174. Memorandum From Secretary of State Shultz to President Reagan 1

SUBJECT

  • January 8 Dobrynin Meeting

I used the meeting primarily to share with Dobrynin your thinking on the timing of Gorbachev’s visit. Dobrynin said he had no answer from Moscow on our initial proposal,2 a silence he attributed to Gorbachev’s heavy involvement in preparations for the February Party Congress. Dobrynin felt it was useful to have the benefit of your own thinking, understood the considerations on which it was based, and promised to report fully to Gorbachev.

Dobrynin did have an answer to my suggestion that Shevardnadze come here in late January. The Foreign Minister will be busy in his capacity as Politburo member in the run-up to the Congress and is unable to meet in January or February. Dobrynin hinted that it might be possible to schedule a visit in early March. He handed over a schedule for proposed expert-level meetings on various arms control, regional and bilateral questions between now and June—a good indication that the Soviets do not want to lose momentum on the agenda we agreed to in Geneva.3

I took advantage of the meeting to put into perspective your decision to impose sanctions against Libya, going into some detail to impress upon him our certainty of Qaddafi’s links to terrorism. His response, that the roots of terrorism lie in the unresolved Palestinian problem, was disappointing boilerplate. It was made without conviction, and he ultimately agreed with me that there was no justification for actions like the Rome/Vienna attacks.4

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Jack Matlock Files, US-USSR Summits, 1985–1986, Summit 1986 (1/2). Secret; Sensitive.
  2. See Document 167.
  3. Not found attached; however, a copy is attached to a January 21 memorandum from Ridgway to Shultz in preparation for his January 22 meeting with Dobrynin. (Reagan Library, George Shultz Papers, 1986 Soviet Union Jan.) See Document 184.
  4. On December 27, 1985, terrorists attacked the El Al check-in counters at the Vienna and Rome airports.