286. Message From President Nixon to Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev1

Mr. General Secretary:

I have just received your interim message2 concerning the grave situation in the Indian Subcontinent.

[Page 792]

However, after delaying for 72 hours in anticipation of your reply to my conversation with Minister Matskevich and Counsellor Vorontsov3 I had set in train certain moves in the United Nations Security Council at the time mentioned to Counsellor Vorontsov. These cannot now be reversed. I must also note that the Indian assurances still lack any concreteness.

I am still prepared to proceed along the lines set forth in my letter of December 10,4 as well as in the conversations with your chargé dʼaffaires Vorontsov, and my talk with your Agriculture Minister.

In view of the urgency of the situation and the need for concerted action I propose that we continue closest consultations through established confidential channels. I cannot emphasize too strongly that time is of the essence to avoid consequences neither of us want.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 492, Presidentʼs Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1971, Vol. 8. No classification marking. A handwritten note on the message indicates it was sent via the hot line. According to Kissingerʼs memoirs, the message was drafted by Kissinger and Haig and represented the first use by the Nixon administration of the hot line communication channel between Washington and Moscow. (White House Years, p. 909)
  2. Document 284.
  3. See Document 257.
  4. Document 269.