Archive (Reagan Library)

Cold War: Washington (Reagan-Gorbachev) Summit (one-on-one meeting) [declassified 2000]

Document type: Declassified documents
Venue: White House
Source: Reagan Library (NSC System File Folder 8791367)
Editorial comments:
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 756 words
Themes: Defence (arms control), Foreign policy (Asia), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states)




December 15, 1987



SUBJECT: The President's One-on-One with Gorbachev – 9 December

Attached is our interpreter's memcon of the President's private meeting with Gorbachev on the morning of December 9 – the “Dimaggio Meeting”. The most important contents are a) the President virtually commits to a spring summit, a fairly short one; b) Gorbachev is definitely stressing late May or early June as the best dates, while the President is holding back on dates; and c) Gorbachev contemplates a “tourist-type” trip back to the US, perhaps while the President is still in office.

Two additional points: First, as of the moment, the Soviets are not stressing the completion of START as a condition for a 1988 summit; they're playing this linkage softly. Second, Gorbachev has his own political reasons for a Moscow summit in the suggested timeframe, even were it only to record progress toward START; it would come just before a grand CPSU Conference in late June which will be critical to his political plans.

When you've read this memcon, it should be returned to Paul Stevens for filing with the other summit records.

Linhard concurs.


Tab I Memorandum of Conversation

Declassify on: OADR


Date: December 9, 1987

Time: 10:35–10:45 a.m.

Place: Small office next to Oval Office, White House

U.S. Participants: President Reagan D. Zarechnak, interpreter USSR Participants: General Secretary Gorbachev P. Palazhchenko, interpreter


The President started the meeting by passing to the General Secretary a baseball from Joe DiMaggio (who had attended the State dinner the previous evening) for his (and the President's) autograph. Gorbachev indicated that he had heard of the request, and was glad to comply.

The President then told the General Secretary that in the coming two days they would be working hard to set in motion the other things that needed to be accomplished in order that the people on both sides could work hard in the winter and spring to make a summit in Moscow possible next summer. He indicated that he would be prepared to keep his people working at this, in addition to what the two of them would discuss this morning and tomorrow.

The General Secretary replied that he welcomed this, and that it was not only his feeling, but also that of the Soviet leadership, to continue to work at these issues, and to make the process even more dynamic, not only in the main area of arms control, but in other areas as well, in order to prepare a good visit by Reagan to Moscow which would also be productive and important.

Gorbachev continued that a good time for the visit, when it was not too hot, would be the early summer, perhaps early June or late May. This would allow time for the process of ratification and also would allow for time for a lot of work to be done on a new document on strategic arms and other issues.

The President agreed.

Gorbachev continued that in his conversation with Mrs Reagan the other night, he had indicated that a program could be arranged which would include time for meetings between the President and himself, meetings of working groups, but also one or two days during which the President and Mrs Reagan could see the country.

[end p2] The President replied that that would be nice. He could not agree to a date, however, until he knew when some other things would be taking place, e.g., the Economic Summit, which usually occurs in early summer. So he would need some time before agreeing to a date. But he did want to go to Moscow.

The President said that this visit had been a rather short one, but perhaps some time before the President left office, the General Secretary and Raisa could return, not for a Summit, but simply to see the country, and California specifically, since one has not seen America without seeing California.

Gorbachev agreed that this was a good idea, and that there should be regular meetings between the leaders of the two countries, and not always official visits. If we wish to restructure our relations and improve our dialogue and cooperation, all these things could be done in a more normal way, including visits to the U.S. to get to know the country. Such a trip would be important to get a deeper knowledge of the U.S., and would be a possibility.

Drafted by: D. Zarechnak