97. Editorial Note

From 9:30 to 10:12 a.m. on September 6, 1983, Secretary of State George Shultz met with President Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office to discuss Shultz’s planned meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Gromyko in Madrid. Other participants in the meeting included Vice President George Bush, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Richard Burt, U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union Arthur Hartman, and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European and Soviet Affairs in the NSC Staff Jack Matlock. (Reagan Library, President’s Daily Diary) Reagan wrote in his diary entry for that day: “N.S.C. meeting with Geo. S. to discuss his meeting with Gromyko. Some are opposed but I think George is right—he should see Gromyko & eyeball him on the Korean plane shoot down. There were 61 Americans on that plane. This could be the 1st time Gromyko has been put on the defensive.” (Brinkley, ed., The Reagan Diaries, volume I, January 1981–October 1985, page 260)

In his memoir, Shultz recalled: “the president authorized me to meet with Gromyko in Madrid. He agreed that we should keep the focus on human rights and KAL 007. ‘We will continue with the arms control talks, but we can’t do anything more than that,’ he said. We discussed whether KAL 007 was shot down with full knowledge by the top Soviet political leadership. We didn’t know for sure about that, but certainly the top political leadership orchestrated the Soviet response. ‘Their reaction to the event demonstrates the mentality that allowed it to happen in the first place,’ I said. ‘They still continue to blunder.’” (Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph, page 367)