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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 28, 1977


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    The main topic of discussion was US President Jimmy Carter's "comprehensive" proposals for the SALT-2 Treaty, views that the Soviets saw as contravening the Vladivostok accords reached with US President Gerald Ford in 1974. The Soviet rejection of Carter's initiative was certainly the newsmaking centerpiece of the Vance visit. Other, more positive, discussions covered a wide range of topics, including the Vienna talks on arms limitations in Central Europe, the Middle East, non-proliferation, Cyprus, and others. Below is a brief sampler.
    "Talks Between A.A.Gromyko and Cyrus Vance," March 28, 1977, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD f. 89, op. 76, d. 1, ll. 1-80. Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie.
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Completely secret, Copy No. l


28 March (17:30 – 20:00)

A.A.GROMYKO. In continuation of our talks, which began this morning with the participation of L.I. Brezhnev, I would now like to propose to move on to the issues connected with strategic arms control.

C.VANCE. I agree.

A.A.GROMYKO. First I would like to express some general thoughts about these issues.  It is possible that they will repeat what we have expressed to the American side more than once, but such a repetition can be considered to be justified.

By virtue of objective reasons, the issues of restraining and halting the arms race and lessening the danger of war, are the pivotal areas in the Soviet-American talks. It is generally understood that limiting strategic weapons occupies the central place within this area.

Obviously, there is no need to talk about the importance of the issue.  Its significance was emphasized in both the morning discussions between L.I. Brezhnev and yourself, Mr. Vance, and in the brief words which we exchanged during breakfast.  I just want to emphasize that both sides must take an equal interest in this issue.  It seems improbable that one could find an arrow on any scale which would show that one side was more interested in than the other.

Such a situation makes the resolution of this task as much a necessity as a possibility. It was not by accident that the USSR and USA recognized the principle of parity and equal security - that is, the impermissibility of unilateral advantage -to be a fundamental principle in this area.  It is also no accident that this formula has entered so firmly into the fabric of Soviet-American folks at all levels, starting with the highest.  Any other approach would be an illusion, and efforts to use it to resolve the tasks before us would be a simple waste of time.

If both sides were to limit themselves to the use of general words about their desire to do something about the resolution of this issue, without taking any practical steps, this would be one alternative to serious talks - to conduct the dialogue through the mass media and propaganda, resorting to mutual recriminations.  I think that such a prospect is equally unpalatable to the Soviet and American sides.

C.VANCE. I agree with you, Mr. Minister.

.A.GROMYKO. The first agreement on strategic arms control to be concluded between our sides is showing its viability and is proving its practical worth. In 1974, as is commonly known, the USSR and USA came to an understanding to conclude a new long-term agreement in this area and practically agreed the basic parameters of such an agreement. We consider that they reflect a truly mutually acceptable balance of both sides' interests. It would not be out of place to recall that this very understanding and the subsequent working-through [otrabotka] of the agreement's concrete clauses required enormous labour, patience, and intellectual resources. Talks were held in Moscow, in Washington, in Helsinki, and in Geneva. The upper leadership of both countries was constantly occupied with these issues. In addition, the Soviet Union, in seeking to find mutually agreeable solutions, made a series of major steps to meet the American side on those issues which particularly interested the United States.

In reply the American leaders on several occasions informed us - the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, L.I. Brezhnev, and myself, for instance in Geneva, during the meeting with Kissinger in 1975- that the Soviet position permitted the possibility of moving the matter ahead to the conclusion of an agreement. One could recount a lot about the course of talks on this issue. But presently I would like to emphasize just one thing: a very long way has been travelled.

How should we evaluate the current situation in this light?  You, Mr. Vance, are a new person.  But try to see the situation with our eyes.  What conclusion should the Soviet side come to for itself on the basis of the experience which we have had so fur with the new American administration, the conclusion that the next government of the USA which will replace the current one, will just as easily throw everything that we have been able to agree upon into the bin?  One must ask where, in such a case, the minimum of stability which must exist in the relations between our two countries is.

As regards the Soviet Union's line, our leadership and all Soviet people adhere to the following policy.  We are sure that you, the American people, have not changed.  One can hardly believe that the people of the USA want war, and no one will convince us of it.

It is possible to qualify the current state of affairs in different words - as the conclusion of the preparations for a new agreement to limit strategic offensive weapons - to talk about the freezing of this process, about stagnation, and so on. However, as L.I. Brezhnev emphasized in this morning's discussion with you, it is not our fault that several remaining issues in this agreement have not found resolution.  We are sure that it would have been possible to resolve them at least a year ago.

We have announced on more than one occasion, and now I would like again to emphasize with all certainty, that the Soviet Union is ready to finish work on this agreement and sign it without delay.  It is possible to do if a mutual willingness exists, all the more because the as yet unresolved issues have already been carefully and deeply worked through, and in a series of cases the concrete formulation of their outcomes has been discussed.  A speedy conclusion of this agreement would not only constitute a major step in its own right, but would also open up the possibility - and we have already stated this more than once - of working out more far-reaching measures in the area of the limiting and reducing strategic weapons.

To try now, without taking into account the work already completed, to narrow the framework of the agreement under discussion, or, on the contrary, to attach new issues, would be only signify a complication and a real slowing of progress in resolving the larger tasks of limiting strategic weapons.

After all, what was agreed in Vladivostok and in the course of subsequent work contains "bridges” [mostiki], and not at all bad ones, to further agreements.

We are proceeding on the assumption that the leadership of the USA is informed of the work that has been done.  In the course of the recent exchange of letters with President Carter, we for our part have once again in detail laid out our position on the issues which are still not agreed-upon.  For this reason we would hope that the present conversation proceeds concretely and to the point, in order that we might now concentrate our efforts above all on finding mutually undertaken resolutions to the stated set of issues.  If the American government has not yet had time to acquaint itself appropriately with the foregoing discussion, with the material issues, so to speak, then you would be well advised to say so.

C.VANCE. We have had enough time to study the issue.

A.A.GROMYKO. In that case we would now like to hear you out, Mr. Secretary of State.

C.VANCE. Thank you. First, permit me to comment on some of the thoughts which you, Mr. Minister, have just laid out.  We agree that the issues connected with checking the arms race occupy a central place in Soviet-American relations, and within that area, our talks on the problem of limiting strategic offensive weapons.  We also agree that both our countries are equally interested in finding a solution to this problem.  And we share your point of view that the principle of parity and equal security for both are fundamental to the Soviet-American talks on the given problem.

Now I would like to dwell briefly on our understanding of the essence of the current talks which is derived from a detailed study of the history of the issue.  And so I mean to touch on the Vladivostok agreement, as well as introducing a few concrete proposals from the American side which are, so we hope, aimed at reaching practical results.

When the United States entered into strategic arms control talks with the Soviet Union several years ago, we set ourselves several goals, namely: to try to reduce the danger of the outbreak of nuclear war, to strengthen strategic stability, to cut the levels of nuclear missiles, and finally, to achieve greater trust between our governments.  We achieved definite progress in attaining these goals, as reflected in the signing of the 1972 treaty on controlling anti-ballistic missile defense systems and the temporary agreement on controlling strategic offensive weapons, and later, in 1974, the Vladivostok agreement.

As you correctly observed, Mr. Minister, in Vladivostok, our two countries achieved an agreement reflecting a mutually acceptable balance of interests.  Since then, further useful work has been done by the Soviet Union and the United States in the Geneva talks.

However, in the past few years, important new issues have arisen which were not decided in the framework of the Vladivostok understanding. I am talking about the Soviet "Backfire" bomber and about American cruise missiles. I would like to emphasize that neither issue was resolved in Vladivostok or since Vladivostok. For this very reason, President Carter, when he won the election and came to power, proposed - as a quicker route to the conclusion of an agreement - to set aside these issues, having simultaneously lowered the total ceilings on strategic arms which were agreed to in Vladivostok and resolved some other secondary problems.

At the same time, the President considers that there is another daring alternative to this approach which would significantly advance the business of controlling and reducing strategic offensive weapons.

This alternative proposal could be called a comprehensive one, and we imagine that it has a whole series of advantages in comparison with the President's initial proposal.

Permit me to give you a text of both proposals. (C. Vance gives A.A. Gromyko the texts of the American proposals in English and in Russian).

"I. Comprehensive proposal

           A. Total Numbers:

           1. To cut the aggregate total number of strategic delivery vehicles [strategicheskie sredstva

dostavki] to 1800-2000.

           2. To cut the number of launching installations of modern large ballistic missiles to 150 units.

           3. To cut the total number of MIRVed launchers to 1100-1200 units.

           4. To limit ICBMs equipped with MIRVs, to no more than 550 units.

           B. Limits on ICBMs:

                           1.     To preserve the prohibition on the production of new ICBM launchers.

                           2.     To prohibit the modification of existing ICBMs.

             - To limit the number of airborne tests of existing ICBMs to 6 tests per year (and also of SLBMs to 6 per year).

                           3.     To prohibit the development [sozdanie], testing, and deployment [razvertyvanie] of new ICBMs.

                           4.     To prohibit the development, testing, and deployment of mobile ICBMs launchers. The result of the foregoing for the USA would be:

             - Limiting the deployment of launchers of the ''Minuteman III" to 550 units.

             - Halting the program to develop the "M-X" missile in both silo and mobile basing.

             - Giving up the improvement [usovershenstvovanie] of the "Minuteman II," "Minuteman III" and 'Titan II" missiles.

             - Giving up the development of all other new types of ICBMs.

             The result of the foregoing for the USSR would be:

             - Limiting the number of launchers of the SS-17, SS-18 and SS-19 missile types to no more than 550 units; the number of launchers of the SS-18 missile type must not exceed 150 units.

             - Giving up the improvement of the SS-17, SS-18 and SS-19 missiles, as well as all old ICBMs.

             - Giving up the development of all other new ICBMs.

             - Giving up the deployment and further development [razrabotka] of SS-16 missiles and implementing other measures which would permit the US to distinguish between SS-20 and SS-16 missiles, and also between their types of launchers.

             C. Limits on cruise missiles:

             1.     To prohibit the development, testing and development of all winged missiles with both nuclear and other conventional warheads with an operational range of more than 2500 kilometers.

             2.     Not to develop winged missiles with operational ranges of more 600 kilometers on aircraft other than heavy bombers.

             D. The "Backfire" Airplane:

The "Backfire" bomber will not count in the aggregate total quantity on the condition that in no case it be deployed as a strategic weapon.  The USA is ready to review a list of the limitations which would exclude such a deployment.

             II. Alternative proposal

             A. General idea:

To set aside a review of the problems of cruise missiles and the "Backfire" bomber, to resolve all remaining issues according to the Vladivostok understanding [dogovorennost] and to sign a new treaty.

           B. Concretely:

Total numbers: equal ceilings for strategic devices [sredstva] (ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, VZ vozdushnoi zashchiti ballistic missiles and heavy bombers) to 2400 units for each side.

- Equal ceilings for ICBM launchers and SLBM launchers equipped with MIRVs to 1320 units for each side.

Mobile missiles: by this agreement mobile ICBM launchers would be permitted, and moreover would be counted in the aggregate total."

             C. VANCE. The American side would be prepared to answer questions which might arise on your part in connection with our proposals. Of course, we would also be ready to discuss these proposals with you.

A.A.GROMYKO. We have just received the official proposals from your side and will give you an official reply to them in the course of the ensuing talks.

Now I would like specifically to touch on the issue of cruise missiles.  This issue has already been exhaustively discussed [obgovarivalsia] between the USSR and USA, and the results of the discussions were fixed in the memorandum of December 10th, 1974.

It is crucial to emphasize that the Soviet Union for its part has never permitted any indulgence for these missiles to be left outside controls and to be moved outside the boundaries of the agreement being worked out.  In the final analysis, what difference does it make what is killing people - intercontinental ballistic or cruise missiles?  So this issue is of principal importance.

It is true that on the American side efforts were made after Vladivostok to differentiate between ballistic and cruise missiles, and we, of course, rebuffed them.  And if someone wants to touch up [podpravit] what has been agreed in Vladivostok after the fact, then, quite frankly [skazhu priamo], it won't work.

And in such a case, what would be the practical value, the effect of the agreement?  It is obvious that the agreement would exist in its own right, but would simultaneously move the race, specifically the strategic arms race, into a new channel.

Finally, and on a purely practical plane, there are no grounds for thinking that if the question of cruise missiles were currently put off, it would be easier to resolve it at some point in the future. Experience shows the opposite: when some type of weapon is developed and then deployed, it become not easier, but many times harder, and sometimes impossible, to limit the weapon. This can be illustrated using the entire post-war history of disarmament talks. The Soviet Union's proposals back in the 50's - had its proposals been accepted - would have acted upon far more easily then, immediately, rather than now, when various new sorts of weapons have only swollen in number [razblukhli].

In letters to President Carter, we have laid out concretely and in detail our position on a whole complex of issues connected with cruise missiles.  Nonetheless, it would seem, it is necessary to repeat it in all its principal details.

Relative to "air-to-ground" cruise missiles. Heavy bombers which carry "air-to-ground" cruise missiles with a range of 600 km to 2500 km should be considered as MIRVed delivery vehicles and accordingly be included in the category prescribed for this sort of delivery vehicle - 1320 units.  As a result, the heavy "B-52" bomber should be equated with a single missile equipped with MIRVs, and the "B-1" bomber - with 3 cruise missiles.

C. VANCE. Why must the "B-1" be equated with 3 missiles?

A.A. GROMYKO. In light of the qualitative differences between this bomber from the "B-52." This is a completely clear point.

At the same time, cruise missiles with a range of more than 2500 km must be completely prohibited, as must the equipping of other flying apparatuses apart from heavy bombers with "air-to ground" missiles with a range of more than 600 km.

Further, about sea-based and land-based cruise missiles. As for sea-based (on submarines or on surface ships), and also land-based cruise missiles, these missiles with a range of over 600 km should be prohibited.

It is our conviction that resolving the cruise missile issue on this basis would facilitate a more effective limitation of strategic offensive weapons and would constitute a good precedent for their subsequent reduction.

I especially want to emphasize again that the readiness we have expressed in the course of the foregoing talks to include all missiles of those types which have been tested with MIRVs even once in the category of missiles equipped with MIRVs, something which has been and which remains conditional on the achievement of a mutually acceptable decision on cruise missiles.

I want to say that our readiness was initially communicated by me in the name of the Soviet government to the then-US Secretary of State Kissinger during our meeting in Geneva in July of 1975. He reacted positively to our position and said that it represented a major concession on the part of the USSR, and should be appreciated in an appropriate manner by the American side. Unfortunately, up until now we have seen no indication that it is appreciated as such on the part of the USA. Meanwhile, as I then said to Kissinger - I can repeat it to you - it was not at all easy to take such a decision on the given issue. After all, it makes a difference whether a missile with MIRVs has been tested once or 100 times! And yet in the interests of reaching an understanding we decided to make a compromise here.

Now about the "Backfire" airplane.  If one were to characterize your position from a political point of view, it could be formulated thus: in essence you wish to give us what already belongs to us.  It is possible that the American side regards this sort of trick [priem] to be very subtle, but we do not view it at all like that.

When L.I. Brezhnev and President Ford discussed this issue during meetings in Helsinki in the summer of 1975, L.I. Brezhnev plainly asked Ford who was feeding him false information about our airplane, which is a medium[-range] bomber. Moreover, in the course of talks with Kissinger in Moscow in January of 1976, L.l. Brezhnev officially stated some of the parameters of this aircraft, including its operational range, and in the most authoritative way explained that we do not intend to give this bomber the ability to operate over intercontinental distances.

On the American side, it must be said, great inventiveness was displayed in raising the issue of the "Backfire."  For instance, it was said that with top-up fuelling [dozapravka] in the air, the aircraft can carry out missions of intercontinental distances.  But this sort of "argument" cannot stand up to any degree of criticism.  After all, with such an approach, American "Phantoms," or any tactical aircraft would need to be counted as strategic bombers.  Perhaps these conversations are conducted, so to speak, in order to save the honor of the uniform ... But whatever the case, we decisively deny the allegation that the "Backfire" is a strategic bomber.  We have no intentions of giving it such a capability.  The re-raising of this issue, it is our deep conviction, only evidences a lack of desire on the part of the USA to move the business of negotiations toward a successful conclusion.  It is long past time to dispense with the issue of the "Backfire."

It becomes necessary to repeat all of this in order to show the groundlessness of the efforts to remove the issue of cruise missiles from the agreement that has been worked out and to add the nonexistent [nesushchestvuiushchii] issue of the "Backfire" to it instead.

And now several words about mobile missiles, specifically in connection with your reference to this issue in the proposals given to us.  In July of 1975 we offered to refrain from deploying ground-based mobile launchers of ICBMs as well as ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of more than 600 km on all airborne systems with the exception of heavy bombers, and on all sea-based systems excepting ballistic missiles on submarines, during the period when the agreement is effective.

We are prepared to consider concrete proposals from the American side on mobile ICBMs, but I state in advance that we will object categorically to discussing our complex which the American side calls the SS-20 in connection with the issue.

This complex is not strategic.  It is developed and deployed to fulfill missions at medium ranges in place of missile complexes of a similar purpose.

I wish to state that on condition that an understanding is achieved on all aspects of the new agreement, we are also ready to refrain from deploying the SS-16 complex.  For this reason, in light of my statement, no question should arise about how to distinguish between the SS-20 and SS-16 complexes.

Now I will proceed to an issue to which we ascribe exceptional importance.  I am talking about the non-circumvention [neobkhod] of the agreement and the non-transfer of strategic armaments to third countries.  The Soviet Union considers that, in the agreement currently being prepared, it is advisable to include an obligation not to take actions that could lead to a situation where the agreement was weakened or circumvented through the intermediation of other governments or by any other means, as well as an obligation not to transfer offensive strategic weapons to third states.

In particular, we proceed from the position that during the agreement's period of operation the American side not only must not expand its forward-based nuclear forces, which by their geographical placement are able to reach the territory of the USSR, but must also take measures to reduce them.

As far as I know, when we put these issues before them, the American representatives in general evade them with an indefinite smile and do not express a readiness to discuss the given theme.

The thought has occurred to us as to whether we should re-open this issue to examination from the angle of certain obligations which in the framework of the agreement currently being drawn up are already likely to be imposed on the USA?  In other words, we are asking ourselves the question whether we have not sold ourselves short [prodeshevili] in this matter?

Finally, on strategic arms reductions, which are mentioned anew in the proposals delivered by the American side.  Our position on the issue of strategic offensive arms is extremely clear.  We are for entering talks on reducing the levels of strategic armament without delay, after the completion of the current agreement on the basis of the Vladivostok understanding.

We have already talked -to Kissinger, at the level of our delegations in Geneva, and in correspondence with President Carter - about the possibility of examining the issue of reducing the total number of delivery vehicles [nositel'ei] for each side after the agreement currently being worked out goes into force, with the condition, of course, that a resolution of the issue of cruise missiles is found in the agreement.  Nor do we deny the possibility that the issue of such reductions could be examined during this agreement's period of validity.

Of course, the subject should be sensible, attainable reductions and not those which would be designed for outward effect, but would not take into account the principle of equal security.  It is completely obvious that a reduction, especially a substantial reduction, of the total number of strategic missiles on land and at sea, as well as of heavy bombers, is not possible without accounting for the factors determining strategic stability.  Such factors depend upon differences in the geographical position of the sides, on the presence of forward-based American nuclear forces and air power on aircraft carriers in the proximity of the territory of the USSR, on the possession of nuclear arms by the allies of the USA in through NATO, etc.

Please do not think that we have forgotten about all these things and that they do not disturb us.  On the contrary, they seriously worry us, and we reserve the right to reconsider the issues that are relevant here, especially in view of all of the new proposals which the American side has begun making to us.

Such are the concrete clarifications of our positions on the remaining unresolved issues of the new agreement which I thought it crucial to make in the course of today's talks.  Perhaps you have some comments on what I have put forward?

C. VANCE. I have several comments.  First, as to cruise missiles.  While I was not a participant in the meetings in Vladivostok, I carefully read through all of the materials of negotiations, and also talked with the former Secretary of State.  As a result I concluded that the Vladivostok understanding applied to ground-based ICBMs and sea-based ballistic missiles and that the issue of cruise missiles did not figure there.  It came up in the course of the negotiations only after Vladivostok.

Nevertheless, in the proposals which we presented to you today, we considered it possible to propose a ban on the development, testing and deployment of all cruise missiles with both nuclear and conventional warheads with a range of over 2500 km, and not to deploy cruise missiles with a range of over 600 km on aircraft other than heavy bombers.

Secondly, on the issue of the "Backfire."  For the USA this is a serious issue, and we are concerned with the fact that the given bomber has the capability of a longer range with an effective load [s poleznym gruzom] which substantially exceeds that which an analogous medium- or intermediate-range American bomber can carry. Nonetheless in our "package" of proposals - and I would emphasize that this proposal is a "package" - we considered it possible to count it in the total quantity of delivery vehicles of strategic weapons with the condition that it not be deployed in that capacity. This is the substantive motivation [podvizhka] in our position.

In relation to mobile missile launchers.  For us it remains an issue that Soviet SS-20 missiles not be transformed into intercontinental missiles by adding a third stage to them.

As for the non-circumvention of the agreement and the non-transfer of strategic weapons to third countries, we firmly hold to the position that these issues will have be resolved in the second strategic arms control agreement.

And finally, on the reduction of the total number of strategic arms.  First, we do not consider that such a proposal would violate the principle of equal security for both sides; secondly, if in this connection the Soviet side, as you mentioned, newly brings up the issue of forward-based forces, then in that case the American side will have to raise the issue about medium and intermediate-range missiles and other weapons systems deployed for military ends in Europe.  To this point, as far as I know, both sides operated on the assumption that these issues should not figure in the agreement under negotiation, which relates to the second stage of strategic arms control.

A.A.GROMYKO. In connection with your statements on the issue of cruise missiles, which

allegedly was not included in the Vladivostok understanding, I wish to state that I do not need to read the minutes of the negotiations to know how the matter stood in relation to that issue. Like L.I. Brezhnev, I was an immediate participant in that meeting in the core group of officials [v uzkom sostave] deciding that issue, and I can affirm that the American side bas no basis for putting aside cruise missiles into some separate category.  I repeat, the understanding on the given issue was fixed in the memoranda exchanged by our countries in December of 1974; there is no exception made there for cruise missiles.

C.VANCE. I have the text of that memorandum, and it does not mention cruise missiles, but "air-to-ground" missiles.  As I understand, that relates only to ballistic missiles.

A.A.GROMYKO. That is an entirely incorrect understanding.

Let us continue our negotiations tomorrow at 11 o'clock in the morning.

C.VANCE. Agreed.

                                                                                         29 March (11:00 – 13:00)

A.A.GROMYKO. Yesterday we laid out the Soviet side's thoughts about the preparations for an agreement on strategic offensive arms control. If you have no additional comments then let us now touch on some other issues.

C.VANCE. I have no objections to such an ordering of our negotiations.

A.A.GROMYKO. Then I propose to discuss first the issue of the Vienna talks on mutual limitations on armed forces and armaments in Central Europe, and then to exchange views regarding the situation in the Middle East.  We could also touch on the theme of disarmament and some other concrete issues.

C.VANCE. I would be happy to discuss the issues you propose. It seems to me to be sensible to start our negotiations with a discussion of the issue of limiting armed forces and armaments in Central Europe. Please speak first.

A.A.GROMYKO. The Soviet Union as before considers that if would be highly useful to reach an understanding about equivalent cuts in the armed forces and armaments of both sides in Central Europe.  A successful resolution of this task would be a highly important contribution to the business of demilitarizing [voennaya razryadka] the European continent and simultaneously an important constituent part of wider efforts to strengthen international peace and security.

Speaking plainly, during the course of the more than thirty-year-long history of the Vienna negotiations, much has been done on our side, and we have gone fur to bring them to a positive outcome.  The first priority in our approach- and this runs through all of the concrete proposals introduced in Vienna by the socialist states, is that cuts not damage the security of anyone, and must not give any side a military advantage.  In other words, the point is to reduce the level of military confrontation in Central Europe without disrupting the existing relation of forces in the region.  This is the only equitable basis for measures to reduce armed forces and armaments in Central Europe. Each side, perhaps, would be pleased if the other waived its interests to the benefit of the other, and vice versa, but this is not realistic.  We do not think that anyone bas any illusions on this subject.  In any case we do not have illusions to the effect that a single party will receive one-sided advantages. However, our Western negotiating partners stubbornly seek after a so-called "asymmetrical" reduction of military forces by the USSR and its allies, that is to say fur greater cuts in their military forces than the other side, which would lead to an actual weakening of its defense capability in the face of NATO.  Proposals of that sort, of course, will not go through and cannot be the basis for mutual understanding.

I think that you, Mr. Secretary of State, are acquainted with our latest proposals at the Vienna negotiations and in general with those proposals which we have introduced several times, so that it is hardly necessary to repeat them.  If one were to depict briefly how the discussion of our proposals proceeds in Vienna and how the Western side, in particular the USA, reacts, then the following general picture emerges.  Having sat down at the negotiating table, the West, for instance, says: 11We do not like the fact that you have lots of tanks.  Cut the number of tanks you have unilaterally and then we will have a dialogue.”  This sort of position, of course, is unacceptable.  Can the American side really believe that we do not have the wits [shto u nas ne naidiotsia smekalki] to come up with analogous issues, for instance, that we do not like the look of several American weapons in Europe?  We could propose that you make unilateral cuts, saying that then we will begin talking in earnest.  We could do this, but we do not; we do not do it yet.  We are ready to continue the negotiations, the efforts to solve problems, but from equal starting points, taking into account the security of each side. With an analogous approach from the American side it would be entirely possible, with the efforts of the USSR and the USA, and in accord with their weight and role in international affairs, to move the Vienna negotiations out of their standstill and to achieve real progress.

We have said to the USA more than once that we do not consider it possible to solve such a large and complex problem as is being resolved at the Vienna negotiations in a single sitting. What is needed is time and patience.  We do not lack patience and - I repeat - we are ready to continue the Vienna negotiations.  The American representatives said approximately the same thing.  It is a good thing that there is patience on both sides.  However there is an objective factor - time, at work here. All things being equal, the sooner a solution of this important problem is found the better.  For this reason I would ask you, Mr. Secretary of State, to cast a fresh eye, so to speak, on this issue, and, especially, to look over our last proposals.  As of yet, we have not received an answer to them, including from the USA.  Separate commentaries were made, but no official answer followed.  What doesn't suit the West in our proposals; what sedition does it see in them?  Can this initial, essentially symbolic reduction of armed forces by the USA and the USSR really undermine the security of the USA to the degree that the proposal causes such apprehension on the part of the West and the USA?  I would also like to express one thought in the form of a question.  Do you not think that the forward movement of our negotiations on the basis of our last proposal, including a symbolic reduction of military force by the USA and the USSR, would create more propitious conditions for the resolution of the other issues on the agenda as well?  It appears to us that it would.  It would undoubtedly work in the direction of resolving other issues of strengthening detente [ukreplenie razriadki] and creating a favorable atmosphere for the resolution of serious problems.  To us this is indisputable and we would like to hear your point of view.

C.VANCE. I thank you, Mr. Minister.  We consider that the situation at the Vienna negotiations requires that serious measures be taken in order to move these important negotiations out of an impasse.  By our appraisal, agreement on two key issues, on two key principles, is crucial to achieving progress in the negotiations.  The first is a definition of the aim of the negotiating partners.  We think that this aim should be to achieve parity in the numbers of military forces in the given region.  You talked about equal cuts; we insist that parity be achieved as a result of force reductions.  Similar to the way that general parity is the end goal of our negotiations on strategic arms control, an approximate equality between the sides should be attained as a result of the Vienna talks.  Your proposals for equal cuts would legitimize the inequality.  Our proposal is directed toward the constitution of an equal balance of forces on the basis of mutually agreed data.  According to my opinion, this is the crucial basis for finding agreement in these negotiations.

The second key issue is about collective ceilings for NATO and Warsaw Pact countries when making numerical cuts in their armed forces.  This is a :fundamental condition for any understanding in the Vienna negotiations.  We are agreed that national levels of the quantity of armed forces be set for the USSR and USA, and that is warranted.  But not only for the USA and USSR.  The territories of our countries lie in the region of the reductions, and our countries play the most important roles in the confrontation between the East and West.  On the other hand, setting separate force levels for each of the states located in this area would harm our provision of collective security. If you were to indicate a willingness to accept the principal of collectivism [printsip kollektivnosti], it would be a serious step in moving forward the negotiations. We also consider, and this is an answer to your question about symbolic cuts, that symbolic cuts in the armed forces of the USA and USSR, if it were limited to such, would be a mistake and would mislead our people, and indeed all peoples. We, however, are ready to start cuts by reducing the armed forces of the USA and USSR, although we need more detailed data on which we could base our analysis and conclusions.

A.A.GROMYKO. You mean factual data about the numbers of forces?


A.A.GROMYKO. You consider that the data which we have already presented to you are insufficient?

C.VANCE. Yes, insufficient. We have discussed this issue with our allies, and we need supplementary information in order to come to definite conclusions. We believe that currently there are significant differences between the two sides in their estimates of military forces in the [geographical] region of the reductions. However, we need more detailed data in order to verify that this conclusion is correct. If we could come to an accord relating to the principles which I mentioned, and if we were given more detailed data, then we could move forward and achieve the speedy results in which both sides are interested. In relation to the factual data, I want to clarify that our calculations and estimates indicate that your military forces in the areas of the reductions are up to 150 thousand greater than agrees with the data presented by you. For this reason, we need more detailed data in order to determine the root of these divergences.

A.A.GROMYKO. Do you understand, Mr. State Secretary, that if additional data are needed, then the issue can proceed only in a bilateral manner?  We can also demand additional data about the numbers of your forces.

 C.VANCE. Please, tell me which data in particular you need, and I will be ready to discuss the issue with our allies.

A.A.GROMYKO. If you put the question in that way, then you understand that we and our allies also have the right to request a presentation of additional data.  We will have to think about this issue.  But, in my opinion, the issue of factual data should not obstruct the path to a common resolution of this large issue.  Here an analogy with the Middle Eastern problem involuntarily presents itself where someone says that it is unpleasant to sit at the same table with the Palestinians and because of this there is no progress on a general settlement.  We should not permit a situation where this or that divergence in estimates of force numbers, moreover insignificant divergences, hindered us from resolving this issue of huge principal importance.

I want to repeat that we advocate a continuation of the Vienna talks.  We will not be the first to walk out of these negotiations.  Of course, there are problems whose resolution must be searched for not only over the course of several years, but over the course of decades, and then an unexpected resolution to them is found.  An example of this is our relations with the FRG.  For many years we did not even have diplomatic relations with the FRG.  Despite this, diplomatic relations were established and a treaty was even concluded.  Both sides won a victory in this.  Both you, and peace in general, won.  Do not begin to think that I am suggesting that the Vienna talks go on for decades, but we hope that you also have a solid supply of patience.

C. VANCE. We consider that if we could achieve an understanding on the two principles which I referred to (parity and collective ceilings), then it would help us genuinely to move forward in Vienna. We will be willing to consider your questions about the data. And you will have to do the same in order to facilitate progress in the negotiations.  We hope that we will be able to find a way out.

A.A.GROMYKO. If you do not object, Mr. Secretary of State, let us move on to a discussion of the Middle Eastern problem. We also have a range of questions relating to disarmament.  But I would like to group them together and consider them separately.  Now, not putting it off, it would be expedient to move on to the situation in the Middle East.

C. VANCE.  I have no objections, Mr. Minister.

A. A. GROMYKO.  The situation in the Middle East has been a subject of consideration by our countries, including on the highest level, already for many years.  We considered that issue with President Johnson, with President Nixon, with President Ford, considered it, although not in such a deep or detailed way, during the new Administration.  However, there is not resolution of the problem, and the situation in the Middle East is extremely dangerous and fraught with the possibility of a new explosion.  We are deeply convinced that you are mistaken if you believe that it is possible to buy peace in the Middle East by giving 200-300 million, even a billion dollars to some country.

C. VANCE.  We don't believe that.

A. A. GROMY.KO. Good. We approve of that.  Consequently it is necessary to seek political resolutions.  In our time -- and you, no doubt, know about this -- we achieved an agreement that the USA and the USSR will act in the Middle East in a coordinated fashion. Unfortunately, nothing serious came of that coordination.  Factually speaking, there wasn't any.  There wasn't even any more or less detailed exchange of information.  The agreement rose into the air for effect, and was not fulfilled. And the situation remains thus until this day.  But the situation in the Middle East, I repeat, we perceive as fraught with a new explosion.  True, the tanks are not shooting there now, but it is still not something not to talk about.

There was a moment at the end of 1973 when by the joint effort of our countries we seemed to manage to set in motion the process of settling the Arab - Israel conflict.  There was an official agreement also to work together further in the interests of establishing in the Middle East a stable, durable peace.  Unfortunately, however, soon after that the American side set off down the path of separate actions, led by some kind of its own exclusively opportunistic, I would even say, arch opportunistic thoughts.  The short-sightedness and mistakenness of acting in such a way, including even from the point of view of the national interests of the USA, appears evident to us.

I want to say directly that the Soviet Union does not seek for itself any kind of special rights or advantages in the Middle East.  But we believe that no one else should lay claim to this either.  We want one thing -- that in this region, which is besides located in direct proximity to the borders of the Soviet Union, there will finally be established a durable peace.  But that peace can be based only on an account of the legal rights and interests of all the interested sides, in the first place of those which are directly involved in the conflict.

So that our countries can really work together for a settlement, it is necessary to solve three key issues, without solutions to which it would be possible to consider the issue a thousand times, but there will not be the necessary progress.  I would like, without going into details, to briefly spend some time on these issues.  It is possible that that which I will say will be useful for our future considerations of this issue.

First, by our deep conviction, the starting point toward a settlement should be the principle of the inallowability of gaining territories through war, which was strengthened also in the well-known decisions of the Security Council on the Middle East.  In other words, as a consequence of a settlement, Israel should withdraw its forces from all the Arab territories it occupied in 1967.  In this regard it is appropriate to point out that Israel should have been thankful that the issue was framed this way, since the 1967 borders represent a significant increase in its territory in comparison with the borders defined for Israel by the 1947 U.N. decisions.

Moreover, I should remind you of one thing.  It's possible that you don't remember, but I was a direct participant, heading the Soviet delegation to the 1947 U.N. General Assembly session, when the issue of the creation of the State of Israel was considered and when the USA and the USSR made their proposals on that issue.  We firmly maintained the position that the creation of an independent Jewish state in the Middle East was necessary.

Now not everyone recalls that in Palestine there was created at that time an independent Jewish state and an independent Arab state, which today has simply disappeared.   Part of it was seized by Israel, and part by Jordan.   That fact, that Tel Aviv opposes the consolidation of the 1967 borders, is impossible to explain in any way other than as the loss of a sense of the possible.   The leaders of Israel interpret it in about this way.   If today the rifle is more effective than the law, let's rule with the rifle. As a result, instability is created.

Related to this, I have to say one thing which is not entirely pleasant for you, but I would be incorrect if I remained silent about it.  We think that those who, instead of making Israel see reason, in fact encourage its dreams of annexation, speaking in support of their thesis of "defensible borders" - many wise men, no doubt, pondered, inventing that phrase! -- are doing a disservice both to the matter of peace in the Middle East overall, and also ultimately to the interests of Israel itself.

One can only be amazed that the leaders who determine Israel's policy believe that they can live forever in a state of war with the Arab world.  However, to believe in that, is all the same believing in miracles.  In the past in the Middle East there were, they say, quite a few miracles, but this, excuse me, would be the biggest miracle.  It is impossible not to see that the attempts to confer Arab lands [on Israel] are only capable of multiplying the hate and hostility of the Arabs towards Israel.  Whether we want it or not, these efforts will unavoidably push the Arabs along the path of armed struggle.

We are acquainted with the policy which Israel is carrying out now, and with its Prime Minister's most recent statements, which are not possible to interpret as anything but aggressive.  He expressed himself to the effect that even if a broad political settlement were to be achieved in the Middle East, Israel would reserve part of the Arab land for the creation, for example, of its own military bases.  Undoubtedly, this statement is a route to unending hostility with the Arab world.  Does Israel really need that?  If Israel really seeks peace, then it will receive peace, and a guaranteed peace at that.  The USA and the USSR can provide such a peace to Israel and the other countries of the region. This peace would be strengthened by a guarantee of the right to an independent, free existence of all the states of the Middle East.

As far as the Soviet Union is concerned, we have always firmly supported this, and have never wavered from this position.  For that, Israel should say "thank you" to us, but for some reason Israel poorly pronounces that word.

Overall, we believe that such a path would be for you, and for us, more reliable and, if you want, cheaper, but mainly, more reliable and more logical.  This is the path to peaceful resolution of the conflict.  Lacking here is the full weight of our common position.  Let President Carter gather his resolve to say the weighty word--that there must be peace.  As far as we are concerned, we will pronounce that word.

The second key question is the satisfaction of the lawful rights of the Arab nation of Palestine. There will not be peace in the Middle East if the lawful rights of the Palestinians are not satisfied.  The Palestinians aren't demanding much -- the creation of a small, independent state center, concretely we are talking about the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Gaza region.  This is a small territory, on a map it is difficult even to make a pencil mark there.  However, this would bring huge positive changes to the situation in the Middle East overall, in particular it would stop nourishing terroristic, extremist tendencies, which are undesirable for you, and for us, and for the countries in the region, and for the matter of peace in the world.  Similar tendencies would be nipped in the bud.

As far as the character of relations of a Palestinian state with the neighboring states, in particular with Jordan, is concerned, it goes without saying that the Palestinians and the involved Arab countries will decide that issue.  Perhaps, close economic relations and cooperation on a mutually-advantageous basis will arise between them, possibly, they will even establish economic relations with Israel.

In just the same way, it is a matter for the Arabs themselves, including the Palestinians, to decide among themselves about their participation in the work of the Geneva conference.  We occupy a flexible position on these issues.  Let the Palestinians participate in the work of the Geneva conference as a separate delegation.  Or, maybe, the Arabs will decide to form a single Arab delegation, including the Palestinians.  Will we and you really object to such a solution to the problem.

In conclusion I want to stress that political guarantees of an independent, sovereign existence for all states in the region is a necessary condition of a Middle East settlement.  We are ready together with you to solemnly put our signature under a treaty, agreement, or any other document which provides this.  Other countries, for example, France, may participate in the guarantees, if they share the goal of achieving a just peace in the Middle East.  It goes without saying that a radical settlement must include a cessation and prohibition of the state of war, which Israel insists on.  If there will be such guarantees, just let somebody dare to open fire in the Middle East -- for you and us, just a flick of a finger will be necessary in order to squelch such attempts.

And the final issue. We wanted to receive from you a clear answer to the question of whether the new USA Administration intends to act jointly with the USSR in the matter of a Middle East settlement. In general terms President Carter and you have said that it is impossible to seriously go about solving this issue without the participation of the USA and USSR. We agree with this. It is an axiom. But the issue is how to embody these statements in practical affairs.

C. VANCE.  I am glad to have a chance to consider the Middle East situation with you.  It is one of the three or four most important problems which stand before us today.  The situation in the Middle East carries within it [tait v sebe] a threat for the future of that region and for the future affairs of the whole world.  The lack of a stable and just settlement subjects the population of the region to great suffering.  The USA and the USSR, as co-chairmen of the Geneva conference, have solemnly taken on themselves the obligation to facilitate the taking of the necessary measures for cessation of the conflict and for its just settlement.  This can only be achieved through cooperation between our countries.  We have declared several times that we will cooperate with the Soviet Union to fulfill this joint obligation.  President Carter supports this point of view, and he has stated that.  We believe that we have acted along these lines following the inauguration of the Carter Administration.  For example, immediately after returning from my journey around the Middle East I informed your Ambassador, A.F. Dobrynin of the results of the trip.  We informed the Soviet side about our meetings with the Prime Minister of Israel, Rabin, and we intend to keep you informed of our upcoming negotiations with the Arab leaders -- an entire series of these meetings are coming up.  An indication of the fact that we ascribe importance to this question and wish to cooperate with you is our agreement to meet in the middle of May in Geneva for a consideration of the measures for the resumption of the work of the Geneva conference.  In a word, you can be sure that we view our obligations seriously and wish to cooperate with you.

I would like to comment briefly on your statements regarding the key issues which stand before us in the Middle East.  On the question of borders and on the principle of the inviolability of seizing territory in war, our position is well known.  We support Security Council Resolution No. 242. Nothing that President Carter or I have said contradicts that Resolution.  President Carter's comment about "defensible" borders -- I want to stress this -- is not a departure from our position in support of Resolution No. 242.  The President said clearly that, in his opinion, Israel should return to its 1967 borders, with small changes.  Speaking about "defensible" borders, President Carter had in mind not borders as such, but measures in the area of defenses.  In essence, he had in mind the same thing about which L.l. Brezhnev spoke in his speech at the 16th Congress of the Trade Unions of the USSR when he remarked that "appropriate border lines between Israel and its Arab neighbors should be precisely determined by the parties to the conflict.  These borders should be proclaimed definitively as fixed and inviolable."  I am not entirely sure, though, how in this context to understand the words "appropriate border lines."

 A. A. GROMYKO.  They mean the 1967 borders.

C. VANCE: Thank you.  We consider it necessary to maintain for a certain period of time defensive measures which would satisfy all the sides and would ensure the inviolability of the borders established in the Middle East.  The Geneva conference should decide the way in which this can be realized.  Possibly demilitarized zones will be created, patrols will be instituted, observation via visual means or electronic devices.  U.N. forces may also be located there.  Many means may be used here, and it is up to the Geneva conference to work them out.

As far as the legal interests of the Palestinian people is concerned, in our view the path to a solution of this issue should at the beginning be decided among the Arabs themselves.  At the present time -- and I was convinced of this during my recent visit around the Middle East -- there exist differences between the Arab leaders themselves on this issue.  I called on them to settle these differences as quickly as possible.  I hope that we will receive a more precise formulation of the Arab positions following the series of meetings in Washington with the leaders of the Arab countries.  The first such meeting with President Sadat will begin April 4.

I want to mention one other vitally important question which is up to us to consider and settle. I have in mind the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize the right of Israel to exist as an independent state.  Such a refusal will contradict the position which we, together with you, took in the 1940s.  I want to express the hope that you will use your influence to convince the PLO to strike that clause from its Charter.

           A. A. GROMYKO.  Does the USA believe that Israel is ready to accept the right of the Palestinians to an independent existence within its national homeland?  You understand that these issues are connected one with the other.

C. VANCE.  I cannot speak for Israel, but I agree that this is the [kamen' pretknoveniia].

          A. A. GROMYKO.  I can say the same regarding the Palestinians.  If Israel will recognize the right of the Palestinians, they will recognize the right of Israel.  The issue here is who will be the first to say "a," but we do not believe that this is an insoluble issue.  This is why diplomacy exists.

C. VANCE.  I agree with you, Mr. Minister.  I also agree with you that the Arabs themselves should decide the issue of the PLO's participation in the Geneva conference.  However, on this particular issue there exists a schism between them.  President Assad says that there should be a single delegation, and that he will participate only in the event that there will be a single Arab delegation. President Sadat, on the other hand, rejects the idea of creating a single Arab delegation, and says that he will not participate in such a delegation.  I want to ask you to do everything in your power to help

the Arabs come to an agreement regarding their participation in the Geneva conference.  From our side, we will do the same.

A. A. GROMYKO.  It would be easier for us to solve that problem is you could reveal whether the USA supports its old position or whether it has revised it.  Does the USA recognize the possibility of the independent participation of a Palestinian delegation in Geneva?

C. VANCE.  I would prefer to answer that question later, after we speak with each of the Arab leaders whose visits to Washington we are anticipating.  Those negotiations will be completed by the middle of May, that is, around the time of our meeting in Geneva.

A. A. GROMYKO.  Good. Let's just set the condition that procedural and secondary issues do not get in the way of the essence of the matter, do not push into the background the issues of war and peace, and of our relations.

C. VANCE.  I particularly agree with you in this.  However, the issue of the participation of the Palestinians in the Geneva conference is simultaneously a question of procedure, and a central issue. A solution to the whole Palestinian problem is connected with it.

A. A. GROMYKO.  Various formulations may be used.  The only important thing is that we not let details, secondary issues sink the essence of the deal.

March 29 (16:30 – 19:45)

C. VANCE.  Before we move on to consider other questions, I would like to conclude the conversation about the Middle East.  We did not exchange opinions on the issue of guarantees.  Our point of view is that if, as a result of the Geneva conference, an agreement on a settlement will be worked out, then its implementation will be fundamentally eased by the acceptance of guarantees.  We are ready to participate in such guarantees and we will recommend to the USA Congress that it accept the decision about our participation.  You understand that a final decision must be accepted by the USA Congress.

A. A. GROMYKO.  That, it goes without saying, is your internal affair.  And as far as the issue of guarantees is concerned, it can be resolved in a variety of ways.  It is possible to make the guarantees as part of an overall agreement and not have a special agreement or treaty about guarantees. Provision can be made for this issue in the very agreement on a settlement in the Middle East or in a special, official declaration or declarations by the relevant sides at the conference or in relation to the conference.  We occupy a flexible position on this issue.  The point of the guarantees should be that no side must violate the agreement.  I want to repeat that the issue of the form (of guarantees) is not complex.  The essence of the affair is the important thing.  On that or another issue it would be sufficient for the USA and the USSR, speaking in unison, to utter "yes" or "no."  That would be good. It would be even better if other countries, too, embraced these words.

C. VANCE.  Completing our exchange of opinions on the Middle East, one more issue should be discussed.  That is the character of the peace which should be achieved as a result of the agreement. Here there is a disagreement between the sides.  The Arab side says that peace should mean only the cessation of the state of war with Israel.  Israel wants more, in particular: movement toward normal relations between the sides.  This issue should be settled between the sides in Geneva, and it is not an easy issue.  I want to say that we should think in what way we can bring the sides together on this question.

A. A. GROMYKO.  For us this is not a difficult issue.  We have our own understanding of peace in the Middle East, and it is broader than simply a cessation of the state of war.  Without any doubt the state of war must end, and peace should be guaranteed into the future.  The guarantees should be strong, and we are ready to participate in the guarantees, so that we can jointly and decisively say "no" to any country which wants to violate the peace in the Middle East.  But Israel here must not dissemble.  A simple normalization of relations is not sufficient.  Normal relations are not synonymous with a stable peace, because Israel today can normalize relations and in three days time without a declaration start a war.  This eventuality, in particular, should be anticipated by the guarantees.  The main thing, in our view, is that we be convinced of the possibility of carrying this out together with you.  You also know this.

C. VANCE.  Clarify, please, how you regard the normalization of relations as a fundamental element of an agreement between the sides.

A. A. GROMYKO.  You hardly can find such a wise man who could answer the question, what are normal relations.  If countries live in peace, does that mean this is normal relations?  In our opinion, yes.  But if between countries there exist diplomatic relations, but simultaneously there are skirmishes, feuds, what is that?  Normal relations or not?  In our opinion, no.  We do not identify the normalization of relations with the establishment of diplomatic relations.  Diplomatic relations in the Middle East can be established not from the first day -- between the Arabs and Israel and, with regard to certain Arabs, with each other.  Maybe they will be established within several months.  This is not a critical issue.  The main thing is that no one should raise his hand to another side after the agreement is concluded.  It's clear that the ideal situation in the Middle East would be a stable peace, calmness, diplomatic and trade relations between countries.

C. VANCE.  I agree that cessation of the state of war is the most important issue.  But normalization of relations can facilitate the preservation of peace.

A. A. GROMYKO.  That does not contradict what I said.  May we consider that we have here with you a common understanding?

C. VANCE.  We have an understanding.

A. A. GROMYKO.  Can't we say that our positions coincide?

C. VANCE.  We put a somewhat greater accent than you on normalization of relations as a means of maintaining peace.

A. A. GROMYKO.  We stress the significance of achieving peace, not belittling either the significance of normal relations between states.  For example, in a state of normal relations with Israel, we would with satisfaction eat Israeli oranges. I have heard that they have good oranges.

C. VANCE.  So, why don't you do that?

A. . GROMYKO. Because we don't have normal relations with Israel, diplomatic, trade, and such.

 C. VANCE.  Don't you believe that it would be constructive to establish such relations?

 A. A. GROMYKO.  For that, a movement forward in Israeli policy is necessary.  In New York

I said to the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, All on, that our people will not understand why it is necessary for us under current conditions to normalize relations with Israel.  How could we explain such a step, when in the Middle East a state of war continues, when Israel occupies Arab territories and there are no signs of an agreement?  I do not want to say that absolutely all issues must be resolved before the normalization of diplomatic relations, but there must be significant movement forward in Israel's position.  We hope that it will be so.  But time is needed here.  I am cautious in my prognoses, since, it seems to me that Israel lives according to some sort of its own calendar.

C. VANCE.  It will be necessary for us to resolve issues of procedure and organization of the work of the Geneva Conference.  In what way should the delegations organize work on the agenda? That is not a simple question, taking into account the gap between the Arab countries, and the sooner we start work on resolving that problem, the better it will be for us, including at the conference.

A. A. GROMYKO.  Let's arrange it this way.  You consult with the Arab leaders.  We also have in mind to do this.  Then at our meeting on the Middle East in May it will be possible to return to that question.  But we must clearly see the path and not drown the issues of war and peace in procedural questions, not do it in such a way that while the debates go on about procedural issues, people are dying in the Middle East.

C. VANCE.  I agree with you, but, on the other hand, in Geneva it falls to us to take the leading role upon ourselves.

A. A. GROMYKO.  That is so.  But it is not necessary for us to let ourselves drown in procedural issues.  We don't intend to drown and will endure the procedural questions.  I know, though, that in America you are used to viewing great matters through a prism of petty issues.  By doing this, big issues are understated, while the petty ones appear many times bigger.  We are convinced that it is possible to overcome the procedural issues.

C.VANCE. I myself have observed several times that many international conferences have conducted discussions about procedural issues for months.  The difficulty here is that procedural issues often mask issues of essence.

A.A.GROMYKO. I want to say one thing: if we have a policy aimed at peace that is also daring and decisive, then a solution to the problem can be found.  The Middle Eastern problem hampers our relations.  It hampers not only us, but, in our opinion, also the United States, although that is clearer to you.  Let us direct our efforts to grab the bull by the horns [vytashchit' etu zanozu].

C.VANCE. I thank you for your detailed exposition of the Soviet position on the problem of a Middle Eastern settlement. We are operating on the assumption that we will return to this problem together again soon.

A.A.GROMYKO. If you do not object, Mr. Secretary of State, then I would now like to propose to discuss the problems of disarmament, and, in particular, to talk about underground nuclear tests, nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes and some other issues.

C.VANCE. I do not object to such an ordering of the further negotiations. If you have no other thoughts [soobrazheniya], then I would like to hear out the position of the USSR on the issue of nuclear tests.

A.A.GROMYKO. As you know, the Soviet Union supports a resolution of the problems of prohibiting nuclear weapons testing in full measure.  We propose that all nuclear powers without exception, and with the participation of non-nuclear powers, enter negotiations as soon as possible to conclude a corresponding document on this count - a treaty on a general and full ban on nuclear weapons testing.

The issue of monitoring came up in connection with our proposal.  We anticipated this.  While it is our conviction that given the contemporary level of development of monitoring technology, national monitoring measures would suffice, we are ready to go further and to search for a mutual understanding on the basis of a compromise such that the framework of a voluntarily taken decision to clarify at the sites the corresponding obligations, but at the same time the participants in the agreements would be assured that the obligations would be fulfilled.  This sort of proposal, or something close to it was put forward by the Swedish participants.

We recommend that our countries, while recognizing that the given issue is currently being discussed in the Committee on Disarmament, speedily undertake the agreed steps to bring its examination onto the plane of practical action and of drawing up a mutually acceptable draft treaty.  I am not demanding a response to this idea from you now, but do ask that you think it over.

I particularly want to draw the following idea to your attention. Such a treaty might initially be signed by our two countries with a simultaneous call to other nuclear and non-nuclear countries to join it.  In signing the treaty the USSR and USA could announce that they will refrain from nuclear tests for a definite period of time, say for one and a half or two years; that is, announce a temporary moratorium on their tests.  If other nuclear powers do not join the treaty over that period, then the USSR and USA would be free from the obligation of the moratorium.  Such a step, in my opinion, would give an impulse to several countries to engage in positive action and would have a positive influence on the whole international scene.  We have a hard time imagining anyone being able to criticize the USA administration for such a step.  In our country, we are sure that it would be understood, and that our people would greet such a measure positively.

However, nuclear explosions for peaceful ends should not be considered in the same category as nuclear weapons tests.  In our country underground nuclear explosions are used to complete tasks relating to the national economy, and moreover we have long-term plans [perspectivnyie plany] on that score.  Taking into account the USA position we undertook a reduction of the power of these explosions in the treaty which was signed last year.  Accordingly, in the interests of providing assurance that the permitted explosions will be used only for peaceful purposes, a detailed system of inspection has been agreed to by both sides in connection with the treaty; the system of inspection in particular provides for access by representatives of the other side to explosion sites in certain instances.

The completion of the process of ratifying the treaties signed by the USSR and the USA on limiting underground tests of nuclear weapons and underground nuclear explosions for peaceful ends would be a substantive step on the path to a radical solution to the problem of stopping nuclear tests both in the service of restraining the arms race and in the sense of protecting people from the harmful consequences of such tests.  We are awaiting more active measures from the USA administration in this regard.  Who can deny the positive significance of the treaties that have been signed?  You have the chance to make a positive gesture in the interests of strengthening peace and security, and also in the interests of developing relations with the Soviet Union.  Positive steps have been taken here.  But they require reinforcement.   As for the Soviet Union, it will not hold things up.

C.VANCE. You spoke about the two Soviet-American treaties.  As I mentioned yesterday, I approached the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations with the request that steps be taken to move further on this issue, and he assured me that the appropriate procedure on ratification will begin.  The USA administration will speak out in support of the ratification of the treaties and will assist in convincing the Congress to take quick action.  However, I want to tell you frankly that there are those in our country who question the value of the treaties that have been concluded and consider that it would be better to conclude a full nuclear test ban treaty. However, the new USA administration supports the ratification of these treaties as a step toward a general and full ban on nuclear weapons testing.

A.A.GROMYKO. We think that the one does not contradict the other, but that, on the contrary, they complement one another.

C.VANCE. I repeat, we also say that our treaties are a step on the path to a full ban on nuclear tests.

A.A.GROMYKO. It would be good if it were so. As of yet our, so to speak, national means [natsional'nie sredstva, poss. meaning intelligence services] in Moscow have registered only weak activity in Washington in the direction of ratification of the agreements.

C.VANCE. It would be easier to intensify our efforts if both sides showed a desire to achieve a treaty on a full nuclear weapons test ban.

A.A.GROMYKO. Then let us work together and continue our cooperation in taking more intensive measures in this regard.

C.VANCE. Your proposal relating to a full and general nuclear weapons test ban treaty strikes us as highly interesting. At the same time we feel deep concern over the exclusion of nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes from the operative sphere of such a treaty. The analysis we have done shows that it is practically impossible to carry out peaceful nuclear explosions without thereby getting results that relate to nuclear weapons. We advocate that the general and full nuclear weapons test ban not contain any exclusions.

A.A.GROMYKO. What exclusions are you talking about?  There will be an inspection system. If you have skeptics and critics who oppose peaceful nuclear explosions, send them in the staff of the committee at the explosion sites, so that they themselves can be convinced of the

groundlessness of their judgments.

C.VANCE. At issue is that our experts say that even with an inspection system peaceful nuclear explosions permit the accumulation of information which will contradict the aims of a full and general nuclear test ban.  I want to propose that our experts study this issue on a bilateral basis, and afterward we can discuss it anew.

A.A.GROMYKO. I do not think that there is an insurmountable obstacle here.  Up to this point we have negotiated with the USA on the basis of the fact that there is a difference between these two issues.  We have not concluded two separate treaties in vain. Let us instead avoid steps which would set us back. Let us instead take steps which propel us forward.  As for skeptics, there were always plenty of them.  Some people, I am sure, still think that the sun orbits the earth.  It is always convenient to conceal a reluctance to sign a given treaty by invoking technical problems.  In a word, the sooner the process of ratifying our two treaties takes place the better.  And if after that you hear applause, know that it follows our own.

I also ask that you think about signing a general and full ban on nuclear weapons testing by our two countries.

C.VANCE. If we manage to come to agreement on a draft treaty that satisfies both sides, then we will recommend signing it together with you, even if other countries do not endorse it yet. In principle we agree with what you have said, and with the conditions which you have mentioned.

A.A.GROMYKO. Let us agree to continue negotiations on the level of experts for a given time. When will you be ready for that?

C.VANCE. We will inform you as soon as possible about an acceptable time frame for those negotiations.

A.A.GROMYKO. We will wait for a response from you. If you do not object. let us now discuss the issue of the non-proliferation  of nuclear weapons.

C.VANCE. Agreed.  I would first like to make an exposition of the American position.  As I already said yesterday, our government and the administration of President Carter lend important significance to the issue of nuclear arms non-proliferation. In keeping with the significance we lend to this issue, we have conducted detailed research concentrating on the most crucial [krupnyie] issues connected with a non-proliferation regime.  We include international guarantees in the area of nuclear fuel, storage of the waste from nuclear fuel, a national and multilateral approach to preventing the violation of guarantees, and comprehensive guarantees in the area of the export of nuclear materials and equipment.  We also consider it possible to undertake collective efforts to evaluate the significance of the nuclear fuel cycle from the point of view of economy, environmental consequences and the non-proliferation regime.  The issue of developing alternatives in the business of processing nuclear fuel is also an important issue. Now the research is complete.  As a result we have come to definite conclusions and will soon announce them publicly.  Above all we will temporarily close down [zakonserviruem] the program of processing and repeat use of plutonium, and will also alter the process in our breeder-reactors in order that nuclear fuels other than plutonium be used we will halt the commercial use of plutonium and will restructure the allocation of nuclear research, focusing it on the development of programs for finding other fuel cycles which would exclude yields of other end-product materials which could be used as weapons.  We are determined to increase American production of such types of fuel.  We will also take steps to continue in international forums the discussion of the issue of which actions must be taken to strengthen control of nuclear materials and to preempt the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  'That is our position.  We also invest great importance in convincing states which are not participants in the non-proliferation treaty to sign and ratify it. Besides this, we consider it important to take measures, [prinyatiye garantii] including sanctions, in relation to violations of the non-proliferation treaty.

A.A.GROMYKO. My colleagues and I have listened to your statement with interest.  In

response I want to put forward our thoughts on this issue.

The task of preventing nuclear war requires in all urgency the creation of an insuperable barrier on the path to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  Above all it is an issue of the necessity of giving the current treaty on nuclear weapons non-proliferation a fully universal character.  As is well known, China, France, and also a significant number of other countries including those which are close to the development of their own nuclear weapon are still outside the framework of this treaty.

We are ready to continue our cooperative efforts with the USA to induce these countries, and others which are currently outside the treaty as well, to participating in it.

Why should we not, for instance, think about new forms of influence, in particular through a cooperative trilateral (USSR, USA, England) or exclusively Soviet-American appeal [obrashchenie] to the governments of countries not participating in the treaty with a call to join the treaty?

Frankly speaking, looking from the sidelines, it is not obvious that the USA is approaching this issue with spirit and energy.  It is true that from time to time announcements are made on its part, but that is only a part of what the United States could potentially do.

There is still the danger of non-nuclear countries' using nuclear materials and equipment which they receive from other countries to develop their own weapon.  The Soviet Union decisively advocates that international cooperation in the area of peaceful use of nuclear energy not become a channel for the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  This is not only an issue of trade, but an issue of great politics [bol'shaya politika], an issue of international security having important political significance.

By way of an example one need only refer to the proposed nuclear shipments by the FRG to Brazil and by France to Pakistan, conditions which cannot fail to provoke concern.  In our opinion, an effective control on all nuclear activities of any receiving countries is crucially necessary.  The Soviet Union is for the worldwide improvement of the system of controls in the given area and is ready to cooperate in this both with the USA and with other interested countries.

C.VANCE. I have listened to your statement with interest. I must say that we have worked with the FRG, with Brazil, France, and Pakistan to convince them to give up their plans for nuclear fuel processing enterprises which would yield militarily dangerous materials. We proposed to them that they find other ways and were even prepared to guarantee the provision of nuclear fuel to Brazil.

A.A.GROMYKO. It is difficult to believe that the USA cannot exert pressure on Brazil.

Can Brazil's leaders really not live without nuclear weapons?  Do they take account of the fact that by their actions they are beginning a chain of events which can worsen the world situation?  Of course, it is possible to make an announcement once every 3 months and to send a note once every half a year, and that would already be something.  But it appears to me that not enough is being done and that the USA can do more.

C.VANCE. I beg to differ with you [Pozvoliu sebe ne coglasit 'sia s Vami]. We have been doing much more.  My assistant travelled to Brazil to discuss the issue of stopping the contract with the FRG.  As a way of resolving the issue we offered them a guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel if they reject plans to build a factor for fuel processing.  We have exerted maximal pressure on Brazil, and as a result relations between the USA and Brazil have now become very tense.  I have a hard time imagining what else we could have done.

A.A.GROMYKO. Well, that is clearer to you [vam vidnee].  I want to say further that besides the contacts which we currently maintain on this issue in international organizations, in your view would it be sensible to conduct a Soviet-American consultation on a regular basis on the whole complex of problems of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.  In my opinion, such consultations have not been conducted between us for a long time and in general they occur rarely.  In the course of such consultations the USSR and the USA could agree on cooperative actions by concluding, for instance, a "London understanding" of exporter countries, by increasing the effectiveness of the controlling functions of MAGATE, by developing issues of sanctions, and so on.  In a word, we have work to do here.

C.VANCE. We would welcome that.

A.A.GROMYKO. Inform us when, in your opinion, it would be possible to conduct consultations on these and closely related issues.  In conclusion I want the American government and President Carter to know that the Soviet Union lends very great importance to the issue of nuclear weapons non-proliferation.   It pleases us when both you and President Carter emphasize that you also lend significance to this issue.

C.VANCE. President Carter will be pleased to learn of your position on this issue.

A.A.GROMYKO. If you do not object, Mr. State Secretary, I would like further to touch upon the issue of concluding an agreement on prohibiting the development of new types and systems of weapons of mass destruction.  We approach this issue with all seriousness and raised it some time ago.  Accordingly we hoped that the USA would ascribe significance to this issue and would join in this work.  From time to time this issue was touched upon at our initiative in contacts with the preceding USA administration.

A certain exchange of views also took place after we officially raised the question in the Committee on Disarmament and in the UN, both in general terms and more concretely in the negotiations of our representatives in Geneva. At the beginning the Western side asked questions one after another, a mass of questions avoiding discussion about the essentials. The Western delegates tried to find out what we actually mean by new forms and systems of weapons of mass destruction. Our representatives in response named some types and systems of weapons with the qualification that the list might be lengthened. We know that your representatives are just as competent and can name other types of weapons of mass destruction. We believe that no one can deny the existence of this serious problem racing humanity. The question is whether we will go further: either following the course of events without doing anything, figuratively speaking, to roll down the mountain, or to undertake steps to restrain states from producing new types of weapons of mass destruction. If we do not undertake such steps it devalues the matter we are discussing - specifically the negotiations on strategic arms control. After all, it is not possible on the one hand to talk about limiting the arms race, and, on the other, to go on developing new types and systems of weapons of mass destruction. This would create a situation where, as it is said, the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing. We consider that uniting the efforts of the USSR and the USA on this issue - and other states could join these efforts - would help do good work for us in strengthening peace, for you and us and for other states. I want you to understand that we do not have any special interests here and do not wish to accumulate political capital The issue of new types and systems of weapons of mass destruction, however, is important for all.

As you know, we put forward a requisite draft treaty.  In general we support the continuation of cooperation with the American side in finding a solution to this problem, of course, if a readiness to do so is displayed by your side.

In particular, we are ready to examine the issue of also concluding an agreement on radiological weapons, in view of the interest expressed by the American side on this issue.  I repeat that on the whole the issue of new types of weapons is one of the major issues.  It concerns not only the present but also the future, the future of the USA, of the USSR, and of all of humanity.

C.VANCE. I want to say in reply that we know from our own experience that agreements controlling armaments can be effective only when they are concrete and monitored.  Frankly speaking, the problems which you state in your proposal are in general very broadly formulated, and this complicates their resolution.  As before, we are ready to examine the issue of limiting concrete sorts of weapons and weapons systems.  In particular, we are ready to propose a discussion of the issue of prohibiting radiological weapons.

A.A.GROMYKO. I would ask you to inform us concretely when you are ready to discuss this problem.  As for your observations on our draft treaty, we consider that the draft must be examined in the context of the negotiations which are taking place on this issue.  Our experts could make these types and systems more concrete, I think, as could yours.  In any case, inform us when you will be ready for the concrete discussions.

C.VANCE. Very well.  We will do so.

Mr. Minister, I want to return to the issue of concluding a general and full nuclear weapons test ban agreement, but from the angle of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.  It seems to me that a treaty banning such nuclear explosions for peaceful ends would aid in strengthening the nuclear weapons non-proliferation regime and that conversely, if peaceful nuclear explosions were excluded from the sphere of the treaty, it might provoke some countries to follow India's example and develop their own nuclear device.

A.A.GROMYKO. On this issue it will be necessary to conduct negotiations and study the approaches taken by the different sides.  However, in any case, can one really exclude the use of nuclear energy for peaceful ends.  It is possible that you yourself will use nuclear energy in the future to achieve economic ends, for instance to create capacity for the storage of liquids and gaseous

[gazoobrazovanniye]  substances or to bury the wastes of nuclear processes.

L.V.SMIRNOV. I would like to add, that for experts it does not pose a problem to determine what has actually been used - a military charge or a nuclear device, for instance for the creation of capacity.  After all, we use ordinary explosives in mines and do not say that they are weapons.  If they so desire, there is no problem for experts here.  The use of nuclear energy is effective and economical.  Evidently, you will use it yourself   It would seem that one needs not to want to resolve the issue to see some sort of problem here.

A.A.GROMYKO. Not so long ago, a few years back, the American delegates, while talking with me, mentioned the possibility of using nuclear explosions in order to dig a new canal in place of the current Panamanian one.  Can you really not plan similar projects in the future?

C.VANCE. You know, Mr. Minister, I am personally well acquainted with the canal building project which you are talking about. We studied the issue and came to the conclusion that it could lead to undesirable results in terms of radioactive fallout and environmental damage.  In the past the USA conducted tests and studied the issue of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and we came to the conclusion that such explosions pose an extraordinary hazard of environmental damage and also pose problems of getting information which can be used to create a nuclear weapon.  In order to distinguish between a nuclear device for peaceful uses and a military nuclear device, one has to examine the device itself.  So the problem of monitoring comes up.

A.A.GROMYKO. These issues can be raised between the two sides, can be resolved through negotiations, and can be resolved in a mutually acceptable fashion.  Tell us when you will be prepared for the negotiations.

C.VANCE. We could begin them in the near future.

A.A.GROMYKO. Fine [khorosho].  We will assume that we will have to discuss a series of technical issues, and for this reason, evidently, experts will have to take part in the negotiations.

C.VANCE. If we have concluded our discussion of that issue, I would like to exchange views with you regarding the problems of demilitarizing the Indian Ocean.  We would like to hear in more detail about your position in relation to the key issues connected with the demilitarization of the Indian Ocean.  In our opinion, those issues are the elimination of military-naval bases in the region; the reduction of the number of ship-days of foreign fleets present in the region; and the geographical definition of the Indian Ocean.

A.A.GROMYKO. We lend significance to the issue of the Indian Ocean.  This issue sharpened when the American side started to construct military-naval bases on the island of DiegoGarcia.  We understood against whom that base was directed and decisively condemned the action of the USA.  It is our conviction that the construction of the base was not dictated by the security interests of the USA  As is well known, we oppose military confrontation in the Indian Ocean by non-coastal states, and [oppose] the construction of foreign military bases.  We consider that the decision of the USA to construct a base on the island of Diego-Garcia was a negative action and a great mistake, even, I would say, the fruit of a big fantasy on the part of your military.  It has brought a negative spirit into our relations.  We decisively condemn the creation of military bases in the Indian Ocean.

I want to emphasize further that limitations on the actions of foreign military fleets in the Indian Ocean should take full account of the generally accepted norms of international law relating to the freedom of passage on the high seas.

C.VANCE. How then are we to understand the presence of your military base in the port of Berbera [in Somalia]?

A.A.GROMYKO. We have no base of any kind there.

C.VANCE. You have equipment there used for military purposes.

A.A.GROMYKO. Our vessels have the right to stop in the port of Berbera in order to rest the crew and to refresh supplies of foodstuffs and fresh water.  We have no military base of any kind there, and we do not plan to have such a base.  You will not find military installations characteristic of a base in Berbera.  I want to emphasize decisively that we have never had any intention of establishing military bases in the Indian Ocean.  Moreover, if it were proposed to us that we should build them, we would refuse.  That is my official reply.

C.VANCE. What you have said differs from the information we possess.  While it is possible that it is incorrect, we are prepared to present you with the information.

AA.GROMYKO. We know the value of some of the "information" possessed by the American side. For instance, according to your "information" the "Backfire" airplane has become a strategic bomber. I am sure that the information available to you, if you have it at all, is incorrect. It is clear that the American side needs it in order to pursue its own ends.

C.VANCE. In Berbera you have equipment connected with the servicing of missiles.  This equipment is not necessary to the Somalis, but it is there for your use.

A.A.GROMYKO. You know, equipment is also necessary in order to gather fresh water.  I repeat that there is no Soviet base there.  And if it were proposed to us, we would refuse.  Apart from the fact that it would contradict our whole approach, the negative consequences of building a base would be greater than the positive ones.  In short, this is my official reply and I want to ask you to approach it accordingly.

C.VANCE. Am I to understand you that the Soviet side is ready to deny all military bases in the Indian Ocean?

A.A.GROMYKO. But there are none there.

C.VANCE. Then to renounce their construction in the future?

 A.A.GROMYKO. We have no intention to build military bases in the Indian Ocean and would like to be sure that the USA will take an analogous position.

C.VANCE. And how do you relate to the issue of limiting the number and time of stay of military ships in the Indian Ocean?

A.A.GROMYKO. We are operating on the assumption that the generally recognized rights of free passage on the high seas should be observed, and you probably agree with this.  Both your and our vessels can go through the Indian Ocean just as they can through the Atlantic and the Pacific.

C.VANCE. I agree with you in relation to the right of passage of vessels.  I want to ask whether you consider that a limit on the number of ship-days spent by foreign military vessels in the Indian Ocean should be established?

A.A.GROMYKO. That issue so far has not come up. It will be necessary to think it over and then exchange views between our two countries, if it comes up. But it is an entirely different issue to the problem foreign military bases.  It can be discussed on a mutually acceptable basis.

C.VANCE. Here the question arises of defining the geographical borders of the Indian Ocean, of where the ocean ends.  We also have to define the region which we are talking about.

A.A.GROMYKO. This issue is for specialists.  Let the specialists concern themselves with it. After all, I am not a geographer and don't want to work on geography. I do not think there are any special difficulties here. It can be resolved if it is absolutely necessary.

C.VANCE. We are prepared to conduct serious discussions of the problems of the Indian

Ocean if you are.

A.A.GROMYKO. And how are you thinking of carrying out these negotiations?  Are you thinking of authorizing personnel for it?  If so, then at what level?  In general, in what form are the negotiations to be conducted?

C.VANCE. I think between authorized personnel below the ministerial level.  The discussion could be bilateral or with the participation of other countries.  Other issues could be discussed as well, besides the ones I have mentioned.

A.A.GROMYKO. We are ready to consider your thoughts about the conduct of such negotiations.

C.VANCE. We will let you know when we are ready.

A.A.GROMYKO. Are we to consider that President Carter lends great significance to the issue of the limiting the activity of foreign military fleets in the Indian Ocean and is ready to resolve it in cooperation with the Soviet Union in the interests of peace?

C.VANCE. I can assure you of that. We are prepared to continue the discussion of this problem.

A.A.GROMYKO. Fine.  Only let's not drag the matter out.  Let us at least have one less problem in this space of time.

C. VANCE.  I would like to consider with you the issue of the trade in conventional arms.  We are feeling deep uneasiness in relation to the negative consequences of the sale of arms to countries of the Third World from the point of view of economics and security.  The USA carries out arms sales, you carry them out, other countries do it too.  This leads to misunderstanding and difficulties.  The issue is whether we can limit the sale of arms to countries of the Third World.  Limitation by our side depends on limitation by the Soviet Union.  We would also be interested in cooperating with other arms supplying countries.  President Carter has announced that the USA is ready to take multi-dimensional steps in the direction of a limitation on deliveries of weapons.  However, success here is impossible without the participation of the Soviet Union and other suppliers.  I want to introduce a concrete example.  We believe that the supply of arms to the southern Africa keeps the embers of conflict alive and will lead to a broader conflict, which contradicts our interests, the interests of the Soviet Union and the interests of the peoples of the region.  We also believe that the sale of arms can introduce tension into the relations between our two countries.  We suggest, consequently, that it is necessary to get this situation under control, having with this aim begun a serious conversation on a bilateral or multilateral basis.  We would like to hear your thoughts about this.  We are interested as well in the opinion of other arms suppliers -- England, France, FRG.

A. A. GROMYKO.  No one would deny that there is a problem here.  Truly many arms are supplied to various countries of the world.  And the main arms supplier, as President Carter himself remarked, is the USA.

In this regard I cannot but introduce one example.  What forced the USA to act to the detriment of the interests of the Soviet Union, and other states, supplying billions of dollars-worth of arms to Iran.  Is the USA really prompted here by its concern about solving some sort of problem?  Evidently, to the contrary, it is [podstegivaet] the problem.

Overall, the issue of arms supplies must be put in the context of the presence of hotbeds of tension in the world.  On paper these questions may seem isolated from one another.  In real life they are found together, often inseparably connected.  As far as we are concerned, we would be ready to review the USA's concrete proposals on this issue.  It also seems to us that before inviting other countries to consider this issue, we must agree between ourselves.  It is one thing, if we speak with one voice, and another matter if you will say one thing, and we another.

C. VANCE.  The problem here is that we can stop the sale of arms, but then interested countries will buy them from the Soviet Union, or from France, or Germany, or somebody else.  It is necessary to somehow cut that Gordian knot.

A. A. GROMYKO.  There is a problem, but it is necessary to seek a way to solve it, rather than to get distressed.

C. VANCE.  How do you feel about a proposal to limiting the supply of weapons to the Middle East?

 A. A. GROMYKO.  We view that issue in the context of an overall peace settlement in the Middle East.  If a resolution of the problem will be achieved, then the possibility of solving the issue of a limitation of arms supplies will also appear.  Without an overall settlement, while a state of war continues to exist, it is impossible to solve that issue.  It would be a fiction.

 C. VANCE.  But why not resolve the issue prior to a settlement?

A. A. GROMYKO.  This would be incorrect in its essence.  Take, for instance, the February 18 Reuters dispatch from Tel Aviv, to the effect that the Israeli Prime Minister Rabin remarked that the USA supplied to Israel 1.5 billion dollars in arms in the year after 1973, in comparison to 300 million dollars in the year before that.  That is the answer to your question.  To solve this problem in regard to the Middle East before an overall settlement there -- that is fantasy.  You yourself will not agree to this, and no one will agree.

C. VANCE.  But in fact the Soviet Union also supplies vast amounts of weapons to Middle East countries.

A. A. GROMYKO.   And we do not deny that we supply arms.  Let's look for a solution to the problem, but along the paths of realism.  If we will continue to talk like we are not, we will not move the matter forward.

C. VANCE.  And what about southern Africa?

 A. A. GROMYKO.   The situation there is about the same.  The only difference is that there are 100 times more of your weapons there, than of ours.  You know well, for example, that one country, receiving a supply of weapons, resells it to other countries, and that one, in its turn, to a third.  Is it really possible to vouch for or trace the path of every rifle or machine-gun supplied to this or that country.  This is reality.  The single possible path is to solve the problem itself, clear away the tension and then to resolve the issue of limiting the supply of arms.

C. VANCE.  We should continue consideration of this issue and consider concrete proposals.

A. A. GROMYKO.  I also think so. If you have not other questions, I suggest ending the negotiations on this and resuming them tomorrow morning.

C. VANCE.   I have no objection.

30 March (11:00 - 14:00)

At the start A.A.Gromyko had a discussion with C.Vance in the presence of translators only.

A.A.GROMYKO decisively and categorically stated to C. Vance that the so-called new American proposals on the issue of strategic arms control cannot form the basis for further negotiations on concluding an agreement.  They were based on a violation of the Vladivostok understanding and the Soviet Union cannot agree to them under any conditions.  The American side itself understands, of course, that this is so and cannot realistically hope that the Soviet Union will take any other position in regard to these proposals.

C. Vance will also be told about the Soviet response by L. I. Brezhnev in person, who will evidently conduct the concluding discussion with him in the second half of the day.

C.VANCE said that he is deeply disappointed with Soviet side's response, insofar as he and President Carter lent great significance to these new proposals, considering them an acceptable basis for an understanding.  He expressed the hope that the Soviet side would still consider it possible to examine the proposals again.

A.A.GROMYKO repeated that the answer given to him reflected the firm opinion of the entire Soviet leadership.  The Soviet side cannot give any other response.  He expressed the hope that the American side would approach the given issue in more seriously with the aim of moving forward in resolving the outstanding problems racing us in the course of the following meetings From then on the negotiations were continued with an expanded staff.

A.A.GROMYKO. If you, Mr. Vance, have no objections, I would like to say several words about the issue of West Berlin.

In our country the conclusion of the Quadripartite agreement of September 3, 1971 was well received, as were the subsequent agreements between the two German states.  The brought a positive element of detente [razriadka] into European affairs in the center of Europe.

However, I do not know whether you have noticed this while observing the situation from Washington, but we have noticed that there are circles in the FRO which actually want to bring the Quadripartite agreement to naught.  In this agreement it is directly stated that West Berlin does not belong to the FRO and cannot be governed by it.  Meanwhile, the authorities in West Germany and West Berlin often behave as if West Berlin was the FRG's "soil."  West Germany even has legal provisions on this count.

We, of course, categorically protest against any efforts to destroy the Quadripartite agreement.  I do not think that the erosion of the Quadripartite agreement would benefit the USA either.

I would like to show you the text of one official document given out by the West German government as an example.  (A. A. Gromyko begins reading a text of an identity card issued officially by the FRO authorities to foreign workers, in which the sovereign territory of the FRO, including the soil of Berlin" is mentioned).

What sort of mockery of the Quadripartite agreement is this?  And how many illegal establishments of the FRO are there in West Berlin?

Several times we have drawn the attention of the USA government and of the governments of the other participants of the Quadripartite agreement to the impermissibility of this sort of action on the part of the FRG.  But, unfortunately, these efforts had no practical results.  Sometimes, it is true, we are answered that the American side "will look into" or "will study" the Soviet statements; however no real steps have been taken to rectify the situation.

Of course, Mr. Vance, you can say that this all took place under the old American administration and that the position of the new USA administration is different.  We would meet such a statement with satisfaction.  So fur in this matter there has been an obvious preference on the part of the USA for an allied, NATOist [natovskaya] solidarity over the broader interests of preventing frictions and conflicts in the center of Europe and the interests of stability in Soviet American relations.  But can the efforts of certain circles in the FRO to sow dissension between the USSR and the USA in connection with the West Berlin issue really be seen to be justified?  No; they are entirely unjustified and dangerous.

The Soviet Union stands for the strict, I repeat, the strict observance of the Quadripartite agreement on West Berlin, and for the position that no one must be allowed to violate it.  I will say frankly: to be under the thumb of those who wish to break the agreement would be to lead to a complication of the situation.

C.VANCE. For my part, I would like to speak in general terms about the Berlin issue.

On the whole we consider that the Quadripartite agreement and also the agreement between the two Germanies has worked in the interest of better relations between West and East. The USA stands for the preservation of the balance of interests which has been reflected in these agreements. In addition, we consider that both sides are well advised to avoid actions which can lead to the aggravation of tensions in the region.  We as before consider that the Quadripartite status applies to all of Berlin, and not only to West Berlin.  From this point of view, the steps taken by the GDR in December of last year represented a violation of the Quadripartite status.

A.A.GROMYKO. What steps do you mean in particular?

C.VANCE. I am talking about the GDR authorities' halting the publication of a collection of orders of the magistrate of Greater Berlin, which cannot but be construed as an extension of the jurisdiction of the GDR to East Berlin; the establishment of a visa regime for visits by foreigners to East Berlin; the removal by the GDR of check points [knotrol'no-propuskniye punkty] around East Berlin; and the levying of taxes on automobiles going from West Berlin to East Berlin.

We also advocate the strict observance of the Quadripartite agreement by all sides.  As for the identity document text you cite, the relevant statue on visits by citizens of the EEC to Berlin has been in operation since 1958. Besides that, the document in which reference is made to legal identity was adopted in 1968, before the conclusion of the Quadripartite agreement.

In summary, I would like again to state that the USA is convinced of the necessity of strictly and fully observing the agreement in order that the situation in the Berlin region not exacerbate our relations.

A.A.GROMYKO. The identity documents of which I produced an example continue to be issued today.  Take note of it.

C.VANCE. I will take note of it. I hope that you for your part will also direct your attention to what I have said in relation to the actions of the GDR authorities.

A.A.GROMYKO. Of course, there are some issues which the authorities of West Berlin can resolve within their legal capacities if they do not contradict the Quadripartite agreement.  There are also issues which can be resolved by, as you call it, East Berlin, that is, the capital of the GDR, without violating the Quadripartite agreement.  We do not object to such resolutions.

But here we are talking about actions which stand in gross contravention of the Quadripartite agreement.  I already produced as an example the given document in which West Berlin is announced as the "soil" of the FRG; there exist other legal acts of the FRG on this count.

We would like the American side and you personally, Mr. Vance, to give due consideration to whether it is worthwhile to satisfy the circles in the FRG which try to pour political poison on the relations between our two countries in connection with the West Berlin issue.  Is this justified?  It is our firm opinion that it is entirely unjustified.  Particularly from this point of view we take into cognizance your affirmation of the readiness of the new USA administration to fulfill the Quadripartite agreement strictly in order that the situation in West Berlin and around it not be a source of tension in the center of Europe and in Soviet-American relations.

C.VANCE. I want to say again that we and our allies are not interested in complications with regard to Berlin.  We approach our responsibilities in relation to the city seriously and will continue to act accordingly.

A.A.GROMYKO. Now I would like touch on the issue of Cyprus.  But, perhaps, to start with you would like to make a statement on that count?  As for the Soviet Union, we advocate that complications not arise in this region, regardless of whether they could draw in our two countries or not.

C.VANCE. I am prepared to speak about Cyprus, all the more so because I myself have dealt with the problem personally over the course of several years, in particular, during the 1967 negotiations when we along with the UN representatives tried to prevent conflict between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus.  I followed with great concern the beginning of the Cyprus crisis at the beginning of the 1970s and its consequences which to this day have not been overcome.  In the recent past, efforts have been made by different countries and through the UN to find the way to resolve the Cyprus conflict.  Not long ago the President of the United States sent a special mission headed by General Clifford to Cyprus and also to Greece and Turkey with a view to continuing our cooperation with the efforts of the General Secretary of the UN to find a settlement of the Cyprus issue.  During his trip Clifford discussed the situation and the path to a settlement with Archbishop Makarios and with General Denktash in order to find common ground.  On his return trip Clifford informed [UN Secretary General Kurt] Waldheim about the results of his negotiations with the leaders of Cyprus and offered further help from the USA to the Secretary General.

As you no doubt know, Mr. Minister, on this very day in Vienna the inter-community

[mezhobshchinniye] negotiations in which the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot sides are supposed

to put forward new proposals on the territorial issue and in relation to the structure of the government of Cyprus are being renewed.  If these proposals are actually put forward, then in my opinion progress can be made in the negotiations.  This entire issue is now in hands of the Secretary General of the UN, and we consider that he should not be hampered in his efforts.

A.A.GROMYKO. Waldheim, of course, can follow the situation, but he cannot solve the Cypriot issue.

C.VANCE. That's right.  In the final analysis the solution must be found between the parties in Cyprus.

A.A.GROMYKO. Can we conclude that the new administration of the USA stands for the preservation of Cyprus as an independent [samostoyatel'noe, nezavisimoe] territorially unified state?

C.VANCE. Yes, you can make that conclusion.

A.A.GROMYKO. That is a good answer that bears witness to the fact that there is much in common between the positions of our countries.

I want to ask you one question: how does the USA government relate to the position that in the final analysis there not be foreign military bases and forces on Cyprus and that the Cypriots live in peace, without any outside interference.  Do you sympathize with that position?

C.VANCE. On the whole that fits with our point of view.  However, we consider that the issue of British bases on Cyprus is the business of England itself and the government of Cyprus.

A.A.GROMYKO. That is another plane.  But, on the whole, I emphasize, in the final analysis, you are for the idea that there be no bases on Cyprus?

C.VANCE. In perspective, yes.

 A.A.GROMYKO. Well, that to a large extent approaches our position.  You mentioned new proposals which will be put forward by both sides in the inter-community negotiations.  I want to inform you for your information that when the Turkish foreign minister Chaglayangil recently visited us he confirmed - although I don’t know the source of his report -that on the territorial question the Greek-Cypriots, that is the government of Makarios, is generally close to accepting the idea having 30-31% of the territory for the Turk-Cypriots.  In that case, said the Turkish minister, their differences with the Greek-Cypriots are not that great  We, of course, did not go into the details since we do not consider that the issues of the internal Cypriot settlement can be the subject of discussions between the USSR and Turkey.  But, it is likely that the USSR and the USA could through their advice act in the interests of a peaceful settlement in Cyprus.

C.VANCE. As I understand, the Greek-Cypriot position in the territorial issue is approximately 20% for the Turk-Cypriots; the Turkish - approximately 30-31%.  My impression is that real compromise between the sides can be achieved somewhere around 26-27%.

A.A.GROMYKO. When I listened to Chaglayangil's figures I also thought that he was probably talking more out of hope than on the basis of reality.

On the whole we wanted the removal of the Cyprus issue from the international agenda in order to achieve its equitable settlement in keeping with the known decisions of the UN.  From the negotiations with the Turks we felt that they were leaning toward a settlement, and that if both sides in the Cyprus conflict show flexibility, then probably there are grounds for optimism.  However, I would emphasize that no one should hinder them in this case; on the contrary, they should only be helped.

C.VANCE. I agree that there should not be outside interference in the internal Cypriot negotiations.

A.A.GROMYKO. I would like to direct the American side's attention to the proposals by the Warsaw Pact member states that the participant states of the all-European conference conclude a treaty on not being the first to use nuclear weapons against one another.  I will say frankly: we do not understand why the NATO countries - it is true, I am talking about the former American administration - declined this proposal with such haste, right away, without discussion, without any efforts to examine the issue seriously?  Such a reaction produces at the least a very strange impression.  After all, in the past, for instance, when the treaty on nuclear weapons non-proliferation was discussed - and it was discussed by our countries for four years - a rational process of studying the issue was undertaken, first by experts, and thereafter negotiations were held on the appropriate political level.  What would be the harm to the USA or the other NATO countries of this time meeting and discussing the given proposal?  We are sure that as a result of this discussion the misunderstanding about this initiative by the socialist countries would be removed and the sides, perhaps, could agree about something.  Can it really be better to reject this proposal directly, as is said from behind the threshold [s poroga], and thus to display an elementary lack of respect for one's [negotiating] partners?  So [chto zhe], are the socialist countries supposed to follow NATO practice and reject any one of their proposals?

In short, I would like you to examine this issue again, and to examine it seriously.  The Soviet Union sees in this initiative an important means of raising the level of detente, of counteracting the danger of nuclear war, moreover, of course, not only in Europe.

C.VANCE. As I understand the decision to reject the given proposal was taken not only by the USA: it was taken in a session of the NATO council of ministers.  The basis of the decision was the NATO countries' unwillingness to renounce the use of any sort of military materiel in case of attack on any one of the members of the organization.

A.A.GROMYKO. But, after all, the proposal was directed precisely at averting attack!

C.VANCE. In our opinion, instead of setting aside any one sort of armament as a negotiating aim, it is more sensible to concentrate on reducing all categories of weapons, both nuclear and conventional.  It is precisely this that we are attempting at the Vienna talks on bilateral and balanced reductions in armed forces in Central Europe.  We consider that priority should be given to achieving agreement in the negotiations already under way - on strategic arms control and at the Vienna talks, - before we start on the abstract and obscure issue you are talking about.

A.A.GROMYKO. What is abstract about this issue - not making first use of nuclear weapons!  And your arguments about priorities are also weak.  After all we are conducting simultaneous, parallel negotiations on chemical weapons, on not acting against the environment in military interests, on new types and systems of weapons of mass destruction, and so on.  This does not at all hinder the discussion of each of these issues separately and as a whole.

As a whole from your words I conclude that the new USA administration takes the same position on the issue as did the former.  That is worthy of regret.  Nonetheless, the proposals put forward by us remain; that is a life-and-death issue, and probably we will have to return to it. We would hope that what you have said on this count is not the last word from the USA.

C.VANCE. In the UN Charter there is an obligation not to use force in general, and I do not entirely understand why it follows now to limit this obligation only to the participants of the all European conference in regard to nuclear weapons and thus to weaken it.  But I will think about your proposals again in light of what you have said.

A.A.GROMYKO. Incidentally, in regard to the non-use of force in international relations.

The Soviet Union, as is well known, proposed the conclusion of a worldwide treaty on this issue, and our initiative was supported by the majority of UN members.  It is our deep conviction that such a treaty would be equally useful to all its participants.  After all we are talking about formulating obligations to all states, including, of course, nuclear powers, to resolve all disputes that arise by exclusively peaceful means.

As for your observation that such an obligation is already contained in the UN Charter, there truly is a general formulation of that sort.  But what is to prevent states from concretizing this obligation, from taking a position on renouncing the use of different sorts of weapons?  Would the USA really lose from discussing this issue, either in Moscow, in Washington, or in Geneva, let's say, for a start at the level of experts?  Almost the entire world agreed with the expediency of accepting our proposal, but the USA and some other countries which follow its policies for some reason did not.  I call upon you as the new USA Secretary of State to think about this issue.

C.VANCE. I will do so.  It seems to me that before rejecting one or another proposal, it is better to discuss it. A.A.GROMYKO. In that case we will await a communication from you about when the American representatives might be ready to meet with us on this issue.

C.VANCE. Good.  Insofar as we have agreed to discuss each other's proposals, I would like to raise the issue of the renunciation by both our countries of arming satellites around Earth and creating the means of their destruction.  For our part, we have noted the renewal of trial work aimed at, as we understand, the development of satellite-interceptors by the Soviet Union.  The USA would like to avoid this sort of competition in space. We consider that the further development of antisatellite systems can be a factor in destabilizing the strategic situation and in reducing trust between our countries.  For that reason we would be ready to discuss the issue of establishing limits on the development of anti-satellite measures with you, and we propose restraint in the matter of testing anti-satellite systems while these negotiations have yet to begin.

A.A.GROMYKO. I cannot say that an issue does not arise here. We will examine the possibility of discussing it with you.

C.VANCE. Good.  One other problem is the expansion of the civil defense system in the USSR, which provokes concern in the relevant American circles.  A constructive exchange of information in the given area would facilitate future restraint in similar measures.

A.A.GROMYKO. When Schlesinger returned from China, did he frighten you with the scope of Chinese measures in the area of civil defense?

C.VANCE. No, he did not try to do so, but I myself observed that when I was in China.

A.A.GROMYKO. So the USA is worried only by the Soviet system of civil defense.

C.VANCE. We consider that such a system is one of the factors of strategic equality and that a discussion of this issue would serve our mutual interests.

A.A.GROMYKO. In our opinion, activity in the area of civil defense is not a problem of primary importance and does not have a practical significance, when the subject is strategic weapons. It is hard to escape the impression that the raising of this issue on such a plane signifies nothing other than a desire to complicate the resolution of the truly important problem of strategic arms control.  If you, however, lend such importance to this issue, it would be possible to charge experts with examining your concrete proposal.

C.VANCE. That would be good. I want to remark that when the anti-missile systems were first discussed it was not considered to affect the strategic balance. Later, however, it became clear that by the measure of their deployment they were important elements in the strategic balance. We also consider civil defense in this way.

A.A.GROMYKO. I want to touch on another issue.  Our proposal for the convention of a World Conference on Disarmament has been under discussion in UN circles for a long time.  It would be a mistake to think that only the Soviet Union is interested in it.  I want to make a clarification in this regard.

Two things are often confused: the convention of a special session of the UN General Assembly on this issue and the calling together of a Worldwide Conference on Disarmament. We are against convening a special session of the UN General Assembly and voted for the corresponding resolution.  But, of course, the examination of that issue in a special session does not exhaust our proposal for a Worldwide Conference on Disarmament.  After all, the maximum that could be done in this regard in a UN General Assembly session would be to give recommendations to governments, which could fulfill or not fulfill those recommendations, could act in accordance with them or could shelve them.

A Worldwide Conference on Disarmament which would be convened on another basis both from the point of view of decision-making procedure and of the legal force of such decisions is another matter.  Moreover, at the conference it would not be obligatory at all for issues to be resolved by majority vote or by, let's say, a majority of two-thirds of votes.  A series of participant states in the Worldwide Conference on Disarmament, for instance the great powers, could make some sort of independent resolutions and sign a treaty on that basis.  All would depend on the wish of the states themselves to come to an understanding.  In addition, I repeat, no one would foist decisions on anyone else.

So the difference between our proposal and the proposal to convene of a special session of the General Assembly of the UN is not at all in the name of the forum.  I call upon you, Mr. Secretary of State, to think about calling a Worldwide Conference on Disarmament after the special session of the UN General Assembly.

C.VANCE. From my point of view, a Worldwide Conference on Disarmament is a worthy future goal.  However, on the other hand, we now have plenty of practical issues - strategic arms control, the Vienna negotiations, and so on, - which require resolution before we can move on to matters like the convention of a Worldwide Convention on Disarmament.  We for our part are prepared to look at what could be done in that regard, but our experience is as follows: as a matter of priority it seems to us to be important first to resolve what is already on the negotiating table.

A.A.GROMYKO. The efforts made to prepare for a Worldwide Conference on Disarmament should not in the least degree encroach upon efforts to resolve other issues. In general, evidently, the world has entered a phase where it is necessary not to go down the path of solving various separate issues, so to speak not to take one path along, but to take several parallel paths at once.  After all, if we set up a strictly logical system of priorities, then we would never have got to some problems, and moreover some very important ones, for a century.  Such is the case in the matter of the Worldwide Conference on Disarmament.

Let us now briefly discuss the issue of chemical weapons.  Should we not arrange for the Soviet and American representatives on the Geneva Committee on Disarmament, where the issue is being discussed, to busy themselves in earnest to prepare a text of an agreement relating to it?  In the course of such a preparation, it is possible that some of the issues which are arising now will fade away.  So far there is some sort of philosophical discussion going on there.

C.VANCE. I would like to note progress in the discussion of some of the technical issues associated with chemical weapons.  But we would be ready for your and our representatives to take up the practical realization of this initiative and in the course of preparing the text of the agreement to try to move their positions closer together.

A.A.GROMYKO. In that case you should give the appropriate directive to the US representatives in Geneva.

C.VANCE. Fine.

A.A.GROMYKO. A few words about the meeting in Belgrade.  Briefly speaking, our conception of the meeting is that it will be convened not for an argument, not for mutual recriminations, not for putting forward claims and counterclaims about the violation of this or that statute of the Final Act by some specific state, but in order that it demonstrate a positive spirit of cooperation and detente, that it be oriented toward the future and will facilitate the fulfillment of all the statutes of the Final Act and the examination of new proposals which can further peace, security and cooperation in Europe.

C.VANCE. We also do not believe that there should be argument in Belgrade.  It is necessary to have an overview there of how satisfactorily all the statutes of the Final Act have been fulfilled -the first, second, and third baskets.  It would be possible to discuss a limit on the number of new proposals as well, but an especial emphasis should be made, in our opinion, examining how the set of all the sections, or, as they are called, all of the "baskets" of the Helsinki document have been fulfilled.

A.A.GROMYKO. Can we not empty and burn all these baskets even before the Belgrade meeting?  Otherwise the very word "basket" threatens to become the most popular in Belgrade.

I, of course, paid attention to your words about the examination of the way the Final Act has been carried out.  It is hard to object to this idea in its own right.  The whole issue, however, is how things are examined - arguing and criticizing each other or in the spirit of good will, with a desire to come to an understanding.  We think that the first approach would benefit no one.  We plan in addition to make several proposals, partly new, perhaps, partly those which we have already talked about   It is important that the course and goals of this meeting not exacerbate relations between our countries but instead serve to improve them.

C.VANCE. We also would like to conduct the Belgrade meeting in a constructive spirit and plan to act accordingly.

A.A.GROMYKO. I want to voice satisfaction that we managed to achieve agreement in the negotiations in Moscow in recent days on such bilateral issues as sea transport between the USSR and the USA and the mutual exchange of property allotments in Moscow and Washington for the construction of our respective embassies.  It is good that these two lingering issues have at last found a positive resolution.

Unfortunately, there remains the unresolved issue of air shipments. It is worthwhile nonetheless to continue our efforts with the goal of finding a mutually acceptable compromise.

C.VANCE. I am also happy with the conclusion of these two agreements.  As for aerial communications, we are for the renewal of the negotiations on the given question in the near future. At the same time, it is prudent to maintain the status-quo as far as the script of air flights for both sides is concerned.

G.M. KORNICHENKO  (elaborating). The summer season starts in 30 March, during which in accordance with former practice Aeroflot has four regular flights in a week instead of two in winter.  In speaking about the status-quo, you mean that this practice is to continue?

C.VANCE. I think that is a correct understanding of the status-quo.

A.HARTMAN (elaborating). No, rather it means that Aeroflot will for now continue to have two flights in a week until a new understanding is reached.

A.A.GROMYKO. What sort of a status-quo is that?  That overlooks current practice.

C.VANCE. Permit me to consult with our experts and give you an answer later.

A.A.GROMYKO. One more issue.  We were very offended by the way the previous American government dealt with the incident of a Soviet aircraft in Japan.  The issue is not even with the pilot, although we, of course, do not believe one iota of the version which is being circulate in the West, and in the USA.  We are talking about the aircraft.  Can the USA services really count on somehow improving the American strategic position by stripping down our aircraft? That's such nonsense. But thereby a not insignificant blow was dealt to trust in the whole atmosphere of relations between our countries.  How would the American side like it if some aircraft, say a "Phantom” suddenly fell into our hands, and we did the same thing with it?

On this seemingly small but actually big issue, I would like to show you, Mr. Secretary of

State, how we talked about it with the previous USA administration, that one cannot resort to such methods leading to the disruption of trust between our states.

C.VANCE. I will take under advisement what you have said.  I also know that the Soviet

side at the time had a conversation about the issue with President Ford and that there was an exchange of letters between him and the General Secretary L. I. Brezhnev.

Let me further touch on the following question.  President Carter has already written to the General Secretary L. I. Brezhnev about his desire to come to an understanding relating to prior notification about missile test launches.  We have in mind that such a notification be given at least 24 hours before a launch and would include the date and concrete periods of the planned ICBM tests.  We see the goal of such an understanding as averting the possibility of the other side's incorrectly interpreting such launches, which can otherwise cause concern.

A.A.GROMYKO. The USSR announces all of its missile launches which occur in areas outside of its national territory in advance.  As for strategic missile launches within national territory, there is no necessity to announce them in advance since, as a rule, they occur in areas which cannot provoke concern in the USA.  These regions are well known to the USA.

Together with this we are ready to consider the issue of whether a prior notification could be made in specific cases when launches are being conducted which, despite being within the confines of national territory, might in the opinion of the side conducting the launch be incorrectly interpreted and provoke concern in the other side.  This issue could be examined more concretely, for instance within the framework of the Standing Consultative Commission.

C.VANCE. Good.  We will give the appropriate instructions to our representative on the commission.

x         x         x

After the negotiations with the full staff [v shirokom sostave] a discussion was conducted between A. A. Gromyko and C. Vance with the participation only of translators.

C.VANCE. I would like to touch on the issue of separated families and to pass on to you the list of Soviet citizens wishing to emigrate from the USSR to the USA or Israel in order to re-unite with their relatives.

A.A.GROMYKO. I cannot say that the raising of this issue arouses enthusiasm in me.

Speaking to the point, we will examine this issue.  Of course it is self-evident that we will resolve it in each concrete case in full accordance with our legislation.  I refrain from any concrete promises.

C.VANCE. I fully understand that.  I will acknowledge any efforts which you can undertake to resolve this issue.

I want now to touch on the issue of the radiation which the employees at our embassy in Moscow are subject to.  I know that in the recent past its level has improved, but it is still being observed, which, of course, provokes concern amongst our people.  The full cessation of this radiation would be valued highly positively by us.

A.A.GROMYKO. I must say quite frankly that this issue has me well fed up.  I cannot add anything to the response which has been given by us to the American side on this count.  Despite that fact that in the recent past a series of industrial enterprises have been moved out of Moscow, they are, unfortunately, still a part of the city, including its central part which evidently is what is being said. Of course, I will keep in mind what you have said, but I must frankly state that in the USA you have some who love to contrive different sorts of "issues." Without this they simply get bored of living [Bez etogo im prosto skuchno zhit'].

C.VANCE. At issue is the fact that some employees in our embassy in Moscow have become ill and some connect their illness with the radiation I have mentioned.  It is only for this reason that I raise this question.

A.A.GROMYKO. If it comes to that, I can show you statistical data about how many of our people having worked for several years in the USA return from there sick.  One of my assistants who returned from the USA a few years back died of leukemia.  Another of my assistants who returned very recently is also unwell for the same reason.  I will not continue the conversation on this topic, but the norms of radiation which our people undergo in the USA are higher than those experienced by your people in Moscow; that is indisputable.

C.VANCE. I thank you for your promise to keep in mind what I have said to you about this.

I want to touch on one more issue.  President Carter asked me to talk with you about the issue of Soviet-American trade relations.  We want you to know that we, the USA government, would like to achieve a growth in trade between our countries and a resolution of the issue of granting the Soviet Union a more favored trade status.  We intend to try for this.  It requires time to obtain the support of our Congress, but we, I repeat, are ready to move in that very direction. Something has already been done by us: we discussed these issues with some leaders of Congress and hope to attain positive results.

We understand that attaining this goal requires an official cancellation of the Jackson-Vanik and Stevenson amendments on the issue of credit.

I cannot give you any promises about how long this problem will take to be resolved, but both President Carter and I myself would like you to know that we are working in that direction on the assumption that achieving this goal meets the interests of both of our countries.

A. A. GROMYKO. I am taking your words under advisement. You know that a resolution

of this issue would receive a positive assessment from our side. We have already said more than once that we consider the development of economic-trade relations to be a mutually beneficial matter.  A continuation of the existing difficulties on this path, of course, would play a definite role in terms of the improvement of relations between the USSR and the USA.  L. I. Brezhnev has spoken about this more than once.

Present at the negotiations were: for the Soviet side - Corns. L. V. Smirnov, A. F. Dobrynin, G. M. Kornienko; for the American side - M. Tun, P. Warnke, A. Hartman, W. Highland.

The negotiations were translated and taken down by V. Sukhodrev.