22 October 1986** (Pb) Soviet diplomats

Politburo. Expulsion of Soviet diplomats from USA and planned Soviet retaliation (5 pp).  [R 22 oct 86, Pb]


§§Top secret Working record Copy No.: singular


[CPSU CC – Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR]

22 October 1986

Presided by Comr. M.S.GORBACHEV [Comr.  – Comrade(s)]

Attended by Comr. G. A. Aliyev, A. A. Gromyko, L. N. Zaykov,

  1. K. Ligachev, N. I. Ryzhkov, M. S. Solomentsev,
  2. M. Chebrikov, E. A. Shevardnadze, V. I. Dolgikh,
  3. N. Yeltsin, N. V. Talyzin, A. P. Biryukova,
  4. F. Dobrynin, M. V. Zimyanin, V. A. Medvedev,
  5. P. Razumovsky, A. N. Yakovlev, I. V. Kapitonov
  6. On measures related to deportation of Soviet employees from the USA

GORBACHEV. We have to exchange opinions on the measures to undertake regarding a new hostile action of the U.S. Administration. The course of events after Reykjavic has shown that our “friends” in the U.S. have no constructive programme and are doing everything to heat the atmosphere. They behave in an extremely rough, gangland way.

SOLOMENTSEV. Yes, they behave like highway bandits.

GORBACHEV. One cannot expect any constructive actions or proposals from the U.S. Administration. In the current situation we must collect propaganda points and continue our aggressive outreach work targeted at the American and general international public opinion. The Washington politicians are afraid of this. The materials with my speeches at the Reykjavic press conference and on the Soviet television are being kept at the customs for three days already.

YAKOVLEV. Comr. Bugayev called me and told that these materials are still detained at the American customs.

GORBACHEV. We must go on pressurising the American Administration by explaining our positions to the general public and exposing the responsibility of the American side for the failure of agreements on reduction and liquidation of nuclear weapons.

Of late, the best thing Reagan and his entourage were able to invent was another hostile action of expelling 55 Soviet diplomats. As Washington explained, five our employees were declared non grata in reprisal for our expulsion of 5 American diplomats, and 50 more will be knocked out under the pretext of equalising the staff of American and Soviet diplomatic representations.

We cannot leave this hostile anti-Soviet action unanswered. We should not hesitate to take most resolute steps. The Americans threaten us declaring that if we retaliate they would take further steps against our diplomatic personnel in the USA. Well then, taking the limited extent of Soviet-American contacts I think our embassy in the U.S. would manage its tasks in this case, too.

We have to develop serious proposals. Specifically, what might we do? We should remove from the American embassy our people who work as service personnel. Further, we should limit the number of American representatives travelling on assignment to the U.S. Moscow embassy. Through this channel, up to 500 American citizens visit us annually. Finally, we should apply the equality principle to issuing entry admissions to visitors of the American ambassador in Moscow; their number reaches 200 each year. Our people are very seldom to travel on assignment or attend the ambassador as visitors. In the future, such trips must take place on equal basis.

On the whole, what I told the U.S. President in Reykjavic proves to be true: normalisation of Soviet-American relations is apparently the business left to next generations.

SHEVARDNADZE. Our staff in the U.S. is 43 [A three-value figure is given with the first digit illegible due to the low quality of the copy.] people at the embassy and 25 at the consulate in San Francisco. The U.S. embassy in Moscow has the staff of 229, and the consulate in Leningrad has 25. Beside this, the Americans have

250 our citizens working as service staff. The proposal is to withdraw them. The activity of American representation offices would be tangibly affected. As for people travelling on assignment to the American embassy, their number is up to 500 annually. We do not practice this form of travel to the USA nearly at all. The reciprocity principle must be introduced in this sphere. This would hit the Americans stronger than us. Neither do we practice such form as ambassador’s personal invitations. The American ambassador instead is visited by nearly 180 people each year.

DOBRYNIN. Moreover, the ambassador does not even know many of these “visitors” personally.

SHEVARDNADZE. There are 14 people from Finland working as attendants at the American embassy in Moscow. We must demand that they leave, as well as 8 American diplomats suspected in illegal activities. We must [also] act adequately to the Americans’ actions as regards the Defence Attache’s office. As a result, we will have the same number of employees that the Americans have: 251 at embassies and 25 at consulates.

The provocative character of actions of the U.S. Administration is testified by the fact that previously the American side had had the quota of 320 people for our representation offices. We had never completely filled that quota.

GORBACHEV. We must expound all this with arguments and draw a strong political document.

SHEVARDNADZE. The U.S. Administration needed a new hostile action in view of the forthcoming elections. In our document we must point that if the Americans retaliate to our steps we will do the same.

GORBACHEV. Do the comrades have any doubts about these proposals?


DOBRYNIN. It would be practical to come to some conclusion as regards the Kyiv and New York consulates.

GROMYKO. Probably not to speed up their opening in the present situation. For now that would be senseless.

GORBACHEV. We must freeze this issue. As for our general line, me should act calmly but resolutely. This is important not only from the point of view of Soviet-American contacts but also as regards international relations in general. If the Americans will behave this way with the Soviet Union then we can imagine how they will act with other countries.

I had a conversation with Nikolai Ivanovich [Nikolai Ivanovitch Ryzhkov]. For the time being we ought to refrain from purchasing corn from the Americans.

GROMYKO. Perhaps we should not say it in our statement but implement this de facto.

SOLOMENTSEV. In our document we must mention the figures quoted by Comr. Shevardnadze.

DOBRYNIN. The actions of the Americans in regard to our Defence Attache’s office were unprecedented.

GORBACHEV. And we should deport all American militaries.

CHEBRIKOV. There is one more move in stock we can make if necessary. I have already reported to the Politburo that we have discovered many eavesdropping systems in our representation offices in the USA. We might make this fact public to expose the American espionage, and hold a press conference demonstrating the American espionage tools for eavesdropping.

GROMYKO. And how many devices of that kind have they found out in their own representation offices?

CHEBRIKOV. One single device. Here the figures are to our advantage, 1: 150.

GORBACHEV, We must keep it in mind.

SHEVARDNADZE. When do we have to publish our statement on this issue?

GORBACHEV. Once the document is ready. We will review it and then immediately broadcast it on the radio and television, as well as publish it in newspapers.


GORBACHEV. I had intended to give a press conference today and demonstrate how the Americans conduct the affairs after Reykjavic. To expose their lies and crookery. However, it seems to be inappropriate time for this now, after the hostile action taken by the U.S. Administration. It would probably make sense to speak not at a press conference but on the television and to address our people.


GORBACHEV. The speech will contain no new proposals. Hence we hardly need to disseminate the text of the speech separately. We must demonstrate, in the framework of the position we have now defined, that the U.S. Administration bears complete responsibility for failure of the Reykjavic agreement, and undertakes dishonest manoeuvres distorting facts and misleading the general public. It might be pointed out that the course of events after Reykjavic shows that Reagan is unable to manage his crew.

GROMYKO. This might be pointed out but in such a way as to avoid shifting the blame from Reagan himself.

GORBACHEV. Yes, Reagan is acting as a liar. An appropriate wording must be found in this matter.

Do the comrades have other proposals?


The resolution is approved.

  1. On arrangements in connection with the tragic death of S. Machel,

President of the People’s Republic of Mozambique

GORBACHEV. We have to decide on arrangements in connection with Machel’s tragic death. Comr. Aliyev will fly to Mozambique tomorrow. Our pilot’s last communication was “We’ve been shot down”.

ALIYEV. He is now in the Republic of South Africa.

GROMYKO. We must take all steps through the Red Cross to visit him and to seek his release.

[Translator’s notes are bracketed]

Translated by Valeri Kalabugin, Julya 2010-07-18