121. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Shultz-Shevardnadze Meetings, February 21 Morning


  • U.S.

    • George P. Shultz, Secretary of State
    • Thomas W. Simons, Jr. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (EUR) (Notetaker)
    • Dimitri Zarechnak (Interpreter)
  • U.S.S.R.

    • Eduard Shevardnadze, Minister of Foreign Affairs
    • Sergei Tarasenko, Special Assistant to the Foreign Minister (Notetaker)
    • P. Palazhchenko (Interpreter)

Shevardnadze said he did not think the two ministers needed to spend a long time on the agenda. They would speak at the plenary on the sequence and on the composition of working groups on various problems, as was their tradition.

Shevardnadze said he wished to raise another issue. It would be good if their colleagues would try to prepare a document on the results of their discussions. Perhaps this would not be necessary, but they should see; it had been useful in the past.

The Secretary suggested they see if they had something to say.

Shevardnadze said they should see how things developed. Perhaps they should try to formulate something in one of the working groups.

Shevardnadze said there would be one official event, the exchange of notes on U.S. fishing in the Soviet economic zone. That would be at 12:45. Then at 1:00 there would be lunch, and then they could continue their regular work. He understood the plenary would be short, to announce the composition of the working groups, which would then begin; at that point they could return to work in a more narrow composition. If all the questions were treated with all the participants, he said with a smile, it would not be a negotiation, but a rally.

The Secretary said he thought the process they had established of setting up working groups and then proceeding between them had worked well, and should continue.

[Page 701]

Shevardnadze asked the Secretary who should be in their small sessions. The Secretary said that on the U.S. side it would be General Powell, the President’s National Security Advisor, and Ambassador Ridgway. Then, if the subject called for it, they might bring others in, for instance Under Secretary Armacost on regional issues, although he believed Shevardnadze and he should have the primary discussion there. The same could happen for arms control, perhaps for other topics.

Shevardnadze said he would like to invite his Deputy Bessmertnykh and perhaps Karpov on a permanent basis, so to speak. On other issues, there could be others for regional matters; he had in mind Vorontsov; this could be in advance of his meeting with Secretary Armacost. The Ambassadors might be on some working group. The Secretary said they could float around and keep abreast of things. Shevardnadze said the Ambassadors should tell the Ministers what was happening.

Returning to the working groups, the Secretary said there should also be one on human rights. As before, the U.S. chairman would be Assistant Secretary Schifter. Then there should be a group on arms control, which could break into subgroups if it wished; on our side this would be headed by Nitze. There should be one for regional issues, with Armacost our chairman. He did not see a need for a special group on bilateral issues unless Shevardnadze wished it.

Shevardnadze said perhaps they could put two or three officials in a bilateral group to do some work for a joint statement, if the Ministers decided there was a need for one. The Secretary noted that joint statements always seemed to come down to Ridgway and Bessmertnykh; they could decide that later. Simons said he and Sukhodrev could meet after lunch on bilateral issues. Shevardnadze jovially said they might also meet at night. The Secretary suggested they agree to a fourth group on bilateral issues; on the U.S. side the chairman would be Simons.

Shevardnadze said that on arms control he understood the U.S. preferred one group, but there should probably also be subgroups on chemical weapons, conventional weapons, the better to organize the work.

Continuing, Shevardnadze said he saw no changes or complications with that day’s program, but was a little worried about the next day’s. The schedule called for 9:00 a.m. with Ryzhkov, and 11:00 a.m. with the General Secretary. It was hard to say how much time would be required for the second meeting. The Secretary noted that the last time they had missed lunch, but it had been worth it. Shevardnadze said he did not rule that out.

Then, he went on, at 3:00 p.m. the program called for completion of the negotiations. He understood this would be mainly the reports of the working groups. At 4:30 p.m. he was committed to attend a special meeting to honor the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Army. This [Page 702] limited the final meeting to an hour and a quarter. If that were not enough, they could perhaps think of postponing the Secretary’s evening press conference, or perhaps of working in the evening.

The Secretary said they should work on that. He had invited a number of Soviet intellectuals to dinner at a cooperative restaurant, but these times could be adjusted. Shevardnadze suggested that they decide to try to finish the meeting in a hour and a quarter, and look further if they could not. The Secretary said they did not have to have lengthy working groups reports; they could use the hour and a quarter effectively. Shevardnadze said that seemed about all.

(At 11:05 a.m. the Ministers joined the plenary. There the Secretary was accompanied also by National Security Advisor Colin Powell, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Michael H. Armacost, Ambassador Paul Nitze, Ambassador Max Kampelman, Ambassador Jack Matlock, EUR Assistant Secretary Rozanne L. Ridgway and DOD/ISA Assistant Secretary-designate Ronald Lehman. Shevardnadze was accompanied by First Deputy Minister Yuli Vorontsov, Deputy Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh, Ambassador Viktor Karpov, Ambassador Yuriy Dubinin, Deputy Minister Adamishin, Ambassador Obukhov, and USA/Canada Department Acting Director Sukhodrev.)

After discussion of the Moscow weather during the press opportunity, Shevardnadze suggested the meeting begin. First, he expressed a cordial welcome to Moscow to the Secretary and all their friends, whom they knew well from working with them, and he wished them a useful and pleasant stay. The Soviet side believed this meeting was a great significance. It was taking place after the signing of the INF Treaty, which both sides believed was historic. All there understood that they were facing tasks that were not simple with regard to ratification, but working in parallel they seemed to be doing the job right. The next task was to actively and purposefully work on the even more complex and important agreement for 50 percent reductions in strategic offensive arms in the context of preserving the ABM Treaty for an agreed period of time. The main outlines of the future agreement had been agreed at the Washington Summit, and were reflected in the joint statement agreed there. He had read through it the day before. He thought that their leaders had done useful work, and that they had a good chance to complete this complicated but responsible task before the President visited the Soviet Union. The two sides should continue this work, as had been discussed in Washington, and he believed that if both delegations in Geneva negotiated in a constructive spirit they could expect success, even though there were just three months left. There was no doubt that an agreement would be an event of historic proportions, and that the nations of the world looked to us to achieve it.

Shevardnadze continued that they should have detailed discussions not only of nuclear and space arms but also of questions of [Page 703] accelerating the work to conclude a chemical weapons convention and matters of conventional arms. In his view the two sides needed in-depth discussions of regional issues, and also bilateral relations. Thus they had an agenda, and could approve it without much debate.

The Secretary suggested that Shevardnadze had perhaps missed human rights. Shevardnadze said human rights was a special category; he understood it should not be omitted. He understood from the speeches the Secretary had made how important it was.

The next day’s meetings, Shevardnadze went on, would be with the General Secretary of the Central Committee Mikhail Gorbachev, and Council of Ministers President Ryzhkov. The Secretary said he had warned his ambassador about what had happened last time, the impact on his luncheon; it was possible that could happen again. Ambassador Matlock said that was why he was not arranging a luncheon this time. Shevardnadze said he could not rule out a recurrence; it was a possibility.

Shevardnadze said the Ministers should perhaps consult with the members of the Secretary’s delegation and his own people about whether it would be useful to complete an agreed joint statement. This had been a generally positive practice at their meetings and at the summit. If it turned out that way it would be good.

Turning to organization aspects, Shevardnadze said the Ministers had agreed on appropriate working groups. On the problems of disarmament, taking account of the U.S. suggestion, there would be a single working group on arms control, with subgroups on various problems. On the Soviet side he suggested Karpov for strategic offensive arms and the ABM Treaty; Botsanov for chemical weapons; Grinevskiy for conventional arms; First Deputy Minister Vorontsov for in-depth discussion of regional issues; and for human rights—which was not to be omitted—Adamishin. Finally they had decided on a small group to discuss bilateral affairs; on the Soviet side there would be Sukhodrev and Sredin. He wished to make sure that all the experts who had been brought in would not be left without work. He was sure the Ministers would be able to invite the experts and those in charge of working groups to consult with them as required.

Thus, Shevardnadze concluded, the program was set. The only adjustment that might be called for concerned the last meeting. It could not last more than an hour and a quarter because of some other planned events. So they would ask the working group leaders to prepare well, in order to set forth their accounts briefly.

The Secretary said he had a few comments.

We were in a new year, he said. We needed to take a deep breath and look at the work ahead. There was more to build on than ever before in terms of the confidence that accomplishment can bring, the [Page 704] confidence gained as we show we can resolve issues and move forward across the big agenda. Our continuing dialogue on human rights has taken a more systematic and satisfactory form, the Secretary continued.

There is immense work to be done on arms control, and the U.S. side is prepared to work hard on all the issues. He thought the main task now was to finish a strategic arms agreement by the Summit. We would have suggestions, and would be prepared to talk on other aspects as well.

With regard to INF ratification, the Secretary said, we had applied ourselves to it very hard, and the Senate committees had as well. We felt it was going well. While it was impossible to know the vote until it was taken, we thought there were 80 votes in hand and counting.

Over the past two and a half years or so the regional dialogue had become increasingly fruitful. He believed there were several issues in a condition where talks could be2

The U.S. side was ready, the Secretary said, to look at a joint document to record results, but this depended on the results that would be achieved. We wanted the meetings to be as fruitful as possible. He agreed to the working groups Shevardnadze had proposed: on our sides the chairmen would be Schifter, Nitze, Armacost and Simons. As before, he thought there should be a combination of working groups with a small group where Shevardnadze and he could have others meet with them. On the U.S. side this would consist of General Powell, the President’s National Security Advisor, and Ambassador Ridgway. The Ambassadors should have free rein to move among the working groups. They could be floaters, keeping informed of everything. Shevardnadze interjected that they could check up on everyone. The Secretary went on to recall that the two Ministers would exchange notes on fisheries at 12:45, and then there would be lunch. Beyond that would be work, and we were ready to work.

Shevardnadze said they had now discussed all the organizational aspects. If they had a joint statement they could go off to cultural events. The Secretary replied that life was not that way. Shevardnadze suggested that they get to work.

(At 11:30, with the formation of the working groups, the U.S. side consisted of the Secretary, General Powell, Ambassador Ridgway, Deputy Assistant Secretary Simons and Mr. Zarechnak; the Soviet side consisted of Shevardnadze, Ambassadors Bessmertnykh and Karpov, Special Assistant Tarasenko and Mr. Palazhchenko.)

[Page 705]

Shevardnadze said that with the agenda and procedures settled, they could get to work, and he offered the Secretary the floor. The Secretary thanked him.

The Secretary said he wished to begin with human rights. Over the previous two and a half years Shevardnadze and he had spent a lot of time discussing this issue. He took pleasure that it had become an established part of their dialogue. The lengthy and deep discussions their respective representatives had had helped clarify their understanding of each other’s positions, and the factors behind those positions. The U.S. side had seen quite a number of specific cases resolved, and seen positive trends, such as the expansion of emigration from the Soviet Union. This was consistent with the objectives the Soviet side had set for itself, and we welcomed that.

Thus, the Secretary went on, their talks had been useful. And the U.S. side wanted to make them more so. It wanted to make them as extensive as possible. It wanted to involve a wide range of participants on both sides. For example, the U.S. side was anxious to talk to people who were directly responsible for emigration policy.

But we would always also be looking for the bottom line, the Secretary went on. We would be asking ourselves what specifically was taking place. As we evaluated progress, and there had clearly been movement forward, we thought that one reason was progress on human rights. We had already accomplished more than many people would have predicted three years ago was possible. And a major factor on our sides in the successes we had achieved had frankly been the movement that had taken place within the Soviet Union with respect to human rights. As Shevardnadze had talked, and as the General Secretary had talked, all of us on the U.S. side had gained the feeling that something important was going on.

The Soviet side had thus raised expectations, the Secretary said, and it was important that those expectations not be disappointed.

The Secretary said he thought that to the extent there was continued, significant, visible progress on human rights, it would continue to be a supportive element in other areas of mutual interst. But to the extent people felt things were slowing down, that the results were not commensurate with the expectations, or that our dialogue was being used to avoid the real issues, it would hold us back.

The U.S. side fully recognized that, as the General Secretary had suggested, this had to be a two-way street, and it was prepared to talk. It recognized that what the Soviet Union was doing was consistent with Soviet laws and self-interest, and welcomed this, because it would provide a secure foundation for further movement. It saw no reason why the concerns it had expressed with respect to emigration procedures, decriminalization of political and religious freedom of expres[Page 706]sion, and people-to-people contacts could not be addressed within the context of what it understood to be the Soviet leadership’s efforts to invigorate and transform Soviet society. Indeed, it agreed with what was implicit in the General Secretary’s statements: that these things were good for Soviet society. We thought he was right.

As to the specifics of our dialogue on human rights, the Secretary went on, he was pleased that we had established a regular channel through our Embassy in Moscow for review of individual cases. He would propose that such reviews take place before each of the Ministers’ forthcoming meetings, so that when they got to a meeting they could focus on what might be done.

The Secretary continued that when Ambassador Schifter started his discussions he would be particularly interested in taking up some disturbing reports that emigration regulations were being applied in such a manner as to discourage new applications and keep departures at an artificially low level, particularly with respect to Jewish emigration. That was exactly the kind of development that could have a negative impact, and we would want to discuss it. There was the impression of a slowdown.

Assistant Secretary Schifter would also be prepared to respond to the specific proposals made by Deputy Foreign Minister Adamishin to Deputy Secretary Whitehead last fall on cooperative activities in the human rights area, the Secretary said.

Finally, the Secretary continued, before the Ministers moved to other areas of their agenda, he wished to raise a small number of cases to which he hoped Shevardnadze would give his personal association. In doing so he wished to express on his own behalf and on behalf of the President appreciation for the fact that Shevardnadze and the General Secretary had addressed similar cases that the U.S. side had raised in the past. He remembered that Shevardnadze and he had discussed such cases in tense surroundings a year and a half before, and he was sure Shevardnadze did too, since he had seen results. He had a small list to present, with biographic material. He hoped Shevardnadze would give it his personal attention. Two of the cases were marked with asterisks; the Secretary had met the American halves in Seattle and Palm Beach recently. On divided spouses and blocked marriages, the U.S. side saw no reason why they could not be resolved. It would like to see them knocked off the agenda, cleaned up. He hoped Shevardnadze could give him some good news at some point. He thought the names would be familiar.

Shevardnadze said that the day before he had also been thinking about which topic to begin with, and he too had thought of human rights. He agreed that the discussion of what the Soviet side called humanitarian problems was a positive aspect of U.S.-Soviet relations. [Page 707] The tone of it had made it possible to obtain dividends, the solution of certain problems. Positive experience had been accumulated. The Foreign Ministry and the State Department had a certain pattern of experience. Knowledgeable experts on both sides prepared proposals for the governments when a decision at government level was needed.

He would not go on about what was happening in the Soviet Union, Shevardnadze continued. He knew the Secretary read about it. He had read Mikhail Gorbachev’s book, as Shevardnadze had noted with pleasure when the Secretary had written him. The tasks the Soviet side set for itself were not inconsistent with its international obligations. It did not wish to stop either. There could be constructive U.S.-Soviet cooperation. The Soviet side did not want to confine this to contacts between the Foreign Ministries. It had proposed a special machinery for contacts between the parliaments, a special group which could discuss urgent questions. Mikhail Gorbachev had emphasized this to the Secretary, and Shevardnadze had too. He knew this was for Congress to decide, but it would be good if it could be accelerated. The Soviet side was for such discussions not only in camera; it would be good to have it in public. The Secretary replied that it was a good proposal, that it should be worked out.

Shevardnadze said he had some more comments to make.

The Soviet side had seen the report that the State Department made to the Congress on human rights, he went on. It was not just on the Soviet Union; it was general. But on the Soviet Union, he believed it was selective and tendentious. The Soviet side did not think it was a right thing for our relations. The two sides had people who could discuss these matters, who could have sounder analysis. When the Soviet side saw such unobjective and tendentious things, it complicated efforts to cooperate. The Soviet side laid no claim to participate. That was up to the State Department. But it did believe that the U.S. side should reflect more objectively on the situation in this very sensitive area, that it should act in a more subtle and delicate way.

As a matter of principle, Shevardnadze went on, the Soviet side had the sincere intention to work not only with the U.S. but with all of Europe. He would remind the Secretary once again of the proposal for a human rights forum. The U.S. had not always taken an objective stance on this proposal. It should review its approach. The Soviet side did not want competition with Britain and France over such proposals. It thought meetings could be distributed to all three, including to Paris for the anniversary of the French Revolution. It would like to persuade the U.S. that it needed to have a meeting involving all participants, involving members of the public, discussing the issues in an open, frank manner, so that the situation could be presented and plans to democratize described.

[Page 708]

The Secretary said that the human rights report had been prepared under Ambassador Schifter’s direction. Schifter would be ready to discuss it with Adamishin, to go over wherever the Soviet side thought something had been improperly stated.

With regard to the Moscow conference, the Secretary went on, the U.S. side had no objection to it in principle. We had tried to set out in Vienna the behavioral things we would need to see before hand. We agreed that competition with the UK and France was not needed. The issue should be considered on its merits. We were prepared to keep an open mind on the subject. Shevardnadze said the two sides should think about it. The Soviet side did not want a conference at any price. They should try to find a reasonable procedure. It was sure one could be found. The Secretary said we would consider this. The points the U.S. side had made should be seen in terms of the General Secretary’s program for the country. We did not think they were inconsistent with what he had written in his very important book. Shevardnadze said that in that case there was no disagreement, since the suggestion had been made in light of his pronouncements.

Shevardnadze recalled that the last time he and the Secretary had met he had raised the need for a delicate approach to nationalities problems in the Soviet Union and the United States. The Secretary had seemed to understand. But now these problems were being used by the Administration. This was true with respect to the Baltic Republics. Raising this on the part of the American side was without substance, and evoked protests from the Baltic peoples and the Soviet people in general. Propaganda was being made, the Secretary and the President had made statements in a spirit that should be a thing of the past. This was true not just for arms control. The approaches were outdated, from twenty or thirty years before. Now there was a new generation, new conditions. He urged the Secretary to look at these questions again.

Third, Shevardnadze said, the Soviet side had been examining seriously the families and cases the American side raised and, within Soviet laws, trying to resolve them. It had communications from U.S. citizens as well as the U.S. Government. It tried to respond.

But, Shevardnadze said, the converse was not true about Soviet presentations to the U.S. about Nazi war criminals. Soviet people were concerned with this. He had raised the case of the Brazinskas brothers three or four times with the Secretary. There had not been an answer even at the expert level. The Secretary had said that this was a two-way street. The Soviet side needed a response, a responsible manner, from U.S. agencies. The General Secretary had raised the question of the refusal of U.S. agencies to grant visas to Soviet trade union delegations. These people were not military, or terrorists. They represented workers, they represented intellectuals. This had been raised at various levels, including the General Secretary.

[Page 709]

Not enough was being done in the Soviet Union, Shevardnadze continued. There would soon be a general conference to discuss democratization here. But the U.S. side should recognize the potential for change for itself too. The Soviet side thought death sentences for minors were inappropriate; intellectuals and academics had expressed that to him. That was why parliaments should discuss such issues. The Soviet side had raised the problems of the homeless and the aged in the U.S. It thought they were acute. When the General Secretary was in Washington he had received dozens of invitations to see how the homeless lived and died. He did not want to spoil the atmosphere of the Summit. But the problem was there.

The Soviet side said often that it was wrong that the U.S. had not adopted human rights covenants. This was an issue for the working group. But the Soviet side had counted more than twenty, adopted by the UN and by other states, to which the U.S. had not adhered.

Shevardnadze continued that he had read a great deal written in the U.S. about the psychiatric problem in the Soviet Union. The Soviet side had invited experts, lawyers, to see if anything illegal was going on, to see if there were one fact to sustain the charges. If there were, the Soviet side was ready to be held accountable, if there were abuse, illegal use of psychiatric institutions against the rights of people.

But, Shevardnadze continued, he would like to feel that the U.S. side heeded Soviet remarks about U.S. practices too. The Soviet side had lots of material. There were brutal violations of the human rights of individuals in many regions of the Secretary’s country. The Soviet side looked at the U.S. side’s, the U.S. side should look at the Soviet side’s in an objective way. It had information that there were up to three million homeless in the U.S., including a third with children. This meant the lack of any assurance of social protection.

In the last meeting his colleagues had mentioned the problem of the U.S. black population, Shevardnadze continued. There was not one black Senator, and yet blacks were 12% of the population. There was not one black governor. With regard to discrimination, the U.S. side believed its laws were not discriminatory. Shevardnadze said he believed a lot of them were discriminatory as regards women. This should be examined. Studies showed that they were paid less, 33 percent less, for the same work. Soviet people looked at this material, and found it bizarre, something out of the Middle Ages. It showed that 60% of working mothers were in businesses where they got no benefits. Most of them got no paid maternity leave when a child is born. The Secretary should not be surprised if he had looked at this material.

Or take the Native Americans, Shevardnadze went on. As a historian by education he knew that 200 years ago there had been ten million of them, and now there were one million. This was of interest to Soviets, [Page 710] who lived in a multiethnic state that helped small ethnic groups to maintain themselves and move forward. America was a powerful country. It could afford to take a different attitude to one million people, to give more attention to their needs. And not just the Soviets said so, but others as well.

Or take persecution of beliefs. Adamishin would be raising this issue. The U.S. side said there were political prisoners in the Soviet Union, but based on American statutes there would be just seventeen of them in the Soviet Union, and how many were there in the U.S.?

The Soviet side would like to approach human rights in a substantive way, Shevardnadze said. He was ready to make it the first item of the agenda, to take it up in further meetings. He thought there had been progress. But there should also be reciprocity, fairness. These were sensitive issues. The Secretary should not be surprised if certain complaints were addressed to him.

Shevardnadze noted he had conducted a monologue.

The Secretary said he welcomed Shevardnadze’s comments on the importance of these issues, and his proposal to put them at the top of the agenda when the two ministers meet. He noted Shevardnadze’s comments on the U.S. Schifter was ready to respond to them. Sometimes Soviet information was not adequate. Sometimes the criticisms were deserved. The U.S. side wanted to do better, and if the Soviet side could help by pointing up things, this would be all to the good. Societies progress by criticism, and this should certainly be a two-way street.

Shevardnadze reiterated that these were sensitive issues. They should be discussed in a cautious, careful way. They could be discussed, but we had to be careful.

The Secretary agreed, and asked if General Powell or Ambassador Ridgway had any comments. Shevardnadze joked that Powell probably thought only of arms control. Powell said that was not true at all. The Secretary said Ridgway might have some fierce views on human rights.

Powell said that what was beautiful about U.S. society was that it criticized itself more fiercely than the Soviets did. There was no black Senator now, but there had been one, and there were over thirty black Congressmen. There had been a great increase in black participation in state and local government in recent years, and Hispanic and Native American as well as black. Ridgway could probably go on about women. The point was that we welcomed criticism. It was through criticism that we improved.

Shevardnadze said he doubted Americans criticized themselves more fiercely than Soviets criticized themselves. One has only to read Mikhail Gorbachev’s book. When he had spoken of women, he had not been speaking of Assistant Secretary Ridgway. But he still wondered why women received 35 percent less for equal work.

[Page 711]

Ambassador Ridgway said Shevardnadze was using the figure for equivalent work, for the difference between a secretary’s and a truckdriver’s salary. Whether the two jobs were equivalent and deserved equal pay was hotly disputed. But there were laws providing that two secretaries, two truckdrivers, two traffic directors, if they were man and woman, could not be paid differently. Americans were grappling with the different problem of equivalent work. Her own view might not be typical on that score.

Shevardnadze suggested that the two sides continue this discussion. Bessmertnykh insisted that Shevardnadze was using equal work figures, based on American statistics. The Secretary commented that statistics are sometimes hard to use. Broadly speaking, in the U.S. system it was the market that determined how much pay would be needed to get a job done. Putting women and ethnic Americans aside for the moment, we were facing an interesting inversion of the job market. The structure historically had been that white collar workers, who had more education, were paid more. But as society shifted and education spread, the garbage man was now getting a lot more than the office worker even though he had less education. The reason was that not many people wanted to do that job, and people had to be paid a lot to do it. The question was asked, “How can you pay a garbage man more than a computer specialist in an office?” The reason was that you paid what it took to get the job done and done well. That illustrated Ridgway’s point. Shevardnadze’s statistics were from somebody’s idea of what the relationship ought to be, but that was just someone’s idea.

The Secretary concluded that it would be fruitful to get such issues out on the table in the working groups, and to discuss them more in the ministers’ meetings.

Shevardnadze said they should direct their experts to do more in-depth discussion; if the ministers continued all the other questions would be set aside.

The Secretary said he would like to raise some different topics. He proposed that on arms control they begin with INF and NRRC’s, but he would also have some suggestions on how to go about strategic arms talks in order to maximize our chances of success.

On INF, the Secretary continued, there had been enough discussion with and among members of the Senate for us to be quite confident of favorable Senate action on the Treaty, and we believed it would be taken by the end of April. We had set up a new office of On-Site Inspection in the Pentagon. It had hosted the Soviets, and would be sending people to the Soviet Union. This was moving. The Secretary welcomed the technical talks that would take place over the next few weeks. It was essential to keep going, so that we could have the physical sites ready, so that when the Treaty entered into force we would be [Page 712] organized in a proper way. Still, this was going well; he merely wished to take note of it.

On nuclear risk reduction centers, the Secretary continued, we were well along in our preparations. He had with him our NRRC Director, Allen Holmes, who would be happy to meet and talk with the Soviet side. That would help the two sides with many aspects of their work, including making the treaties work.

Turning to START, the Secretary said it was important to recognize that we had accomplished a great deal over the previous year. We had worked very hard at the Washington Summit, and the statement agreed there records progress that two or three years before people would have thought it impossible to achieve. The credit belonged to the two leaders. They had put their backs to it, and achieved a great deal.

Our leaders were on record that they wanted to complete a START Treaty in the first half of this year, the Secretary continued. We wanted it to be well and carefully done, but it was doable. The job was to get at it.

The INF Treaty had been well received because it was carefully drafted and included sound verification provisions. He remembered that when he had taken it and distributed it to the U.S.’s partners in NATO, they had been astonished at how thorough the verification provisions were. START would have to meet the same rigorous standards, and would be more difficult than INF. But it was still doable.

The Secretary said it was useful to recall what had already been agreed in START:

—6000 warheads;

—1600 strategic missiles and bombers;

—4900 ballistic missile warheads;

—1540 warheads on 154 heavy ICBM’s;

—a throweight ceiling 50 percent below the current Soviet level;

—a bomber weapon counting rule dealing with bombs and short-range missiles; and

—a long list of verification ideas that built upon and went beyond what is in the INF Treaty, including data exchange, various kinds of inspection, and measures to enhance the effectiveness of national technical means.

That was a very impressive list of accomplishments, the Secretary said. The U.S. side wanted to take advantage of it and bring this to fruition. And our view was that while there were still large items to decide, the most likely difficulty was with verification.

The U.S. view, the Secretary said, was that we need to get back into verification, to get going on it as if we were at the end of the negotiation. Our task is to transform the concepts agreed at the Washington Summit into detailed verification procedures. We had seen in [Page 713] negotiating the INF Treaty that when we resolved one issue another appeared in its place. This was a pick and shovel task; it would only yield to hard work.

The U.S. Delegation in Geneva, the Secretary continued, had recently tabled a draft Inspection Protocol and a revised Protocol on Conversion of Elimination. He asked that Shevardnadze’s people work from these documents to produce agreed texts of these important documents. If they found it necessary, they might want to draft their own text. The essential point was that we promptly negotiate these two key documents. We should propose to ourselves to maximize progress on joint drafting of the Protocols before we two ministers meet again. They should set the objective of having Shevardnadze’s trip to Washington be the focus for getting them into as good a shape as we could.

The Secretary continued that the U.S. side had seen in discussions with the Senate that these issues come to the fore; they take up a high proportion of the total time. Arms control agreements had to pass severe tests—in the negotiating process, in ratification, and while they were in force. Verification and compliance were essential if START were to measure up to these tests.

We had seen in INF that there were many different numbers involved, the Secretary continued. START would be even more difficult. When they had talked in Washington, they had agreed that the START verification approach would include data exchanges, including declarations by each side of the number and location of weapons systems and associated facilities. We wanted to begin the process, and were prepared to be forthcoming now, the Secretary emphasized. We had learned from the INF experience that this important subject should not be left to the last minute. The U.S. side was prepared to table a draft Memorandum of Understanding in Geneva the next week.

This draft MOU would provide for the kinds of data that were contained in the INF MOU, but expanded and adapted to the much more demanding task of START.

The U.S. side was prepared to begin exchanging the data in Geneva that would be contained in the START MOU before the two ministers met the next month.

The Secretary said he was emphasizing this because it was important to get ahead of the curve if the two sides were to complete the task. So that was one part of what he was proposing that day—getting started right away on the data that were necessary for a START Treaty, as was agreed in Washington. He had said it was needed to avoid a last-minute rush, but far more was needed in the case of the START Treaty.

As the Soviet and U.S. sides jointly thought through the problem of how to verify a START Treaty, the Secretary went on, where they [Page 714] did not have the advantages of a zero outcome, and where they had to verify with confidence the size of the remaining forces on both sides, the U.S. side believed that both would need to know much more than they now did about how each acquired, deployed and maintained strategic forces.

If they were successfully to verify, they needed to understand that better than they did now. That was true across the board, but it was especially true with regard to mobile missiles. The U.S. side agreed that they had things to be said for them, but they also presented verification problems.

The overall problem had two aspects. One was to have a better understanding of the magnitude of the on-site inspection tasks the sides would have to contemplate understanding. They were going to put this in place for INF, but that would be small in comparison to START, and the two sides needed to begin doing the things they would need to do.

The U.S. side thought that meant they would need to know more about each other’s production plans and procedures, about each other’s maintenance requirements and practices, and how each side replaced items which were used, wore out, or became obsolete, in order to make it possible to establish nodes at which periodic or random checks or perhaps permanent monitoring that might assure adequate confidence that ceilings would not be exceeded.

The U.S. side recognized that this would be very sensitive and difficult, the Secretary said. Our own military was swallowing and perspiring, asking what it was getting into. He had told them that if we wanted the Treaty that was the implication: the Soviet Union needed to know more and vice versa. If this was not possible, the military should blow the whistle. And it had not. General Powell said the military was having a bad time. Shevardnadze commented that U.S. military people must be very emotional.

The Secretary concluded that he had wished to call attention to these proposals on data exchange. He suggested that the two ministers instruct the delegations to shape up the three documents by the time the ministers met in March.

Shevardnadze said he would respond after lunch.3 (The meeting concluded at 12:45 p.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, Moscow—Feb 88—Shultz/Shev. Secret; Sensitive. Drafted by Simons. The meeting took place in the Soviet Foreign Ministry Guest House. Shultz departed Washington February 19 and met with Koivisto in Helsinki, February 20–24, before arriving in Moscow on February 21.
  2. The rest of the sentence is cut off in the version on file.
  3. See Document 122.