95. Memorandum of Conversation1

P AP says we requested joint session with Soviets.
HHB Sovs requested, and I consulted with combined leadership. They said if Soviets ask we must do it.
P AP says we requested and people mad at us.
HHB Republicans say we should stop Soviets from requesting it.
GPS We told Soviets we could go along with joint meeting in place of joint session. I told Soviets this not a good idea.
HHB Reads caucus resolution.
P Why does AP say this Administration initiative.
HHB We can’t have joint session. Do what is needed to get Soviets off joint session.
GPS We would go back to a series of meetings.
GPS We had good discussions in Geneva. We not there but can get there. We can fix it so there is no INF agreement, and no summit. Republicans will then be satisfied. We can go back to Soviets—me or CLP—& tell them joint session won’t work out.
GPS All Congressional delegations received in Moscow.
HHB We must get Soviets not to pursue their request.
P Back to AP article.
GPS HHB and I will handle.
HHB & P This is a disgrace.
GPS My meeting.

US-Soviet relationship. Over next 2½ weeks our mood will change. You will become engaged. You will say you not satisfied with strategy on particular issues, you want to talk more broadly. I know your interest is deep.

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I have a non-paper2 which I will give you.

1. Because of strength and philosophies USUSSR relations will always be difficult to manage, will be seen as RR’s China. Things are changing.

a) USSR, as China, becomes focussed on internal situation.

b) What that may mean is reduction in regions conflicts ability to sit & resolve practical problems.

We evolve into a steadier attitude. No euphoria, no depression. Safety net of economic and social links. A steadier, different kind of relationship.

c) We have seen Soviets accept our 4 point agenda. We see other side changing on our terms.

How exploit this? Look at China model. China changed because of fear of USSR. USSR now changing because of fear—of what? Of China. Of Eastern European restlessness.

Our interest is to keep USSR behind us, but not so far they become afraid. Principles:

Encourage them to change.

Let better relations come out of change, rather than reaching for it.

Give Gorbo full exposure (FCC note. Sounds like we support him) Allow him to posture as innovator and take credit for moves toward our agenda.

Road ahead rocky, but more for him than us. They will keep looking inward to solve problems.

There is historic moment here and we need to engage.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Carlucci Files, Secretary Shultz (11/04/1987–11/18/1987). Secret. No drafting information appears in the memorandum, but it was prepared on November 19. According to the President’s Daily Diary, this meeting began at 1:36 and ended at 2:13 p.m. (Reagan Library, President’s Daily Diary)
  2. See Document 94.