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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 18, 1983


This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Report on the progress of negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United States for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), complaining that the American proposals are not acceptable from the Soviet perspective.
    "Information for Soviet Embassies on the Strategic Arms Reduction Negotiations," May 18, 1983, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, CWIHP Archives.
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Strictly confidential


An instruction has been given to the Soviet embassies in Bonn, London, Paris, Athens, Brussels, the Hague, Copenhagen, and Ottawa to visit Kohl, Craxi, Thatcher, Mitterrand, Panadreu, Martens, Lubbers, Shlutter and Trudeau respectively and inform them confidentially about the following.

The other day, the leaders of the American delegation at the negotiations in Geneva, P. Nitze, expressed some thoughts to the Soviet representative relating to a possible, from his point of view, compromise version of a resolution of the basic issues which are the subject of discussion at the negotiations.  The essence of this version according to Nitze’s exposition would consist of the following: the US would renounce the deployment of all the missiles planned for placement in European territory [v evropeiskaia chast’], also [sic] a total quantity of 572 warheads.  In this case, by his calculations, the USSR would have 122-127 SS-20 missiles left in the European part of the country, which would comprise an approximate practical equivalent to the medium-range missiles held at present by the members of the North Atlantic alliance aside from the US.  The issue of how to deal with the possible future increase in the number of warheads on the missiles of these countries, in Nitze’s opinion, could be examined later in other negotiations, for instance, those concerning strategic arms.  

In Moscow the said thoughts were treated seriously, and Nitze was informed that we are ready to examine a similar version of a resolution of the issue of missiles if it were officially proposed by the American side.  At the same time, we confirmed those of our new ideas relating to medium-range airborne weapons [aviatsionnye sredstva srednei dal’nosti], as well as our missiles in the Eastern part of the USSR, which were initially laid out by Yu. V. Andropov in his recent interview in the newspaper “Pravda.”

Up until now no reaction to this new manifestation of our good will has come from Washington.

Instead, the US delegation introduced to the negotiations, as it was stated by the Americans themselves, “in the context of an intermediate agreement,” one single clarification: if before they said that the USSR must bless the deployment of 50 to 450 American missiles in Europe while sharply cutting its own, then now they have named a concrete figure - they would like to have 420 missiles.  In this way, the Americans clearly confirmed their intention to fulfill the projected plan of deploying their missiles, while at the same time as before proposing that the Soviet Union unilaterally disarm.  It is unlikely that there is a need to state that such a “clarification” of the American position does not make it one iota more realistic and does not bring us a single step closer to agreement.

Now it depends only upon the American side as to whether there will be agreement or not and as to whether there will be further negotiations or not.  

Having stated our readiness to examine the version of detente [razviazka] put forward by Nize in the unofficial plan, we afforded the US the chance to manifest good will at long last in this case.  Obviously, other member countries in the North Atlantic alliance cannot be indifferent as to whether [the US] takes advantage of this chance or not.  On that assumption, we considered it necessary to bring this confidential information to your attention.

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