112. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • U.S.

    • Secretary of State Shultz
    • Ambassador Nitze
    • Dr. Hopkins (Interpreter)
  • USSR

    • Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze
    • Ambassador Dubinin
    • Ambassador Karpov
    • Mr. Igor Korchilov (Interpreter)

Shevardnadze asked Ambassador Dubinin to begin the discussion of questions concerning the respective embassies. Dubinin said that there were a significant number of questions for the Soviet side that had still not been solved. He observed that there were more problems for the Soviet side than for the U.S. side. The first concerned the possibility of hooking up the Soviet Embassy to U.S. TV cable facilities.

A second problem concerned permission for the Soviet Embassy to set up an antenna at the Embassy residence compound so as to receive direct TV broadcasts from the Soviet Union.

The third item he addressed concerned lifting a ban on having a TV antenna repaired at the Soviet Embassy so as to be able to get U.S. TV signals.

The fourth item concerned removal of restrictions on purchasing materials necessary for various jobs at the Embassy. The current purchase limit on materials is $100.

Another problem that Dubinin addressed was a request to lift a U.S. ban on the purchase of building materials to be used for construction purposes at the Soviet Embassy. He suggested going back to some of the practical measures that had been used in this context at an earlier time.

Next Dubinin requested that the U.S. lift its ban on acquisition of air and rail tickets by Soviet Embassy personnel in the U.S.

He likewise requested that restrictions be lifted for Soviet Embassy staff and personnel who desire to rent apartments in Washington in places of their own choosing. He said the State Department would be informed about each apartment thus rented.

[Page 657]

Shevardnadze noted that there were similar restrictions on U.S. diplomats in the Soviet Union through the UPDK.

Dubinin continued that furthermore the Soviet side was requesting that no traffic fines be given Soviet vehicles parked near buildings where Soviet offices are located as well as at sites and locations which would be agreed to by the State Department.

Dubinin reported that it had also been requested that police posts be set up by the Soviet military attache and a permanent police post be set up with 24-hour police protection by the consulate in San Francisco.

He said that except for the question of obtaining building materials, all these questions had been on the agenda for discussion since the first day of the current negotiations.

Dubinin continued that the U.S. side had raised the following questions. It had expressed a desire to increase the number of workers allowed in the Soviet Union to help construct the U.S. Embassy. When Shevardnadze asked what numerical increase the U.S. side desired, Dubinin said that the latest U.S. position was 75 people. The Soviet side had officially been allowing 50. He said that although that had not been reported to Shevardnadze, the U.S. side said it would study whether that number would be sufficient.

Dubinin next addressed the U.S. concern about visits to the USSR by guests of diplomats. The USSR currently allows relatives of diplomats to visit; however, the U.S. side is requesting that visitation restrictions be eased for friends and acquaintances.

Dubinin said that at the conclusion of the meeting with Ambassador Matlock where these items had been discussed, the U.S. side had also put forth a series of desires which would improve living and working conditions for embassy personnel in the USSR. He said the Soviet side had received a list of additional U.S. desires and suggestions. He said that the Soviet side had stated that it would study the request, since it was impossible to respond to the given items immediately. He noted that there would be one more meeting of experts on these questions later in the day. He said it was still not clear at the given moment how things would be worked out in terms of the first group of questions of interest to the two sides.

Shevardnadze asked on what basis guests, relatives and friends of U.S. diplomats were allowed in. He wondered whether it was by quota or whether other kinds of limits were set. Dubinin replied that there were no limits for relatives. He said that the Soviet side had not given its agreement on the U.S. request for visits by friends and acquaintances, since that represented a new proposal.

Shultz asked about the so-called “package.”

Dubinin replied that all of these things were part of the package. Shultz said that he thought that Matlock and Dubinin should be told [Page 658] that if diplomats cannot solve these problems, then they will simply have to live with the existing situations. He expressed optimism that all these problems could be solved.

Shevardnadze said that above-mentioned problems would be studied. The Soviet side would be in touch in 8 to 15 days as to which problems could be resolved and which ones would need further discussion. He said that if there were reciprocity, it seemed to him that none of these problems were insoluable. In any case, he said, he would be back in touch and would try to get solutions in terms of the package. He noted that items of this nature were really secondary.

Shultz joked that the President and the General Secretary should be informed that the diplomatic establishment was unable to solve these problems, noting that such a report would probably lead to having him and Shevardnadze fired from their jobs.

The discussion next turned to NST. Shevardnadze said that he had gone over the statement except for the guidelines and the instructions to the negotiators. In terms of the basic text, he said that on the whole, it was good, and it reflected the mood of what had been accomplished since his meeting with Shultz in Geneva. It was noted that the evening before this meeting the NST discussions had reached an impasse at 12:30 a.m. Still it was observed that in terms of the basic text, there were still differences of opinion and agreement had still not been reached. It was also noted that there would not now be time to change the content of the statement, something which would affect progress.

Shultz said that as he understood it, things were not finished with the document; however, they were in pretty good shape.2 He pointed out that in the portion of the document concerning strategic offensive arms, there was a problem and one important set of brackets relating to the language concerning SLCMs that General Akhromeyev had tabled at the meeting the night before. He said naturally it was not known what would emerge from the meeting that Admiral Crowe and Akhromeyev would hold later in the day. However, as a general proposition, he said the U.S. saw things in the following way. The unbracketed language says that the sides will be addressing the question of SLCMs. That question is outside of the 6000 boundary that has been set. Moreover, the U.S. has ideas on verification. The sides are committed to thinking about verification issues. In this connection the U.S. believes verification issues are more difficult than does the Soviet side; however, the U.S. is prepared to work on those issues. Neverthe [Page 659] less, it is difficult to move ahead, since there is no certainty about verification issues. Still, the current language does go further than before in this area, and thus it represents a certain advance. Shultz suggested waiting to hear what the military people would report after their meeting.

Shevardnadze concurred that it would be a good idea to wait.

Shultz continued that he thought it possible to find a mutually acceptable solution. Under the U.S. proposal it would be possible to find flexible language. It was noted that no attempt is being made to set top limits at present; however, it is being suggested that limits be set for missiles on submarines. He continued this is an important question that needs further discussion, adding that it is one that cannot be settled at present.

Shultz continued that the unbracketed language contained the word “limits.” The word is very broad and covers such concepts as numbers and other aspects of missiles, e.g., where they would be deployed and their range. The U.S. side considers “limits” to be a useful word and finds the formulation adequate with the brackets out.

Shevardnadze interjected that the question of SLCMs is one of principle, and he noted that the General Secretary had emphasized this.

Shultz concurred as to the fundamental nature of the problem. He also pointed out another area of extreme importance, namely, the ABM Treaty. He said he had two suggestions on the paragraph in the document which concerned it. He said that accepting these suggestions would help remove most of the brackets, even if it would not remove all of them. Shultz said that he thought the sides agreed that it would be desirable to have discussions of strategic stability, especially as they got near the end of the specified period. He said that with this in mind, he had gone back and looked at the record of the General Secretary’s conversation from the previous day. Shultz quoted the General Secretary’s remarks to the effect that if the U.S. should ultimately decide to deploy, that was up to the U.S. after the end of the withdrawal period. Shultz further quoted him to the effect that at the end of the specific period, as far as the Soviet Union is concerned, the U.S. could decide what it wanted to do, and the Soviet side could accept that. Shultz said that given the joint desire to discuss strategic stability and taking into consideration the statements of the General Secretary, he had combined the two notions into one sentence. Shultz suggested that that one sentence be inserted into the text after the bracketed section at the end of the first long sentence. Shultz next read out the text and passed it over to Shevardnadze.

Shultz said that intensive discussion of strategic stability shall begin no later than three years before the end of the specified period, at [Page 660] which time, in the event the two sides have not agreed otherwise, each side is free to decide its course of action.

Karpov asked about the bracketed section at the end of the first sentence. After Karpov read the document Shultz had passed over, Shultz said some, but not all, problems could be solved.

Shevardnadze seemed receptive to the suggestion, noting that it did not seem to create any problems; however, he said that the Soviet side would have to study the given suggestion.

Shultz said that there was still another issue for which text was being developed, and here it could be agreed and recognized that there were underlying differences of opinion between the sides, although attempts were being made to narrow them. In this context he said that his second suggestion was to insert in the first sentence after the word “testing” and before the comma the words “as required.” He noted that the bracketed phrase at the end of the given sentence would remain. He said in terms of that part, the U.S. side had no suggestion. He likewise noted that if these changes were to be incorporated, it would be possible to drop all the rest of the bracketed language.

Shevardnadze, who had been studying all of this and whispering with Karpov, was overheard to remark that the sense of the statement was not changed by the U.S. suggestion. Shevardnadze noted that if the changes were accepted, only one bracketed section would remain.

Shultz concurred, and he also expressed his personal opinion that he thought that the military representatives would agree with these suggestions.

Shevardnadze, though he seemed favorably disposed toward the suggestions, said that he would nevertheless have to talk with the General Secretary. Shultz noted that he would have to discuss the text with the President as well. Since a breakfast with Vice President3 was about to begin, and it seemed that the Foreign Ministers would have little opportunity to discuss the document with their respective leaders before the scheduled 10:30 a.m. meeting, Shevardnadze suggested postponing Gorbachev’s meeting with the President until 10:45 a.m.

Having agreed to postpone the scheduled 10:30 a.m. Reagan-Gorbachev meeting until 10:45, the conversation ended around 9:00 a.m.

  1. Source: Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/S Records, Memoranda of Conversations Pertaining to United States and USSR Relations, 1981–1990, Lot 93D188, Washington Summit, 12/87. Secret; Sensitive. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. The meeting took place at the Soviet Embassy.
  2. A copy of the draft NST statement is attached but not printed. Documentation on the nuclear and space negotiations at the Washington Summit is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. XI, START.
  3. See Document 113.