107. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Soviet Ambassador (Dobrynin)1

D: Happy New Year to you.

K: I’m seeing you Monday night?2 I’m already starving myself. We’re going to solve all the problems on Monday. But I have a problem before that—that Helsinki conversation. I have been praising the Soviet Delegation for it’s constructive tone and attitude. But the issue has come up—I just talked with the President—that of the site of the conference.3

D: I got a telegram—still in the same position.

K: When you talked to the P he understood you to say that the site is no huge problem; you said it could start in Helsinki and move someplace else. On this basis he agreed to start in Helsinki. Now Jerry Smith4 is under the impression that your man says it has to be Helsinki.

D: You want Geneva?

K: Yes, the P prefers Vienna, with which we know you have problems. The P’s basic attitude stays the same. We would consider your attitude very constructive if we could reach a compromise.

D: I will send to Moscow and see.

K: The final session is Monday (?) and we would like to end up without too many disagreements.

D: The only problem is that tomorrow is Saturday—it will be hard to [reach them—I couldn’t understand exactly what would be hard, but I think that’s what he meant].5 But I’ll try.

K: I’ll appreciate it and I’ll see you Monday.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 360, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. See Tab A, Document 110.
  3. Kissinger spoke with the President at 7:15 p.m. The first few sentences are apparently missing from the transcript of their conversation. Kissinger then stated, “The SALT talks.” Nixon asked, “[The Soviets] are going to change it?” Kissinger replied, “This is the problem. You remember our problems with Dobrynin. Bill [Rogers] was reluctant to raise the issue. You had given [Gerard] Smith the instructions and now the Russians had backed off. I thought just as a matter of discipline I ought to call Dobrynin and remind him of this conversation before.” Nixon said, “Tell him we gave in on Helsinki and why not Vienna. We don’t have to be anxious but the point is that it ought to be either Geneva or Vienna.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 360, Telephone Records, 1969–1976, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)
  4. Reference is to Gerard Smith.
  5. Brackets in the source text.