356. Telegram From Secretary of State Shultz to the Department of State and the White House1

Secto 1015. For the President. Subject: Memorandum for the President on the Secretary’s First Meeting With Gromyko, Monday Morning, January 7, 1985.


FROM: George P. Shultz

SUBJECT: My First Meeting With Gromyko

1. We began our talks in what I believe was a constructive atmosphere with a three-hour exchange on strategic philosophy—on Gromyko’s part—and a laying out in a very detailed form of our view of the strategic environment. Gromyko’s manner was calm, businesslike and forceful. He read large portions of his presentation, indicating that these were agreed Politburo positions. He talked at all times as if the future negotiations were a fact but of course put great stress—as we expected he would—on the objectives and goals of such negotiations.

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2. There was brief interchange on human rights at outset with me asserting their importance in the overall relation and Gromyko saying he would not discuss a matter of internal affairs.

3. My presentation of U.S. position closely followed agreed talking points (which we are sending separately in full)2 covering:

—Evaluation of strategic environment

—Our view of the way it should evolve

—Our view of subject and objectives of subsequent negotiations

4. For his part, Gromyko, after a long plea for negotiations as the only way to head-off catastrophe, set several general conditions or principles. We should agree on the ultimate goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. We should base negotiations on the principle of equality and equal security. The problems of strategic and intermediate forces cannot be settled in the absence of an agreement to prevent the militarization of space. Only this can strengthen strategic stability.

5. He went on to lay out specific goals for negotiations:

To prevent the militarization of space we must institute a ban on development, testing and deployment of attack space weapons and eliminate any weapons of that kind already deployed. He defined these weapons as anything based on any physical principle or basing mode to attack targets in outer space or from space to attack weapons on land, sea, in the air, or on earth. He included ASAT and relevant anti-missile systems.

6. On strategic arms, if there is a ban on space weapons, the Soviets are ready to accept radical reductions plus renunciation of new strategic systems, long-range cruise missiles, new types of ICBMs, SLBMs and bombers. He added that INF cannot be separated from strategic systems because the systems we have deployed in Europe can hit the USSR and are therefore, by definition, strategic.

7. On medium-range missiles there should be a goal to stop U.S. deployments and stop Soviet counter-deployments, followed by reductions to new lower levels which must take account of UK and French forces. Strategic arms cannot be settled in isolation from medium-range arms.

8. Gromyko concluded by saying that all these matters are linked and must be considered together. We want, he said, fair and objective agreements. We want to live in peace with you. We harbor no evil designs.

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9. In an unusual move, Gromyko asked for my entire three-quarter hour presentation to be translated quote, because I understand it to be an important statement of principle, unquote.

10. Our preliminary conclusion is that the Soviets are driving for a single forum to discuss all subjects but perhaps with subgroups. On substance, there appears to be nothing new. We’ll cable again after the afternoon session.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Jack Matlock Files, Meetings with USSR Officials, Geneva Meeting: Shultz/Gromyko 01/07/1985 Morning (1). Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Hartman; cleared by McFarlane, Hill, M. Bova (S/S), and K. Clark (S); and approved by Shultz.
  2. Not found.