349. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State1

8649. Stansto 05. Department pass to White House, Dept pass Commerce. Subject: Secretary Stans’ meeting with Kosygin, November 20.

Major development in full, friendly three-hour twenty minute talk with Kosygin latter expressed strong desire for greatly enlarged commercial relations with US and made expected pleas for end of US “discrimination” against USSR in economic matters.2 He avoided other contentious matters. No specific political matter mentioned.
Stressing that Stans’ visit should leave “notable trace” for President’s visit, Kosygin proposed exchange of aide-memoires in which two sides would envisage setting up four expert working groups to consider elements of a new economic relationship.3 These would draw up arrangements and propositions in 3 and 4 months which might be signed before or at Summit and announced at that time. Aide-memoires, Kosygin twice stressed, would not imply legal or legislative commitments.
Experts would deal with
General legal/legislative issues such as MFN.
Various financial issues.
“Pure trade,” i.e. all commodities other than “equipment,” which presents more complex problems. (Kosygin subsequently clarified that “equipment” also included in trade.)
General economic ties such as joint development of Soviet natural resources and major manufacturing projects, also schemes involving third country marketing.
Kosygin suggested experts could meet in Soviet Union and US and he himself prepared to meet them from time to time to help move matters along and same might be done on US side.
Stans indicated interest but reserved specific response pending further discussions with Patolichev. Indicated desire to work with Patolichev on aide-memoire idea and go as far as we able to at this time.
Kosygin later suggested adding experts group on science and technology.
Rest of discussion ranged widely over economic issues. Specific item of interest was Kosygin’s reference to Soviet interest in five-year agreement to buy 2-3 million tons of corn per year provided credit available. Also suggested possibility of immediate order for synthetic leather technology.
Stans noted interrelationship between progress in political and economic relations and need for US public opinion to be sympathetic to improved economic relations. Kosygin said political relations should be even better by time of Summit. On basis of own experience he thought most political and business circles in US now oppose tensions and confrontations, though some probably will always exist who advocate tension. Kosygin spoke warmly of President’s letter and forthcoming meeting with him.4
Full report follows.5
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 73 D 153, Morning Summaries, August 25-December 31, 1971. Secret; Exdis.
  2. During Kissinger’s dinner conversation with Dobrynin at the Soviet Embassy on November 18, the two briefly discussed Stans’ visit. Dobrynin asked if there were any possibility for most-favored-nation treatment. Kissinger replied that MFN might be possible if the May 1972 Summit proved successful. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, President’s Trip Files, Box 492, Dobrynin/HAK 1971, Volume 8)
  3. In his briefing memorandum for Kissinger’s November 12 meeting with Stans (see Document 348), Sonnefeldt suggested that if the Soviets wanted a final communiquZ Kissinger should not object to a general one, but that in keeping with the nature of the visit there should be no effort to develop agreed language on specific issues.
  4. On November 20 A. Denis Clift sent Kissinger a memorandum bringing this telegram to his attention and recommending he send an information memorandum to the President that summarized its contents, which he attached. Kissinger signed the memorandum to the President on November 22 and it bears a handwritten notation that it was seen by the President. On Clift’s November 20 memorandum Kissinger wrote: “Instruct Stans to reserve final decisions to Washington.” Pursuant to that instruction, on November 22 Clift sent a memorandum marked “Very Urgent Action” to Haig recommending he send a message to the State Department for transmission to the Embassy in Moscow. On November 26 Haig sent the Department the following message from Kissinger to Stans requesting it be sent to Moscow in response to telegram 8649: “The report of your conversation with Chairman Kosygin has been reviewed by the President with appreciation. As to specifics of program outlined by Kosygin and other proposals Soviets may make during course of your visit, President prefers to reserve final decisions until after you have returned to Washington. He wishes to review substantive findings of your mission in their entirety.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 213, Commerce, Volume II 1971)
  5. Not found.