279. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Minister of the Soviet Embassy (Vorontsov)1

HK: Yuly, I have just talked to the President and as you know, we are leaving for the Azores tomorrow at noon. He has asked me to tell you that if we donʼt hear from you by tomorrow morning that we will proceed unilaterally. We have now waited for 48 hours and in a matter that affects the peace of the world in these circumstances we will proceed unilaterally and if we do we will have to state our view about the involvement of other countries.

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YV: I see, of course you know that Kusnetsov2 is embarked on a mission to India now; and I have reasons to believe that thatʼs in direct connection to whatever we have discussed here.

HAK: When did he leave?

YV: He left this morning Moscow time—I donʼt have any official word to you about that, but I know it is directly connected. So, of course, I will transmit the message to Moscow.

HAK: I cannot stress to you sufficiently seriously how gravely we view the situation.

YV: Yes, I understand that, but I think that the mutual view of the situation now Kusnetsov trip to Delhi are underlying that. I think we might have something from Moscow tomorrow, but of course the results of his talks there is only to predict they are [omission in the source text] is going to be.

HAK: Well, I understand it, you have to understand that we have not made a move for 72 hours in order to give us a chance of moving jointly. We cannot in all honor wait any longer.

YV: Why by unilateral holds [moves?] further on, do you want to reveal a little bit what that means.

HAK: No, we will of course move unilaterally again in the UN, but we may also take certain other steps which were [while?] not irrevocable would be preferable if we did not have to take them.

YV: Okay, that is all I can tell you now, but I will transmit it.

HAK: We again want to underline that this is not something that we prefer to do.

YV: I understand that, and in Moscow they understand that.

HAK: Right, Okay.3

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 370, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking. A handwritten note on the transcript estimates that the call was placed “circa 3 p.m.” Internal evidence establishes that the call was placed subsequent to the 7:30 conversation between Kissinger and the President.
  2. Vasiliy Kuznetsov, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union.
  3. Kissinger called President Nixon at 8:45 p.m. and told him that he had learned from Vorontsov that the Soviet leadership had despatched Kuznetsov to New Delhi. Kissinger saw that as a positive development but Nixon was skeptical. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 370, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)