the Soviet side would attempt to reform capitalist countries, but these were different issues.
The Secretary certainly agreed with Gromyko that the present forum right here was the one in which the two sides should discuss the main questions troubling the world today and troubling our two countries. In his speech today and earlier, in Madrid, Gromyko had emphasized that one of these issues concerned arms, and particularly nuclear arms and our mutual desire to reduce their numbers. In this light the Secretary would comment on various areas of arms talks and would express our views.
First, the Secretary would comment on strategic arms reductions. We have held five rounds of talks in that area,7 and while it was fair [Page 553] to say that some progress had been achieved, we were still far from resolving the issues. Reflecting on that, it seemed to him that what we were seeing was that Soviet strategic forces and our strategic forces, both very impressive and large, were structured very differently from each other. The decisions of the two countries on which road to follow in the development of arms produced a great asymmetry between the forces of each side.
On the one hand, as we looked at the situation, we saw Soviet heavy MIRVed ICBMs with tremendous throw-weight and great destructive potential, which appear to us to be a destabilizing factor; we wanted to see them reduced. Reading their account of the negotiations, it seemed that the Soviets had expressed concern over U.S. heavy bombers and air-launched cruise missiles. In the Soviet view these were considered a threat. Thus, in the negotiations we have talked of various forces and each side had offered proposals, but he and the President wondered whether we would not get further if we could find a common framework that would encompass these problems.
If we could agree on such a framework, then it would be possible to tell our negotiators to go back to the negotiating table and work out the details. In such a framework neither side would try drastically to restructure each other’s forces, but would identify in the negotiations many different items and would establish a relationship between them. Therefore, we thought it would be worthwhile in private discussions to seek a framework that would include heavy ICBMs on the Soviet side and heavy bombers and air-launched cruise missiles on the U.S. side. We thought that through such a framework it might be possible to make the negotiations fruitful.
Thus, on START it would be well to set a date for resumption of the talks, the Secretary said, but that was not his point. He simply wanted to raise with Gromyko the possibility of establishing a framework in private discussions that could lead to progress. If that was of interest to Gromyko we were prepared to explore this matter in greater detail.
With reference to so-called INF, the Secretary said he would not have much to say. As we reviewed the negotiations, we noted that there had been progress in some areas, such as aircraft, but on the main issues there had been no agreement. Now deployments were taking place, and the Soviet side had chosen to leave the negotiations.8 If Gromyko had any suggestions as to how to proceed in the discussion of this subject, the Secretary would be very pleased to hear them.[Page 554]
On the subject of the MBFR negotiations in Vienna, the Secretary continued, we believed that the Soviet side should agree to a date for resumption and return to the talks, to which we give a high priority. We recognize that in the Eastern proposals of February and June, with some subsequent clarifications, the East had taken positive steps on the subject of verification and specification of reductions. We were studying ways to build on these positive steps. On the President’s instructions, the Secretary had made the point to Dobrynin that progress on verification would lead to flexibility on our side on the so-called data issue. Thus, in MBFR, we believed it would be well to set a date and resume in Vienna. We were also prepared to move in the form of a private dialogue between us and the Soviet Union; undoubtedly our Ambassador Abramowitz would be an important person in this regard.
On the subject of the CDE meetings here, the Secretary noted that of course discussions were just starting. As he had indicated in his speech, we would be tabling proposals soon. Here he would also make a procedural comment: our delegation chiefs had worked well together during the preparatory talks. We had also taken the point the Soviets had made in diplomatic channels that we should work together in a businesslike fashion for genuine progress, and he agreed. Ambassador Goodby, he thought, was well known to people in that field in the Soviet Union, so Gromyko would recognize that he was a capable and competent person.
On the subject of chemical weapons, which Gromyko had raised this morning and earlier, it was our view that since they were easily transportable, it would be more appropriate to find a global rather than a regional solution. For this reason our emphasis was on the proposal the U.S. had made in Geneva. As he had said earlier, here we will be able to table a draft treaty in Geneva, emphasizing verification in this connection. Verifiability was a difficult but very important matter.
These were some of the comments the Secretary wanted to make with reference to the various forums in which the topics Gromyko had properly identified as matters of concern in our country and in the world would be discussed.
Gromyko said that first of all, he wanted to reply to one of the questions the Secretary had touched on at the beginning of their talk today. The Secretary had raised the question of human rights, blowing it out of all proportion. He would say that the Secretary was probably well aware of the Soviet appraisal of his entire position on this question. Gromyko was convinced that the U.S. position on this subject was entirely pervaded by falsehood, and that the U.S. was exploiting this matter for propaganda purposes. In essence, the Soviet position was more or less generally shared in the world, and it was that nowhere [Page 555] else were human rights violated so much as in some of the places in the Western hemisphere that were so dear to U.S. hearts, not to mention in the U.S. itself.
Gromyko said he would ask the Secretary not to ask him to be more precise; he could of course be more precise, but he did not believe he should waste time on this matter. If he were to talk on this subject he would only restate his assessment of the human rights situation as it existed in the United States. The Secretary had spoken of the importance of people moving across borders, the importance of reunifying families, etc., but he would simply point out that he did not know of a single instance where these matters had caused wars to break out. The Soviet Union was unshakeable in that position. He would not want to devote any time to the details of these matters.
The Secretary said he was surprised that it was Gromyko who had raised the subject of human rights. He was ready to discuss this topic and there were a few comments he wanted to make:
—First, the Secretary wanted to express his admiration for the Soviet Union for taking a decision on the Pentecostal families.9 The decision had been up to the Soviet Union, and it had been made. It showed that progress was possible.
—Second, he wanted to say that with reference to individual issues, President Reagan preferred a process of quiet diplomacy in this area.
—Third, he wanted to mention the cases of Shcharanskiy, Sakharov and Begun, as people of great interest to the United States.
—Further, he would also mention a subject we had discussed with the Soviets many times: the question of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union and its radical decline in recent years.
—He also wanted to note that Edgar Bronfman, President of the World Jewish Congress, had made an arrangement to come to Moscow to discuss issues concerning Jews in the Soviet Union. The Secretary hoped that Gromyko would receive him and work with him.
—On a more traditional note, the Secretary recalled that at their earlier meeting in New York10 he, in the usual practice, had given the Soviet side a list of people who claimed U.S. citizenship under our laws, but had been refused permission to leave the Soviet Union. He would like Ambassador Hartman to provide Minister Korniyenko with an updated list of such cases, and also lists of persons seeking to join members of their families in the U.S. and of binational divided spouses. [Page 556] (Ambassador Hartman passed these lists to Korniyenko following the meeting.)
Gromyko then referred to another subject touched on earlier by the Secretary, negotiations on strategic arms. He had to tell the Secretary that the Soviet side was very disappointed by the state of affairs in connection with these negotiations. On the question of strategic arms no headway had been made at all. The proposals made by the U.S. side clearly indicated that there was not the slightest desire on the U.S. side to reach agreement with the Soviet Union. In fact, the Soviet side believed that this was the very reason the U.S. advanced such proposals, i.e. so that there should be no agreement. The reasons why the Soviet side had come to that conclusion had been explained to U.S. representatives, to the Secretary personally, and to his predecessor on numerous occasions.
Today, our respective representatives were not engaged in negotiations, Gromyko continued. He had understood the Secretary to say that he was very interested in progress and could say something additional on that subject. Well, that of course would be up to him; the Secretary could say anything he wished, Gromyko said. But he had to tell the Secretary now that once the U.S. had proceeded with deployment of medium-range nuclear weapons in Western Europe, the situation had changed radically. Following the beginning of that deployment it had become completely impossible to consider further discussions of strategic arms other than by linking them to the medium-range weapons.
Once they were deployed in Western Europe, all such weapons—and all those additional medium-range weapons that the U.S. was planning to deploy in Europe—were, from the Soviet standpoint, arms of strategic significance. After all, what was the difference from the Soviet standpoint between nuclear weapons that were deployed many thousands of kilometers away from Soviet territory and those that were deployed much closer: one thousand, fifteen hundred or perhaps only several hundred kilometers away? While these were medium-range weapons from the standpoint of their characteristics and parameters, from the standpoint of their capacity to reach Soviet territory they were strategic arms.
Gromyko asked the Secretary to consider the situation that would arise if the Soviets were to agree to continue talks on strategic arms under conditions when there can be no discussion of medium-range weapons. It would be completely unnatural and would deceive people about the true situation. This was one aspect of this issue. Thus, through deployment of medium-range weapons in Western Europe, the United States had obtained an additional strategic potential against the Soviet Union. Should this not be taken into account at the negotiations on strategic arms?[Page 557]
Quite apart from that, Gromyko said, during the negotiations on the SALT II Treaty, the Soviet Union had stated that it was absolutely necessary to discuss the question of nuclear weapons, taking account of U.S. forward-based systems. He would ask the Secretary to follow his step-by-step analysis, for otherwise there could be no meaningful discussion. At that time, during the SALT II negotiations, the U.S. side had said that it would very much complicate the problem of reaching an agreement on a SALT II treaty if FBS were linked to the SALT II negotiations. At that time a sort of compromise had been reached—as Gromyko had on a number of occasions been obliged to remind some U.S. officials who had not been engaged in those negotiations and perhaps were not aware of this matter. As for himself, he had had the pleasure to be engaged in negotiating these matters, and he recalled that by way of a compromise the two sides had achieved what was recorded in the SALT II Treaty, including agreement on the heavy ICBMs of the Soviet Union. As a result the Soviet Union had agreed not to seek resolution of the question of FBS in the SALT II Treaty. But then, of course, the Soviet side had stated that in the follow-on negotiations in the future, after SALT II, this question—FBS—would have to be resolved. Meanwhile, SALT II was to be “delinked” from U.S. FBS, as the Americans called it.
Now Gromyko asked, did not the question of U.S. FBS arise in connection with consideration of medium-range systems, and does it not have a direct bearing on all future negotiations on strategic arms? This followed clearly from the SALT II negotiations. Even if there had been no deployment of U.S. medium-range arms, this question would have arisen in any event.
These are the two main watertight arguments in favor of not ignoring the deployment of U.S. medium-range arms in Europe, Gromyko said. This might perhaps be entirely new for some people on the U.S. side, but he would think that even the new people on the U.S. side engaged in these matters must be informed of it. After all, the generation of people who have been actively engaged in those negotiations was still alive and well. Moreover, the records of those negotiations were also very much alive.
Taking into account all those circumstances, and also the fact that the policy of the United States with respect to arms, especially strategic arms, was clearly aimed at achieving a dominating position come what may, the Soviet side had to engage in thorough reconsideration of the new situation which had arisen after U.S. deployment of new weapons in Western Europe. The Soviet side would have to do a lot of thinking before reaching decisions on where to go from here.
If the Secretary were to assume that strategic arms negotiations could continue as if nothing had happened, while negotiations on [Page 558] medium-range nuclear arms were in abeyance, he would be very much mistaken. The Soviet side would have to reflect on all of these matters before deciding on how to proceed. With respect to the Geneva negotiations on medium-range arms, the Soviet position was crystal clear. He was convinced that to continue those talks, given the present policy of the United States, would mean to participate in U.S. attempts to deceive people. He believed that Washington’s present position was not intended to lead to agreement with the Soviet Union.
Thus, all the statements the Soviet side had made on this subject remained fully in force, Gromyko went on. His discussions of these matters with the Secretary in no way constituted continuation of the Geneva negotiations, and should in no way be seen as steps toward continuation of those negotiations or toward new negotiations. He repeated that it was not to be construed as continuing the old talks or starting new ones. In order for negotiations to resume, the U.S. would have to change its positions and, as he had already said, express willingness to return to the situation existing before deployment of new U.S. missiles in Western Europe had begun. Under those conditions the talks could be resumed, but otherwise the Soviet side would simply be helping the U.S. to hold up a screen concealing the true state of affairs.
Gromyko said he knew that from time to time the U.S. had made statements to the effect that things in Geneva had been proceeding well. But in fact the U.S. side had been engaged in erecting an impenetrable wall in the path of any progress at the talks. If, upon returning to Washington, the Secretary were to report to the President and others that the Soviet position was such as Gromyko had just stated it and as it had been stated by Yuri Andropov and in other official statements of the Soviet side, he would be correct. However, should the Secretary report differently, Gromyko would have to correct any misstatement, and possibly in public.
Gromyko said that the Soviet Union would like to have all those problems resolved, but in that case the United States would have to abandon its present policy, which was aimed at securing a dominating position for itself, and be guided in its conduct of relations with the Soviet Union by the principles of equality and equal security. As for the Soviet side, it had no desire to achieve a dominating position, and this was clear from the entire policy conducted by the Soviet Union and from its moral stand. The Soviet Union wants to be on an equal footing with the United States. If this will be what the Secretary reports in Washington, he will be correct.
If such a policy were adopted, Gromyko said, it would not be difficult to find common language in Geneva, as well as outside Geneva, and at this meeting in Stockholm. He alleged that what the Soviet side had witnessed was an endless series of insulting statements about [Page 559] the Soviet Union, building an additional solid fence preventing good relations. However, if one were to reflect on matters objectively, he would say that he did not believe that the United States was desirous of having a collision with the Soviet Union. There were surely some rather primitive people in the U.S. who considered the possibility of such a collision, but those were people who could not see beyond the four walls of their rooms. He would note, however, that one met with such talk in the U.S. Sometimes there was talk of nuclear war, of a clash with the Soviet Union, as if this were some sort of picnic. This surely could not produce any positive results.
The Secretary interjected that his mother had told him when learning to drive to avoid collisions with Mack trucks. As far as he was concerned, in the field of international diplomacy, the Soviet Union was a Mack truck.
Gromyko said he now wanted to say a few words about chemical weapons. As he understood it, the Secretary was emphasizing the importance of that question and that was good. The Soviet side too believed this matter to be important. It was not a new issue: for a number of years it had been discussed in various forums, including such a broad forum as the United Nations. Negotiations had also been conducted between our two countries on chemical weapons. But neither the wider nor the narrower negotiation had led to any progress in resolving this matter.
Speaking frankly, Gromyko said, he would tell the Secretary how the Soviet side viewed the frequent attacks against the Soviet Union now current in the United States, as if the Soviet Union had been using chemical weapons somewhere in Asia or elsewhere. As he saw it, the U.S. was simply trying to divert public attention away from this entire issue and from the need to resolve it and achieve a ban on chemical weapons. He certainly did not believe that U.S. officials were so ignorant as not to know that the Soviet Union has not been doing anything of the kind. Thus, if the Secretary were interested in knowing the Soviet position, Gromyko could state to him officially that the Soviet Union wanted to see this problem resolved in an international accord on chemical weapons. The Soviet side was prepared to discuss such a ban in a broad forum or in bilateral negotiations with the U.S. Either way, the Soviet Union was prepared to go ahead, and it was his belief that agreement on this problem would generate a more favorable atmosphere for resolution of other matters as well.
He would suggest that they both see whether the U.N. Disarmament Committee in Geneva had broad enough shoulders to bear up under an attempt to resolve this matter. Personally, it was his hope that it will be able to bear up, and he would continue to issue appropriate instructions to the Soviet Delegation in Geneva. The Soviet Union [Page 560] wanted to reach such an agreement and called upon the United States to join it in an effort to reach it. Such an agreement would really cast a ray of light in the present gloomy international atmosphere and would have beneficial effects in other areas, too. Furthermore, it would also be beneficial to our own bilateral relations.
Gromyko said that this was basically what he wanted to convey to the Secretary with reference to the Secretary’s statements. He would conclude his remarks by expressing his wish that the Stockholm Conference contribute to an improvement of the international atmosphere. If so, it would also help with a number of problems, particularly the adoption of confidence-building measures. The Soviet Union was prepared to act constructively, provided the United States was similarly disposed. The Soviet Union was not at all opposed to some measures, but it would favor adopting such measures as were fully justified by the facts. He would point out quite frankly that with reference to any issue requiring solution one could formulate proposals in such a way as to be clearly unacceptable. On the other hand, they could also be formulated in a way to be acceptable to all. He repeated that the Soviet Union was not opposed to confidence-building measures with reference to maneuvers and other matters at the Stockholm Conference. All this can come about if no one sets himself the goal of undercutting the Warsaw Treaty Organization countries in order to secure for himself the commanding heights, so to speak. Should such a position be taken, there would be no positive outcome at the Stockholm Conference. There would not be the result he believed was desired by the majority of the countries here. He would urge the Secretary to reflect on that matter in terms of perhaps finding common language for our two sides.
Referring to the Vienna negotiation mentioned by the Secretary, Gromyko said that it should not be thought that the process of the Vienna negotiations had been interrupted. That forum was still in being. The two sides had declared a recess and had simply not yet agreed on a resumption date, but the process itself was still alive. He thought that if it were acceptable to the U.S. side, some date in mid-March could be agreed upon for resumption, perhaps the 16th of March or thereabouts. He would only want to express one reservation. If these negotiations were only used once again to throw dust into people’s eyes, then the Soviet side might be forced to take steps somewhat similar to those it had been compelled to take with respect to the negotiations on medium-range nuclear weapons in Europe. He would hope that the Vienna negotiations would not enter upon such a path. It was sad, very sad, that there was no progress at those negotiations, and he believed that perhaps the reductions discussed in Vienna also did not fit in with the plans of the Western participants. He said, “Well, we will see.”[Page 561]
In addition, he wanted to tell the Secretary that should the Secretary present matters on MBFR or the other negotiations to public media in such a way as to imply that this, in fact, meant that the Soviet Union was abandoning the position it had stated with respect to nuclear arms, that would distort the Soviet position, and in that case, he would be forced to state publicly that these kinds of generalizations were far from reality, and he would be forced to put things in their proper place. He therefore hoped that this would not be necessary.
The Secretary said he had a few comments on the points made by Gromyko. First of all, he noted Gromyko’s statement that the Soviet Union sought equality with the United States and did not wish to have a collision with the U.S. He could state that the avoidance of such a collision and equality with the Soviet Union were also our aims. Thus he could agree with both formulations.
Secondly, turning to the talks on nuclear missiles which have now stopped, the Secretary said he had understood Gromyko to say that deployment of our medium-range missiles in Europe was regarded by the Soviet side as a strategic matter even though these missiles were medium in range, and that therefore they had a bearing on the strategic arms talks. It was his impression that Gromyko thus appeared to be in the process of reflecting on how such talks could be structured if they began again. He would say that we would consider any suggestion Gromyko might make regarding these forums.
But the forums would not change the fact that there are problems involved, the Secretary said. He felt he had to make the point that we could not consider talks where U.S. medium-range missiles were involved, but Soviet medium-range missiles were not. This was because SS–20s were deployed and could strike our allies. If Soviet missiles should hit them they would be hitting us, because we were bound together with our allies. He was not asking Gromyko to agree to this formulation, but was only telling him how we saw things. Therefore, if Gromyko had a suggestion concerning renewed or new negotiations, we would listen with interest, but they would have to include negotiations on SS–20s if Pershing IIs and ground-launched cruise missiles were included.
Next, the Secretary noted that Gromyko had taken up the subject of chemical weapons and had expressed readiness to try to reach agreement. The Secretary welcomed that statement. For its part, the U.S. was ready to work hard on this subject.
He also noted Gromyko’s comments regarding the old problem of compliance. In the past Gromyko had raised this matter as an important one. We believed it of crucial importance to arms control and other agreements. In this connection, some questions had arisen, and he informed Gromyko that the President, as directed by Congress, was [Page 562] in the process of submitting a report to Congress.11 He was sure that Gromyko had been informed of the extensive briefing we had given the Soviet Embassy in Washington on the contents of that report, and he would therefore not repeat the details. But he could tell Gromyko that the President’s report was classified. Compliance was an important matter, and questions needed to be resolved through careful exploration.
Returning to the question of chemical weapons, the Secretary welcomed Gromyko’s positive statement here. As he had said, we would be ready to table a draft treaty soon. This was an important issue; like the Soviet side, we wanted to see progress. He might add that in the minds of many people the matter of biological weapons should be resolved as well, but that was a separate subject.
Regarding Gromyko’s statement about the CDE in Stockholm, he agreed that it was important to structure any idea in such a way that it would be useful to Warsaw Pact as well as NATO countries. If we wanted to reach agreement it would be well for the heads of our respective delegations, who are both professionals in this field, to maintain liaison and avoid problems that might arise as a result of failure to exchange views. We were prepared to do that.
With reference to Gromyko’s comments about MBFR, the Secretary welcomed his idea of reconvening the negotiations in March. The 16th seemed to be an acceptable date for us, and he would suggest that this be put into diplomatic channels. The date appeared to be O.K. He believed that we could arrive at agreement in Vienna. The U.S. had no wish to put dust in anyone’s eyes on this subject or any other.
In reply, Gromyko referred to the question of so-called violations of agreements and obligations. He noted that the Secretary had not been able to resist the temptation of bringing up something in that area. Gromyko said that he was not familiar with the details of the President’s report to which the Secretary had referred, but when he learned the details he would respond in kind. The Soviet side can show how the U.S. treats its obligations, and point to some things about its conduct.[Page 563]
The Secretary said as a point of information that Mr. Burt had given a briefing to Mr. Sokolov of the Soviet Embassy in Washington and had informed him of the details of the report in question.12 Gromyko noted that this had been done in general terms and repeated that, taking into account all the circumstances, the Soviets would respond in kind.
Gromyko asked the Secretary if he had anything to say on our bilateral relations. He noted that they have been in a state of disarray for some time. These matters had been discussed on many occasions with representatives of the present U.S. Administration, with the Secretary personally as well as with his predecessor and other U.S. political leaders. As he had said in his speech today, the U.S. Administration had done a great deal with “an easy hand” to destroy what had been built up in the 1970s. In a word, it had proved the truth of the thesis that it is much easier to destroy than to build. The United States has been engaged in destroying, with a big stick as it were, what had been built up by others. He did not know what the U.S. had in mind now, whether the Administration still adhered to the same views it had expressed immediately after coming into office. If the Secretary had something new he could tell Gromyko that might help to improve our relations, he would be interested to hear it.
The Secretary replied that he did not believe that what he had to say was new, but he would comment briefly on our bilateral relations. He knew that the Hotline talks had been going forward and promised to produce good results. On non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, he knew that another round of discussions is scheduled and this was an area where our interests were parallel, so that was worthwhile. On depiction of our Pacific maritime boundary, we were glad to have received a positive response from the Soviet side. Further, we continue to believe that trade can go forward as long as it is mutually beneficial, conducted on commercially sound terms, and not militarily related. Agribusiness is a good example of mutually beneficial, non-strategic trade. The Secretary also wanted to make a comment about a vast stretch of the Pacific where the Korean airliner had been lost. He understood that various questions were under discussion within ICAO, such matters as fixed navigation aids, radio beacons, and communications links between responsible civil aviation officials. These can help avoid a situation where an airliner is unable to determine its position from [Page 564] outside sources. This could be worked out constructively, if the Soviet side agreed.
On opening consulates in Kiev and New York and beginning negotiations on a new cultural agreement, the Secretary said the agreement in principle made last summer to go forward still stands. However, the timing needed to be right. It was difficult to move forward in the atmosphere of recent months.
The Secretary noted that there were many other issues of great importance. They were not necessarily bilateral issues, but they were nevertheless of interest to both of our countries. Gromyko had mentioned Lebanon in his speech. This was a matter of major interest to both of us, and it was of tremendous significance to other Middle East issues.13 The Secretary was interested in hearing Soviet views and would be glad to present ours. He would say that there were also some interesting developments in southern Africa. He had long thought this was an area where our two countries should both be interested in achieving constructive progress. We have people directly involved in these matters on our side, such as Assistant Secretary Crocker, who are available to engage in discussion on this subject.
There was a wide range of regional issues of very great importance. Expressing his personal opinion, the Secretary thought that if one talked about tensions in the world today, we should realize that the place generating the worst tensions was clearly the Middle East—not just Lebanon and the Palestinian issues, but also the war between Iran and Iraq, as well as developments inside Iran itself, which he found very disturbing. Although these are not bilateral issues, they were issues of mutual concern which might be discussed.
Gromyko said that to a certain extent the Secretary had helped him. He had intended to touch upon some purely bilateral issues and then go on to regional matters. Now he would change the order so as to discuss the regional matters first and then proceed to bilateral issues. After all, the two categories touched one another.
Gromyko said he could agree with the Secretary that the Middle East area was an area that almost daily generated very acute problems. He was convinced that these acute problems are generated as a result of the policy pursued by the U.S. and Israel which, of course, is constantly buttressed by the U.S. He was certain that if the U.S. wanted to act in a manner to prevent many of these problems from arising, with its influence upon Israel, it could prevail on Israel to change its aggressive [Page 565] policy. After all, Israel occupied Arab lands, the Golan Heights, and it retained them to this day as if it were master of these territories. In fact, what Israel did in wresting these territories from their rightful owners were aggressive and bandit-like acts. Since the U.S. invariably supported Israel, it had to share responsibility for this situation. Very often, particularly in Washington, it was frequently said, “What about Syria, Syria, Syria?” Earlier it was asked, “What about the Palestinians, Palestinians, Palestinians?” One or the other or both were blamed for the tensions in that area. In actual fact, Syria is a victim of aggression by Israel. Israel tore off a slice of Syrian territory and is now taking completely illegal steps to formalize this act of aggression. The Palestinians remain without a homeland of their own; that is, they had a homeland in the past, but not today. This is the main reason for the dangerous tensions in the Middle East. In the past the U.S. supported Israel politically for many years in discussions in the United Nations, in our bilateral discussions and in other forums. Now direct U.S. military support for Israel was growing.
Also, today the U.S. has intruded into the Middle East with its own military forces, setting up military bases wherever it considers this possible. U.S. troops are actually in Lebanon. The question arises: on what grounds? The Secretary might answer that Gemayel had requested U.S. military forces to come in, but surely it was a fact that Gemayel had done so virtually with a gun pointed at his head. Can that agreement be taken seriously? Obviously not. U.S. forces are present in the Middle East and particularly in Lebanon as occupation troops, as interventionists. The Soviet Union believes that U.S. troops should not be in the Middle East as a whole.
The U.S. would be acting rationally if it were to withdraw its troops from that area. It was a real shame that the U.S. was not sparing the blood of its soldiers, its young men there. They should be taken out of there, removing this additional cause of tensions in the Middle East—a step which would promote an easing of the situation. Of course, British, Italian and French forces must also leave. One hears, of course, such arguments as, “What will then happen to the inhabitants of Lebanon? After all, they will slaughter each other.”
In this connection, Gromyko said he wished to recall a bit of history, going back to the years 1917 and 1918 when the socialist revolution had taken place in Russia. A great many foreign people, including U.S. troops commanded by General Greyson, came to Russia. This is well described in a book entitled “American Adventure in Siberia” which, he thought, Ambassador Hartman might have read.14 At that time it [Page 566] was also said that, after all, the Russians were fighting each other there, and it was necessary to intervene and help one side to win. First, he would note that nothing came of this intervention in Russia. Secondly, he asked, what sort of reasoning is that? Is it reasonable to believe that foreigners must support one side against the other in a civil war? After all, you had your own Civil War too. (At this point the Secretary interjected that, on this point, at least, Gromyko was stating a fact.) You know, if such actions were to be legalized, one would have to find a large furnace and immediately burn all the documents of international law, all treaties and agreements.
Thus, it is not what will happen in Lebanon when foreign forces are withdrawn that one should worry about. If you were to ask about Syria, it has repeatedly stated that if Israel and the other occupants withdraw, it will withdraw its forces as well. The Soviet Union has good relations with Syria, Gromyko said, and he was in a position to reaffirm once again that the Syrians will pull out their forces if other foreign forces are withdrawn.
Thus, retaining U.S. forces in Lebanon is not going to improve the reputation of the U.S., which has already been undermined. The Soviet Union’s position with respect to Israel is crystal clear. The Soviet Union has never agreed with extremist demands from extremist groups to throw Israel into the sea. He would remind the Secretary that, jointly with the U.S., the Soviet Union had stood at the cradle of the state of Israel. At that time he was leading the Soviet delegation in the UN and had raised his hand in voting for the establishment of an independent state of Israel. At that time the decision had been taken to set up both a Jewish and an Arab state in Palestine. The Soviet Union believed that Israel was entitled to independent existence, but this did not mean that it was entitled to commit aggression.
Thus, it was necessary for the U.S. to withdraw its troops from the Middle East in general, and from Lebanon in particular. It was necessary for Israel to withdraw as well. These troops were the main reason for tensions in the Middle East, along with other foreign troops. No matter what one might call them—an international or multinational or peacekeeping force—that did not change anything at all.
Gromyko recalled that in the past the U.S. had frequently asked the Soviet Union to bring its influence to bear upon Syria to act in a more restrained manner. He had to point out that the Soviet Union had done so on quite a few occasions, and that the Syrians had accepted such approaches with understanding. It was therefore not the Syrians who were now at fault in the situation in Lebanon, but the aggression that had been committed there. This was the Soviet assessment of the situation in Lebanon and in the Middle East.
Of course, it is hardly possible to resolve all the troubles there in one fell swoop. But just the same, if the U.S. and other countries were [Page 567] to withdraw their troops, the situation would be defused, and once all factions felt that they did not enjoy foreign support, the Lebanese themselves would come together and agree. Ultimately this would mean less bloodshed and less terrorism. This was what the Soviet Union advocated.
Gromyko noted that for some reason in recent years there were no contacts with Washington concerning the Middle East. He would not want to appear as a supplicant with outstretched hand, but he was sure that without withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon, one could not promote a general settlement in the Middle East. The Soviet Union was not interested in seeing a conflagration in that area, and he did not believe that the U.S. was interested in seeing such a conflagration either.
The Secretary thought Gromyko would not be surprised to learn that he could not agree with many aspects of his analysis. However, there were some things in Gromyko’s statement with which he did agree. Perhaps that could lead to some constructive developments.
First, the Secretary noted, Gromyko had said that the Soviet Union did not wish to see an explosion in the Middle East. Neither do we. Second, he agreed that if all foreign forces were out of Lebanon there would be a better chance for the Lebanese to be able to construct their country. We agreed on this as an objective. He wanted to assure Gromyko that the U.S. had no wish to keep forces in that country. The question was how to bring about the withdrawal of all foreign troops, and that was a hard question. We knew that good first steps had almost been achieved in the so-called Security Plan. We believe it could bring a better reconciliation between the various forces there. But once again, something broke down between Jumblatt and Gemayel.
Nevertheless, if such steps were taken, they could be precursors of a further withdrawal of Israeli forces. If discussions emerged in which Syria made a statement about its intent to withdraw, we could see a whole process taking shape fairly promptly. We were working toward law and order there as foreign forces left the area. We would like to see programs of that kind succeed.
In thinking about this problem, it was also necessary to consider the existence of Palestinian camps in various parts of Lebanon. This is because many Lebanese do not like the Palestinians. We thought that U.N. forces could play a constructive role in providing security in those camps. Obviously this has to be a Lebanese effort as well, and it would be good if this kind of process could come about. But it too often breaks down. We do believe that a positive move from Syria could accomplish a great deal. We had many discussions with Israel; for example, they were successful in obtaining a relief of the siege of Deyr-al-Qamr. At any rate, we are working on this line of action, and it could be a way [Page 568] toward withdrawal of all foreign forces, including our own in Lebanon and Soviet troops in Syria, if the Soviets supported it.
Gromyko said the Soviet side believed that if the U.S. and its pals in the area withdrew their forces from Lebanon, it would compel the Lebanese themselves to find solutions faster. He hoped the Secretary would agree that it now appeared as though the U.S. was simply acting out of fear of some negative consequences if it should withdraw its troops. He also hoped the Secretary would agree that this does not sound very convincing. He believed that the U.S. had very often provided all-out support to Israel, even in those cases where the U.S. could have avoided departing from a position of principle. And yet, each time that Israel merely expresses a desire for the U.S. to provide its shoulder for support, the U.S. does so. Whether or not the U.S. now has a treaty of strategic alliance with Israel, it is in fact constantly providing support. He doubted that people in the Middle East have such a weak memory as to forget these facts quickly. He had nothing further to add on this regional problem.
Gromyko said he wanted to comment briefly on regional problems in the Caribbean and Latin America. Of course, for a long time the Soviets had been observing what was happening in that Caribbean region. This was especially true for the last few months. The Secretary would understand why he spoke of the last few months, because it is precisely in that period that the situation became especially aggravated and tensions increased. He believed this was entirely the fault of U.S. policy. The U.S. did not like the internal systems of Cuba or Nicaragua. He would point out that he did not know very much about Nicaragua, except that it was a small nation and that it had not wished to live under the hated dictatorship of Somoza, which the people of Nicaragua had overthrown. They wanted to live as they wished, and they were entitled to do so, as any other people. Washington claimed that their internal system was a threat to the vital interests of the U.S. How could that be possible?
To provide even a shadow of credibility to this Washington position, it was said that Nicaragua probably acted at the direction of the Soviet Union and with the help of the Soviet Union. He would only point out that the Soviets did not know these people. They saw them for the first time during an official visit to the Soviet Union. Gromyko had met their foreign minister twice when he had come to Moscow. He would note that he had met more often with the Secretary than with the Nicaraguans. The situation with respect to Cuba was somewhat similar, although the Cuban socialist state had been in existence much longer. But now the U.S. was ceaselessly arranging all sorts of attacks against both Nicaragua and Cuba. Gromyko emphasized Nicaragua because of allegations in Washington to the effect that the [Page 569] Nicaraguans posed a threat to the vital interests of the U.S. Surely, the Secretary realized full well that no one would believe this to be at all possible. The U.S. had even gone so far as to state officially in Washington that unless Nicaragua changed its internal system to please Washington, the U.S. might take some military action there. Naturally, this was something that had aroused indignation throughout the world.
Gromyko pointed out that he had not mentioned Grenada. The Secretary probably knew how this was perceived throughout the world and in the Soviet Union. This was simply something that had aroused amazement. Here was a good example of the “transparency” about which so much had been said here in Stockholm. Just 24 hours before the U.S. invasion, Washington had assured the world that it had no plans for an invasion of Grenada. “There’s transparency for you,” Gromyko exclaimed. The Secretary probably did not expect anything but condemnation from the Soviet Union as a result of U.S. acts in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Grenada. This area was very remote from the Soviet Union. But he was mentioning it and talking about it because it concerned a matter of principle.
South Africa was also remote from the Soviet Union. Had the U.S. ever tried to do anything to put an end to South Africa’s aggression toward Angola? The answer was that it had done nothing at all. If for some reason the Soviet Union’s position was not well known to the Secretary, Gromyko was sure that it should be quite clear now. The Soviet Union believed that every nation, large and small, had the right to its own independent development. Washington sometimes pronounced the same principle—the right of any people to its own independent development. But all these pronouncements were forgotten as soon as they conflicted with U.S. actions.
Gromyko said that he had spoken at great length on some of these matters, and had done so to be sure that the Secretary was completely aware of Soviet policy in this regard. The Soviet Union was resolutely against any country dictating to any other country the internal order that should exist there. In response, the Secretary might say, “What about Soviet forces in Afghanistan?” It was true that Soviet forces were still there, but did the Secretary know that the previous leadership of Afghanistan as well as the present one had asked the Soviet Union eleven times for help in repelling the daily intervention against Afghanistan from Iran and from Pakistan? He might ask “Has the Nicaraguan government ever appealed to the U.S. for help?” The answer, of course, was—never. But the Afghan Government had appealed for help against the intervention, and the Soviet Union had provided it in accordance with the U.N. charter. He would now state officially to the Secretary that the Soviet Union wanted to see Afghanistan as an independent and non-aligned state which would maintain good relations with the [Page 570] U.S., with the Soviet Union and all other countries of the world. And yet, at the U.N. General Assembly, the U.S. was trying by hook or by crook to pass a resolution aimed at stepping on Soviet toes, so to speak. He would add that the U.S. keeps on feeding the intervention against Afghanistan from Pakistan and from that good friend of the U.S., Iran, and all this for the only reason that the internal regime in Afghanistan is not to the liking of the U.S. The U.S. is providing arms to the interventionists, and the Soviet Union knows this very well because of serial numbers and the like on arms that wind up in Soviet hands.
Further, just as in the case of the Caribbean region, the U.S. is in effect protecting the racist regime in South Africa, which has committed many aggressive acts against other African countries. If the Soviet Union and the U.S. were to act justly in that area, they would jointly put South Africa in its place. The Soviet Union wants nothing in Angola, but it is certainly opposed to South African aggression against Angola. South Africa has been throwing U.N. resolution after U.N. resolution into the wastebasket—resolutions for which both our countries have voted regarding independence for Namibia. He was certain that the U.S. too should be opposed to South African actions, as was the Soviet Union. He thought that not only the Soviet Union, but the U.S. too would be interested in preventing a spread of the racist contagion beyond the borders of South Africa. By the way, the situation there too was such that some day the majority of the people of South Africa will have their say—their time will surely come.
Gromyko repeated again that he had spoken at great length, but noted that these were the kinds of questions that poisoned relations between our two countries. He had wanted to set them forth in detail. After all, he and the Secretary had sat down at this table in order to make clear to each other one another’s policies with respect to each issue discussed. He felt he had done that, and had pointed out that the Soviet Union wanted nothing in Nicaragua, nothing in Angola, and nothing in Afghanistan except that the people of these countries themselves have the possibility to decide their own affairs. The Soviet Union wanted to see Namibia independent and Afghanistan independent and non-aligned. He believed that the U.S. too should be interested in these same objectives.
The Secretary said that he did not want to go through the details in each of these areas, but he did have a few comments.
First, on Central America, one of the key problems was interference by the Nicaraguans in the internal affairs of other countries by providing arms to insurgents; they often came through Cuba, often originating from the Soviet Union and sometimes from others. There were many other problems in that area. It was a poor area, and people there needed help. It was for this reason that President Reagan had persuaded [Page 571] Gromyko’s friend, Henry Kissinger, to investigate the situation there. Kissinger had produced a good report, and the Secretary would be glad to give a copy to Gromyko.15 He would arrange to have a copy given to Gromyko, and it would be well worth reading.
A great deal had been written about Grenada, and a White Paper had been issued which was at variance with much of what Gromyko had to say. The Soviet Embassy had received a copy and he would suggest that Gromyko’s people look it over.16
On South Africa, the Secretary said, we hold no brief for the racist policies of South Africa, and we have criticized them. It was an area that suffers from conflict and tension. It was an area also a long way from our home, but we are trying to help. The Secretary also believed that this was an area where we could jointly do something useful. As he had already pointed out, there were some recent events in the area that were interesting, and he thought that consultations between us might have a direct positive influence there. As for Afghanistan, we too would welcome a free, independent and non-aligned country; we thus share this objective with the Soviet Union. The United Nations has initiated negotiations; we wish them well because it is clear that we cannot have a free, independent and non-aligned Afghanistan unless Soviet forces are withdrawn from the country.
Gromyko interjected that the Soviet Union would withdraw its forces just as soon as intervention in Afghanistan ceases. The Secretary said that there was a hopeful process of negotiations underway.
Our combat forces had already been withdrawn from Grenada and he was sure we would withdraw our forces from Lebanon, the Secretary said, before the Soviet Union withdrew its forces from Afghanistan. In Grenada all that is left is a small support contingent. These three areas represent different cases, and they provide examples of situations where we could hope that if we had better relations with the Soviet Union, with more discussions between us, we could get beyond accusing each other and could carefully explore why things take place, perhaps achieving constructive results.
At this late hour, he wanted to say to Gromyko that more constructive relations were what we wanted. He believed that more frequent private discussions would help this process along. As he had said earlier, we would like to engage in such discussions. He felt that he [Page 572] had to look at Gromyko not only as the Foreign Minister of a great power but also as a human being. As Foreign Minister, Gromyko had without a doubt more diplomatic experience than any other person in the world.17 He had seen a great many and a great variety of achievements. He would now ask Gromyko to look at the situation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, to think about the possibility of establishing more constructive relations between us and to think that he and the Secretary (with guidance from the President), might see a better day. We are ready to work on that.
Gromyko said that if he understood the Secretary correctly, he had spoken in favor of more frequent exchanges of views between the two of them; he shared this wish. He noted that some U.S. officials (here he was not blaming the Secretary personally) believed it to be to their credit that they exchanged views with whomever one wished, but not with the Soviet Union. That was surely a primitive approach. Thus, this was a constructive wish, if indeed it reflected the Secretary’s true intentions. He was in favor of such exchanges.
Gromyko also noted the Secretary’s enumeration of several specific bilateral matters and took satisfaction in the fact that these were proceeding, albeit slowly. With respect to depiction of our Pacific maritime boundary, the Soviet Union had advanced a specific proposal which, in fact, was an alloy of the proposals of each country. He would urge the Secretary to devote some attention to this matter.
With respect to certain aviation problems the Secretary had mentioned, he would note that both countries had representatives in ICAO, and he would suggest letting them work out some positions that might be acceptable to both our countries and to others. He believed this should be possible so long as no attempt is made to impose a solution on any of the sides.
As for the opening of consulates and cultural relations, he believed that some progress could be made and would like to know the Secretary’s specific considerations. Whenever he felt it would be possible to set them out for the Soviet side, they could be examined carefully. As for opening consulates, he would ask how many years this matter had already dragged on? Here were two major powers that were unable to resolve such a pigmy question. Now that pigmy begins to look like a huge monster in the eyes of some people. As for cultural relations, it would be good to arrange them to the mutual satisfaction of both sides.
Gromyko then noted that some difficulties had arisen in connection with some other agreements between our two countries in terms of understanding what state they were in. Some of them were evidently [Page 573] in a state of hibernation. Some people evidently thought that these agreements should die; for his part, he believed that they should be brought back to life. He would ask the Secretary to take a look at them, and if something did not suit him, to let the Soviet side know.
Gromyko noted that they had discussed a number of issues today, and felt that such a discussion had indeed been necessary. It would be good if the Secretary were to take into account the observations he had expressed today. This could help to elicit points of contact between the sides.
As for the Stockholm Conference, Gromyko thought that he probably could not promise that some arguments would not arise at the Conference between our two countries; they would. But he would be very much in favor of maintaining consultations in order to have such arguments eventually result in joint positions. Soviet representatives at the Conference will be prepared to consult with U.S. representatives and not only regard each other with suspicion. If the Secretary would instruct his delegation to take a confrontational attitude only, obviously this would produce no results. Gromyko was in favor of searching for all possibilities of achieving results and his delegation would be instructed accordingly.
The Secretary said that those would be the instructions he gave to our delegation as well.
- Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC Country File, Europe and Soviet Union, USSR (01/24/84–01/25/84). Secret; Sensitive. Drafted by Krimer. The meeting took place at the Soviet Embassy in Stockholm. In a covering memorandum to McFarlane, Matlock noted: “Although it is an advance, unofficial copy which has not yet been reviewed by Secretary Shultz, you may wish to review it. It is being handled on very close hold in State, and Shultz has given orders that only one file copy be held in the Executive Secretariat.” Although several copies of this text were found, no final version with Shultz’s clearance was located. McFarlane’s stamp appears on the covering memorandum, indicating he saw it.↩
- See Document 152.↩
- For the text of Gromyko’s January 18 speech to the CDE, see Documents on Disarmament, 1984, pp. 24–32. In telegram Secto 1025, January 18, the Secretary’s delegation forwarded an English translation of Gromyko’s statement in Stockholm to the CDE. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D840080–0219) In a separate telegram, the delegation commented: “In the CDE plenary of January 18, Gromyko took twice his allotted time to deliver a hard-hitting attack on the administration, reiterating in detail the Soviet thesis that the U.S. has used arms control negotiations as a cover for an arms race designed to reestablish U.S. military superiority; that initial INF deployments had in fact undermined European security; that an aggressive U.S. foreign policy remained the ‘main threat to peace’ in not only Europe but the Mideast and Central America as well; and finally, that recent U.S. statements alleging an interest in dialogue were a tactical sham. As a contrast to this pattern of U.S. ‘militarism,’ Gromyko also reviewed a familiar litany of past Soviet arms control and confidence-building proposals, concentrating on those put forward in the 1983 Prague Declaration and at the 38th UNGA.” (Telegram Secto 1023 from Secretary’s Delegation in Stockholm, January 18; Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D840048–0543, D840036–0048)↩
- See Document 137.↩
Shultz gave a speech at the CDE on January 17, in which he stated: “an artificial barrier has cruelly divided this continent—and, indeed, heartlessly divided one of its great nations.
“This barrier was not placed there by the West. It is not maintained by the West. It is not the West that prevents its citizens free movement or cuts them off from competing ideas.
“Let me be very clear: the United States does not recognize the legitimacy of the artificially imposed division of Europe. This division is the essence of Europe’s security and human rights problem, and we all know it.
“Human rights remain central to any discussion of European security. As the Helsinki Final Act declares, respect for human rights and fundamental freedom is ‘an essential factor for the peace, justice and well-being necessary to ensure the development of friendly relations and cooperation.’ The attempt to impose division on Europe is inevitably a source of instability and tension.” (Telegram Secto 1019 from the Secretary’s delegation, January 18; Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D840034–0830) For the full-text, see the Department of State Bulletin, March 1984, pp. 34–36.↩
- See Document 158.↩
- START negotiations began in Geneva on June 29, 1982. They were suspended without a set resumption date on December 8, 1983, a Soviet decision related to U.S. INF deployments to Europe. See footnote 3, Document 142.↩
- See footnote 4, Document 141.↩
- See Document 74.↩
- See Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. III, Soviet Union, January 1981–January 1983, Document 221.↩
- On January 23, the President sent a message to Congress on Soviet noncompliance, along with a fact sheet and a classified report. For the text of the message and the fact sheet, see Public Papers: Reagan, 1984, Book I, pp. 72–76. Reagan wrote in his diary on January 9: “An NSC meeting—this one on how to handle report to Congress on Soviet violations of weapons treaties—which are numerous. We’re going to low key it in the report but deal directly with the Soviets on what do they intend to do about them.” (Brinkley, ed., The Reagan Diaries, vol. I, January 1981–October 1985, p. 306) On January 13, Reagan continued in his diary: “An N.S.C. meeting on our approach to the Soviets re arms negotiations. We’ve notified them of our report to Cong. on their violation of various treaties & agreements. They do just plain cheat.” (Ibid., p. 308)↩
- Burt and Sokolov met on January 13 to discuss the report to Congress on Soviet noncompliance with arms control agreements. Instead of providing Sokolov with a written statement, Burt went through a series of points covered in the report. (Telegram 12804 to Moscow, January 15; Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, N840001–0338)↩
- Hartman and Gromyko had held a series of meeting related to Lebanon and the situation in the Middle East. The most recent had been in mid-December 1983. See footnote 4, Document 147.↩
- Gromyko seems to be referring to the book America’s Siberian Adventure by William S. Graves, published in 1931.↩
- The Kissinger Commission Report was issued publicly on January 11. The full text is available in the journal, Population and Development Review, vol. 10, No. 2, June 1984, pp. 381–389. A summary and guidance on the report was transmitted in telegram 6714 to multiple American Republic diplomatic posts, January 10. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D840016–0724)↩
- Not found.↩
- Gromyko had served as Soviet Foreign Minister since 1957.↩