196. Memorandum From Secretary of State Shultz to President Reagan1


  • Art Hartman’s Meeting with Gromyko March 11

Art Hartman tells me that he met with Gromyko for two and a half hours Sunday to discuss your letter and my talk with Dobrynin March 7.2 Gromyko was careful to say his response was “preliminary” and that we will get an early formal reply to your letter, which has been passed to Chernenko. Art feels Gromyko may not yet have fully familiarized himself with what we have presented. That said, however, he was also very tough.

After Art had begun by stressing your sincerity and the very specific character of our message, Gromyko spent an hour and a half complaining that we had killed off a whole series of agreements and had not yet offered anything to move us forward in a constructive way. The chief items were:

START and INF, where the policy of the Administration makes talks impossible after the U.S. had “paralyzed” SALT II;

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—other arms control items—TTBT, outer space, CW, nuclear non-first-use, non-use of force—where the U.S. had refused to ratify, was ignoring Soviet proposals or was making promises of a kind it had not delivered on in the past; and

—bilateral cooperation agreements (environment, health, etc.) which the U.S. had “cast aside.”

In rebuttal, Art told Gromyko that he was defining negotiations in a one-sided way, that we need a give-and-take process and adjustments on each side, and that we should add deeds that address real problems to international life, rather than just words. He stressed that Gromyko was misunderstanding your intentions if he thought we are just repeating the importance of dialogue: you had made substantive decisions and are ready to move forward. Gromyko concluded that he was not convinced.

Art thinks that part of Gromyko’s point was to prove that we cannot go around him; the fact that TASS immediately announced the meeting had made no progress suggests that he also continues to fear we will exploit any dialogue between us to prove we are in business-as-usual. It was not an encouraging meeting, but it is hard to draw conclusions from it, and both Art and I agree we should wait for the formal reply to your letter that Gromyko promised. In the meantime, we should do what we need to do here to be ready to move on the issues you identified in your letter.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Jack Matlock Files, USSR Subject File, US-USSR Relations (March 1984) 3/3. Secret; Sensitive. A Department of State copy of this memorandum indicates it was drafted by Burt on March 13. (Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/S, Sensitive and Super Sensitive Documents, Lot 92D52, March 1984 Super Sensitive Documents) Reagan’s handwritten initials appear on the memorandum, indicating he saw it.
  2. For the President’s letter, see Document 190. For a record of the March 7 Shultz-Dobrynin meeting, see Document 192.