41. Memorandum From Secretary of State Shultz to President Reagan1
- Dobrynin Delivers a Letter to You from Gorbachev
Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin came at his request last night to deliver General Secretary Gorbachev’s response to your April 30 letter. He noted that your letter of June 9 had not been received in Moscow at the time this was dispatched and therefore Gorbachev does not refer to the Interim Restraint issue.2 We will be providing you with an analysis of the letter, but at first glance it does not contain anything particularly new.3
There is a brief mention at the end of the letter of the question of a summit. It appears that the week of November 18 is probably acceptable although Gorbachev did not respond directly on timing. Dobrynin said it was his assumption that there would be no problem with this period since Gromyko had discussed the “second half of November” in Vienna. But the idea of a Washington meeting and a later meeting in Moscow is specifically not accepted. In his letter, Gorbachev says: “As to the place for holding [a summit], I understand that there are motives which make you prefer the meeting to be held in the U.S. But I have no less weighty motives which, taking into account the present state of Soviet-American relations, makes this variant unrealistic.” Thus a European site is now on the table, and it is up to us to say whether this is agreeable. I think they have a clear idea by now that Helsinki and Vienna are not acceptable to us. We will need to discuss how to respond.[Page 144]
In talking about a summit, Dobrynin noted that we had four or five bilateral issues on which agreements could be ready to sign in November. He commented that the Geneva negotiations would obviously be the major summit topic, said we were now deadlocked, but offered no ideas on how to achieve a breakthrough in these areas.
Turning to other topics, I expressed my astonishment to Dobrynin at the TASS statement about your decisions on Interim Restraint.4 I quoted some of the statement’s worst distortions and said it was almost as if TASS had produced it in advance of your letter. Noting that we have serious concerns about compliance matters, I urged that they get on with meeting these concerns and take a more reasonable approach in Geneva. Dobrynin tried to defend their position by saying that it looks to them as if we are saying that they must stop violations (which he said they are not committing) and change positions in Geneva to focus only on reductions and ignore space weapons. Otherwise, they will face a list of problems in November from Weinberger, and the US will again change its approach toward SALT. (“You are putting us on probation and setting yourself up as the Judge.”) He also said he felt people in Moscow would take offense that your letter to Gorbachev on Interim Restraint did not mention space once, in contravention of the January agreement.
I also raised with Dobrynin a number of serious current human rights cases—an American’s husband on a hunger strike in Moscow, a recently-convicted Hebrew teacher and one whose trial is coming up, and uncertainties over the current situation of the Sakharovs. Referring to Gorbachev’s letter, Dobrynin said we should stop interfering in the internal affairs of the Soviet Union. He did say he had sent a cable to Moscow on the hunger striker in response to my earlier demarche.5
A copy of the embassy’s English translation of Gorbachev’s letter is attached.[Page 145]
- Source: Reagan Library, George Shultz Papers, 1985 Soviet Union June. Secret; Sensitive. Brackets are in the original. Kelly sent Shultz the memorandum under an undated action memorandum, recommending that he send it to Reagan. Jonathan Benton (S/S–S) noted on the action memorandum: “GPS gave Sec—Pres to Bud McFarlane 6/12/85—JSB.” Reagan initialed the copy of the memorandum from Shultz. (Reagan Library, Jack Matlock Files, Head of State Correspondence (US-USSR) June 1985 (2/2))↩
- For the April 30 letter, see Document 23. In telegram 176092 to Moscow, June 10, the Department transmitted a June 9 “Letter from the President to Gorbachev on Interim Restraint;” however, no text of the telegram was found. The same day, the President approved NSDD 173, “Building an Interim Framework for Mutual Restraint,” sent a report to Congress on “Soviet and United States Compliance with Arms Control Agreements,” and issued a public statement declaring that the United States would seek to “establish an interim framework of truly mutual restraint on strategic offensive arms.” (Public Papers: Reagan, 1985, Book I, pp. 743–745) The NSDD is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. XLIV, Part 1, National Security Policy, 1985–1988.↩
- See Document 42.↩
- In telegram 7868 from Moscow, June 12, the Embassy reported on the statement: “The Soviet Union will not allow the United States to determine which arms control obligations should be observed and which ignored, according to a formal TASS statement issued June 11 in response to the President’s Interim Restraint policy. TASS portrays the U.S. decision as merely the continuation of a policy aimed at destroying the framework of arms limitations. TASS makes no apologies for the Soviet record of compliance with existing agreements, but no commitment to honor them in the future.” (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D850414–0072) The June 11 TASS statement is printed in Documents on Disarmament, 1985, pp. 352–354.↩
- See footnote 3, Document 35.↩
- No classification marking. Printed from an unofficial translation. The text of the letter, translated from Russian, was provided by the Soviet Embassy.↩
- See Documents 12 and 22.↩
- The proposal was summarized by a Soviet spokesman in a February 14 news conference statement. See Documents on Disarmament, 1985, pp. 81–82.↩