278. Personal Note Prepared by the Deputy Secretary of State (Dam)1

I attended the NSPG meeting with the Secretary today.2 The ostensible subject was preparations for Vienna negotiations. The actual subject which surfaced more or less during the meeting from time to time was what the President and the Secretary should say to Gromyko in their upcoming meetings. I found the discussion rather appalling. It was clear that the President wanted to take some steps in his meeting with Gromyko and particularly to hold out some prospect of real movement on our arms control position. But except for the Secretary of State, all of the agencies appeared implacably against anything significant. Only Ken Adelman was prepared to see any movement and very slight at that. Bob Gates from the CIA handed me a note near the end of the meeting saying that the President was out in front of all of his advisers, and that was certainly true, with the exception, of course, of Secretary Shultz. Somehow or the other everyone seems to believe that we can keep the “high ground” without making any concrete moves. It is certainly true that we don’t want to make public concessions designed to bring the Soviets back to the table, but at the same time, if we are not prepared to unveil even informally to Gromyko what we would be prepared to do in Vienna negotiations, there aren’t going to be any ASAT negotiations nor any START or INF negotiations either. The State Department’s approach has generally been to feel that the Vienna forum is a good one, because it would allow us to link offense and defense and involve negotiations on offensive systems with the Soviet Union without forcing the Soviets to admit that they were coming back to START and INF negotiations. That is a principal advantage of the Vienna forum over a Geneva forum. But everyone seems to be frightened that we might make a mistake, and Cap Weinberger seems so concerned that something might be done which would in some way compromise the strategic defense initiative, that no one else is willing to move. That said, it is of course true that almost anything that we might negotiate in the ASAT area or on defensive systems generally would hold out the possibility that we would in some way restrict the strategic defense initiative. The problem, of course, with that kind of concern, quite aside from what anyone may think about the SDI pro[Page 987]gram, is that we are not going to be able to get funding from the Congress for a strategic defense initiative unless we are shown to be willing to deal with the Soviets on arms control.

[Omitted here is material unrelated to the Soviet Union.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/S–I Records, Deputy Secretary Dam’s Official Files: Lot 85D308, Personal Notes of Deputy Secretary—Kenneth W. Dam—Oct. 1983–Sept. 1984, No classification marking. Dictated by Dam on September 18.
  2. See Document 277.