89. Briefing Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Burt) to Secretary of State Shultz1
- Your Participation in the September 2 NSC Meeting: Talking Paper on KAL Follow-Up
The following paper reflects our luncheon discussion today on the structure you will wish to give your remarks.2
I. Overall Objective
—This terrible tragedy paradoxically gives us an opportunity to reinforce the President’s overall policy of strength and purpose. We should use it.
—We should punish the Soviets for their barbaric action, but we should above all speak and act so as to point up how it shows the differences between our two systems. We should not act as though this incident has come as a big surprise. Instead, it only portrays what we have long known about the Soviet system. But we should work to ensure that others—at home and abroad—understand this point.
—This does not mean that we should shy away from talking to the Soviets. I plan to see Gromyko next week so I can tell him face-to-face what we think of the Soviet action and to insist on a real explanation.
—On that point, we must also be sure we show it is the Soviets against the world, and not just the U.S. against the Soviet Union. This afternoon’s preposterous TASS statement shows clearly that the Soviet tactic is to try to turn this into a U.S.-Soviet issue.3 We should not play their game. Our game should be international solidarity.
II. The Shootdown and the Most Serious Issues
—We should capitalize on this stark reminder of the contrast between us and the Soviets to advance on the most serious issues we face.[Page 307]
—On Central America, I see this as a golden opportunity to get rid of the Boland/Zablocki Amendment.4
—On Lebanon/Syria, if we need to build our strength in the area we now have a much better political context than before to do it.
—On the defense budget and especially MX, the Soviets have just reminded the American people and our Allies how dangerous they are, how easily they throw their military strength around, and how much we need a strong defense. We should drive the message home.
III. Mobilizing International Solidarity
—We have moved quickly to mobilize the international community to express its outrage and impose costs on the Soviets, especially in the aviation field. We are meeting daily with our European and Asian Allies and friends. We should keep it up.
—The UN Security Council met this afternoon at the request of the U.S., Japan and South Korea.5 I will be asking Jeane Kirkpatrick to come back and take over our effort there.
—You have before you a list of seven measures we are proposing for immediate action (attached at Tab 1):
1. Refusing to accept Aeroflot flight plans;
2. Suspending non-safety-related discussions between the Soviets and other national civil aviation bodies;
3. Boycotts against Aeroflot;
4. Censuring the Soviets at a special meeting of the ICAO Council next week;
5. Reaffirming our existing sanction against Aeroflot flights to the U.S.;
6. Making a claim against the Soviets for the death of our citizens; and
7. Cancelling interline ticketing arrangements with Aeroflot.
—Some of these are actions for governments to take, others for private organizations like pilots’ unions.[Page 308]
—On those that require government action, we met with Transportation and the FAA this morning, and are in agreement with them that we should proceed.
—On those requiring private action, Larry Eagleburger met with Lane Kirkland and we met also with the Airline Pilots’ Association and the Air Transport Association to see what they are prepared to do, and we will be following up.
—We may find that not all these proposals are feasible, but I would like your authorization to begin exploring them with private groups and foreign governments.
IV. U.S.-Soviet Bilateral Relations
—The defense budget, Central America and the Middle East are important elements in the U.S.-Soviet equation, but we need to decide how to handle others that are more directly bilateral.
—I am thinking about three categories.
—1. On the Madrid meeting with Gromyko, I intend to shorten and toughen it, drop the working luncheon we had agreed to, and focus the whole meeting on three topics:
—human rights, especially Anatoliy Shcharanskiy; and
—arms control treaty compliance.
—We have to make the Soviets at the highest levels of government understand how dangerously and irresponsibly they are acting, and tell the world we are making these points. That is why I need to meet Gromyko in Madrid.
—2. On other bilateral topics, we have already told the Soviets we are not moving to renew the Transportation Agreement that expired in June because of the shootdown.
—I also want your agreement not to proceed at this point to renew discussion of consulates in Kiev and New York and a new exchanges agreement. I have supported these steps because both things would be in our long-term interest and we should go ahead at some point. But that point is not now.
—3. On arms control, it is important not to turn an opportunity to shift weight against the Soviets into a defeat for the U.S. This is especially true concerning Europe and in the arms control field. We want to keep things focussed on what the Soviets have now done rather than on what we are not doing.
—For that reason, Mr. President, I think we should make the INF decisions that have been proposed, but not make this public, and not convey it to the Soviets in Geneva at this point. We would tell our Allies, but hold off going to the Soviets and publicizing your decision until later in the month.[Page 309]
V. Presidential Action
—Mr. President, you have already taken the lead to turn the anguish we all feel into support for your policy of strength and purpose. The American people will expect you to continue.
—I have here a statement (at Tab 2)6 that I would like you to make tomorrow morning, so that it gets picked up in the Sunday papers.
—It tells the world that today’s Soviet statement on the KAL shootdown is preposterous. It says you have instructed me to go to Madrid for a short, blunt meeting with Gromyko to tell him of our extremely serious concerns about Soviet behavior in this and a number of other areas. It says you have directed me to pursue the initiative which the world aviation community itself has undertaken to make clear to the Soviets that they have created a real danger to international travel and travellers’ safety.
—By Tuesday,7 we should have the actual tapes of the Soviet conversations before the shootdown. Making excerpts public would be a very effective step, and I think we should do so.
—We are checking with other governments with citizen victims about their plans for memorial services, and keeping in touch with Congressman McDonald’s family on their plans. I think a memorial service at the National Cathedral with you and the Ambassadors of those countries in attendance would be a fitting gesture, and if you agree I will be recommending a time to you soon.
- Source: Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/S, Special Handling Restrictions Memos, 1979–1983, Lot 96D262, ES Sensitive, September 1–8 1983. Secret; Sensitive. Drafted by Simons; cleared by Hartman and Palmer. Forwarded through Eagleburger. Simons initialed for Burt, Hartman, and Palmer. Hill’s handwritten initials appear on the memorandum, indicating he saw it on September 2.↩
- These talking points for Shultz were prepared for the September 2 NSPG meeting on the KAL incident. See Document 91.↩
- The TASS statement was issued on the September 2. For the full text, see “Text of Tass Statement On Downing of Airliner,” New York Times, September 3, 1983, p. 4.↩
- Representatives Boland and Zablocki proposed an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act to stop U.S. support for covert military operations in Nicaragua.↩
- For the full text of the September 2 statement of Charles M. Lichenstein, the Acting Permanent U.S. Representative to the United Nations, see the Department of State Bulletin, October 1983, pp. 3–5. The New York Times reported that several UNSC members denounced Soviet actions as “barbarous,” “nothing short of murder,” and “quite simply a massacre in the sky.” (Bernard D. Nossiter, “‘Murder’ and ‘Massacre’ Charged As U.N. Council starts Its Debate,” New York Times, September 3, 1983, p. 1) The Security Council held six meetings between September 2 and 12 to consider the KAL incident. See Yearbook of the United Nations, 1983, pp. 218–223.↩
- Tab 2, a Draft Presidential Statement, was not found.↩
- September 6.↩
- This options paper was distributed to participants for the September 2 NSPG meeting. (National Security Council, Institutional Files, NSPG Meetings, Box SR 108, NSPG 0068, 2 Sep 83 Soviet Downing of Korean Airliner)↩