40. Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of State (Dam) to Secretary of State Shultz1

Mr. Secretary:

Don Kendall debriefed me on his meeting with Dobrynin last night:2

Dobrynin was critical of the Soviet failure to publish important statements by Gorbachev. For example, Dobrynin claims Gorbachev recently made a statement in Leningrad advocating private ownership of agricultural land, private ownership of homes, etc. None of this was reported in Soviet media.

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—According to Dobrynin, Gorbachev cannot come to the United States for a summit meeting. He is in the process of consolidating his hold on power, and must for now deal with the old guard. Statements by the President, Cap, and Perle feed the negative predispositions of the old guard, who take the line that it is impossible to do business with the United States. Dobrynin says such U.S. statements have a devastating impact.

—According to Dobrynin, Gorbachev will in time make sweeping changes in the Soviet system, including sweeping personnel changes next February. For now, however, he must deal with the old guard, cannot appear weak, and coming to the U.S. would do just that. Dobrynin says Gorbachev wants to start improving relations with the United States, but cannot do so now because he is being held back by the hard liners.

Gorbachev wants very much a meeting with the President, and would like to invite the President to the Soviet Union, which would strengthen Gorbachev’s position. Alternatively, a meeting could be held on middle ground.

Dobrynin claims he has no relationship with anyone in this Administration. George Shultz and Gromyko have a good working relationship, but no progress is being made on any issue. Dobrynin does not expect any progress to be made before a Gorbachev/Reagan meeting.

Don asked that this debrief be held to senior officials of the Department.

Kenneth W. Dam3
  1. Source: Reagan Library, George Shultz Papers, 1985 Soviet Union June. Secret; Sensitive. Copies were sent to Whitehead, Armacost, and Nitze. On June 14, Kenneth Dam, who had served as Shultz’s deputy since October 1982, left the Department of State for a job at IBM. Dam was replaced by John Whitehead.
  2. Donald Kendall was the co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo, Inc.
  3. Dam initialed “KWD” above his typed signature.