85. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Shultz-Shevardnadze Concluding Session, October 23


  • U.S.

    • The Secretary
    • National Security Advisor Carlucci
    • Ambassador Matlock
    • Ambassador Nitze
    • Ambassador Max Kampelman
    • ACDA Director Adelman
    • Ambassador Ridgway
    • Ambassador Schifter
    • DAS Thomas
    • Mr. Afanasenko (Interpreter)
    • Others
  • U.S.S.R.

    • Foreign Minister Shevardnadze
    • CPSU Secretary Dobrynin
    • First DepFor Minister Vorontosov
    • DepFor Minister Bessmertnykh
    • MFA DepDirector Sukhodrev
    • Ambassador Grinevskiy
    • Deputy Director Glukhov
    • Mr. Palazhchenko (Interpreter)
    • Others

SHEVARDNADZE noted this was the concluding session. The working groups could inform the Ministers of the work they had done, of what was emerging and not emerging, of what had been accomplished at their meetings. He asked the Secretary which group should speak first. The Secretary suggested arms control.

VORONTSOV said he would begin with the working group on arms control, and specifically with the group on INF. The evening before the U.S. side had asked a number of questions, and the Soviet side was now ready to provide answers. During the morning a basic question had been raised about the excessive involvement of strategic missiles in the INF Treaty that the U.S. delegation wanted. The Soviet side had said it was ready to provide information (going beyond national technical means) on what was an INF missile and what was an ICBM. They had already told the U.S. delegation there was a difference in size: the SS–20 was 3 meters longer and had seven axles, unlike the SS–25. They were now ready to give the U.S. side a photocopy, admittedly not very clear, but clear enough for the U.S. side to see clearly that they were distinguishable. In the photocopy, the SS–20 was at the top and the SS–25 at the bottom; the picture showed side and above views. This eliminated the need for on-site inspections of the [Page 479] SS–25; the U.S. can receive sufficient information on it from national technical means.

With regard to on-site inspections: if the U.S. agreed to inspection of all infrastructure of all IRM and SRM missiles, including in Europe and including test ranges, the Soviet delegation would then agree to 10 inspections per year. On a related U.S. question, the Soviet side was ready for OSI’s for up to ten years: during the first five years, 10 per year, and during the second five years 2–3 per year.

The next U.S. question concerned the time when the inspectors would have access to a facility after entry at the entry point. The Soviet side proposed that this be from 6 to 12 hours, depending on how far the facility was from the entry point and what the weather was.

Another question was whether there would be limits on inspection activity, Vorontsov went on. The Soviet side thought there should be none at operational bases.

The next question was whether the inspected side had the right to terminate an OSI. The Soviet side held that if the agreed procedures had been strictly followed, there should not be such a right.

The next question was whether information learned by the inspecting party could be confidential. The Soviet side thought it could be confidential if the sides so decide. (Bessmertnykh corrected an initial misstatement by Vorontsov on this point.)

The next question was whether there could be inspection of launch boosters for R&D purposes. The Soviet side could agree only to notification, without inspection, of existing boosters; national technical means should be adequate for verification.

The next question was whether missiles could be destroyed by launching during the first six months. The Soviet side thought no more than 20–25% of deployed and non-deployed missiles should be so destroyed.

The next question, Vorontsov went on, concerned non-circumvention. The Soviet side continued to insist on the need to include in the Treaty a provision on non-circumvention; it could be more or less similar to Article 12 of the SALT II Treaty.

Those were all the U.S. questions, Vorontsov concluded.

THE SECRETARY said he was sure there was room here for discussion, but there was not time to paw through this material. It would be worked with. NITZE said the U.S. side would like to discuss these replies in full detail with the Soviet team. Otherwise it would be impossible to form a judgment. The question was when and how this discussion could take place. He hoped it would be soon. THE SECRETARY joked that it could not be done in Moscow, for then the U.S. delegation would miss its plane. NITZE commented that it would have to be in [Page 480] Geneva. The Secretary said it was too bad they had wasted so much time; they could have finished that off.

SHEVARDNADZE said many of these questions had been discussed, and all had to be resolved. It was hard to be definite about them. The ministers could only ask the delegations to move ahead on medium-range and shorter-range missiles, taking account of the Secretary’s talk with Mikhail Sergeivich Gorbachev, the talks the ministers had had, and Vorontsov’s answers. They could ask them to speed up their work, on the question required for the protocol. The time period might be two or three weeks. They could ask them to complete most of their work in that time, taking into account the discussions during these meetings.

THE SECRETARY said the delegations should see where they were next week. These issues had been pawed over endlessly. The ministers should ask the delegations to report to them at the end of the next week. SHEVARDNADZE suggested that every week he and the Secretary take stock and give the delegations a new impulse.

NITZE asked when the Soviet data would be available. THE SECRETARY said he assumed it would be available Monday or Tuesday, or whenever the delegations reconvened; it could be now if the Soviet side was ready. SHEVARDNADZE said it would be Monday,2 the next working day. This was not a problem. The Soviet side had prepared the data and agreed to provide it; it would be done.

Shevardnadze asked for a report on nuclear testing. GOLOVKO said the working group on nuclear testing had had two meetings. On organizational matters it had adopted the following recommendation: that the first round of negotiations begin November 9; that during that round it consider organizational and procedural questions on the conduct of the negotiations, and practical work on the first experiment. It would be desirable if improved verification procedures could be agreed in the first half of 1988. With regard to the second part of the discussion, the Soviet side had suggested three working groups, on the experiment, on practical matters and on legal issues. To accelerate things, the Soviet members had proposed visits to test ranges. The U.S. members had thought this an interesting suggestion, and said they would take it into account in formulating the U.S. approach. The third part of the discussion had been about a possible statement during the Secretary of State’s visit, to the effect that the two sides had decided to begin negotiations November 9 in Geneva.

DIRECTOR ADELMAN said the U.S. side was happy the group had agreed to begin negotiations November 9, well ahead of the Decem [Page 481] ber 1 date discussed in Washington. They had agreed to the first step, and the U.S. side welcomed the Soviet ideas on how to structure the negotiations. It would take them into account when it returned to Washington; we would let our negotiator decide on how to proceed.

SHEVARDNADZE asked whether the statement could be issued. ADELMAN replied that we had agreed to that. (Some banter on venue—Geneva, Vienna, Morocco—followed.) SHEVARDNADZE said that meant we could say in public we had agreed to begin November 9, and parenthetically that the group had done good work.

On chemical weapons, BATASANOV said the working group had based itself on the procedure adopted in Washington, with host country beginning, so he would begin in Moscow. He could not report brilliant results, but the group had done detailed work in two meetings. It had found that the sides had coincident or similar views on a number of issues, such as inspection facilities and CW non-proliferation. They had determined that these deserved special attention, especially at the next bilateral discussions scheduled for December. The Soviet side had raised the desirability of giving new impetus to the discussions, in view of the possibility of a summit meeting, and had proposed a draft statement. The U.S. side thought this premature. A joint report had been discussed; the Soviet side had proposed that it treat agreed areas, and further areas. The U.S. side had proposed a shorter draft, on further work. It could not agree to a positive assessment, so there was no report. But the discussions had helped clarify matters.

AMBASSADOR HOLMES said the working group had had positive and useful discussions, building on the exchange in Washington. It was good to give political-level direction to talks on those areas where the delegations in Geneva should concentrate: the participation of all CW possessors and CW-capable states; strengthening verification in light of new technology and dual-capable industries; security; dataverification; additional confidence-building measures. The Soviet side made proposals and agreed to submit these in the Geneva bilateral talks. Concerning areas of disagreement, the U.S. side had noted its view that the U.S. had a right to an adequate, modernized, safer capability in the CW field.

SHEVARDNADZE asked what the status of binaries was.

BATSANOV said the Soviet side had expressed the view that binary production would have negative political consequences. But when it came to dealing with the issue in the working group report, the Soviet side had said that while it understood there was a difference, it saw no need to make a positive statement on the U.S. program in the report. It had thus proposed neutral language; but this had not been acceptable to the U.S.

THE SECRETARY said this was an important issue, and he thought clarification was progress; it had been discussed the night before too. [Page 482] SHEVARDNADZE said discussion was a step forward, but he saw little progress to report. He asked for a report on conventional weapons questions.

GRINEVSKIY said the group had held three meetings, based on the ministers’ instructions to consider strengthening conventional stability and reducing conventional armaments. The principal topic had been the mandate for discussions among the 23, and the principal difficulty had been tactical nuclear weapons. In Washington, the Soviet side had proposed compromise language concerning dual-capable weapons. Here in Moscow the U.S. side had tentatively agreed that such weapons could be included in negotiations, but no common language had been found. The U.S. side thought they should be considered only as conventional weapons. Second, the working group members had agreed to recommend continued consultation on a bilateral basis in Vienna, and inclusion of military experts who could discuss—for example in January—the systems of greatest concern to each side. Third, the Soviet side had given a detailed explanation of the proposals made at Murmansk, and had proposed bilateral discussion of them. The U.S. side had expressed “a certain interest,” and said it would consider the proposal after it had discussed the matter with its Allies. The sessions had not been very productive, but they had continued the exchanges begun in Washington, and made things clearer.

THOMAS said the clear focus of the working group discussion had been the Soviet desire to include tactical nuclear weapons in the arms control discussions in Vienna. The Soviet side had suggested two ways to do this. First, it had suggested dealing with dual-capable systems. The U.S. side had tried to make clear that while we did not rule out discussion of dual-capable systems in their conventional aspects, there was no chance of discussion of their nuclear aspect. Second, the Soviet side had suggested that tactical nuclear weapons be included in future negotiations; the U.S. side had made clear we could not accept this. Exchanges on consultations had been more precise. Both sides, as indicated by Ambassador Grinevskiy, agreed it would be useful to continue their consultations of their representatives on furthering progress in the Vienna discussions concerning conventional armaments. But that was as far as things had gone.

SHEVARDNADZE said “alright.” THE SECRETARY suggested they turn to START and space. SHEVARDNADZE asked if the Secretary had questions on what had been reported. THE SECRETARY replied that he thought the report had been adequate, and suggested they continue. Noting that the ministers themselves had discussed, SHEVARDNADZE suggested they turn to bilateral issues.

SUKHODREV reported that the working group had first considered the work program agreed to in Washington. They agreed work [Page 483] was off to a good start. He would not mention all the issues. But the two sides had expressed satisfaction with the results of the work of U.S. and Soviet officials in the Vienna talks on fusion; there it had been agreed that further consultations would take place. At some point, quantity should turn into quality, SUKHODREV commented. At the talks on science and technology in Moscow, the Soviet side had presented some 30 topics as of possible interest; the U.S. side had promised to consider them carefully, and the two sides saw reason for cautious optimism. The working group had also discussed specific questions of an administrative and consular nature, concerning the consulates general in San Francisco and Leningrad, on which the U.S. side owed a response to Soviet proposals made six months ago. With regard to cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, the Soviet side had proposed consultations on political-legal and international-legal issues, and the U.S. side had agreed to consider this. Finally, the two sides had considered the package on conditions for diplomats. Here they had not agreed. Basically there were two unresolved issues, numbers for temporary repair workers and guest visas.

SIMONS said Sukhodrev’s report was a substantially accurate description of the working group discussions. These had had basically the two elements Sukhodrev had described. First, they had reviewed progress on the bilateral work program since Minister Shevardnadze’s visit to Washington. They had agreed that in general things were moving forward nicely. On what the Soviet side called science and technology and the U.S. side called basic science, the subsequent talks in Moscow had been productive, and the U.S. side owed the Soviet side answers. Simons said he mentioned the topic because Minister Shevardnadze had drawn particular attention to it in Washington, and progress had been made since. On fusion, it was true the sides had welcomed the results of the Vienna discussions the week before on design work, though this was without prejudice to future decisions on construction. The second element was the package of issues on living and working conditions for diplomats. As Sukhodrev had said, there were substantially two disagreed points we still needed to deal with.

THE SECRETARY commented that while ministers dealt with stratospheric topics, the people at their missions were trying to work along. The two issues were very important. The ministers should try to come to grips with them.

SHEVARDNADZE replied that he thought the two sides could be more active on this at the level of their embassies. On the Soviet side there were commitments. He was ready to meet with Ambassador Matlock about this, and Ambassador Dubinin could meet with the Secretary. The basic principle should be one of reciprocity.

Shevardnadze suggested they turn to humanitarian issues. GLUKHOV reported that the Soviet side in the working group had asked [Page 484] some questions about U.S. practices, and the U.S. side had responded satisfactorily to some of them. The Soviet side had also given Ambassador Schifter some answers on questions of interest to him, humanitarian cases, including departures from the Soviet Union. Schifter had also been interested in changes underway in the Soviet Union, in Soviet regulations and practices. The Soviet side had raised the humanitarian aspects of the Vienna CSCE conference; as it understood the U.S. position, it did not give rise to optimism. The talks had been respectful, and without unnecessary polemics.

AMBASSADOR SCHIFTER reported that Glukhov had characterized the talks correctly. There had been questions on both sides. They had agreed that the purpose of the talks was not to develop or propose texts. The U.S. side had raised questions in three broad areas: emigration, what he would call word crimes, including psychiatric treatment, and communications, like telephone and mail. On emigration, the U.S. side had urged the Soviet side to remove our representation lists from the agenda of the relationship by resolving the cases. He had stressed the issue of separated spouses; of the eleven on the list, one had been resolved a while ago, another the day before; we hoped the remaining nine would be resolved soon. He had also focused on three emigration issues: security, parental veto, and first-degree relative provisions. On security, we were not asking that those who really possessed secrets be released, but we were asking for those who had never possessed any, or whose secrets were obsolete, or had become public knowledge. The Soviets had said such cases were now being processed under new procedures under the auspices of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. But it might be that an “over-my-dead-body” attitude could still be found. THE SECRETARY said that was not a good way to put it. SHEVARDNADZE said there were no such people in the Soviet Union. SCHIFTER said perhaps there were some [the] ministers had not heard of. Finally, he said, he had been told about the Soviet program to review legislation.

THE SECRETARY said he thought it was a good thing we had systematized and regularized our discussions of human rights.

SHEVARDNADZE suggested the Secretary might wish to conclude. He had earlier mentioned the possibility of a joint statement; there was now too little time, so this seemed impossible.

THE SECRETARY said he thought the meeting had been satisfactory. In his press conference he would characterize the spirit as constructive, and tough on the subjects that had been discussed. On INF we were close to completing a treaty. We had made some progress on strategic arms, less in the space area. In April he had given Shevardnadze a paper on the relationship between offense and defense. In Washington, Shevardnadze had given him a similar paper. This was [Page 485] becoming an interesting way to proceed. We had done another such paper, and we were perhaps building a set of thought together. He wanted to turn it over to Shevardnadze.3

In accepting it, SHEVARDNADZE said that was a good thing. He agreed the meetings had been interesting. There had been useful discussions of the entire complex of our agenda. Perhaps some new elements had emerged at the working group level; perhaps they could ask the Soviet desk in the State Department and the USA Department in the Ministry to propose a kind of protocol on what had been decided, what had been agreed and what had been disagreed.

THE SECRETARY said he assumed Shevardnadze was suggesting something to be developed over a period of time, and not that minute. SHEVARDNADZE said he had in mind a week or ten days. The Secretary said “okay.”

SHEVARDNADZE noted that in this meeting they had not talked about strategic offensive weapons or the ABM Treaty; but they had talked about them for three hours with the General Secretary. THE SECRETARY said it had been 4½. SHEVARDNADZE replied that it had been almost five, but only three had been on these topics.

THE SECRETARY said he should perhaps apologize to the luncheon guests on behalf of the Ambassador and himself; he hoped to see Shevardnadze again at Spaso House.

SHEVARDNADZE joked that the Secretary could go to his press conference,4 and Shevardnadze would go to the American Embassy. He commended the format of the meetings; it produced good results and allowed full use of time; it should be used in the future. He would in his comments to the press characterize the talks as constructive and businesslike; the atmosphere had been good; and on the whole the exchanges had been productive. It would not have been possible to make progress on the central INF issues without discussions at their level. On START, too, today the General Secretary had made some proposals which brought greater clarity to the issue of limits and sublimits. He hoped the U.S. side would consider the question of ABM in a spirit of good will. He did not consider that the reserves on this issue had been exhausted. All he had said on it in Washington remained in effect, on devices and the like. He did not know what had happened in Geneva, but what he had said in Washington stood, and he hoped it would be considered.

The Secretary’s visit had been useful, Shevardnadze concluded, in improving US-Soviet relations. He thanked the Soviet side’s American [Page 486] counterparts and colleagues for their contribution. His only regret was that he had not been at the American Embassy.

THE SECRETARY said that was not the only thing to regret, but he agreed with Shevardnadze’s assessment. He asked Shevardnadze to pass on Mrs. Shultz’ thanks for a fine program to his wife. SHEVARDNADZE said he would repeat a proposal of two years before: they should turn over the most difficult questions, like space, to their wives. They had good views on such topics; they could find common ground.

  1. Source: Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/S–IRM Records, Memoranda of Conversations Pertaining to United States and USSR Relations, 1981–1990, Lot 93D188, Moscow/Washington Oct. 1987. Secret; Sensitive. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. The meeting took place in the Guest House at the Soviet Foreign Ministry.
  2. October 26.
  3. None of these three papers has been further identified.
  4. See footnote 6, Document 89.