367. Memorandum From Secretary of State Shultz to President Reagan1


  • My Meeting with Dobrynin January 22

Dobrynin came in at his request for about 45 minutes this afternoon, mainly to present some Soviet proposals on joint commemorative events for V-E Day this spring.

The Soviets are suggesting several possibilities, he said:

—exchanging letters “at the highest level;”

—sending an official US delegation to the Soviet anniversary event in Moscow, and receiving a Soviet delegation here if we had a comparable event; and

—exchanging delegations of veterans’ groups.

He added that the Soviets are also thinking of honoring distinguished men, such as Averell Harriman, who played a crucial role in US-Soviet relations during World War II.

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I said I would get back to him concerning these suggestions, but I also gave him the flavor of our thinking on what the approach to the anniversary should be. The themes should be peace, reconciliation and looking to the future rather than the past. I said we have been disturbed by the Soviet campaign against the FRG. As a friend and ally, we would stand with the West Germans, and V-E Day events should not be directed against them. For them V-E Day represented a new beginning. Dobrynin responded that Soviet criticism of revanchism in the FRG has nothing to do with V-E Day. They see revanchist activities like meetings of ex-SS men and emigre groups that are tolerated by the government, watch them carefully and criticize them.

Dobrynin noted that they owed us an answer on the date and location of our arms control negotiations and the composition of their delegation.2 The Politburo had not yet passed on these matters, but he expected to have a reply this week or next.

Dobrynin asked how our preparations for negotiation were shaping up. I said I thought we had had good, serious, substantive exchanges in Geneva; he said Gromyko and the Politburo felt the same way. I said I felt we have a good opportunity to move forward. The new US negotiating team is a strong one, you and I are fully engaged on the issues, and we have an improved internal structure for dealing with them. Dobrynin noted that both sides are using much the same language about engaging in a long and difficult process. I said we should not be afraid to make rapid progress, but history showed these things often take time. We will have to see if it is possible to reach mutually agreeable accords, but for our part we intend to give it a good try.

We agreed that it would be useful to get together in a week or two to review the overall relationship area by area.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Jack Matlock Files, Chronological File, 1980–1986, Matlock Chron January 1985 (3/4). Secret; Sensitive. The January 23 covering memorandum to McFarlane from Matlock is printed as Document 368.
  2. In a January 17 memorandum to McFarlane, Matlock reported on Burt’s January 16 meeting with Isakov: “Rick proposed that arms control negotiations begin in Geneva in early March, reiterated our proposal for a joint space rescue mission, proposed consultations on the Middle East to be held in Washington February 19–20, protested the Soviet demarche to Mobutu, rejected Soviet preconditions for further discussions on southern Africa and expressed our opposition to Soviet efforts to arrange for an affiliation of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War with the World Health Organization.” (Reagan Library, Jack Matlock Files, Chronological File, 1980–1986, Matlock Chron January 1985 (3/4))