251. Memorandum From Secretary of State Shultz to President Reagan1

SUBJECT

  • July 24 Meeting With the Soviets on Vienna

Rick Burt called in Soviet Charge Isakov early this morning on the Vienna meeting. He led off by emphasizing the disappointment felt by you, me, and other senior US officials that the Soviets had chosen not to respond to your letter directly, but instead handed over a formulation for an announcement and then went public.2 Burt said we had examined their formulation and produced one of our own, which he then provided Isakov.3

Isakov did not respond to Burt’s point about not replying to your letter, although he seemed embarrassed. He did respond to our draft announcement, saying it did not move the process forward. He said it was like our other responses to the Soviet June 29 proposal in that we apparently refuse to respond to their central proposal—negotiations on the “prevention of militarization of outer space.”4 Our current for[Page 885]mulation, he continued, like those immediately following the June 29 proposal and your letters, also refuses to agree to “negotiations,” talking merely about “approaches”. Finally, Isakov noted that our response was silent on a moratorium for space weapons testing and deployment.

Burt replied that our position has been clear all along. We are prepared to discuss outer space issues in Vienna. We also believe it necessary to address offensive strategic arms, such as ballistic missiles, that fly through space and are related to the outer space issue. He told Isakov that we are serious about the subject and thus were interested in continuing our dialogue in diplomatic channels, adding that Soviet public relations ploys made us question if they were equally serious.

Isakov said he would report to Moscow. He is returning to Moscow tomorrow on vacation and told Burt he would brief Oleg Sokolov who will take over as Charge so we can continue our discussions.

  1. Source: Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/S, Sensitive and Super Sensitive Documents, Lot 92D52, July–December, 1984 Super Sensitive Documents Secret; Sensitive. According to the covering memorandum from Burt to Shultz, this memorandum was drafted by Pascoe and cleared by Palmer. It is unsigned, but a note in the margin on the covering memorandum reads: “original of Sec Pres delivered by J. Crawley/S to McFarlane.” A stamped notation reading “GPS” appears on the covering memorandum, indicating Shultz saw it.
  2. In telegram 9294 from Moscow, July 24, the Embassy reported that TASS released a public statement on the possible Vienna negotiations on July 23. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D840472–0067) In remarks to the press the same day, Speakes said that the administration was “pleased that the Soviets have now responded to our suggestion that we work out the joint statement” and that the United States would “respond promptly in diplomatic channels.” (Dusko Doder, “Soviets Seek Talks Pledge From U.S.,” Washington Post, July 24, 1984, p. A1) In his diary entry for July 23, Reagan wrote: “Bud brought Cap, George S. & Gen. Vessey in re the answer to the Soviets demand for a meeting on ASAT. We’re holding out for talks also on reducing nuclear weapons.” (Brinkley, ed., The Reagan Diaries, vol. I, January 1981–October 1985, p. 370) According to the President’s Daily Diary, the meeting was from 4:35 to 5:10 p.m. in the West Sitting Hall. (Reagan Library, President’s Daily Diary)
  3. The draft text of this July 24 joint announcement given to Isakov by Burt was not found.
  4. See Document 233.