Second Plenary Meeting, November 19, 1985
Two notes of the conversation exist in the file, the first more polished than the second
United States Department of State Washington, D.C. 20520
Second Plenary Meeting, November 19, 1985
The President offered Gorbachev the floor to comment on the President's presentation during the morning session.
- Does not plan extensive debate over what President said since it is necessary to find ways to move relationship toward a more normal one with greater trust and respect, and most importantly to give impulse to Geneva negotiations.
- As he said during private meeting this morning, Soviets reject a "primitive approach" toward the world around us -- that is that everything can be traced to some plan for supremacy or world domination. U.S. frequently charges Soviet Union with expansionism.
- Soviets cannot share U.S. views of the causes of regional conflict. To blame the Soviet union is either a mistake or a deliberate distortion. If U.S. policies are based on a mistaken view, it is difficult to see the way out of these problems.
- Soviets take "principled approach" to the developing countries and their problems. Have no monopolies in these countries which exploit their manpower and resources. Have no egotistical interests or expansionist aims, and desire no military bases.
- Soviets look at process going on there objectively. Consider it a natural one of third world countries first pressing for political independence and then gaining control over own resources. U.S. attributes to USSR the power and capability to upset the whole world, but Soviets are realistic pragmatists who categorically oppose attempts to dominate other countries from the outside. They also oppose the export of counterrevolution. [end p8]
- U.S. speaks of Afghanistan and Ethiopia as if it was the Soviet Union that stirred the pot there. Soviets first heard of revolutions there on the radio. They had good relations with Haile Selassie and were not the cause of the revolution there. They do support "progressive movements" -- this is in the Party program. But have no secret plans.
- U.S. has its values and Soviets have theirs. Both can play a role together.
- In Afghanistan, Soviets support a "regularizing process" around that country - the U.N. process. U.S. however does not help. You say USSR should withdraw its troops, but actually you want them there, and the longer the better. Soviets are ready to support a package solution involving a cease fire and troop withdrawal, the return of refugees, and guarantees. There are possibilities for a political reconciliation. Soviets have no designs on the Persian Gulf or other states in the area.
- These are just examples to illustrate the Soviet policy toward the Third World. Basically the issues are internal problems for the states involved. We can contribute our discussions by specialists on regional issues.
- President has charged that it is the Soviet Union which has been building up its arms while the U.S. acts with restraint. This is a major question. Much depends on the character of the present strategic situation and how it will develop in the future. It is the central question of our relations.
- Twenty years ago there was no strategic balance; U.S. had four times as many strategic delivery systems than the USSR and also forward-based systems. what would U.S. have done if Soviet Union had possessed four times as much? You would have had to take steps, just as we did to establish parity.
- In fact, U.S. has tripled the number of its warheads and has more nuclear weapons than the Soviet Union. Soviets have not violated the nuclear balance and is not trying to pass the U.S., since superiority cannot be the basis for normal relations. All institutes which study the problem, including the ISS in London, conclude that there is strategic parity.
- Soviet Union wants parity at a lower level. We are for equal security and agreed to embark upon the negotiations in Geneva. We must meet each other half way if we are to find a way to reduce strategic weapons. We know U.S. can meet any challenge from us and we can meet any challenge from you. But why not make a step which would permit lowering the arms level? [end p9]
- Soviets think SDI can lead to an arms race in space, and not just a defensive arms race but an offensive arms race with space weapons. Scientists say any shield can be pierced, so SDI cannot save us. So why create it. It only makes sense if it is to defend against a retaliatory strike. What would the West think if the Soviet Union was developing these weapons? You would react with horror.
- Knows President is attached to the program, but Soviets have analyzed it seriously. Soviet conclusion is that if the U.S. implements the plan, the Soviet Union will not cooperate in a plan to gain superiority over it.
- You say the Soviet union is doing the same, but this is not the case. Both of us do research in space of course, but Soviet research is for peaceful purposes. U.S. in contrast has military aims, and that is an important difference. Violates ABM Treaty, which is of fundamental importance.
- If U.S. embarks on SDI, following will happen: (1) no reduction of offensive weapons; and (2) Soviet Union will respond.
- If "seven layers" of defense in space, what will happen? It will require automatization which will place important decisions in the hands of computers and political leaders will just be in bunkers with computers making the decisions. This could unleash an uncontrollable process. You haven't thought this through; it will be a waste of money, and also will cause more distrust and more weapons.
- As for defense against "crazy leaders," we should remember that we will have sufficient retaliatory force for that for a long time.
- Verification will not be a problem if basic question solved. Soviets prepared for full verification of a ban on space weapons.
- If ban agreed upon, then we could negotiate on our respective proposals for offensive weapons reduction. Soviets ready to compromise. If space weapons are banned, the situation would be completely different; it would create a new attitude on the Soviet side. [end p10]
The President then made the following points:
- Gorbachev's presentation illustrates the lack of trust between us and a level of suspicion which is difficult to understand.
- Even when we were allies in World War II we encountered inexplicable Soviet suspicion. For example, permission was not given for U.S. bombers to land on Soviet territory in order to reduce the dangers of bombing our common enemy. Gorbachev spoke of parity, but there is none today. True that U.S. once had nuclear superiority, but offered to place all nuclear weapons under international control. It has also made numerous other offers, and the President listed twelve such between 1953 and 1969.
- Since SALT-I was signed, Soviet Union has added 6,000 nuclear warheads. Since SALT-II, 3,850 have been added. Meanwhile, the U.S. removed 2400 warheads from Europe, while the Soviet Union threatened Europe with its SS-20's. Allies requested protection and it fell to President to implement their request when Soviets refused to conclude an agreement to remove the threat.
- Now we are locked in a Mutual Assurred Destruction policy. U.S. does not have as many ICBM's as Soviet Union, but has enough to retaliate. But there is something uncivilized about this. Laws of war were developed over the centuries to protect civilians, but civilians are the targets of our vast arsenals today.
- History teaches that a defense is found for every offensive weapon. We don't know if strategic defensive weapons will be possible, but if they are, they should not be coupled with an offensive force. Latter must be reduced so it will not be a threat. And if strategic defenses prove possible, we should negotiate and make them available to all.
- Re Afghanistan: Their "leader" was supplied by the Soviet Union. Actually their second choice. Soviet invasion has created three milliion refugees. He made suggestion for solution at UN. Specifically, how about mutual withdrawal of all outside forces, then form a coalition of Islamic states to supervise the installation of a government chosen by the people of Afghanistan? [end p11]
- Re Cambodia: We signed an agreement with North Vietnam. It was violated and the North Vietnamese took over South Vietnam and also Laos and Cambodia. It now rules Cambodia. We should put an end to this and together supervise establishment of a government chosen by the Cambodian people.
- Re Nicaragua: Sovits have advisers there. Sandinistas have built a tremendous military machine, far more than they need for defense. Have declared an aim of spreading revolution elsewhere. Reviewed history of removal of Somoza, appeal to OAS, and promise of free elections and a free press. But then when Somoza removed, the Sandinistas forced other groups out of the coalition and are trying to establish totalitarian control. Contras are only trying to reinstate the goals of the original revolution.
- Such things as those noted are behind our suspicion and mistrust.
- Every military judgment has it that Sovit forces are designed for offensive operations.
- U.S. willing to work on an agreement to move away from mutual threats. SDI would never be used by U.S. to improve its offensive capability or to launch a first strike. SDI should not lead to an arms race; we can both decide to reduce and eliminate offensive weapons.
- U.S. does not seek superiority, but will protect its freedoms.
Gorbachev then asked what they should tell their negotiators in Geneva.
The President replied that they could be given guidelines to reduce nuclear weapons, say by 50%. We could negotiate on the structure of forces, since we know the structure of our forces is different.
Gorbachev asked about the U.S. goal of SDI and how this relates to our January agreement to prevent an arms race in space.
The President said that he did not see a defensive shield as an arms race in space and then recounted a Chinese story of the man who built a shield after the sword was invented. [end p12]
Gorbachev then asked whether the President considered SDI weapons as the militarizaion of space.
The President replied that he did not. If the technology was developed, it should be shared. Neither side should deploy until the other did. It should be done in combination with lowering offensive weapons so that neither could gain a first-strike advantage.
The President then invited Gorbachev to take a walk for another private conversation and the two departed at 3:40 p.m.
When President Reagan and general Secretary Gorbachev went off together for their private conversation at the boathouse, the remaining group on the US and Soviet side stayed at the main house.
Secretary Shultz indicated to Shevardnadze that the President would be talking to the General Secretary about guidelines for the Geneva negotiations. They would see whether they could stimulate the people there to make some progress. Shultz proposed that he and Shevardnadze not discuss that issue, since it was being discussed by the two leaders.
Shultz indicated that he thought that there were some points of intersection in our positions in Geneva, and that the differences could be narrowed down in the process of negotiation. The President would be talking about those issues in broad terms, but if Shevardnadze did have any ideas which he wished to express on that subject, Shultz would, of course, be glad to hear them. [end p13] Shevardnadze replied that the General Secretary had stated the basic approach of the Soviet side. Korniyenko interjected that there should be no SDI and there should be mutual exploration on the basis of the two proposals laid down in Geneva in order to bridge the gaps between them. These were short and good guidelines. Shultz replied that the Soviet side realized that the US would not stop its research program. But as the President had often said, he would be ready to discuss it, and thought should be given to what we would do if the research proves to be promising. Shevardnadze asked why this was necessary. Shultz replied that this offered an opportunity of moving the concept of restraints, of which Shevardnadze had spoke so eloquently at the UN, to a more stable and more humane level. It was also an opportunity for dealing with what the US saw as a destabilizing situation which arose from various aspects of offensive arms, such as their accuracy, power, mobility and so forth. It was these things that lead to the necessity of having a strong shield against them. But the US believed that stability would be increased if this took place not as a result of an arms race, but as a result of cooperation. A one-sided move to defense would be destabilizing, whereas a negotiated move would be stabilizing. Shevardnadze replied that what Shultz was now proposing was cooperation in an unknown area. He was sorry, but he considered such things to be in the realm of fantasy. If we speak about offensive nuclear arms and their limitation, we have a great deal of experience in this, and US and Soviet proposals are on the table at the negotiations. The General Secretary had indicated today that if we agreed to ban space strike weapons, then on the basis of such proposals the US and USSR could find compromise solutions. This was solid logic. Shevardnadze continued that Shultz had said that the main destabilizing factor was offensive nuclear arms. In his opinion, the main destabilizing factor today was the US SDI. If it were not for SDI, the two sides could make progress at the Geneva talks. Shevardnadze also wished to add something which he had not mentioned before. Shultz had said that in speaking of SDI, US officials had said that the Soviet Union was conducting research in this area as well. And not only was it carrying out research, but was ahead in some areas. This was being said [end p14] not only by journalists and the media, but official US representatives as well. If this was so, why is the Soviet side proposing to ban space strike weapons? Shultz said that the US and the Soviet Union had different views about the Soviet program. The Soviet side had descrlbed it in one way, but the US felt confident that Soviet research was approximately parallel to its own, and had been going on for some time. He said that Ambassador Nitze could describe how we see the Soviet program and could give some reasons why it exists.
Before Ambassador Nitze could start, Shevardnadze interjected that if the US side intended to try to co~vince the Soviet side of the usefulness of the SDI program, with all due respect for Ambassador Nitze, it would not be able to do so. The General Secretary had indicated that the Soviet side had not simply invented its arguments, but had formed them after discussions with scientists and design specialists. It was the conviction of the Soviet side that space strike weapons would be the beginning of a new era of the arms race.
Shevardnadze continued that words to the effect that this process could be regulated by agreement were, in his opinion, baseless, since agreements were made by people, and people could abrogate them as well. Therefore, the wisest decision at present would be not to allow a new cycle of the arms race - the most terrible one.
Shevardnadze continued that perhaps he did not know some of the facts which specialists were aware of in this area. He did not understand how there could be guarantees that defensive weapons would have no offensive function. There were very few weapons of a defensive nature that did not have an offensive function as well.
Korniyenko interjected that the President and other US representatives said that after we find out if we can or cannot create such a system, before deploying it, we will discuss it with other countries. Developing such a system would take many years, and the question was, would the next President follow the same logical arguments that the present one uses? But the arms will be there. They will have their own logic. There will be no way back. Unfortunately, we knew from history examples of treaties which were signed and then thrown into the wastebasket. How could other countries think that 10 or 15 years from now a US administration would act in the way that the present US Administration. was asking the USSR to believe that it would act? This was naive. [end p15]
Shultz said that he would like to reply to these questions, which were good ones. First of all, the US was proposing an "open laboratories" approach which would call for briefings on what was going on in this area, so that the Soviet side would not be suspicious, and doubts would be eliminated. This would call for Soviet scientists to visit US labs and get a feel for this firsthand, so as the process develops, people who understand it, i.e. scientists, would have a sense of what was happening. Secondly, it would be in our interest (not only on the basis of goodwill and trust) to have cooperative defense development which would not be one-sided. The reason that it would be in our interest not to have one-sided defense development is that this would produce instability since it would cause concern on the part of the side that did not do this about what would happen if such a shield were in place. The US side is not interested in instability, so it is not interested in doing things differently from how the President has proposed.
Shultz continued that the third thing was that finally our two sides were talking about reductions, and not just limitations, of offensive arms. This was a long time in coming, but was now on our agenda. This was agreed to in Geneva back in January, where both the US and the USSR proposed reductions. The two sides had indicated at that time, and the President and the General Secretary had repeated, the desire of the sides to reduce their nuclear arsenals to zero. The closer we get to zero, the more the defensive shield can eliminate the offensive threat. It would be an insurance policy, and not a defense which would permit an offensive strike. If both sides begin to reduce their weapons and continue along that path, and other countries join us, we would change the nature of the Soviet concern. Shultz indicated at this point that Mr. McFarlane would like to add about another ten points.
Shevardnadze said that he would like to reply and ask some questions. Today we were talking about reductions of nuclear weapons, including strategic offensive weapons. Let’s say we agreed to a 50 percent reduction today and agree to the need to eliminate nuclear weapons altogether. If we seriously took this to its logical conclusion, and other countries joined us, why would there be a need for a shield? We would not only eliminate nuclear weapons, but would have the means to assure that other countries would not have them.
Shultz replied that he was glad that Shevardnadze had added this; since he agreed that verification was an important element in this process.
Mr. McFarlane said that he had some brief comments. Mr. Korniyenko's question was a reasonable one, i.e. whether the [end p16] intentions of the present Administration would be shared by future Presidents. No administration could bind future ones. But history had shown that in democracies, specifically in the US, there was a basis on which a judgment could be made. Recent evidence had shown that even where a treaty was not enforced, and there was only an agreement to abide by it, the sides continued to observe it after its scheduled expiration when there was no obligation to do so. This should be a basis for confidence. McFarlane asked Korniyenko if he had perhaps intended to ask about the period of time required for abrogation of the ABM Treaty.
Korniyenko replied that he had not, and said that he had one more question. It might seem strange, and unrelated to the main question under discussion, but he saw a definite tie to this issue. At the beginning of today's session, the President had mentioned, as an example of mistrust (and he had spoken emotionally of how Americans had died in the war) , how the USSR, before the end of the war, would not let US planes land on Soviet territory on their bombing missions to Germany. This simply was not true. When enough Soviet territory had been freed, so that the range of the planes would permit them to land for refueling and returning, the Poltava airfield had been opened and was open in 1944 and 1945 as long as the US needed it. He personally had served in the army unit protecting the base. He had been injured and many of his friends had died in defending it. He had known the US commander of the base. And Ambassador Harriman had known of this.
Shevardnadze added that Stalin and Roosevelt had had no differences and we should also not have any.
Korniyenko continued that he had not been offended, but he wondered who gave the President his information if such things were said, not only about this issue, but about other matters as well.
Shultz replied that he was glad to have this information, and the US side would check it out. If the President had been wrong, he would be told. Shultz had heard the President mention this on the basis of the President's Air Force experience.
Shultz continued that he would like to pick up on a different subject and talk about three things which were mentioned, two by the General Secretary and one by Shevardnadze when they had talked previously. Shevardnadze had mentioned that as we worked on ways to express the results of our talks, a number of areas of agreement had been found. This afternoon, the General Secretary had spoken about Afghanistan, and had expressed his opinion that a political settlement of that issue [end p17] would be very desirable from the Soviet point of view. The US side agreed with that. Shultz said that he thought that the General Secretary had spoken about Afghanistan in a way which was different from how the subject had been mentioned previously. So, perhaps, this could be a fruitful area for work. Shultz indicated that among the areas of agreement were the regional consultations (which the General Secretary had mentioned) , where the two sides had agreed that they should continue and develop. It was understood that such consultations should go beyond the level of experts, i.e. the Foreign Ministers should meet more regularly, and the questions for discussion should include the processes which might be considered with regard to regional issues such as Afghanistan. Shultz considered these things to be a plus, and he wanted to add something that the General Secretary had mentioned in the morning session, i.e. he had outlined what he saw as a desirable process of interaction between the two sides in the future. He had spoken of meetings at various levels, starting at the very top, and down to the level of exchanges of citizens. As the Soviet side knew, the US was also in favor of such a concept of interaction. This brought Shultz to the question which they had discussed before, i.e. how to report the results of this meeting in the two countries and to the general public.
Shultz indicated that before leaving Washington he had given Ambassador Dobrynin a document which was based on the document which the two sides had previously worked on. As Shultz had explained to Dobrynin, a proposed paragraph had been added which indicated that the specific areas of agreement were described in the pages following the first one. So there would be a statement of agreement between the two sides concerning the results of the meeting of the two leaders and whatever would come of that, guidel ines perhaps, Shultz d id not know, perhaps nothing. There were some areas, such as nuclear nonproliferation, where agreement had been reached, and some areas still outstanding. So a possible document indicating such areas of agreement might be worked out. If the Soviet side wished to work on such a document, the US side would be glad to do so. Shultz thought that a meeting could be held at 9:00 PM if the Soviet side agreed.
Korniyenko asked what agreements would be listed after the first page.
Shultz replied that this would depend on what was agreed. There were already quite a number of issues which had been agreed, and perhaps there would be others. [end p18]
Korniyenko indicated that it was not clear what issues would be listed in addition to the basic guidelines.
Shultz replied that he thought it would be useful for our representatives to work this through, but they would be the kind of things that we had agreed, and on which we had been working, e.g. nonproliferation, a reference to the signing of a cultural agreement, an agreement on North Pacific Air Safety and civil aviation, if they were concluded, a reference to the agreement to continue regional discussions and impetus in this area from the foreign ministers, as well as language on arms control, not only with regard to the Geneva negotiations, but other areas as well. This was a full pot, but it was an attempt to find areas of agreement, not disagreement.
Shevardnadze indicated that Gorbachev had spoken today of the political mechanism which should be in place if our countries wished to cooperate seriously.
Shultz replied that he understood that, and basically, in his previous reference, he had indicated agreement with him, which was reflected here.
Shevardnadze said that he raised this issue since there were different components of this mechanism. The highest component was the meeting of the leaders of the two countries. The second was the meetings between the two foreign ministers, several times a year. Another component was the Geneva negotiations. Another was political consultations on regional issues. There were also meetings on various other issues, such as cultural exchanges, civil aviation, trade, etc.
Shultz added that there were also people-to-people exchanges.
Shevardnadze said that the aim of the present meeting between the two leaders, as the General Secretary had said, was to give a political impetus to all of this. So from the very beginning, the Soviet side had said that we needed to have a serious final document.
Shultz replied that we would try to do this and that there would be a meeting without a fixed agenda between Ambassador Ridgway and Mr. Sokolov about this if the Soviet side wished to have such a meeting. At this point, it was indicated that the President and the General Secretary had ended their meeting and Gorbachev was leaving. Therefore, Shultz and Shevardnadze concluded their discussion as well.
Drafted: D. Zarechnak.
Afternoon Plenary, November 19, 1985
When we last met (this morning), we agreed you (Gorbachev) would have the floor when we returned.
-- I would like to respond to your remarks of this morning. During our preprations, we talked more than once prior to this meeting about what we should devote time to - whether we should focus on the causes of tension or focus more on solutions, keeping in mind that both sides have said a lot about causes.
-- Today, too, if we were to try to make a list of our mutual objections we would not be able to make headway towards normalization, trust, respect and understanding --and most importantly, to give some impetus to the Geneva process which is at a crucial stage.
--I think that it is reasonable, therefore, that we avoid a big debate over your remarks. But, as I told you in our one-on-one, the Soviet leadership is free of any primative [sic] approach. It is not as you feel that all (our policy) is based on some global plan for supremacy by the Soviet Union, the building of an Empire.
-- We have discussed this many times. Your side has raised regional issues, but in doing so, you mentioned our "expansion" in Afghanistan, Angola - even Yemen.
-- We can agree hotbeds of conflict do cause problems in our relationship --but we can not agree with your view of their cause - because you feel USSR "expansionism" is responsible.
-- This is either a disillusion or deliberate distoration [sic].
-- If U.S. policy is developed based on this view, it will be hard to find a way out.
-- An assessment of our policy in the Third World based on such a misconception can only lead to undermining international security.
-- I'd like to give you our fundamental view on developing countries: [end p19] First of all, we have no monopolies in developing countries using their resources and manpower. We seek no commercial consessions. We rely on our own resources 100%. Therefore, we have no selfish interest in the third world. We need no bases or platforms there.
-- Secondly, if you were to look at the developing world in unbiased way, it is the product of a long-term objective process which began after WW II involving liberation wars trying to add political freedom and to permit countries to use their resources and manpower as they see fit. This is the root of what is happening.
-- You overemphasize the power of the Soviet Union. We are a pragmatic and realistic people. We are categorically opposed to impose solutions from outside. However, we are against counterrevolution, and support the struggle for liberation because we want free rights. Some wanted to crush the revoutions in the US, in FRANCE, and in the USSR.
-- The idea that a small number of people (like the USSR) could turn the world into tension is unreal.
-- In India, Algeria, and Korea there are millions of people.
-- In Afghanistan and Ethiopia, you feel that we stirred the pot, but we first heard of the revolution in Afghanistan on the radio.
-- We traditionally had good relations with Heili Salessi [sic] in Ethiopia.
-- It is wrong to ascribe to us plotting -no this is not right. All we ascribe to is freedom. We support freedom - and make no secret of it.
-- We have no secret plans for world domination - this is unrealistic. Regional problems are due to the struggle evolving over many stages. Some time you support one side or the other. We can also play a role - and in some areas, already do.
-- We support a settlement of Afghanistan, a political settlement under the UN, if you help us. You accuse us of deploying troops but you work against us. You want our troops there, the longer the better.
-- We are prepared for a package involving a non-aligned Afghanistan, with guarantees of no outside interference, Soviet troops withdrawn and refugees returned. There are possibilities for a political reconciliation. [end p20]
-- We are ready to promote this package if you are ready. Afghanistan is also ready to work, but wants the cooperation of all groups.
-- I think we can reach a political settlement. Once again, we have no plan for using this to gain access to a warm water port, to the Persian Gulf, or to infringe on U.S. interests - no such plan exists.
-- We could use this situation to improve the overall relationship -pursuing the cooperation of conflicting sides with our support - but not interfearing.
-- This is an area to us to explore.
-- You have said the USSR builds and the U.S. lag behind. You say that we are commited to an arms race. The characteristics of the future situation will depend on today and tomorrow - this is the central issue.
-- You said that while the U.S. was showing restraint, the Soviet Union was building military potential. But 20 years ago, there was no balance in the strategic area. The U.S. had more than four times the number of Strategic Nuclear Delivery Vehicles, plus nuclear Foward Based Systems. Maybe that was acceptable to the U.S., but it was not parity nor stable.
-- You now trying to assure that no agreements are violated - but 20 years ago you had four times Soviet power. Soviet leadership had to offset your advantage, so that it would not be possible for you to manipulate us.
-- But since 1960, the U.S. has increased its warheads, its nuclear charges three times, and even now is greater than the USSR.
-- The negotiations began as we approached parity. We are not trying not to lag behind, or to get ahead. We can't have unequal security, even if the imbalance is in our benefit, because this is not the basis for strategic stability.
-- The IISS and JCS reports show that parity exists. The forces are different, but they support different strategies.
-- We need to reduce parity to lower levels. We are moving toward each other. Neither side can be superior to the other. We are all for equal security at lower levels of forces.
-- We have engaged in new Geneva negotiations, with all subject taken in their interrelationship. I would like to list all the steps that we have made to start movement and to outline the political concept we have adopted. [end p21]
-- The time has come for us both to muster the political will and realism to make progress and to end efforts to outsmart or overrun other side.
-- Even now, due to computer technology, one side could get ahead in space. But we can match any challenge - though you may not think so.
-- Why not take the obvious next step? SDI can lead to an arms race in space which is not only defensive but offensive. Space weapons will be harder to verify and will feed suspicions and mistrust.
-- Scholars tell us that any shield can be pierced. SDI will not save us, so why is SDI necessary? The only logical rationale is to cope with a weakened (Soviet) retaliatory strike. Weinberger has said that if the USSR had such a defense first, it would be bad. If we go first, you feel it would be bad for the world, feeding mistrust. We can't believe your rationale.
-- You said that a defense was possible. Since it appeared the President is committed, we studied your idea seriously. The answer that we came to is that it will lead to an arms race on earth and in space.
-- We will not help you in your plans. We will need to make them impracticle,[sic] and we will buildup [sic] to smash your shield.
-- You say that the USSR is already doing this (similar defense). That is not true. The USSR and US are involved in research related to outer space, some joint research, and studying fundamental research for peace without setting a goal of defense. We are not trying to put the research to military use. That goal would be inconsistent with the ABM Treaty. Testing is also inconsistent with the Treaty. This can only exacerbate mistrust.
-- The President and his advisors are pressing forward and this can only lead to no reductions, rather a qualitative upgrading of our systems, potentially to counter your defense and an effort on our part to find a response. This response would not be a mirror of your program, but a simpler, more effective system.
-- What will happen when you put in your seven levels and we put in ours? It will just destablize the situation, generate mistrust, and waste resources. All of your schemes are based on computers monitoring 1000's of targets with us in some bunker while the computers are deciding.
-- You know, we could have collisions, from meteors. [end p22]
-- If we get dragged into this, not only do we face an arms race and a waste of resources, but also mistrust and no way to negotiate.
-- You have concluded SDI is needed to avoid the madman using the bomb. Well for years we have had a level of deterrence. Other states will join us and aid in verification. Your actions are not consistent with US interest.
-- If you were to agree, then the USSR and US proposals could be used. If we could agree on avoiding an arms race in space, then as heads of political leadership we could meet on reductions.
-- It will be a different process if we leave Geneva without any agreements or, after attempting agreement, we have to rethink the current situation.
-- We are divided by suspicions. Even during the WW II experience, we face this. I could never understand suspicion which blocked the 8th AF from using airfields in the USSR and caused our bombers to return to UK vice landing in USSR. They could have flown their bombing run, refueled and rearmed in the USSR, and returned on another bombing run. This was blocked by your suspicion.
-- There is no parity today. Yes, we had nuclear superiority in the past, but even with us having a nuclear monopoly, we tried to reduce weapons. [The President then read a list of U.S. nuclear initiatives starting from June 14, 1946] .
-- In 1969, we still had superiority as we entered into the SALT negotiations. However, since the signing of SALT II in 1979 alone, you have added some 3800 warheads. Since that time, we pulled 2400 from Europe unilaterally.
-- NATO's INF deployments were due to your SS-20 deployments. Our NATO allies asked for our help.
-- Now today we both sit with MAD, Mutual Assured Destruction. We don't have as as much as you (nuclear power) , but we have sufficient force to deter. However, this is totally uncivilized.
-- After WW I, nations met in Geneva and drew up accords to protect civilians. Have we gotten more uncivilized, since now our weapons are trained against civilians.
-- SDI is my idea. There has never been a weapon without a defense. I'm talking about a shield. We don't know if we will get one, we are researching the possibilities now. [end p23]
-- If our research results in such a weapon, and you are doing the same research, it would not do to put this with offense (add to our offensive forces). If a defensive system is found, we would prefer to sit down and get rid of nuclear weapons, and with them, the threat of war.
-- With regard to Afgahistan, the man heading the country was delivered by the USSR, not elected. The first one you provided didn't work so you demoted him. As I suggested in my proposal at the UN, I think we need a mutual withdrawal of all outside forces, then a coalition of muslum states to help put in an elected government.
-- In Cambodia, we signed a peace treaty with North Vietnam and after we left Vietnam swept across Laos and Cambodia. We are all for elections there.
-- In Nicaragua, you have provided war material far in advance of their own defense needs. Additionally, Nicaraguan leaders have stated their commitment to spread revolution to other states. We have been appealing for both the Contras and the government to lay down their arms and talk under Church supervision.
-- We laid off when the revolution replaced Somosa. In fact, the OAS asked our help in getting Samosa to step down thus allowing writing, free press, etc. Somosa steped down, but one faction ousted all others. The Contras are trying to reset goals of the original revolution.
-- All this is behind the mistrust.
-- Yes, we need to eliminate weapons. Any military assessment of Soviet power indicates it is offensive -not defensive. We are ready to agree to switch from offense to defense. SDI will never be used by us to improve our offense.
-- We believe these are things we could do to remove mistrust. Our goal is not an arms race. We can return to parity in one of two ways. Either we both reduce, or we can build up and use defense to offset. We do not seek superiority, but will do what is necessary for peace/freedom.
-- What are we to say to our negotiatiors?
-- We could give them guidelines that call for 50% reductions leading to parity for all and instruct them to go forward. [end p24]
-- What about the objective as announced in January -no arms race in space -what about that goal?
-- I don't see the defensive shield as arms race in space, rather as a means to eliminate weapons. We are going forward with research.
-- Our UN Ambassador Walters was asked by some Chinese, what happens when a man with a spear that can penetrate anything meets a man with a shield that is inpenetrable? He responded that he didn't know, but that he did know what happens when a man with no shield meets that same opponent who has the spear. Neither of us want to be in situation of having no shield.
-- We can have agreement that we all share, or that neither deploy ahead of the other, or with offense still to be protected.
-- I would like to propose that we (Reagan & Gorbachev) walk together now.
[At 3:44 pm, the President and the General Secretary left for a short walk. Others moved to a smaller room and continued the conversation.]
Meeting While Leaders Walk
-- Do you wish to talk on guidelines? No need to let the time pass. There are some points of intersection. We could try to narrow it down. President Reagan is doing that. Do you have suggestions?
-- The General Secretary has outlined our approach: a ban of space weapons, and an exploration of the gap between our two proposals.
-- This would provide short, good guidelines.
-- We will not stop our research. President Reagan is ready to talk about what we can do if progress is made -- and we are ready to talk about this now.
-- I can't understand the purpose of this.
-- Our purpose is to move the concept of deterrence into a more stable and humane posture. It will also serve to deal with unstabilization of offensive arms brought about by increasing accuracy and mobility. Those developments bring us to the need for a shield. Stability can be enhanced if it is not a race, but is a cooperative effort. Unilateral actions are not stable. A negotiated transition would be more stable.
-- What you are proposing, cooperating in unknown area, is more like science fiction. The General Secretary has said if we can agree on a ban, then on that basis, and on proposals put forth by both, there is a realistic way forward. You have said that what is destabilizing today is offensive forces, but I say it is your SDI. But for this program, we could have serious progress in Geneva. One more point, not mentioned earlier, you have been saying in the context of explaining your SDI program that the USSR has similar research and that we are somewhere ahead of you. This is being asserted by your press and your official spokesman. If that is so, why are we now proposing a ban on a space strike? [end p25]
-- I am confident your research is parallel to ours, and I can tell you why we feel it exists.
-- In the area of lasers, there is no doubt.
-- If you have invited us to talk to convince us of the utility of SDI, I doubt you can do it. As the General Secretary has said, our arguments are not made of thin air. We have worked this issue with our experts. As a result, we hold deep convictions that the development of space strike arms will usher in new era of the arms race. Any talk of regulating this process by treaty is not realistic. In fact it is most unrealistic. The right decision is not to allow a new cycle of the arms race.
-- We may not be informed on your data, but can one say that any guarantee that defense weapons will not be used for offense is no guarantee. Any defensive weapon can be used for offense.
-- Let me ask, President Reagan and others have said that after you find out if development is feasible, and before deployment, you will share the benefits of the reserach. But, the research to get to that point will take many years. Will President Reagan have the same policy and objectives ten to fifteen years from now? In 10-15 years, when your weapons are developed, we will have own objectives. In the process, treaties will be thrown away. How can we be assured we can trust your actions that are 10-15 years in the future?
-- [Interrupting] That is a good question. We have proposed an "open laboratories" approach calling for visits back and forth to eliminate surprises. Our scientists could visit each others' laboratories so they can get a sense of what is taking place.
-- Secondly, it is in our interest to maintain such a policy, not a matter of goodwill or trust. It is in our interest to have a cooperative development rather than unilateral defensive deployment. Unilateral action creates instability. It creates concern in the mind of the side not deploying. It is simply not in our interest to create instability, therefore, it is not in our interest to handle the transition differently than President Reagan has proposed. [end p26]
-- Third, our two sides are finally discussing reductions. This has been a long time coming. Our agenda, agreed here in Geneva, put both offense and defense on the table. President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev both have said they aspire to go to zero. The more you get down to zero, the more a defensive shield is an insurance policy vice a device to let offensive forces strike without risk. So if we stay on this path, and get others to join, we will change the nature of the situation.
-- If you would permit, I would like to respond and ask a question. We are now discussing deep cuts in offensive strategic weapons, cutting all by 50% as we look for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. If we are serious in following this path, and others join us in this, why do we need the shield? What is it for, since we will not only eliminate the weapons but also take measures to ensure none retain them?
-- Good point, verification is needed.
-- Your question is reasonable. Treaties are broken. However, the history of actions by democrats provides a basis for judgment. Recent evidence demonstrates that, even if we have no treaties but only agreements, we have continued to observe them beyond expiration when we had no reason to do so. This should provide some basis for confidence.
-- Did you intend to propose a question about the period of time while we are under ABM Treaty?
-- Another point, this may seem strange but I do think it applies here. President Reagan began his explanation of mistrust by asserting that US pilots died because the USSR did not allow US planes to land -- but this is inconsistent with the truth. The truth is that, as soon as sufficient territory was liberated to get within range for planes, a huge Soviet air base at Coltava was opened in 1944. They used this airfield as much as needed.
-- I personally was a citizen defending that air base, and was injured. Many died there. I know the US general in charge. Everyone knows about that.
-- Foreign Minister Shevardnadze has said that Stalin and FDR did not have misconceptions on this.
-- What kind of information is being given to President Reagan? Who does this, and what do they inform him of?
-- If President Reagan is wrong, I will tell him.
-- Let us turn to different subjects.
-- Three important things were said today. Two by the General Secretary, and one by Shevardnadze.
-- You said we should be working on a way of expressing the results of our meeting since we found many areas of agreement. That's true.
-- This afternoon, the General Secretary spoke of Afghanistan, noting that a political settlement is highly desirable. We agree.
-- The way the General Secretary made his comments is new to me. Maybe something can be worked out.
-- We agreed beyond so-called expert talks and that at the foreign minister level we should continue to have meetings on our agenda, and on processes that we should consider.
-- I put this down as a plus. Then I added something else said this morning. The General Secretary laid out an outline for a desirable process for our two countries involving meetings at varied levels, down to citizens. We agree this is desirable.
-- This brings me to the question of how to report results of our meeting to our countries and publics at large.
-- I gave Dobrynin a statement that we agreed on drawn from your previous document. I added a paragraph that refers to areas of agreement as listed on the following pages:
-- we already have some items agreed, like NPT language. [end p27]
-- If you want to work on this. Fine. I propose we use the meeting at 9 p.m. this evening for this purpose.
-- But what is following page?
-- That depends on what is agreed upon. I showed Dobrynin in Washington only one page. This is a way to prepare to add on to this as appropriate and tell the public we met -- did not agree on all but made some progress -- and here's what we agreed.
-- Not really clear what kind of issues would follow.
-- In addition to guidelines, what should be there?
-- What we can agree:
-- Cultural agreement
-- No PAC
-- Regional talks and FM impetus to them
-- Arms control --not only guidelines Try to find things we agreed.
-- Today the General Secretary has mentioned a political mechanism that should function.
-- We agree and have said we endorsed this. It is reflected in this approach. [end p28]
-- We have mentioned this because the mechanism has components: the Summit; foreign minister's meetings; Geneva negotiations; political consultations on regional matters; negotiations on Civil Air, etc.
-- Also people exchanges.
-- We had all of this in mind.
-- We should record the facts of this meeting to give political impetus to this meeting.
-- What we need is serious and sound documentation.
-- Ridgeway [sic] and Sokelou will meet tonight.
[1654 PM. At this point the President and Secretary General returned and the meeting ended.]