28. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • U.S.

    • Secretary of State George P. Shultz
    • National Security Advisor Robert C. McFarlane
    • Assistant Secretary Richard Burt
    • Ambassador Paul H. Nitze
    • Ambassador Arthur A. Hartman
    • Ambassador Jack F. Matlock
    • Deputy Assistant Secretary R. Mark Palmer
    • Mr. Dimitri Arensburger (Interpreter)
  • USSR

    • Foreign Minister Andrey A. Gromyko
    • Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail S. Kapitsa
    • Ambassador Mikhail T. Yefremov
    • Ambassador Aleksandr A. Bessmertnykh, Chief, USA Dept., MFA
    • Ambassador Aleksandr P. Bondarenko, Chief, 3rd European Dept., MFA
    • Mr. Sergey P. Tarasenko, Deputy Chief, USA Dept, MFA
    • Mr. Vasiliy G. Makarov
    • Mr. Yuriy D. Uspensky2 (Interpreter)

Minister Gromyko welcomed the Secretary and all the other participants to the Soviet Mission and said that he was prepared to discuss questions of mutual interest to both sides. He wanted to say a few words concerning the procedure he thought ought to be adopted in the discussion of individual problems. First, he thought it would be best to tackle problems individually, exchange views on them, and after completing discussion of one problem, go on to the next one, etc. In this way our discussion would be more in the nature of a give-and-take. Gromyko’s second desire was to devote primary attention to the most important and most pressing problems. In the Soviet view, precisely these most important and pressing problems needed to be discussed. Questions of lesser importance, peripheral issues as it were, could of course be addressed if either side desired, specifically if the Secretary wanted to discuss them, but the Soviet side did not believe that much time ought to be devoted to them. No matter how many hours we met today, our time was nevertheless limited.

In concluding his introductory remarks, Gromyko wanted to inquire who, in the Secretary’s opinion, should initiate the substantive discussion. Perhaps the Secretary wanted to speak first. Gromyko was fully prepared to listen to the Secretary unless the latter had some other considerations. In line with Soviet tradition it would be appropriate for the guest to speak first. Of course, both sides would be setting aside the question of Austria, that is, the thirtieth anniversary of the Austrian State Treaty, because a special activity was scheduled on that subject.

The Secretary thanked Gromyko and said he agreed with Gromyko’s point that it would be best to discuss issues in series as it were, pausing for exchanges between subjects instead of making extensive speeches. He, too, thought that we should save a substantial amount of time for discussion of the more important issues and, he thought, we might perhaps resort to a method pioneered by Gromyko in New York, which he had called “headlining.”

[Page 83]

The Secretary continued that he had classified the more important subjects, the ones on which we would spend most of our time, as including arms control, what we have come to call regional issues, and some aspects of our bilateral relations. He wanted to make these introductory comments and then, if Gromyko agreed, go on to regional and bilateral issues, saving the maximum time for arms control matters. Was such a procedure acceptable to Gromyko?

Gromyko replied that what the Secretary had said coincided with the way the Soviet side envisaged these discussions.

The Secretary suggested that he might proceed with his general introductory comments and then pause to see whether Gromyko had any comments. He wanted to begin by addressing some regional issues mentioned in a recent non-paper that had been transmitted by Ambassador Dobrynin.3 He continued that this was a moment in our relations that is both promising and troubled because, it seemed to the US side, this year’s political events should encourage us to look forward. On the one hand, the US President had been re-elected and had received an important mandate; also, he had a definite approach to US-Soviet relations. On the other hand, there was a new leader in the Soviet Union who was now well settled in. Thus, we were in a position to move forward in our perspectives. The Secretary wanted to add that Gromyko himself was the world’s most experienced diplomat and had a special responsibility for using this experience to help move in a constructive and stable direction.

The Secretary went on to say that this was a year of anniversaries. In marking the fortieth anniversary since World War II, we emphasized peace, reconciliation and freedom in Europe. On a personal note, he wanted to say that he had a deep respect for the achievements of the Soviet armed forces during World War II and, as a participant of that war, his visit some years ago to a cemetery in Leningrad had a profound effect. He thought also that if the Austrian State Treaty, which Gromyko had mentioned earlier, contained any message, it was that problems could be solved. At times people doubted the value of negotiations, but we have come to Vienna to do some work that should disprove such a view. He wanted to pursue our meeting in that spirit.

The Secretary wanted to draw Gromyko’s attention to three problems that he found particularly troubling in our relationship, and express his views thereon. First, to repeat what he had told Dobrynin with respect to Major Nicholson, we felt that an apology to Nicholson’s family and compensation were in order.4 We also thought that there [Page 84] was a need to put into place firm measures to prevent an occurrence of this kind in the future. The Secretary would also note that additional discussions at the military level might be appropriate, and he hoped that they would occur. Essentially, it was necessary to take firm measures to prevent a recurrence.

The Secretary’s second point concerned the problem of the Berlin air corridors. In the past Berlin had been an area which had generated much difficulty, but recently it has been quiet. The air corridors problem clearly involved a safety aspect since the Soviet side introduced reservations that required a steep descent. Berlin involved special problems. There were six airports in the area, three Soviet airports and three Allied ones. They were used by military aircraft, civilian aircraft, helicopters, as well as fighter aircraft, all mingling together in the same air space. Berlin weather conditions were such that there was frequently an aircraft stacking problem. This meant that the margin of safety was less, there were many safety considerations that were specific to Berlin, and we were highly concerned about the reservations which required a steep descent. We believed that the regime which had existed until about a year ago was satisfactory, and that any changes to that regime should be done only through consultations. Although the Secretary did not want to devote too much time to the subject of the air corridors, he did hope that this problem could be resolved expeditiously. Still, a year has been devoted to work on this subject, but we were unable to see any successful results. The Secretary believed that a solution to this problem was clearly warranted.

Turning to the subject which fell under the label of human rights, the Secretary noted that we have long emphasized the importance of this subject. We noted some developments which we consider positive. He had found interesting and had liked what the Soviets had told Speaker O’Neill with regard to a follow-on experts’ meeting.5 The Secretary had also liked the suggestion made by General Secretary Gorbachev to the Vice President on using the approach of rapporteurs. He had noticed that some long-standing cases had been resolved, and we have also observed that a number of Moscow Jews had been allowed to emigrate. We were watching the number of positive decisions, but saw that the level of emigration was very low. Such things as, for example, the arrest and conviction of Hebrew teachers should be stopped. We continued to worry about Academician Sakharov and his wife. Before coming to Vienna, the Secretary had been visited in Israel [Page 85] by Mrs. Shcharansky and Ida Nudel’s sister, who had appealed to the Secretary on a very human level.6 Thus, this was a major problem.

The Secretary would tell Gromyko that the more able the Soviet side was to solve this problem, the more impact it would have not only in the US, but also around the world. With regard to the Joint Commercial Commission that would be meeting before long, the Secretary noted that there is a legislative relationship in the US between Most Favored Nation status and emigration.7 He was saying this because any solution that the USSR might undertake on this question would clearly be taken for its own reasons and as a matter for the Soviet side to decide. However, the Secretary did want to point to this relationship in terms of our legislation and in terms of the reaction by the US public. With this the Secretary wanted to return to where he had started, namely that he and the President felt that this was an important moment. We were prepared to work with the USSR and try to move along specific subjects in a constructive direction so deeds will become substance, and so as to achieve a more constructive and stable relationship. He wanted to say this before dealing with regional issues.

Gromyko inquired when, in the Secretary’s view, we should begin an exchange of views on the most important questions, namely the issues of security and arms control, that is the subject of the Geneva negotiations. Whatever views the Secretary might hold, in Gromyko’s opinion the most important issue was precisely the matter of security. These were principal issues in the Soviet-US relationship and involved nuclear arms, as well as prevention of an arms race, including an arms race in space. Thus, he did not wish to postpone discussion of these matters, and for his part intended to address them now. Of course, he would also react to what the Secretary had said. Gromyko wanted to begin by saying that Soviet-US relations were bad, though this was an understatement. In political terminology, the situation was strained. Of course, no one has yet invented an instrument which would make it possible to measure the degree of tension between states or in the world community. However, common sense and an objective approach should help us assess this situation.

Gromyko continued that along with all other countries in the world the USSR and the US, in its own fashion, had marked the fortieth anniversary of the defeat of Hitlerite fascism. In marking this anniversary, the USSR had emphasized the concept that the defeated enemy had been powerful, perfidious, and extremely dangerous because the [Page 86] goal of the Hitlerite clique had not merely been to gain victory over one country or another, but to turn entire nations into slavery. At that time, the US had drawn a correct conclusion because its political leadership had been farsighted and had joined hands with other countries, especially our joint ally during the war—Great Britain, in order to achieve a victory over our common enemy. In marking this important forty-year anniversary, the Soviet Union had also emphasized and had tried to inform nations and countries, including the US and its leadership, that in the Soviet Union’s view, notwithstanding the differences in our two countries’ social systems, we were able to work toward peace and apply joint efforts against a common enemy. This had been done during the war. This thinking was part of the Soviet foreign policy. Moreover, Gromyko suggested that during various periods this thesis had been a recognized part of the US foreign policy. Despite differences in their social systems and ideologies, countries were able to join efforts toward preventing the outbreak of a new war and to promote peace. All this was consonant with Soviet policy, and it was expressed in the words “principle of peaceful coexistence of states regardless of their social systems.”

The Secretary said he wanted to reaffirm our agreement with that idea.

Gromyko replied that this was very good, but that this great anniversary marked something unprecedented in history, unprecedented even if one included the major wars among countries. In any event, the US and the USSR marked this anniversary differently in terms of the basic thrust of their thoughts and ideas. The Soviet Union—and Gromyko was referring to the Soviet leadership and to Gorbachev personally—was not merely surprised that the US tried in every way to belittle the USSR’s role in the war, but things had actually reached the stage where some official statements made by high-ranking individuals disparaged the role of the Soviet Union. It was as if something had been put into a pocket with a hole in it. The Soviet Union was offended by this. The Soviet Union was even tempted to think, though the Secretary might disagree, that this was precisely the US goal, that is, to insult the USSR. That was one aspect of the direction taken in the US in marking this fortieth anniversary. Efforts had also been made to whitewash the leadership of our common enemy, even to honor certain enemy detachments, detachments which are besmirched by crimes and blood. What, Gromyko asked rhetorically, did the US side and the US Government achieve by such an approach to the anniversary? The Secretary he said would know the answer as well as the Soviet side, perhaps better. Gromyko did not care to dwell more deeply on the consequences.

The Secretary wanted to make some assurances. First, the people of the US fully recognized the importance of the contribution made by [Page 87] the Soviet Union in defeating the Nazi regime. Second, we fully recognize the suffering of the Russian people during the war and the heroism manifested by them on many occasions. In his own comments the Secretary had mentioned the Leningrad cemetery. However, he also wanted to affirm again what the President had said, namely that we also considered it important to emphasize what has been built since the end of the war, as well as the reconciliation with the German people. This did not in any way imply an ability even to understand the horrors perpetrated by the Nazi followers.

Gromyko said that the question arose of why the US had adopted such a line in everything it did in connection with the anniversary. The Soviet side, as well as all objectively thinking people throughout the world, would reply that the US Administration chose whatever exacerbated the confrontation between the USSR and the US. Everything that was poisoning the atmosphere between the two countries was deemed to be acceptable. Conversely, whatever promoted détente and better relations was deemed unacceptable to the US Administration. That is how the USSR assessed the situation with regard to the World War II anniversary.

Gromyko continued that the Soviet side gave a positive assessment of the exchange of congratulatory messages between Gorbachev and the President, but that did not by any means cancel the highly negative content of what had been said on the US side, nor of the activities in connection with the end of World War II. The Soviet Union took this into account. As for the role of the Soviet Union in the war and in the victory over Hitlerite Germany, this was a matter of the historical record and was known to all peoples and all countries. The chronicles of history recorded this in gold letters. In this connection, Gromyko did not risk speaking immodestly. He asserted that recent statements in the US as well as the Secretary’s earlier remarks had been received.

The assessments being made by each of the two sides pertained to their activities during the war, that is events of forty years ago, Gromyko continued. What bearing did this have on the desires for the future? The Soviet Union, too, wanted to develop its relations with all countries, including countries which during the war were our common enemy. These were entirely different issues. As it was, the US side was whitewashing the forces of the past, forces which at that time were opposed to the interests of peace. With respect to the desire to develop relations with those countries that previously had fought the US and the USSR, Gromyko would say that this was well and good as long as such relations were developed on a basis of peace.

Gromyko next wanted to address briefly another urgent substantive issue namely the Geneva negotiations dealing with nuclear arms and disarmament. From time to time, the USSR and US have agreed [Page 88] that this was the most important problem between them, a problem of a global nature. The problem of nuclear arms involved the need to halt the race in nuclear arms and to reduce such arms. Both sides had also agreed that the ultimate goal must be the complete elimination of nuclear arms everywhere and, of course, this had to be linked organically, as Gromyko had said, with the problem that had appeared recently, namely the problem involving space. There was no point to extending the arms race to space. Gromyko had to confess that having mentioned the desirability of dealing first with the most pressing problems, he had expected that the Secretary, too, would initially address these problems. But, of course, it was the Secretary’s prerogative to address other matters since the two sides evidently attached a different degree of importance to these issues. Still, in Gromyko’s view the most important problems were the arms race, nuclear arms, and disarmament. These issues had to be discussed, and if these matters could be discussed substantively to some degree, whether in Geneva or elsewhere, then, he thought, such a discussion would be beneficial.

Of course, Gromyko continued, there could be different assessments of the first stage of the negotiations which had recently concluded in Geneva. One could approach this matter in different ways. One could use moderate and flexible expressions in this assessment, that is, one could say that the two sides were still probing each other and that, therefore, nothing of substance could have been expected yet. The Soviet side, however, thought that it would be more useful to speak candidly. After all, who would speak candidly if we, the parties to these negotiations, did not do so ourselves. The Soviet side considered it to be its political and moral duty to tell the Secretary that, in the Soviet opinion, the US not only failed to manifest any desire to come closer together on this subject—that is, with respect to strategic, medium-range and space arms—but, the way the Soviet side saw it, was steering away from whatever could bring such agreement closer or facilitate it.

Gromyko continued that the US side evidently failed to recognize that by leaving aside space arms, by failing to consider that subject at the negotiations, a mutually acceptable agreement would be impossible, that under these circumstances no other questions could be resolved. In saying this, he was exempting those issues which were not organically linked to the subject matter of the negotiations in Geneva. The Soviet side had said that nuclear arms and space arms had to be considered in their organic interrelationship. This had been said at a meeting which was held in almost the same composition as the meeting we were holding today, a meeting at which this matter had been discussed and the sides had agreed to address this triad in [Page 89] its interrelationship.8 Only under these conditions would it be possible to proceed toward untying the complex knots—and there were enough of those—involved in reaching agreement. The Soviet side was more than surprised how it was possible, shortly after agreeing in Geneva on the framework in which these subjects would be discussed, to all of a sudden employ an entirely different line in Geneva. Was it really possible to find people within the US Administration who thought that an agreement on nuclear arms was possible if it were divorced from the issues of space? The Secretary would know better than Gromyko whether there were such people or not. However, Gromyko did not envy the Secretary if the US Administration did indeed include such people. This was very far removed from an objective assessment of the situation.

Gromyko went on to say that the Secretary, in his introductory remarks, had addressed three issues of substance. With respect to human rights, the Secretary knew very well that since this involved Soviet domestic law and Soviet prerogatives, the Soviet Union had no intention of discussing this matter with anyone and would not discuss it with anyone. The Secretary had expressed surprise over the drop in the number of people leaving the Soviet Union, or for that matter any other country, say country X. But one could not always maintain the same level of emigration, or even increase it. At some point the number had to drop, this was elementary mathematics.

Gromyko continued that with respect to the incident involving the US serviceman, Nicholson, the Soviet side had described the actual situation. It had expressed its regret at the death of a human being, but certainly the Soviet side could not be held responsible. The responsibility lay with the appropriate US authorities, and the Secretary would know better than Gromyko who that was. The Soviet serviceman had not fired at an American; he had fired at a totally unknown individual. Gromyko thought that the US was clear about that, and thus the responsibility for this death lay with American officials. Gromyko wanted to give the Secretary some good advice and suggest that this matter be sorted out on the US side and that measures be taken to prevent a recurrence in the future. As for a meeting between military representatives of the two sides mentioned by the Secretary, it could be held and would probably be useful.

Turning to the Berlin air corridors, Gromyko expressed the view that representatives of the two countries, as well as other interested parties, should use the existing Berlin Air Safety Center. That facility [Page 90] covered the very area in question, and this issue was within its competence. The goal should be to remove the mutual concerns. Probably the sooner this matter was resolved, the better. The issue was largely of a technical nature and thus it might not be all that easy for the two ministers to discuss it now.

The Secretary expressed the hope that this meant that Gromyko would be giving a political signal to his people at the technical center to proceed on the basis of good will to resolve this matter involving flight safety. We would do the same.

Gromyko responded that the Soviet representatives would be instructed to discuss technical aspects of this issue from the standpoint of jointly removing all concerns of all parties. Those would be their instructions. He assumed that the US side, too, would issue appropriate instructions, and the Secretary said that he agreed. Gromyko noted that the subject involved was flight safety. Generally speaking, this was all he had wanted to say at this point. As the Secretary had seen, he, Gromyko, had addressed two subjects. The first of these involved the overall fundamental matter of interrelationship between nuclear arms and those in space, while the second concerned subjects addressed by the Secretary in his introductory remarks. If the Secretary were in a position to present his assessment of the Geneva negotiations and express his views on that score, Gromyko would be prepared to listen very attentively.

The Secretary thanked Gromyko for his remarks and wanted to say first that, like Gromyko, he thought that the question or questions involved the build-up of nuclear arms and the necessity to reduce them ultimately to zero, as had been agreed between us. Like Gromyko, we believed that we saw a relationship between defense and offense. Like Gromyko, we believed that the first round of the Geneva negotiations had not been satisfactory, but unlike him we thought that the fault lay with the Soviet Union, not the US. However, the Secretary agreed that this was an important subject which should be assessed frankly. He was prepared to provide a detailed assessment and specify where, in our view, we stood and what needed to be done. Gromyko would note the presence at this table of four individuals who were very experienced in arms limitation. That showed, he suggested, the great interest and priority we were devoting to this question.

The Secretary continued that while he intended to focus on the Geneva negotiations, he believed there were a number of other questions worth discussing. A real problem, he believed, involved the possibility of proliferation of chemical arms, a matter that he thought should be discussed. We should also address the opportunities presented by the Stockholm negotiations. Progress had been made there which, he thought, could be consolidated and should be noted. Time permitting, [Page 91] this was an aspect of arms control that he wanted to touch on. There were also questions involving a regional dialogue which should be started, particularly on the matter of the Middle East, that is, the Iran-Iraq conflict in terms of chemical weapons. If time permitted, the Secretary intended to make a proposal on this score.

First, however, the Secretary wanted to address the Geneva negotiations. He would start by saying that he was disappointed by the Soviet approach in the first round of the nuclear and space arms talks. We had gone to Geneva prepared to move beyond 1983, which we felt would be in the interests of the Soviet side as well, but the Soviet side regressed. The Secretary was particularly disturbed that the Soviet side did not introduce a START proposal and that the Soviet positions went backwards in many respects. For example, in START the Soviet side had previously indicated a willingness to limit ALCMs but has now reverted to an earlier proposal to ban all cruise missiles. Given the Soviet Union’s massive air defenses, we thought that this was an unreasonable position. In INF, the Soviet Union at the highest level had stated publicly a readiness to freeze SS–20s in Asia and be flexible on aircraft limits. The present Soviet position was confined to Europe only and placed what we regarded as one-sided demands on US aircraft. In the group which we called Defense and Space, “space-strike” arms, to use the Soviet term, were defined by the Soviet side at the negotiations to exclude existing Soviet ABMs, whereas in Geneva the two Ministers had agreed to include them.

The Secretary suggested that this tactic of backtracking was not useful. The Soviet side should be under no illusions that we would be willing to make concessions if the Soviet side returned to its original positions.

The Secretary continued that he was also disturbed by wholly unfounded and misleading Soviet public allegations regarding the US approach to the negotiations. In Warsaw, Gorbachev had mentioned a Soviet-proposed cut of one-fourth in strategic weapons; it looked to us as if this referred to the Soviet side’s 1982–1983 START position which the Soviet negotiators indicated was no longer on the table.9 We [Page 92] began to observe that the Soviet Union was now in violation of existing strategic arms limitation treaties and has not taken corrective action. Gromyko would recognize that compliance was important of itself. As questions arose regarding compliance, this tended to undermine confidence in the negotiating process. The Secretary was sure that it would be useful to discuss this matter in Geneva in addition to the discussions being held in the SCC.

The Secretary continued that it was the United States, in our view, that had been most faithful to the concept of interrelationship among strategic forces, INF, and defense and space arms. We have long held that there is an inherent relationship between offense and defense. This was at the heart of our approach to the Geneva talks. The Soviet negotiators’ interpretation of the January agreement was not acceptable to us, for it seemed to establish a precondition for any general discussion in the two nuclear arms groups. Our negotiators were being told that unless we first accept a ban on the so-called “space-strike” arms, there was no point in seeking an effective agreement in the other areas. This turned our agreement on interrelationship into an unacceptable precondition and deadlocked progress in the other areas. Making progress in other areas contingent on our accepting the Soviet space proposal was not serious negotiating, we believed. It had been recognized that the groups could and should make progress in individual areas, and periodically review it in the light of their interrelationship. Indeed, by conditioning progress in offensive arms reductions on acceptance of the Soviet proposal on “space-strike” arms, the Soviet side was making it impossible to proceed in earnest on a range of issues as envisaged in the January 8 statement.

The Secretary said that we also must reject the Soviet charge that the US is backing away from the objective of preventing an arms race in space. We have made it clear that the Strategic Defense Initiative of the President is a research program only and that, should new defenses prove feasible, we would seek an agreed transition to a more defense-reliant balance, in which introduction of new defenses along with further reductions in offensive arms would be jointly managed. This would be the opposite of an arms race.

The Secretary noted that the Soviet negotiators had suggested that they would have numbers and specifics to introduce in the second round. He hoped that this will be the case and, if so, our own negotiators will then be prepared to engage in serious give-and-take negotiations. The US negotiating group in the defense and space forum is fully prepared to discuss the rationale and implications of the President’s SDI and to present our thoughts about how possible new defensive technologies might produce a more stable and secure balance from the perspective of both sides. Thus, we have proposed that the Soviet side join us in an exploration of this subject. We were ready for this.

[Page 93]

The Secretary pointed out that our negotiators in START and INF have broad authority to negotiate solutions. We are prepared to agree to radical cuts in intercontinental and intermediate-range nuclear arms as called for in the Geneva agreement. In our statements we have presented the desired ends to be achieved and have left considerable flexibility as to how to attain these ends. The START trade-offs concept, in particular, offers a means to achieve deep cuts while reconciling asymmetries between US and strategic force structures. In our INF position, our readiness within the context of an agreed global ceiling to discuss a commitment regarding US deployment in Europe and a reduction in Pershing missiles should also be of interest to the Soviet side.

In response to Gromyko’s question about what non-compliance the Secretary had in mind, the latter mentioned the ABM Treaty, in particular the Krasnoyarsk radar, as well as the SALT II Treaty, in particular new missiles, encryption, and some other problems. These, he suggested, illustrated our concerns. The Secretary noted that in his view it might be useful to discuss these matters in Geneva because questions involving the ABM regime were related to our discussions with regard to space. In a sense, this was more than just an issue of technical compliance.

The Secretary wanted to assure Gromyko that the US side was prepared to move forward in all three areas in Geneva. With regard to strategic nuclear forces, we were proposing to reduce ICBM and SLBM RV’s to levels of no more than 5,000. He thought that this was an appropriate first step along the way to achieving the goal of zero that the two sides had agreed upon, but we were willing to consider Soviet alternatives. We were prepared to limit ALCMs to levels well below those implicit in the 1983 US START proposal in an effort to develop mutually acceptable trade-offs. We should also negotiate constraints resulting in substantial reductions in destructive capability of strategic ballistic missiles. We sought to narrow differences over limits on strategic delivery vehicles and remained prepared to consider Soviet alternatives. Taken together, the above constraints would embody the trade-offs concept and thus address our concern over the Soviet ballistic missile force and the Soviet concern over US bomber/ALCM forces. At the same time, agreement along these lines would not require identical force structures. Thus, it took account of and accommodated the asymmetries in the forces the sides have.

The Secretary continued that with regard to intermediate-range nuclear forces our preferred goal—and he thought that the two sides agreed on zero—was the elimination of these systems altogether. However, within the context of agreement providing for equal global limits on missile warheads, we could accept any level from zero to 572—the [Page 94] lower the better. Our position entails a wide latitude in several areas of interest to the Soviet side. In the context of an agreement providing for equal global limits, the US would consider not deploying its full global allotment in Europe. Further, in the context of such an agreement the US is also willing to apportion reductions in Pershing II missile deployments and limitations on aircraft, two major concerns of the Soviet Union. An outcome based on this position would be balanced and consistent with the security interests of both sides.

The Secretary said next that in the area of defense and space arms the US is conducting all its programs in full compliance with the ABM treaty and expects the Soviet Union to demonstrate its commitment by returning to full compliance as well. As he had mentioned earlier, this included, in particular, the Krasnoyarsk radar, which we believed is a clear violation of the ABM treaty, both in terms of its location and in terms of its direction. The Secretary noted that there was no way of accomplishing effective verification of compliance with an agreement that would limit research. The Secretary went on to say that should this research prove the viability of such a regime, we were prepared to pursue discussions as to how these systems could be developed, tested, and deployed, concurrent with further agreed reductions in offensive nuclear forces in a controlled manner. Our intent would be to enhance security on both sides and strengthen strategic stability. Such developing, testing, and deployment would be carried out in accordance with procedures as defined in the ABM treaty; however, we would not allow a Soviet veto over actions we believe are necessary to improve our security and enhance strategic stability. These points, in our view, provided a basis for forward movement in all three areas and took full account of interrelationships among the issues. Of course, lots of details would have to be negotiated and agreed, in particular provisions for effective verification. But these ideas provide a framework in which our negotiators could work and, as the Secretary had said, we were prepared to take into account the Soviet position, ideally on a give-and-take basis.

In response to Gromyko’s question regarding the figures cited by the Secretary, the latter said that in case that question reflected a misunderstanding on Gromyko’s part, he wanted to note that the figure 572 pertained to intermediate-range systems, whereas the figure 5,000 applied to ballistic missiles in START. Finally, he would note that Ambassador Nitze had prepared a statement summarizing the first round of the Geneva negotiations, and in case Gromyko had not seen it, the Secretary handed over a copy thereof. He added that if Gromyko liked the statement, Nitze might be talked into autographing it.10

[Page 95]

Gromyko responded that the Secretary had just revealed a “major secret,” especially considering that Gromyko had read this statement approximately one day after it had appeared.

The Secretary concluded by saying that the above is what he had wanted to say regarding the Geneva negotiations, though, as he had noted earlier, there were other important arms control areas.

Gromyko noted that the Secretary had initially addressed regional issues and had only then turned to questions of nuclear and space arms limitations. He, too, intended to address those subjects, but he wanted to begin with the last subject addressed by the Secretary. He thought that relegating these issues to the back would generate a protest from these issues themselves. Of course he did not know how the Secretary viewed that Gromyko had not noted the Secretary’s disappointment over the course of the Geneva negotiations. He was willing to believe this but that disappointment was for reasons of a different nature. The US was disappointed because the USSR had failed to depart from the agreement of principle achieved in Geneva, whereas the Soviet side’s disappointment was caused by the US side’s departure from that agreement. The Soviet side was trying to convince the US side that if the latter insisted on separating the question of space from that of nuclear arms, there could be no progress. No matter what extensive speeches and statements might be made in various fora—large or restricted—such statements and speeches could admittedly confuse people who were ignorant on the subject, but in fact they merely harm Soviet and US long-term interests because that would result in no agreement being reached.

Gromyko continued that the US position, the US statements and declarations, reflected something very simple: All Soviet proposals were bad, no matter how good they were in substance and all US proposals were good because they promoted US military and political advantage. The US side has been trying to employ this lever in all its statements, from beginning to end. The Soviet side occasionally asked itself why the US was wasting so many different words to prove something that was objectively incorrect. But the US side continued to adhere to its line no matter what. The US favored everything that was useful to it and that gave it a unilateral advantage. To that end it was trying to convince the Soviet side that the US approach was correct. On the other hand, anything that was not to the US advantage, no matter what the reasons, were not acceptable to the US side.

Of course, Gromyko continued, the Secretary did not enjoy hearing this, but, then, the Soviet side, too, had not been particularly pleased at what it had heard. Nevertheless, when there were different points of view, especially contradictory points of view, when there were two concepts, two positions, especially diametrically opposed positions, [Page 96] there nevertheless was only one truth, only one of the approaches was correct. This is why Gromyko felt that he had to be frank about this with the Secretary. He did not know how many times he would have to repeat that there would be no accord unless the most pressing issues that is space arms, strategic arms and medium range arms were considered in their interrelationship. Life itself dictated that these issues were interrelated in a single chain. No one could discount this genuine law. Gromyko was trying to convince the Secretary of this.

Gromyko noted that the Secretary had already expressed some specific considerations by naming figures and specific categories. Of course serious negotiations inevitably required this. But could the current negotiations be considered serious if one of the sides failed to address this aspect of that “famous triangle.” Thus, the considerations and figures presented by the Secretary would still not make it possible to reach accord along those lines because it was necessary to agree on this aspect first. The Secretary was presenting his suggestions on the assumption that space could be set aside. The Soviet side thought this kind of agreement was inconceivable. It would be a different matter if the negotiations on all the three areas agreed to in Geneva—agreed to by the Soviet side as well as the US side—were to be conducted in their original interrelationship. In that case everything the Secretary had said would have meaning. The considerations he had mentioned should be studied, but only in context. Today, however, given the current US position, this did not help us move forward.

The Secretary, Gromyko continued, had asserted earlier that previously the Soviet Union had held positions with regard to nuclear systems from which it had now retreated. The Secretary was merely imagining this. The US, on the other hand, did not stand still, it was pushing its program on land, in the air and at sea. The Soviet Union was not altering anything, it continued to adhere to the same positions of principle. By way of a detail, Gromyko would note that the Secretary had “lost” the issue of sea-launched cruise missiles. It was as if this issue had dropped out of his pocket. Yet there was such an issue.

Another question, Gromyko continued, was why we could not view any individual issue only within the context of Europe, why was it always necessary to bring in Asia; why did Asia have to be tied to Europe. For that matter, let us take a look at the systems available to the US which were not located on US territory. Let us take a look at the military-strategic situation. What about US nuclear systems in the Pacific, on Okinawa, in the seas around Japan, in the Persian Gulf, in the Indian Ocean and in South Korea? The Secretary could take a ruler and a map—whether a US map or a Soviet map—and measure the distance from these sites to the USSR. He would see that the US had no need for strategic arms to cover almost the entire Soviet territory; [Page 97] it could employ medium-range systems. Was the Soviet Union expected to close its eyes to this, not notice this, and imitate an angel no matter what the other side was doing? The fact was, however, that all this constituted an enormous threat. If the two ministers were to exchange places, how would the Secretary react if he were in the Soviet position? Thus, in global terms, it was necessary to take all of this into account. Gromyko added that he had not provided an exhaustive listing. For example, the US had carrier-based aircraft which seemed to be in some kind of a suspended state—they were not being counted in Europe, nor among strategic systems, nor anywhere else. The Secretary knew as well as the Soviet side the mission of these arms, and their effectiveness. He knew their significance. The Soviet side had raised this issue in the past and would continue to raise it in the future; these systems had to be taken into account. The rational way would be for both sides to respect the agreement of principle that had been achieved. This would make it possible to discuss Soviet as well as US proposals. However, we needed an objective and honest approach. One should not try to fool the other side. That was no way to reach an agreement.

Gromyko continued that the Secretary was chiding the Soviet side for its insistence at looking at all three types of problems in their organic interrelationship. He had said that this was akin to a precondition. But if that was the case, US and Soviet proposals would also have to be called preconditions. There was nothing of the sort. Were this the case, the Geneva accord reached between the two ministers would also have to be viewed as a precondition. In fact, this was not the case. This argument worked both ways, but the most important thing was that the US side’s approach did not withstand criticism. After all, the Soviet side was not saying that we should first reach agreement about space and that we could only then go on to strategic systems, for example. Had the Soviet side adopted such an approach the Secretary would be entitled to call it a precondition, to express doubts, etc.

The Secretary thanked Gromyko for this clarification.

Gromyko said he wanted to remind the Secretary that the Soviet side had been consistently approaching the negotiations in terms of the organic interrelationship between all three problems, it had been doing so only in these terms. The Secretary would have to recognize that it was necessary to preclude a situation in which an agreement on strategic arms, for example, might be concluded and brought into force without an accord on space issues. These things were intertwined. The Secretary had to understand this. In the course of the negotiations on these three types of problems the sides would encounter individual elements that would require discussion from the standpoint of the timing of their implementation—this could be done only in terms of the organic interrelationship. Gromyko continued that the Soviet side [Page 98] has heard many statements by US officials at various levels to the effect that the Soviet Union was allegedly violating various agreements, including the ABM Treaty. Gromyko had to say that he did not understand the purpose for which such statements were being made. This remained a riddle. Perhaps those who make such statements really believed what they were saying, or perhaps they were attempting to convince the public of US peaceful intentions in order to gain support for the US positions. Ignorant people might even believe this. Gromyko assured that eventually he would solve this riddle. Perhaps a few people were confused, but the majority understood the true situation. After all, the Soviet Union is being accused of doing what the US is only planning to do, namely deployment of a large scale ABM system. He felt that military people understood the situation well, and believed that civilians, too, should not find this very difficult to understand.

Gromyko continued that the sides had discussed the Krasnoyarsk radar. The Soviet side had provided clarifications and necessary explanations in the SCC. The Soviet side had explained the facts. As for the other issues raised by the Secretary, they were pure inventions. It was the US which was taking the path of violating agreements. Just because the US side had baptized something as being defensive did not change anything. The ABM Treaty pertained to certain agreed facilities and categories of systems, and if a side were to conceive of the possibility of developing something new on the basis of new principles it was restricted to the legally permitted framework. A territorial ABM defense was completely out of the question. Gromyko was looking the Secretary in the eyes and clearly the Secretary understood this. Nothing could justify what the US side was calling “defensive.” The Soviet side had a different term for this. Still, the US side was saying one and the same thing again and again. Consequently the Soviet side had concluded that since people in the US knew the real situation, but were nevertheless insisting on their approach, this meant that the US was not interested in agreement. After all, US officials understood that the Soviet Union understood what the US understood. Accordingly, the Soviet side had drawn the appropriate conclusions. In short, the US accusations were groundless. The Soviet Union was not trying to act contrary to the ABM Treaty, it valued that treaty and would not violate it. By the same token, the US side should understand that the Soviet Union would develop whatever it required if the US continued its program. Gorbachev had said that for the Soviet Union this would be a forced measure, necessary to insure security of the Soviet Union. Gromyko felt he had to convince the Secretary that this was not the road to be taken by the two sides. He thought that the US would agree with that, were it not trying to achieve dominance. The US side was trying to argue that it was engaged in scientific research. In fact, how[Page 99]ever, it was talking about large-scale systems which would radically alter the strategic situation. This was quite different from the research permitted by the ABM Treaty. After all, US and Soviet scientists and politicians know that in some areas scientific research involved something on the order of 92 or 95 percent of the effort needed to develop a new weapons system. After that there remained nothing but testing and deployment. The US arguments did not impress the Soviet side. Perhaps the US was impressed by these arguments. After all, modern psychology made it possible to become convinced of the most implausible things. Still, that was no way to reach an agreement with the USSR.

Gromyko noted that the Secretary had not mentioned the moratoria proposed by the Soviet side—specifically in a speech by Gorbachev.11 One moratorium was being proposed within the European framework, and another one within a global framework. Why Gromyko, asked rhetorically, had this been done? In order to create a more favorable atmosphere for the negotiations. Nobody would lose anything. On the contrary, this measure would improve conditions. Of course, it was necessary to include space, that is, not extend the arms race to space. Gromyko repeated that the Secretary had failed to mention the Soviet moratorium proposal. He continued that a moratorium would serve to demonstrate the intentions of the sides and that, too, would facilitate the negotiations. Yet, as it turned out, the US did not want a moratorium, be it in European or in global terms; it did not want to assume a commitment on non-first use of nuclear weapons; and it did not want to assume an obligation on the non-use of force. Gromyko noted that this question was under discussion in Stockholm, but those negotiations were moving very slowly and the Soviet Union had gained the impression that Washington did not want an agreement. Gromyko went on to say that the problem could not be taken care of by resorting to some joint statement which, for example, would repeat the words contained in the UN Charter or Helsinki Final Act. That would give us nothing. Even after the UN Charter was drawn up there have been wars, wars with which the Secretary was familiar. Accordingly, there was a need for a firmer obligation on the non-use of force. Gromyko remarked that he had focused on intentions because intentions, too, would help the negotiations, as well as the possibility of reaching agreement.

Gromyko expressed the view that ratification and entry into force of the 1974 and 1976 treaties would constitute a very useful step from the standpoint of altering the atmosphere at the negotiations dealing with the most important and pressing problems.12 Moreover, this [Page 100] would be a useful step from the standpoint of the subject matter of these two treaties as such. The same could be said with regard to agreement on a comprehensive test ban. He noted that cessation of testing and entry into force of the relevant agreement involved a separate issue that was not related to the other problems. But Washington evidently did not want an accord. Just like other positive steps which would improve the relationship between the two countries, as well as the international situation, it was of no interest to the US.

Gromyko said that he had already referred to the Stockholm Forum. The situation there was not satisfactory. We were not close to agreement, and there seemed to be little movement. The Soviet Union objected to suggestions that some states be permitted to engage in espionage against the Soviet Union and other Socialist States. This would not benefit the USSR. He asked the Secretary to see whether the US might not adopt a more objective position with respect to the Stockholm negotiations.

Unfortunately, Gromyko continued, the Vienna negotiations were not going anywhere either. The US was familiar with the Soviet proposal and though a formal reply has not been received, it appeared that Washington was adopting a negative attitude toward the proposal of reducing Soviet and US troop contingents by twenty and thirteen thousand.

Gromyko noted that the Secretary had correctly referred to an abundance of anniversaries this year. There will be another such occasion in Helsinki in early August to mark the signing of the CSCE Final Act. Gromyko went on to tell the Secretary that in the Soviet view it would be appropriate if the participants were represented at the level of Ministers.

Gromyko said that the Secretary had correctly noted the importance of the issue of banning chemical weapons and destroying their stockpiles. The USSR considered this to be an important and pressing issue. Whether or not one included the Iran-Iraq war it was an important problem in any event. The Soviet Union was puzzled by the US position on banning chemical weapons. It would appear that the US administration did not want an agreement on that score. No matter how one approached this subject—in political, geographic, humanitarian or strategic terms—the Soviet side believed that it was necessary to find a solution to the issue of chemical arms, that is, ensure a complete ban on them.

Gromyko noted that the Secretary had properly touched on the matter of non-proliferation of nuclear arms. The Soviet Union attached importance to this issue in the past and continued to do so now. Incidentally, if we were to reconstruct the genesis of this issue, we would see that the positions of the two sides coincided. This matter [Page 101] had been close to the hearts of both the US and the USSR. The USSR advocated implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and expansion of the number of countries that had signed it. In this connection, he did not exclude the idea of some sort of agreed statement which, he thought, had been voiced by the US side in Helsinki, more specifically by Ambassador Kennedy, who he believed was with the State Department. Perhaps that would be advisable. He believed that this was the US position and did not mind saying that the USSR liked this US idea. Presumably one could draw up either a joint statement, or identical or similar statements to be delivered at the same time. Gromyko suggested that for obvious reasons a joint statement would be more impressive. Perhaps this could be discussed at some upcoming meeting. It was worth thinking about.

Gromyko wanted to say a few words on other issues addressed by the Secretary, though he would have wanted to make these remarks even in the absence of the Secretary’s comments. Both the US and the USSR understood perfectly well the delicate and acute nature of the situation in the Caribbean surrounding Nicaragua. The US understood the situation because the US was a factor in exacerbating it. The Secretary knew very well that the USSR resolutely condemned US actions against Nicaragua. These actions were a violation of the UN Charter, of international law and international decency. Gromyko had to say that for a long time now, US foreign policy has felt most uncomfortable over the US position with respect to tiny Nicaragua. Who would believe that Nicaragua posed a threat to the US, that Nicaragua was a vehicle for Soviet penetration of Latin America and thus a threat to the US? In the Soviet Union it would be impossible to find even a lunatic who would believe that. For a long time now Gromyko has been reading that the USSR was supplying or intending to supply heavy arms and certain types of aircraft to Nicaragua. The Secretary knew as well as Gromyko that this was not so. But the propaganda apparatus was going full force. The USSR was not doing anything of the kind. Sure, it had provided some material and humanitarian assistance to Nicaragua, just as had many other countries, even US allies. But what did this have in common with the perfidious intentions that were being ascribed to the USSR, Nicaragua and Cuba. The Soviet Union sympathized with and supported the Contadora process, as did the entire world, with the exception of the US. It would be good if the Contadora group were able to assist Nicaragua in removing the existing tension.

Turning to the Middle East, Gromyko said that the Soviet Union adhered to a position of principle. It was opposed to tensions and aggression, and was in favor of liquidating the consequences of aggression. The Secretary knew very well that the USSR advocated the independence of Israel, but it was opposed to Israeli aggression and advo[Page 102]cated liberation of the occupied Arab territories, believing that this cause was just. We would see whether Israel was serious about withdrawing from Lebanon, about leaving no Israeli military personnel there. We would see how things developed. Perhaps the Secretary could clarify the situation. As for an independent Palestinian state the Secretary was familiar with the Soviet position, a position it was adhering to now and would adhere to in the future.

Gromyko said that as far as the Iran-Iraq war was concerned, statements by US officials would even seem to suggest that the US favored termination of this war, but frankly it seemed to Gromyko that the US could do more in this regard. This was a senseless war in which people were losing their lives and in which blood was flowing in streams. Iran was sending thousands upon thousands of adolescents into the war. The Soviet Union definitely thought that Iraq would like to end the war and begin negotiations, but Iran was not interested. Gromyko did not think that the Iranian position was very far-sighted. He thought that the current Iranian leadership was incapable of looking out toward the horizon.

Gromyko continued that Afghanistan would be the subject of consultations between our representatives and thus it was hardly necessary to discuss it here. Clearly, an agreement was possible on an equitable and objective basis. However, interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and encouragement of Pakistan to pursue this course would lead to nothing. The Soviet Union would not abandon Afghanistan. It would be good if Washington were to take a broader look at this situation.

Gromyko, turning to Southern Africa, noted that in the South Africa-Namibia-Angola situation, South Africa was the cause of all the complications. It engaged in aggression against Angola and one had to be blind not to see this. South Africa was an aggressive state. Gromyko wanted to say something most countries could subscribe to, namely, that if the US Administration wanted South Africa to adopt a more realistic position, not to say a more equitable position, we would of course not witness anything of the sort that was occuring today. It had to withdraw its armed forces from Namibia. At one time both the US and the USSR had subscribed to relevant UN resolutions concerning peace in Namibia. Naturally, South Africa also had to end its aggression against Angola.

Gromyko went on to say that in order not to make separate statements he wanted to say a few words on related bilateral matters. The time was at hand to resume exchanges between our two countries, that is either conclude new agreements or revive old ones.

The Secretary said that he believed it was time for such agreements.

Gromyko continued that with respect to agreements on exchanges in science, culture, etc., we should speed up those which were in an [Page 103] embryonic stage. Some agreements were formally in existence, but were in a state of paralysis. These agreements had a weak pulse and needed a little medication in the form of appropriate political decisions. Gromyko concluded by saying that he was unsure whether he had addressed all the questions covered by the Secretary, though he did think he had mentioned everything that deserved attention.

The Secretary thanked Gromyko for his very comprehensive statement. He wanted to comment on the points made by Gromyko and make some suggestions along the way. He would start with Geneva. The Secretary urged Gromyko to consider carefully the matter of compliance. That involved important implications. The Secretary wanted to assure Gromyko that the statement in which he was raising questions about a number of US positions would be answered at the second round. The Secretary hoped in turn that the Soviet side would be prepared to make explicit proposals. He wanted to assure Gromyko that the SDI research program was being carried out within the limits permitted by the ABM Treaty. Gromyko had mentioned research on topics in which completed research amounted to ninety-five percent of the way toward completion of a program. Gromyko seemed to know something that we did not know in this area. Perhaps he did because as we knew the Soviet Union has been engaged in such work for a long time. The Secretary wanted to point out the importance of engaging in an exchange in the Space and Defense group. He thought Gromyko should give careful thought to such an exchange in which we were prepared to participate. On the question of what was and was not covered by the Geneva Space and Defense Group, the Secretary would ask Gromyko to study carefully his notes towards the end of the last meeting in Geneva, in particular the exchange between Mr. McFarlane and Ambassador Karpov which was subsequently confirmed by the two Ministers, which the Secretary suggested, entailed a specific agreement that the ABM systems currently in place were part and parcel of the discussions now being held in Geneva.13

The Secretary said he had listened carefully to Gromyko’s statement on interrelationship as distinct from preconditions. If he had understood correctly, he could agree that Gromyko had provided a fair statement concerning the Geneva discussions by the two Ministers. He wanted to restate his understanding to ensure that he had understood accurately. Each of the three groups should pursue its work on the relevant issue and each, its own way, should see what agreement it could find. Questions on whether some agreement should be implemented needed to be considered in the light of interrelationships. It [Page 104] may or [may] not turn out that both sides want to implement such an agreement. The US side had said in Geneva that it would probably wish to implement such agreements but that it also recognized that this would have to be looked at in each particular case. No agreement could enter into force unless both sides favored this. On this basis the Secretary would suggest that both he and Gromyko tell our negotiating teams to prepare to return to the second Geneva round, ready to submit concrete proposals and counterproposals in each of the three groups, and to work at this in a constructive and energetic manner. He could assure Gromyko that the US negotiators would manifest such a spirit.

The Secretary noted that he had a long list of subjects still to cover. Gromyko said that the Secretary should go ahead.

On the question of the various proposals for moratoria, the Secretary continued, they of course have been made before and we retained the view that they would effectively freeze existing imbalances and distract the work in Geneva to less important matters. Gromyko also recognized that these moratoria would present problems of verification and would take a lot of work by themselves. The Secretary said that Gromyko was well aware of our views with respect to non-first use of nuclear arms. These views had not changed.

Turning to the 1974 and 1976 treaties the Secretary said that we agreed that it would help the atmosphere if these matters started moving. We were aware, however, that the verification problems were considerable and believed that some step, perhaps an unrelated step, might improve the situation. In particular, the President in his UN address a year ago, had invited your observers to our test sites—on a reciprocal basis with our observers at Soviet sites—for the purpose of improving calibration of national technical means for measuring megatonnage during tests.14 If this contributed to improved confidence in verification we could consider moving forward with these treaties. We believed that discussion of a CTB should await resolution of this more modest effort.

The Secretary went on to say that the US side would be making a statement there with respect to the Vienna MBFR negotiations and thus he did not wish to comment further on this subject here. With respect to the question of non-use of force, which was being discussed at the Stockholm CDE negotiations, the Secretary wanted to say that the US was prepared to move toward an agreement and would like to see progress this year. We needed additional assurance that the Soviet [Page 105] Union was prepared to work on concrete CBMs going well beyond those in the Helsinki Final Act. In this connection, he recognized that the Soviet side had indicated its readiness to accept notification and observers at maneuvers. However, the Soviet side had not said anything which had much content, or which would have more than minimal effect. However, we were ready to do business in Stockholm: specifically, we were ready to reaffirm a non-use of force commitment in the context of an agreement that improved considerably on the Helsinki CBMs.

Speaking of CBMs the Secretary wanted to draw attention to the four suggestions made by the President in Strasbourg, and hoped that the Soviet side would respond, perhaps through diplomatic channels.15 They included an exchange of observers at military exercises and locations, an exchange of senior defense officials and a joint military communications link. The Secretary was prepared to elaborate and if Gromyko wished he was welcome to respond now or at some other time. The Secretary thought that all of these were interesting questions which should be explored.

The Secretary also wished to call Gromyko’s attention to the President’s Strasbourg speech in which the latter had expressed concern about mobile ballistic missiles with multiple warheads as distinct from those with single warheads. We believed that this development merited consideration and further discussion.

Continuing to address the individual issues in the order in which Gromyko had dealt with them, the Secretary noted Gromyko’s mention of the upcoming tenth anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act and his view that representation there should be at the level of Ministers. While we have not come to a final decision on that score, the presence of Gromyko at that meeting would have a major impact on the Secretary’s own decision. He assumed that this would provide an opportunity for a comprehensive exchange of views between the two Ministers. The Secretary felt that an exchange of views with Gromyko was always useful.

Addressing chemical weapons, the Secretary thought that there was agreement between the two Ministers that this was an area in which there was a particularly serious potential problem of proliferation and that we should do whatever we were able in this regard. The Secretary noted that the US side also was concerned with compliance with the present understanding; we had tabled a complete draft text on the subject. We were ready to discuss it, including the verification provisions which, as the Secretary understood created trouble for the Soviet [Page 106] side. The Secretary had to say that verification was a difficult but important part of that draft Treaty. The Secretary wanted to make three specific proposals and suggested that Gromyko might want to respond through diplomatic channels or here. First, he would suggest that we expand the bilateral contacts with a view to facilitating progress within the CD itself. Second, he wanted to invite Soviet negotiators to visit the US this summer to view destruction procedures and relevant technology pertaining to a chemical weapons ban. Third, he suggested that Soviet and US experts meet,—we were glad to do this in Moscow—in the next few weeks to exchange information on the chemical weapons situation as it pertained to the Iran-Iraq war and to examine ways in which we might jointly express our concern to Baghdad and Tehran.

The Secretary said he liked Gromyko’s comments about nuclear non-proliferation and thought that we should consider the areas in which we might be able to collaborate effectively. Given what Gromyko had said on the idea of such a joint statement we would pursue this matter at the level on which it has been discussed, and hopefully something could be produced before long. This seemed to be an area in which we might be able to move ahead. The Secretary hoped that this would be the case.

Turning to regional issues, the Secretary wanted to say first that we welcome the Soviet response to the President’s suggestion made at the UN on regularly discussing some of these regional problems. He was pleased to see that one such discussion on Afghanistan and another on southern Africa had been scheduled. We will do everything to make these discussions useful. The Secretary was prepared to comment on each of the areas mentioned by Gromyko, as well as on one additional area which was contained in the paper received from the Soviet side,16 but not mentioned today by Gromyko. First, he had already noted that we would be discussing the subject of Afghanistan. The Secretary thought that Pakistan had shown flexibility and he found this to be promising. We supported the UN process. We wanted to see a political solution involving the orderly withdrawal of Soviet troops linked to other elements of an overall agreement. We supported a neutral and non-aligned Afghanistan government which had the support of the Afghanistan people and recognized the long standing interest of the Soviet Union not to have neighbors on its borders who were hostile to the USSR.

The Secretary went on to say that with respect to Southern Africa this area would be discussed by experts, as Gromyko had mentioned. He believed that some progress on Southern Africa had been made. [Page 107] The Lusaka Agreement called for the withdrawal of South African troops from Angola which, the Secretary thought had been accomplished. We believed that South Africa would go along with UNSC Resolution 435 concerning Namibian independence if there was an agreement on the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola.17 The presence of foreign forces in the area constituted a threat here. We also hope to see successful containment of the guerilla activity in Mozambique and thought that South Africa shared this view. In South Africa, of course, apartheid was totally unacceptable to anyone. The problem was to change it and we were continuing to work at this, though it was a difficult task.

East Asia was one of the areas in the Soviet suggestion for talks, and the Secretary agreed it was an important area for discussion. Perhaps that would be the next area to be discussed at the level of experts. The Secretary noted that he could only keep so many balls in the air at one time. We should proceed on a phased basis.

Gromyko remarked that the Secretary needed to train himself to keep more balls in the air. The Secretary responded that Gromyko was more experienced and could keep five balls in the air.

The Secretary then said he wanted to make five points on East Asia. First, it seemed to him, both as a former businessman and now as the government official, that Asia this was one of the most dynamic and interesting areas of the world. In this connection he recalled a comment made by Gorbachev at a meeting which the Secretary attended. Gorbachev said that we should look at the new countries in the world which are very dynamic. The Secretary suggested that this was nowhere more the case than in East Asia. He noted that there were major points of tension in the area, one of them being Cambodia. The Secretary viewed Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia as a very destabilizing development. We endorsed the principles worked out by ASEAN and endorsed by the International Conference on Kampuchea with regard to the withdrawal of foreign forces and international supervision of elections. We were strongly opposed to a settlement which would restore Khmer Rouge control, but the Khmer people would not [Page 108] choose the Khmer Rouge in free elections. We thought that Soviet involvement in Vietnam’s adventure contributes to instability, and he suggested that the Soviet side consider using its involvement with Vietnam to move the process forward in a more constructive way.

With respect to the two Koreas, the Secretary continued, it would seem that direct talks would be the best way to obtain a solution. We continued to urge them and we would welcome developments that could lead to a reduction of tensions. We were of course interested in improving our relations with China. We were interested in a more stable situation and obviously China was a key country in the area. The Secretary said we were watching with interest the experiment, or new efforts, in the economic field and were doing our part to be helpful.

Finally, the Secretary said our mutual security relationship with Japan was a fundamental aspect of ensuring peace and stability in that part of Asia. In terms of the USSR, the Secretary wanted to urge Gromyko, as he had done in Washington, to consider returning the northern territories to Japan.18 There is much that can be said about East Asia, he concluded, and perhaps at some point views on this area would be exchanged by experts.

The Secretary, turning to Central America, noted that this was an area of great sensitivity to us, as it was connected by the Western Hemisphere land mass to us, and a great many refugees from a number of countries in the region were coming to the US. Our goals were constant. We were in favor of stable democratic societies, we helped economic development massively and were opposed to the use of force to obtain changes. We favored peaceful political solutions. Major progress has been made in most countries in the region, with the exception of Nicaragua. We believed Central America was on the way to more progressive and democratic development. But Soviet support for aggressive interventionist activities of Nicaragua and Cuba was a negative element in our relationship and destabilizing in the area. The Secretary noted new military shipments, including Soviet Mi–24 helicopters. He thought that Managua’s arsenal was now far beyond its needs and urged the Soviet Union to cease all such shipments. He thought that Nicaragua should, as it had promised the Contadora group, engage in a dialogue with those in its own country opposed to the present government. Unless this was done there could be no solution. It should also stop the process, about which there could be no doubt, of engaging in subversion against its neighbors.

[Page 109]

Returning to the subject of the Middle East, the Secretary expressed agreement with Gromyko that the Iran-Iraq war should stop. However, he had thought this was one war the Soviet Union would not blame the US for. At any rate, we supported the UN efforts, a frustrating process, and believed that since Iran was refusing to engage in overall ceasefire negotiations, the best solution would be to cut off Iran’s arms supplies. The US has had some success in this regard and the Secretary asked Gromyko to use Soviet influence with its friends in the Warsaw Pact, Libya, which has supplied Scuds, Syria and North Korea to cut off the supply lines.

As far as Lebanon is concerned, the Secretary thought, to the extent that one could be certain about anything in such a turbulent place, that Israeli military units would be withdrawn from Lebanon by the end of May. He believed that Israel wanted to pursue a policy along this border which it called “live and let live.” In other words, if Israel was not attacked from Lebanon it would not attack across the Lebanese border from its side. Presumably Syria might be able to do something in this regard and the Soviet Union might want to tell Syria something on this score. This might be useful.

As for Arab-Israeli issues, the Secretary said, we continued to view direct negotiations as the best solution to outstanding problems. During his brief visit to the area during the last several days, the Secretary seems to have sensed a slight raise in optimism, but then any realist would have to be very subdued in this regard.19 The Secretary thought that the Soviet Union’s own role in this region would be helped by establishing diplomatic relations with Israel and by putting an end to the anti-semitic and anti-Zionist propaganda in the Soviet Union. The USSR should also consider its treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union.

Turning to bilateral issues, the Secretary noted that he had already referred to the Joint Commercial Commission. He also hoped that we could conclude a cultural agreement and have more exchanges. He wanted to mention in passing three other issues which, it seemed, were tied into a package. First, there was the matter of Pacific air safety and as he understood it, the Soviet side had informed us that it was proposing to hold a meeting on this subject in Moscow on May 20. We would be accommodating. As for the substance, we had proposed a limited agreement which would be restricted to practical measures, rather than philosophical issues, measures which basically have been agreed upon. The Secretary thought that this would open the door to other things. We understood that the Soviet Union had conducted productive negoti[Page 110]ations with Pan American on resuming air service. We welcomed that. We were ready to discuss our civil aviation agreement, that is Aeroflot issues. At the same time we had under discussion the question of consulates in Kiev and New York. Dobrynin had pointed out that Aeroflot was connected to the New York consulate, while Gromyko had referred to an exchange agreement. The Secretary suggested that this set of things could be realized if given a push. The Secretary concluded by expressing the view that he had commented on all the points raised by Gromyko.

Gromyko said that he wanted to comment very briefly on the four ideas set forth by the President in one of his speeches.20 With respect to exchanging observers at military exercises and facilities in the US and USSR, this would be a lopsided measure because it would provide unilateral advantage to the US. It would mean that the US would be able to observe military activity throughout the entire territory of the Soviet Union whereas US military activities would be largely left out since most US maneuvers were conducted outside the continental US, that is in areas scattered throughout the world. Thus, such a penetration of the Soviet Union would not serve to build confidence between the two countries. Gromyko further suggested that permitting observers at military sites was an artificial issue. To claim this would promote goodwill did not sound very convincing. Moreover, the US had no reserves of goodwill for the Soviet Union.

As for contacts between defense officials, Gromyko suggested that there were enough such contacts right now. Military officials were already meeting from time to time in various fora and different delegations; that was sufficient. If this were desirable all these fora and delegations could be used for discussing individual issues.

As for non-use of force, Gromyko noted that he had already mentioned consideration of this issue in Stockholm, and that while the Soviet Union favored such an agreement it had seen no indication that the US was interested in this kind of accord. On the other hand the Soviet Union had no interest in letting the US and NATO have a complete look at Soviet territory. As far as the military communications link was concerned, this seemed to be an artificial suggestion which was unjustified. We already have the Moscow-Washington Direct Communications Link which operates quite reliably and which could be used by the side if they wished to exchange relevant information. Of course, this does not preclude the possibility of technically upgrading that link if the sides agreed that this was appropriate.

[Page 111]

Gromyko said that he was most surprised to say the least at the Secretary’s efforts to support the completely unfounded and entirely absurd Japanese claim to the Kurile Islands. The Soviet Union did not own any Japanese territory, it had only its own territory and had no intention of giving away any of its own territory. It would behoove those who were not familiar with the situation to learn the relevant facts and ascertain that the US recognized only Soviet territory here. By analogy, there was only one US, there was no second US.

Turning to the Secretary’s comments about Vietnam, Gromyko noted that the Secretary had hinted at Soviet help to Kampuchea, though he had not actually said so. He had referred to “adventure.” This was not true, for it involved assistance. Kampuchea was entitled to decide for itself how it wanted to arrange things in its own home. So much for “adventure.” It would be better if the US took the path of defending Kampuchea, at least those Kampucheans who have survived Pol Pot who had been acting with the blessings of certain individuals well known to the US as well as the USSR. It would be useful if the Secretary and US authorities were to take a good look at the balance scale.

Gromyko noted the Secretary’s request that the Soviet Union use its influence to end the war between Iran and Iraq. Gromyko wished to say that the Soviet Union was doing all it could in this regard. While the Soviet Union continued to exert its influence to end that war, it would be most useful if the US were to act in the same direction. The US could do some things that would be useful. The USSR would not be so audacious as to say what would be most appropriate because the US knew this better.

Gromyko continued that Soviet relations with Israel were an open book. In fact, as the Secretary was aware, Israel was probing the possibility of reestablishing diplomatic relations. An Israeli representative, the Israeli Foreign Minister,21 had visited Gromyko in New York during the UNGA and Gromyko had to tell the Secretary what he had told the Israeli representative, namely, that the Soviet Union would reestablish relations if the conditions were right, that is, if there were a change in Israeli policy. At present, however, no one in the Soviet Union would understand if these relations were reestablished. Specifically, Israel should abandon its aggressive policy and learn to differentiate between its own and someone else’s property. In that case the Soviet attitude on this issue would change.

Gromyko next confirmed the existence of the questions relating to Aeroflot and consulates. But it was not the Soviet Union that was [Page 112] blocking their resolution, it was the US. He thought that we ought to authorize representatives of the two sides to hold a meeting and agree on the specifics and timing introducing any extraneous matters. Resolution of these two issues would improve our relations.

Gromyko suggested that since it was now 8:00 pm it might be appropriate to conclude our discussion, all the more so that we would be late at a reception to which we had been invited. If the Secretary wanted to address any other issues, perhaps that could be done during the reception.

The Secretary inquired what words we should use to describe this meeting to the press.

Gromyko suggested that we be guided by common sense and not go into any details. As for how the Secretary intended to assess the meeting in general, that would be a matter of his own conscience. In any event, Gromyko hoped that the Secretary would not make any comments which would force Gromyko to voice an objection. By the same token, we will probably not be able to work out a joint statement today, that would require us to remain in Vienna for an additional day.

The Secretary said that he intended to use such words as “useful, comprehensive, detailed, and exhaustive but not exhausting.”

  1. Source: Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/S Records, Memorandum of Conversations, 1981–1990, Lot 93D188, Shultz/Gromyko at Soviet Embassy, Vienna May 14, 1985. Secret; Sensitive. Drafted by Arensburger on May 15; cleared by Palmer on May 25 and Matlock on June 10. Palmer initialed for Matlock. The meeting took place at the Soviet Embassy.
  2. According to Pavel Palazhchenko, Nikolai Uspensky is the correct name for the Soviet interpreter. In several meetings, the notetaker used a variation in the name or mistakenly recorded the Soviet interpreter as Yuri Uspensky.
  3. Printed as an attachment to Document 18.
  4. See Document 22.
  5. See Document 19.
  6. Shultz was in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem from May 10 to 12 to meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Shamir.
  7. The JCC was scheduled to meet in Moscow on May 20; see Documents 31 and 32.
  8. Documentation on the January meetings is in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. IV, Soviet Union, January 1983–March 1985, Documents 355363.
  9. Gorbachev gave a speech on April 26 during a ceremony to extend the Warsaw Pact for 20 years. For the text of the address, see Current Digest of the Soviet Press, vol. XXXVII, no. 17 (May 22, 1985), p. 13. In telegram 5549 from Moscow, April 27, the Embassy reported: “Gorbachev’s Warsaw speech was relatively restrained, in keeping with the overall effort to portray extension of the Warsaw Pact as a defensive measure. The General Secretary predictably adopted a softer line on the U.S. than in his speech to the April 23 CPSU Plenum.” The Embassy continued that Gorbachev’s speech contained some “noteworthy nuances” on arms control: “—an effort to add credibility to Soviet offers of ‘radical reductions’ in offensive systems by asserting that Moscow has already offered to reduce such systems by ‘one-quarter’ and would be prepared to go further.” (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D850295–0257)
  10. Document not found. Nitze summarized the first round of the Geneva talks in a May 1 address to the National Press Club. For text of the address, see the Department of State Bulletin, July 1985, pp. 44–47.
  11. See footnote 2, Document 22.
  12. See footnote 8, Document 13.
  13. See Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. IV, Soviet Union, January 1983–March 1985, Document 362.
  14. In his September 24, 1984, address to the UNGA, Reagan stated: “And I propose that we find a way for Soviet experts to come to the United States nuclear test site, and for ours to go to theirs, to measure directly the yields of tests of nuclear weapons.” See footnote 2, Document 18.
  15. See footnote 2, Document 27.
  16. See Document 18.
  17. According to an April 16, 1985, New York Times article: “South Africa and Angola reached an American-brokered agreement at Lusaka last year calling for a withdrawal of South African troops from the country in exchange for an Angolan promise to restrict the activities of the South-West Africa People’s Organization near the South-West African border. The two sides set up a joint monitoring commission, made up of 300 soldiers from each side, to supervise the agreement.” (“South Africa Says Troops Will Leave Angola,” New York Times, April 16, 1985, p. A13) Telegram 818 from Cape Town, April 15, summarized the agreement. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D850258–0414) On September 29, 1978, UNSC Resolution 435 called “for the withdrawal of South African forces from Namibia and for the transfer of power to the people of Namibia.”
  18. Shultz and Gromyko met in Washington on September 29, 1984. See Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. IV, Soviet Union, January 1983–March 1985, Document 288.
  19. Following his visit to Israel (see footnote 5, above), Shultz met with President Mubarak in Cairo on May 12 and then with King Hussein in Jordan May 12 to 13.
  20. Reference is to Reagan’s speech in Strasbourg. See footnote 2, Document 27.
  21. Israeli Foreign Minister Shamir.