287. Memorandum of Conversation1
- Shultz-Shevardnadze Plenary on Regional, Bilateral Issues
- Secretary Shultz
- Deputy Secretary Whitehead
- Undersecretary Armacost
- Ambassador Nitze
- Ambassador Ridgway
- Ambassador Hartman
- Ambassador Matlock
- VAdm Poindexter, NSC
- ASD Richard Perle
- DAS Tom Simons
- Mark Parris, Director, EUR/SOV
- Richard Solomon, Director, S/P
- Dimitry Zarechnak (Interpreter)
- Foreign Minister Shevardnadze
- Deputy FM Bessmertnykh
- Ambassador Dubinin
- Ambassador Karpov
- Minister-Counselor Sokolov
- V.A. Kuznetsov (Soviet Embassy)
- T.G. Stepanov (Soviet MFA)
- V.A. Mikol’chak, Deputy Chief, USA and Canada Division, MFA
- P.R. Palazhchenko (Interpreter)
The Secretary said we had agreed to try to finish by 5:00 p.m. Mr. Perle would have to leave earlier. He had a good excuse, a birthday party.
Shevardnadze suggested that we all go. Perle commented that a group of 7-year-olds might not be easier than these discussions.
The Secretary recalled that the two ministers had agreed to proceed on to regional, humanitarian and bilateral issues, and allow time for a wrap-up or summary; at least he would like to have the last item. But given that there is only an hour and a half, he proposed to adopt what Gromyko and he had called a headline approach, not going through issues laboriously, but hitting high points.
Turning to regional issues, he said he would ask Mr. Armacost, who had chaired our side, to speak. He said we should recall that we have had extensive talks between experts, as well as the special talks this summer. We could then see if the ministers had anything particular to say. He would have one or two points; perhaps Shevardnadze would too.
Armacost said that in his view our recent discussions had confirmed the results of earlier discussions. They had been relatively non-polemical, non-emotional, professional in tone. There had been differences over the issues when it came to causes. At the level of generality it was possible to reach agreement, but when specific areas were discussed this rapidly narrowed. On some issues it might be possible to find common approaches nonetheless. For instance, on the Iran-Iraq war both sides were for an end to the war without victors or vanquished. Chemical weapons non-proliferation was another such issue, and was of course global as well as regional in character. Terrorism was a third such issue where we might be able to work together; it was also general as well as related to the Middle East. Our side had mentioned the potential for parallel interest in tension-reducing measures on the Korean peninsula, although this had not crystallized in the discussion; we had in mind in particular the Olympic games scheduled for 1988. Nevertheless, on the major issues—Afghanistan, Namibia/Angola, the Middle East—we had remained far apart.
The Secretary commented that Armacost had not touched on the notion of holding another round of experts’ talks on Southern Africa before the end of the year, or on the locust problem, a humanitarian issue which might give room for common endeavor.[Page 1179]
Armacost said there had not been extended discussion, although Adamishin had confirmed Shevardnadze’s humanitarian interest. We had also discussed non-proliferation in South Asia, although no headway had been made concerning specific steps.
With regard to terrorism, the Secretary noted that we had had certain information on East Berlin, East Germany, and had come to the Soviets recently on this subject. We had had a report back that the Soviets did appeal to the people there to be careful, and we appreciated that they had responded. We had also noted the strong TASS statement concerning the Karachi terrorist incident, saying there was no justification for such acts.2 This had seemed to us exactly right, and we appreciated the statement.
The Secretary said he believed it was correct to say that in Armacost’s meetings and in the meetings of the General Secretary and the President we had agreed that regional issues should be a regular and systematic agenda item, for the experts, at the Under Secretary level and at the level of the ministers, if they could meet more regularly. We should still continue regularly even though there had been no specific result. These were basically worthwhile exchanges.
Shevardnadze turned first to the question of consultations. It was his impression that the Armacost-Adamishin discussions were mostly comparisons of positions, but that they had been mainly constructive. The differences between the two countries are deep, and they will not be quickly overcome. We have different fundamental approaches. But we should not exclude looking for ways to work together to facilitate progress on issues; this would contribute to world peace.
There is a specific situation illustrating this fundamental approach in the Iran-Iraq war. As the Secretary had said, both sides are interested in seeing it stopped, with neither victors nor vanquished. The Soviets have been working with both sides, including at the highest level. Unfortunately there have been no results yet. There have been various ideas of how to promote this effort, including a joint statement. But this is a very sensitive subject, which should be tackled very cautiously. He did not rule out the possibility of both sides’ speaking independently on their own about the need to stop the war. For example, he intended at the UNGA to make an appeal to both leaders and peoples to stop this senseless war. Perhaps others could do the same thing. It also seemed to him that the Security Council could be used more; it had a record of being helpful on things like this. Perhaps if the U.S. made the same kind of statement, the Security Council could then be used. Resolutions could be adopted, but they should then be made to [Page 1180] work. Other forms could be examined, but they would now be difficult. He thought that at the 41st UNGA session, if many states made sobering statements to the Iranian leadership—and he stressed he was speaking of the Iranian leadership, since the Iraqis have said they are ready to end the war—it might help.
With regard to the Middle East, Shevardnadze went on, the situation is disturbing. There are deep differences in the overall approaches of the two countries. The U.S. knew the Soviet view that separate deals do not help resolve the complicated situation. But they have been seeing the emergence of a certain line. They have consulted with the U.S. representative about this. They think it would be good to start to make practical preparations for a conference on the Middle East, including the five permanent members of the Security Council and the parties to the conflict. This would imply bilateral contacts among the parties to the conflict and the Security Council members. A lot of specific work could be done taking into account the views of all sides. He urged the U.S. to think again about this, with a view to bringing the positions closer together. He had been told the U.S. had a more positive attitude toward a Middle East conference. If this were so, we should work on the specifics with a view of taking into account the interests of all the parties concerned.
With regard to Southern Africa, Shevardnadze said he did not think our consultations should be dropped. Here too there are deep differences, but he did not rule out the possibility of finding common ground which would not permit further movement toward an explosive situation. He knew the Secretary was going to the area. It was a complicated, difficult situation, fraught with potential for unpredictable—and he wished to stress “unpredictable”—consequences. The Soviets are ready to discuss ways of easing tensions in the region. He would not talk about causes; what is needed is to find ways to work in common.
With regard to joint work on natural disasters, like locusts or drought, Shevardnadze said he thought this a promising area, a humanitarian area. We could discuss this; our two countries should work together.
Turning to terrorism, Shevardnadze said this had been discussed more than once at the ministers’ level, as well as at other levels. This too was a difficult and complex problem. The U.S. knew the Soviet position that terrorism is outrageous in the eyes of the Soviet people, and the American people too, he thought. It is important to look for specific ways to cooperate which are possible despite differences in our assessments. The Soviets are willing to use U.S. information, and sometimes they are able to take preventive action. This is a good symptom. It is important not to avoid specifics, to work on specifics, for [Page 1181] instance specific hijackings, and the responsibility of those who commit them. There are perhaps differences here; for instance the Soviets do not understand why some are not answerable for such crimes, under criminal law. There used to be deep differences on that; perhaps something had changed. Perhaps we can work together on specifics.
Returning to consultations on regional problems, Shevardnadze said the practice of consultations at a high level is worth continuing, consultations at the Deputy Foreign Minister/Under Secretary level. There had been many arguments. Adamishin had told him about the arguments on Central America. He could confirm that their side took the correct positions on Afghanistan and Southeast Asia too, and he assumed Armacost had taken the correct American position. But he had read the record with interest, and he hoped that we could agree to have talks once a year, or as appropriate, at that level. He also did not rule out work on solving problems through foreign-minister level contacts. He had in mind not just meetings—though he was for more frequent meetings too—but also letters, communications, on issues where our intervention would be helpful in a positive way.
The Secretary said he wished to use Southern Africa to illustrate how the proposal the President had made at last year’s UNGA on regional problems might work. In Angola, the parties should agree to end the violence, and this should take place together with the withdrawal of foreign forces. The U.S. and Soviet Union would then bilaterally agree on ways to support this process. Third, they could work together to provide economic assistance to an area which had been devastated everywhere by civil war, and reintegrate it into the world economy.
The Secretary continued that Angola is a case where the forces fighting each other were not so long ago together in the same revolutionary group fighting Portugal. They know each other, though they are of different tribal groups. Yet they are in a situation where they continue the conflict, and Cuban and South African forces are involved. If they could be withdrawn, this would create a different situation, especially if our two countries were working to stabilize it. And Angola in Africa terms is blessed with an exceptional capability. It has resources, and good labor force habits; the capacity for rapid development is right there. Southern Africa moreover is an area of countries dependent on foreign outlets, on South African ports, so that stability in Angola would be good not only for Angola but for the other countries as well. So this is a good illustration of the potential applicability of the three-stage process the President described.
The Secretary continued that he wished to say a little on the Middle East and the international conference idea. We believe that in the end solutions must be developed by the parties involved in a conflict. The [Page 1182] name of the game is to bring about that kind of contact, with the support of others. This has been discussed a lot, and in particular King Hussein has come to feel that an international forum, or conference, or context—there are various names for it—might be helpful, basically in a role of bringing about the bilateral discussions that are the essence of the matter.
It has not gone unnoticed, the Secretary said, that the Soviets have developed the idea of bilateral contacts too, in the framework of a conference. We do believe that in order to be helpful countries have to have diplomatic relations with the countries of the area. With regard to Israel we had noted that they had had a meeting in Helsinki, and perhaps Shevardnadze would be meeting Peres here. Such contacts are a good thing. But this brought him back to some of the topics they had discussed in the Secretary’s private office, like emigration, where there was a need for progress. It is true that China is also a full member of the UN Security Council, and does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, but it is not excluded that it could play a constructive role.
In the meantime a number of things have happened that contribute to stability, the Secretary went on. We welcomed the Taba agreement, which should have an impact on Israeli-Egyptian relations. We welcomed Jordan’s move to reestablish relations with Egypt. We welcomed King Hassan’s meeting with Prime Minister Peres. It seemed to us that only Syria had been bitterly opposed, the Secretary said, and perhaps Shevardnadze could enlighten him as to why. There have also been various developments on the West Bank, admittedly of the pick-and-shovel kind, but which pave the way for more stability. Hence positions are perhaps a little different from what they were a year ago, and that is constructive.
With regard to terrorism, the Secretary continued, Shevardnadze had mentioned preventive action, and we had found collaborative action important for that. Over the past year or so we have prevented or aborted 180 terrorist acts we had found out about. It obviously requires very special elements of trust to share information and act on it. But if we can get into the habit in some sensitive areas it could be helpful. We welcomed statements in the Security Council and other statements. It is important, very important, to speak out. We thus welcome the statement about the Karachi incident. But concrete measures are also needed, and hence we especially welcome the statement that if we come across things where Soviet counsel or knowledge can be significant, we can approach the Soviets about them.
The Secretary concluded that the U.S. has to worry about some countries with whom we know the Soviets have close relations: Libya, Syria—which France is thinking about a lot these days—, Cuba, the GDR, Bulgaria. They supply safe havens for groups, especially Middle [Page 1183] East-type groups, which are involved in acts in Europe, particularly affecting Americans.
Shevardnadze said he wished to say something about Southern Africa. The Secretary had departed from the most important cause, the main cause, the main destabilizing factor, which is South African policy. The Soviets knew that when one talked about Angola, or Zimbabwe, or Lesotho, they are all in some way victims of South African aggressive policy. If we want to work on South Africa we need to take measures against the South African Government. It is aggressive, it is based on apartheid, it is condemned by all mankind. He was amazed that we speak so strongly about Libya, with all the potential the U.S. has, and are yet so permissive toward South Africa. Until the situation is resolved in a substantial way, by economic and other sanctions, it will be difficult to visualize progress. The Secretary would see during his visit.
It is not Cuban troops that are the obstacle, Shevardnadze continued. One has to respect agreements signed between sovereign governments. Angola and Cuba have the same rights as the U.S. and South Korea; their agreement is not astonishing; two sovereign states have the right to make such agreements. The Soviet Union has contacts with Cuba, and respects Cuba. They would like to leave Angola, which is a heavy burden on them, but because of Angola’s security interest they have to be there. The correct assessment is that stronger measures are needed against South Africa; otherwise the situation can take an unpredictable course.
Shevardnadze said that following recent events the Soviets feel new machinery is being developed. The frontline states have been meeting. Perhaps a Contadora process is developing, and they are the states responsible for the peace of the region. If such machinery were developed it would be a big achievement. Our two countries differ, but we should not exclude doing something together. The EC has been meeting about sanctions. He was not sure what was happening. The Soviets are against economic sanctions—for instance, he was against American sanctions against the USSR—but on the South African problem there is no other way to have an impact. He realized it was difficult for the U.S. and the Europeans, which have many important ties there. But if conflict is to be prevented strong measures are required.
The Secretary commented with regard to economic relations with South Africa, our investment and trade ties are negligible in terms of our GNP, but in terms of helping solve the problem they represent employment for blacks and a presence which is used to encourage equal economic opportunity, to support educational opportunity, health opportunities in black communities in South Africa. We view—the President views—it as a mistake to remove this constructive force. All of us have a total horror of apartheid, and we work to register this [Page 1184] at every opportunity. We have considerable sanctions in place now against South Africa. They are aimed at apartheid, and the military forces, not against trade, which involves enterprises that employ large numbers of blacks.
Concerning Cuban troops, the Secretary went on, it is the President’s idea that the reason for their presence in Angola is the threat to Angola from South Africa. If the steps envisaged in the President’s plan are taken, that is a way of getting at that. He urged Shevardnadze to give some attention to the constructive thrust of the proposal.
Shevardnadze asked what the U.S. attitude had been to the recent bandit raid of South Africa into Botswana and others of South Africa’s neighbors. The Secretary said it had been total condemnation. Shevardnadze rejoined that words are fine, but without Cuban troops this aggression could well have gone much further. If they were removed, what would be the effect on the correlation of forces there. This was a frank question. Mikhail Gorbachev has said the Soviet Union wants to have no troops beyond its own borders. One day this could happen; they will work for that. Cuba is the same. But now they are a stabilizing factor. No one is suggesting anything against South Africa that will be of any help. He understood there might be unemployment resulting from sanctions, but not having them will not contribute to a solution.
The Secretary replied that we have suggested many specific steps to the South Africans. That is the way we always work. We have suggested timetables for ending apartheid. We have suggested rearrangement of the governmental structures. The details are for them to decide, but we have urged them to change to a different manner of representation. We not only identify problems but suggest solutions.
Perhaps, the Secretary suggested, we should turn the discussion back to Armacost and Adamishin. Shevardnadze said he doubted they would come up with solutions either.
There are many differences between us, Shevardnadze went on. He had not asked about Pakistan, or other countries like it. He was sorry to say it, but what is needed is a fair approach by the U.S. The Secretary had mentioned Cuba, Bulgaria, Syria, and the U.S. had spoken out against them. Shevardnadze said he knew the U.S. leaders were against Libya, but the U.S. had not proved its case. It had withheld the evidence. Perhaps proof existed. But Qaddafi had said at Harare that he was ready to be examined.
The Secretary replied that on Libyan responsibility in East Berlin we had somewhat reluctantly, because of what it said about sources, showed cables between Libya and their mission in East Berlin, which linked them to the disco bombing.3 But Syria provides a safe haven [Page 1185] for groups like Abu Nidal’s. The French are particularly sensitive to this right now. Nicaragua does the same for M–19, the group that attacked the Palace of Justice in Colombia. No Americans were involved. The attack was on judges acting against drug traffickers; the attackers were trying to prevent their extradition. The Secretary said he had visited the building when he was there for the President’s inauguration.4 It was a fine ancient building that had been decimated. Nicaragua and Cuba have given this group safe haven; in Nicaragua there was a special mass for the group. So our charges were not made casually or in a contentious way. These are things we know. It is good if people are willing to stand up against this sort of thing.
Shevardnadze said the Secretary was a man experienced with life. He did not need to advise the Secretary. But he felt data on such things should be received more critically. He could not be specific on Libya, since the Soviet Union has a different relationship with Libya than it has with Cuba and Bulgaria. But it knows those countries have nothing to do with terrorism. Information depends on people. Qaddafi has said that if there is evidence he is conducting terrorism he is willing to go to trial. The Soviet Union does cooperate with Libya, and has told them that if they are terrorists it will have nothing to do with them. He has said he is ready to go to an international trial. The Soviet Union hates some regimes, as the U.S. hates Cuba and Nicaragua, although he does not understand why, since they cannot threaten the security of a large powerful country like the U.S. Shevardnadze said he knew their leaders, their psychology, their mentality, their ideology, for many years. He could not agree that they have anything to do with terrorist acts. Great powers should be careful in their judgments, especially concerning small countries.
The Secretary commented that Qaddafi changes. Some days he condemns terrorism, some days he boasts of conducting it. Why is it, the Secretary asked, that Spain, Italy, West Germany, France—in short, so many countries—have acted on the basis of their intelligence evidence that the Libyan Peoples’ Bureaus in their countries are used as centers for terrorism. There is a fair amount of quite compelling evidence.
Shevardnadze rejoined that the U.S. is very quick to condemn Bulgaria and Cuba. It is quick to condemn the Soviet Union, about their 25 people, with no facts, no proof. Daniloff is a fact too; he was caught red-handed, but the U.S. does not admit that fact. Great powers ought to be more fair in their assessments. If there were proof that Qaddafi organizes or finances terrorism, the Soviet Union would have to break [Page 1186] with him. The U.S. may have some facts, some letters, but you have no proof. He may be an odd fellow, but he is the leader of his people. The U.S. wants to overthrow him, but it will not be able to, because he is supported by the people. This must be treated with respect. If he could be unmasked, he should stand trial, as Hitler’s people stood trial.
The Secretary said he was somewhat frustrated, because Shevardnadze was telling him there was no evidence about terrorist acts, and yet the acts go on. Many countries have evidence. It is not just the U.S. And the evidence is not confined just to European countries. In Arab countries too there is great concern about Qaddafi. There is good evidence connecting him to the mining in the Red Sea, to attempts to disrupt the Hajj. The Arab countries are very reserved toward Qaddafi. The Soviets should ask their friends in Jordan, in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia. They should talk to them privately. Qaddafi has made himself an outlaw by his actions.
Shevardnadze said the Soviets have an intelligence organization too. (The Secretary said he knew it.) Their intelligence organization does not confirm that Qaddafi is doing this, Shevardnadze continued. They would like to go to the bottom of the question of whether he is involved. This is not a secondary question of cooperating with some country with a different ideology or system. It is a question of cooperating with a leader who is planning terrorist acts. If we could help them get to the bottom of this, their approach might change. But one must be very cautious, because charges against Cuba and Bulgaria are unfair and unjustified. All of this does not exclude the possibility of acting on certain facts. Ambassador Hartman had provided some. The Soviets had not acted in the press, perhaps, but they had used them to ascertain if what we said was true, and if there is a suspicion they are prepared to intervene also in the future. Shevardnadze asked the Secretary not to tell Casey this, since Casey would then think him something he is not.
The Secretary suggested Shevardnadze develop talking points for use with various people. In London he should talk to Geoffrey Howe. In Italy there was Craxi. He should talk to Kohl, to Chirac. He should ask them why they expel the Peoples’ Bureaus. He should ask Howe for the evidence he had on the person who put the bomb in the El Al plane at Heathrow airport, what country he was from and what connection he had with the Bureau in London. We are reflecting what we know of acts, not on our territory, or on Soviet territory, perhaps, but in countries where we are involved, and the Soviets sometimes are too.
Shevardnadze said that the Soviets had asked, and got different answers. They are told the evidence does exist, but the Americans have it. The Secretary replied that the evidence on the suitcase bomb on the El Al plane was entirely British. The evidence on the Peoples’ Bureau [Page 1187] was theirs, but they tell us about it. The evidence on planning the attack on the Berlin disco was ours, but we showed it to people, and they were convinced.
Shevardnadze asked why we did not go to the International Court of Justice. The Secretary said that was a joke, and Shevardnadze knew it was a joke. The Court’s judges are instructed by their countries for political cases like that. It can work on other cases. For instance we and the Canadians had named judges for an important boundary dispute. We did not entirely like the finding, but we accepted it. But political cases are different, and that is why we agreed to reserve such cases to the United Nations Security Council. Shevardnadze said one could make the same complaint about the Security Council, since representatives on it were also instructed.
But, Shevardnadze said, he did not think this was a productive line of discussion. He wished to go back to the suggestion that we can cooperate on specifics. On a specific hijacking, a specific crime, a specific question, we could cooperate. On some problems it is hard to find a common ground; we should have no illusion we can solve them all. The Secretary replied we should be content to settle some.
Shevardnadze said we should consider the Iran-Iraq war. The Secretary asked if he could give us what he planned to say at the General Assembly. We could then consider what we would say at the Security Council or elsewhere. Shevardnadze said he would send it to the Secretary.
The Secretary said he wished to make some points on humanitarian concerns. They had spoken privately about some aspects of human rights, Shevardnadze would recall. We had also noticed they had made some administrative changes; they had set up a new administration for humanitarian affairs. We had also suggested setting up a humanitarian affairs working group, to meet on a regular basis, and he wished to reiterate that proposal.
Shevardnadze agreed that humanitarian issues had to some extent been covered in the private meetings of the day before and that day. The Soviets are doing a great deal of work to improve their legal procedures, in the framework of their general approach. Where they cannot decide a particular case positively, they inform the Embassy. The lists we submit are considered in a responsible way, not just because the U.S. has asked, but because humanitarian issues are involved. A man is a man; why should he live separately from his wife? There is indeed a new department, and he thought it was the right decision to set it up. On the U.S. suggestion, there was some question of whether a permanent working group is necessary. We now have mechanisms for considering these issues, in a bilateral framework. But if it seemed that as part of that a standing consultative commission on these issues would be useful it could be done.[Page 1188]
Turning to bilateral issues, the Secretary noted that some of them show promise. We have means of going through them, and there is plenty going on. Both sides favor expansion of cultural ties, and people-to-people exchanges. There are problems connected with the financial aspects, and we had made a suggestion here. But although there are problems, there are also ways of discussing these issues. He asked Assistant Secretary Ridgway to comment.
Ambassador Ridgway said the problem particularly affected the performing arts. Shevardnadze said he did not understand. Ambassador Ridgway said there is general satisfaction with the way cultural exchanges are going, but there is a problem with the balance of groups travelling between the two countries. Ambassador Rhinesmith is working on it with his Soviet counterpart.
Shevardnadze said this is precisely an area where the state of affairs is not bad. We have agreed on new exchanges in culture, for youth, for artists. People support this, and efforts should intensify. There are possibilities for working more actively, and we should do that. The Embassy should produce more interesting proposals.
The Secretary said he would like to make an overall assessment. After the Geneva Summit last year, President Reagan said our two countries owe each other “the tribute of candor.” The General Secretary too spoke of the need for straightforward talk to each other. If candor and frankness are the measure of friendship, we must be good friends, the Secretary went on. So it should be clear what has to happen next to unlock the substantive opportunities that seem within reach.
Our negotiators and experts made a good start this summer, the Secretary went on. Our side is prepared to put our backs into an effort to capitalize on the real opportunities. The two ministers had identified Ambassador Ridgway and Minister Bessmertnykh as the key points for coordinating. He thought this was a good way to proceed.
The Secretary said he would like to review where we stand. We have reached agreement on a number of points:
—We have agreed to negotiate on risk reduction centers, and we should develop a concrete statement or plan.
—We have agreed there should be additional meetings on chemical weapons proliferation, with arrangements to be worked out through this channel.
—We have quite a thorough review of the NST negotiations and have agreed there is some narrowing of gaps, especially so in INF but in a way also in START, and we have had a thorough exchange on space, in some respects better than in the past. Our negotiators should continue working on this in all three negotiating groups, with the hope that the new round can start with a strong thrust and make some accomplishments.[Page 1189]
We have made a number of suggestions in other areas, the Secretary continued, and he would like to review them:
—On regional issues, difficult though it may be, we should continue our high-level and senior experts’ meetings, and today we agreed to continue at the senior, Armacost-Adamishin level.
—Shevardnadze had said he would provide us with what he would say on the Iran-Iraq war, and we would look at it from the point of view of parallelism, whether we could consider doing the same kind of thing.
—We confirmed that we are prepared to have further experts’ discussions on Southern Africa before the end of the year.
—On humanitarian issues, beyond emigration and the related issues we talked about in private, our side suggested a major effort to resolve representation list cases. It would be particularly good to resolve the remaining divided spouse cases. There are only about 20, and it would be good to clear this category off the books, and stop talking about it.
—We had discussed establishing a humanitarian working group.
—On bilateral and trade matters, cultural and people-to-people exchanges are going forward, but there are problems. There are prospects on space cooperation, a transportation agreement, reviewing consular matters, establishing a bilateral review commission, and there will be another discussion on maritime boundaries. Through these channels we will have something to say to you on an energy agreement, atomic energy and fusion research. We owe you answers there.
The Secretary continued that there was quite a lot in the list he had just read. It led him to two observations:
—First, it showed the interest of both sides in looking at practical ways to solve important questions in our relations, and to expand areas for cooperation. It would not be happening if the Soviets and we are not both interested.
—Second, that was very much what our leaders had in mind last November when they set out an agenda and a process for further work. This had not gone as well as we had hoped, but much had happened, particularly since we had decided to energize things this summer. He and Shevardnadze would now report to their leaders, and review the bidding.
We had also seen, the Secretary went on, how the Daniloff case casts a dark cloud over these opportunities. The Soviets were also interested in Zakharov, but he would speak only for the U.S. side. We have agreed on the necessity for giving great priority at our level to resolving this promptly, so that it does not stand in the way of the ability of our two leaders to move forward. We should keep open [Page 1190] opportunities, and be in touch. For our part, Ambassador Ridgway is ready to work on all these problems.
Shevardnadze said that in general he agreed with the Secretary’s assessment. The talks had taken place in an atmosphere of frankness and respect, in a constructive spirit, despite the atmosphere before the meeting. They had built a conversation taking account of the situation in a constructive way. There had been a more concrete, more specific, more reasonable approach. In a broad way he could say our talks were becoming more disciplined. There were fewer unnecessary arguments, more of a desire to find something positive, a positive element in relations.
On the Soviet side, Shevardnadze went on, never before had such a broad group of diplomats, and not only of diplomatic officials, participated in preparing for a meeting with the U.S. For the first time almost all the deputy foreign ministers had participated. He noticed there was broad participation on the U.S. side too. No one had expected resolution of all difficulties overnight. But a good pattern has developed. He did not know about meeting more often—he believed the two ministers should—but we should share positive and negative experiences, and there was much positive in how we had prepared.
On the specific issues the Secretary had mentioned, Shevardnadze said he had tried to identify which were most promising. On nuclear and security issues they should give instructions to the delegations to work intensively for solutions, partly in the perspective of a summit meeting. Karpov would convey all that had been said to all members of the Soviet Geneva delegation. Some narrowing was also possible on chemical weapons, particularly non-proliferation, and on nuclear non-proliferation. There are many questions where he was hopeful there could be more cooperation, more results.
Shevardnadze continued that there are deep differences on regional questions, but even there there are some questions where we could work to normalize crisis situations in various parts of the planet, for instance Iran-Iraq. He wished to go back to the Middle East, assuming an equal interest in a stable Middle East. On terrorism there was no need to go into detail.
Shevardnadze said he would leave bilateral issues largely unexplored. In the cultural and scientific areas his experts wanted to expand contacts. In the economic and industrial area, a sensitive area, there had been some stagnation. Perhaps there could be a special meeting for an appropriate discussion of economic problems of mutual interest. Perhaps this could be at the ministers’ level.
The Secretary said he would be glad to do that. Perhaps if they had a longer meeting of some days they could allocate some time to these questions, not just trade but broader economic questions. Shevardnadze [Page 1191] said he agreed to this. The meeting would have to be very well prepared, with good analysis, conclusions, prospects.
The Secretary commented that the President likes jokes, and told one about a Red Square meeting where the Defense Minister described the various fine troops marching by to the General Secretary. Then at the end of the parade came a bedraggled outfit, and when the General Secretary asked who they were, the Minister said those were the economists: he would be surprised at the damage they can do. Shevardnadze said they were from Gosplan. The U.S. was also rich in such people, for instance those who had created our discriminatory system against the Soviet Union. The difference is that with the Soviets they are last, whereas with the U.S. they are first.
Shevardnadze continued that he would add peaceful cooperation in the energy field. We had done good work in this area. The same was true of space. He had talked to the Soviet experts, and they were optimistic. It was a good place to cut costs, and if we could cut military programs we could spend some on peaceful uses.
The Secretary said that he took from Shevardnadze’s comments the general implication that it is a good way to proceed to have experts identify specific areas. On space this has happened, and we are prepared to meet in Washington October 20–24 to start to put together an overall umbrella agreement under which the cooperation the experts have identified can take place. Shevardnadze said the Soviets agree in principle.
His colleagues reminded him, Shevardnadze said, to urge the Secretary to think again about nuclear testing, for it is a fundamental question for the Soviets.
Finally, Shevardnadze said, he wished to touch on fusion. He had visited the labs. This was an area where he had a certain theoretical knowledge, but he had spent a whole day with the people in the labs, and it is an area of huge promise. It could be an almost unlimited resource, and looked especially important in the wake of the Chernobyl tragedy, because it is especially promising from the standpoint of safety. It is a very reliable source. A dialogue is underway, and we need to translate this into practice. It will not be our generation which benefits, but we can lay some good groundwork. When we retire, we can retire to Mars. The Secretary said Shevardnadze could have it. Speaking seriously, he said it is interesting what the younger generation is learning. He realized that we need to get back to the Soviet side, that the ball is in our court.
The Secretary noted that in these meetings we always discuss how to handle the press, and try to come up with some general words. In this case he would suggest “satisfactory” for the tone. On content we had no intention of describing details of positions, but would be making [Page 1192] general references to topics. We will feel it necessary to say the problems we have been working on have not been resolved and are hanging over the situation. He imagined that he would be seeing Shevardnadze in New York, and that if it happened it would be a good sign. He would be responsive to Shevardnadze’s call. He did not foresee differences on describing the negotiations. He would call the talks on these positive and useful, and while he would give no details on Geneva, he would say it was an important area where good prospects are emerging.
Shevardnadze said he would say the same. If the Summit comes up he would say it is on the agenda, everything depends on how we work in Geneva, agreement on the one issue is necessary, and if the U.S. side takes the same view it will be reached. The Secretary said this sounded fine, for he would not wish the President to go to a meeting where that was the only thing to be talked about; let us resolve the issue. Shevardnadze said he would say the Soviets would do everything that depended on them, he expected the Americans would say the same thing. He expected they would meet in New York. It should not be put off.
- Source: Reagan Library, George Shultz Papers, 4D, 1986 Soviet Union September. Secret; Sensitive. There is no drafting information. Cleared by Davies and Pascoe. An unknown hand initialed for Pascoe. The meeting took place at the Department of State.↩
- See footnote 2, Document 272.↩
- See Document 216.↩
- Shultz traveled to Bogotá for the inauguration of President Barco from August 6 to 7.↩