100. Memorandum of Conversation1

The Secretary’s Telephone Call to the President at 2100 January 8, 1985 from Geneva

[Page 363]

The Secretary: I am here in Geneva with Bud McFarlane. I can report to you that we have reached agreement with the Soviet Union to begin new negotiations on the questions we came here to discuss; nuclear and space arms.2 We will announce this at 11:00 pm here which is 5:00 pm your time. We agreed to a set of points that are consistent with and supportive of your instructions. I think this is an opportunity for a good beginning. There is a wide difference of opinion on important topics and the negotiations will be long and tumultuous. It will require patience but we have an agreement.

The President: When will the talks start?

The Secretary: We agreed that we would work through diplomatic channels to set a time and a site within one month. We will drive for Geneva and I doubt that that will be a problem. We will start probably in March or April.

The President: Congratulations. It sounds great.

The Secretary: Well, it’s a relief to have it over with.

The President: Congratulations to everybody on the delegation. Well done. We have gone over a real hurdle.

The Secretary: A few hours ago, I was not sure we would make it. I want to tell you that this big delegation worked very well. Everybody was included and everybody made comments on all of the drafts. This afternoon we had the whole delegation set up in the room next to where we were meeting and we went back and forth. They all signed off on this agreement. We have come out with a unified delegation that represents everyone’s point of view. The JCS had Admiral Moreau here. Richard Perle told me tonight that he wanted to go out and tell the press that we are unified and that he fully supports the agreement. So the broad participation that you and Bud engineered paid off. I would like to read the statement to you. I want to report to the press that I spoke to you and gave you the agreed statement.

(Note: Secretary reads text of statement)3

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The Secretary: We tip our hat to you, Mr. President. It’s your positions and your mandate that got us here. I want to put Bud on the phone now.

Bud McFarlane: Mr. President, you know what you can thank for this? You have got an iron-ass Secretary of State. He has done a marvelous job. This is as unified as this community of people has been in four years time. We appreciate your support. Your victory in the election has made an impression on Moscow, that’s for sure.

The Secretary: I will be back tomorrow by about 1:00 pm. I hope to see you and give you a personal report. We will send a suggested statement for your press conference on Wednesday. You will also have the transcript of my press conference tonight4 and Q’s and A’s and briefing material.

The President: This sounds great. You all have my congratulations.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Shultz Papers, 1985 Arms Control, Geneva. No classification marking. Shultz spoke to Reagan, who was in Washington, by telephone. According to the President’s Daily Diary, the conversation began at 3:04 p.m. EST and ended at 3:20 p.m. EST.
  2. Memoranda of conversation for the January 7 and 8 meetings between Shultz and Gromyko are scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. IV, Soviet Union, January 1983–March 1985, Documents 355, 357, 360, 362.
  3. The U.S.-Soviet joint statement, which was released on January 8, noted that “the sides agreed that the subject of the negotiations will be a complex of questions concerning space and nuclear arms, both strategic and intermediate-range, with all the questions considered and resolved in their interrelationship. The objective of the negotiations will be to work out effective agreements aimed at preventing an arms race in space and terminating it on Earth, at limiting and reducing nuclear arms and at strengthening strategic stability.” The text is in the Department of State Bulletin, March 1985, p. 30.
  4. The transcript of Shultz’s press conference is in the Department of State Bulletin, March 1985, pp. 30–32.