National Security Advisor John Bolton met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, October 22nd.
Below is a transcript of their conversation, as relayed by the Kremlin:
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Bolton, colleagues,
We are pleased to see you in Moscow.
At the beginning of our conversation I would like to recall our meeting with the President of the United States in Helsinki. In my view, it was a useful, and at times fairly tough, meeting and conversation which ultimately turned out to be fruitful, in my opinion.
This is why, to be honest, we are sometimes perplexed to see the United States take absolutely unprovoked steps towards Russia that we cannot call friendly. We actually do not even respond to your steps, yet this approach continues.
Despite your efforts trade between our countries – however strange it might seem – continues to grow, 16 percent last year; this year it has already grown by 8 percent. This is small in absolute numbers, very small, of course, however, this is the trend. With a positive balance for the United States, by the way. Mutual investments are also growing with Russian investments in the US economy at twice the US investments in the Russian economy.
It will, of course, be very useful to exchange views on the issues of strategic stability, disarmament issues, and regional conflicts.
We know – and talk a lot – about the unilateral exit of the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. We recently heard about the United States’ intention to exit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. We know about the Administration’s doubts about prolonging New START and hear about the intention to deploy some elements of the anti-missile defence system in space.
As I recall, there is a bald eagle pictured on the US coat of arms: it holds 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other as a symbol of peaceful policy: a branch with 13 olives. My question: has your eagle already eaten all the olives leaving only the arrows?
In general, I would like very much to talk with you not only as the Assistant to the US President, but also as a specialist on disarmament and arms control.
And, of course, it would be useful to continue a direct dialogue with the US President, first of all, on the sidelines of the international events that will take place soon, such as the one in Paris. Of course, if the US is interested in such contacts.
Assistant to the President of the United States of America for National Security Affairs John Bolton: Well, thank you very much, Mr President. It is a pleasure to see you again. I appreciate you taking the time to get together and will be pleased to go over all the items on the agenda.
And to begin, as you indicated I think President Trump will look forward to seeing you in Paris, on the sidelines of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. Because despite our differences, which exist because of our different national interests, it is still important to work in areas where there is a possibility of mutual cooperation.
And I had discussions with all of your senior national security advisors in the past two days, and again, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak with you on behalf of President Trump. And hopefully, I’ll have some answers for you, but I didn’t bring any olives.
Vladimir Putin: My thoughts exactly.
John Bolton: The olive branch is held in the right talon of the eagle, demonstrating its priority.
Vladimir Putin: If I remember correctly, there is also an inscription: In Varietate Concordia, United in Diversity. This is why, despite different approaches, we can and should look for points of contact.
John Bolton: That’s very much our intention, though our motto is “E pluribus unum,” “Out of many, one,” so maybe it is something to look forward to there.