96. Briefing Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Burt) to Secretary of State Shultz1
- Your Presentation to Gromyko at Madrid
Attached is a revised version of the presentation I am suggesting that:
—incorporates the points you wanted made on our direct military-to-military links proposal;
—reflects the more forthcoming tone and specific requests the Soviets have been making about our search operations near the crash site;
—tells Gromyko formally that it is not now possible to proceed with extension of the Transportation Agreement or further discussion of consulates and a new exchanges agreement; and
—puts U.S. markers on Central America and the Middle East on a contingency basis only, since taking the initiative on regional issues is too likely to invite a broad-ranging diatribe designed to divert attention from the issues you wish to raise.[Page 330]
The NSC has asked for a new Memorandum to the President on the Gromyko meeting to help prepare for your pre-departure meeting tomorrow, and we have sent it to you separately.2
The presentation I am suggesting focusses on three set of issues: the airliner (and the President’s proposal for military-to-military communications links), arms control treaty compliance (missile testing and especially the radar), and human rights (Shcharanskiy plus Jewish emigration/anti-Semitism).
All three issues fall basically into the same category of Soviet behavior that constitutes a threat to international order. On all three we are justly accusing the Soviets of irresponsible conduct that makes it difficult to move forward in any field, and demanding corrective action at Gromyko’s level. All three fit well within the conceptual framework suggested by Jack Matlock for the meeting as originally planned: we cannot solve all problems, but we need to deal seriously with the three interrelated problem areas of use of force to settle disputes, the high and rising level of armaments, and the shortage of trust and confidence in the relationship.
At the same time, there is a basic tension between the airliner tragedy, arms control compliance and the Middle East/Central America—where we wish basically to warn the Soviets at Gromyko’s level—and Shcharanskiy—where we want the Soviets to release him. The tougher we are on the first three, the less forthcoming Gromyko is likely to be on Shcharanskiy.
There is no way to eliminate this tension, but we can perhaps reduce it by shaping the tone, order and format of your presentation. Our suggestions are embodied in the attached text. They are:
—Use Jack’s conceptual framework in setting the scene, and key each issue you raise to it: the airliner illustrates use of force, but also the Soviet arms buildup, and it damages trust and confidence; arms control compliance is a trust and confidence issue first, then an arms buildup issue; Shcharanskiy is pre-eminently a matter of trust and confidence; we wish to move forward if the Soviets are willing, but they are making things immensely difficult by their actions and unwillingness to explain on all these issues.[Page 331]
—Break the meeting into a session with advisors dealing with the airliner and arms control compliance, and a more private session on Shcharanskiy and Jewish emigration/anti-Semitism.
—Conclude the session with advisors by a summation that ticks off the small steps we have managed to take in recent months, before asking for the private meeting, and finish on a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger note, in order to set a more positive tone for an exchange on Shcharanskiy.
—Frame your remarks on Shcharanskiy in terms of the Soviet leadership’s commitment to release him but also the opportunity for them to gain credit for a compassionate gesture at this time, and the danger of further damage if they do not follow through, and of catastrophe if he dies in prison.
An oblique mention of our offer to trade for Shcharanskiy is included in your points. We have discussed whether this mention should be more explicit, and you may wish to consider this point further. Our tentative conclusion, however, is that the mention should remain oblique for two reasons:
—If the Soviets decide to release Shcharanskiy as a humanitarian gesture, we would be better off without a trade;
—The Foreign Ministry is not always informed about discussion of trades, and if Gromyko weighs in in Moscow following a heated conversation with you the option could be eliminated.
Gromyko will have his own agenda, and at least two options for deflecting your stress on Soviet international misbehavior. One is to launch into a complaint along the lines of the egregious TASS statements of recent days that the Soviets were defending their territory against U.S. intelligence penetration.3 The other is a long and bitter monologue about alleged U.S. lack of interest in making the world a safer place, which raises a whole series of topics, probably including the Middle East. I suspect he may try to use both.
Contingency responses in case he specifically raises the RC–135 and intelligence charges are included in your book, and we will also have for you specific material to counter a Gromyko diatribe on U.S. intelligence activities by citing confirmed facts about the airliner shootdown.
The best antidote to a diversionary monologue is firmly but calmly to seize and keep the initiative, and stick to your three topics. I have revised my earlier view that you should raise Central America and the Middle East in this meeting. To do so would be too much of an invita[Page 332]tion to Gromyko to declaim. But if he raises regional issues (and only in that case), you should take the opportunity to lay down the appropriate markers on both the Middle East and Central America. Contingency talking points are at the end of the attached presentation. Otherwise, I think you should tell him that the meeting is short and that you would like to defer extended discussion of other topics to New York.
- 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 J.H. Smith (L/LEI) and Palmer. Forwarded through Eagleburger. Simons initialed for all clearing officials.↩
- An unsigned memorandum from Shultz to Reagan is ibid. A note on the routing sheet reads: “Taken to Sec’s home by J. Howe 9/5 per CH.” However, there is no indication the memorandum was sent to Reagan. It covers most of the same points in Burt’s memorandum to Shultz regarding the upcoming meeting with Gromyko: the KAL incident, arms control compliance, and human rights. Before he departed for Madrid, Shultz and Reagan met in the Oval Office the next morning, September 6. See Document 97.↩
- See Document 92.↩
- Secret; Sensitive.↩
- See Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. III, Soviet Union, January 1981–January 1983, Document 221.↩
- See footnote 2, Document 82.↩