191. Information Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs (Burt) to Secretary of State Shultz1
- Chernenko’s Agenda
We have reviewed Chernenko’s most significant statements since he was elected General Secretary February 14—his remarks to the Vice President that day, his letter to the President February 23, and his “election” speech March 2—to identify the issues in U.S.-Soviet relations he is presently concentrating on.2 His letter to the President adopted the agenda set forth by Andropov in his January 28 letter by stating this was the Soviet position and calling for U.S. responses.3 A review of the results is attached.
Briefly, the “Chernenko agenda” is as follows: START/INF, a non-use-of-force treaty, U.S. matching the Soviet pledge not to use nuclear weapons first, a CTB, U.S. ratification of the TTBT, an ASAT ban, Western response to Eastern moves in MBFR, and “resolving regional conflicts.” In his March 2 speech, i.e. the “public” version, Chernenko laid special stress on:
—Ratification of TTBT/PNET and resumption of CTB talks.
—Adoption of nuclear no-first-use, nuclear free zones, etc.
—No militarization of outer space.
Chernenko did not specifically cite ASAT, nor did he raise the non-use of force treaty or MBFR. He dusted off the old Soviet nuclear freeze proposal which had not been given much stress earlier.
The only really new twists were on START/INF and CW:
—In describing US INF deployments, Chernenko said that the US had “created obstacles” to negotiations, and that “it is the removal of these obstacles (which would also remove the need for our countermeasures) that offers the way to working out a mutually acceptable accord.” It is not clear from the context whether Chernenko is implying any new flexibility on resuming negotiations. Like the earlier “display a [Page 684] readiness” formula, there is sufficient ambiguity regarding the precise conditions under which the Soviets might agree to return to Geneva.
—Chernenko was upbeat on CW. He said that the prerequisites “are beginning to ripen” for a resolution of the question of a complete CW ban, and alluded to the new Soviet proposal for continuous inspection of stockpile destruction.
- Source: Reagan Library, George Shultz Papers, Executive Secretariat Sensitive Chronology (03/07/1984); NLR–775–11–27–2–8. Secret; Sensitive. Drafted by Tefft; cleared by Simons. Hill’s handwritten initials appear on the memorandum, indicating he saw it on March 7.↩
- See Documents 176–178, 183, and 187.↩
- See Document 164.↩
- Secret; Sensitive.↩
- See footnote 7, Document 169.↩
- See Documents 177 and 178.↩
- See footnote 5, Document 179.↩
- See footnote 7, Document 152.↩
- See Document 158.↩